Got a great question via email from a medical librarian reader:
Many of my doctors who are more tech savy want the information delivered to themselves “off campus” via email, RSS, etc. However, we since they are off campus most of the journal full text links (IP access only) are unaccessible to them. Have you figured out a way around this or do you have a really good line explaining this to them?
There are, I think, many different ways of meeting this challenge. All have strengths, all have faults, and every medical library is different. I’m far from expert on this topic, but here are a few methods in descending order of my preference:
- Terminal Services Portal:
At CGH, we have a web-based portal (using terminal services) through which clinicians can access our Electronic Medical Record system with any internet-connected computer, and our VP of Information Services agreed to add our library web portal as a link from the EMR. Any traffic from this is seen as coming from inside the hospital’s network, preserving the use of IP authentication. I’m very happy with this solution, and hope that the increased accessiblity to library resources will help be cause for further development of our library’s web portal.
Before the EMR portal was set up, clinicians were granted VPN (Virtual Private Network) access to the hospital’s network (some still use this), so that all of their internet traffic was routed through the hospital’s network and proxy, so IP authentication was/is preserved, and the user can access all the same resources he/she might use while “on campus.” I like this solution less than the portal (see above) because many users found it difficult to complete the initial set-up of their VPN connection and because it was difficult for me to provide support to help solve these problems over the phone or by email.
- On-demand document/reference delivery:
Although it is far from ideal, our library works hard at helping clinicians understand that there are multiple avenues through which they can make document delivery, literature search, or reference requests. The users who have adopted the use of feeds or emails for their current awareness needs are reminded as often as possible that they are absolutely welcome to email their requests to the library if this is most convenient for them, and filters have been set up to alert library staff wuickly and loudly when new requests come in via email. I’m not thrilled with this solution, but at least good feed entries from journals or PubMed, when forwarded via email to the library, have all the needed information to help the library quickly find and deliver the needed literature.
I agree with the person who emailed the question that constant access to full-text resources is most ideal, but believe that it is the library’s responsibilies to make user requests as convenient as possible for the user to submit- even in circumstances that are miles from ideal.
Hope that helps a little! If you’d like more information on how CGH set up its terminal services for the EMR portal, let me know. I may be able to get some detail and reccommendations from our IS department.