Transitioning from Print to Online-Only Resources: The Experience of a Medium-Sized Healthcare Organization Library

Transitioning from Print to Online-Only Resources: The Experience of a Medium-Sized Healthcare Organization Library

Ann Glusker (Medical Librarian, USA) and Elisa Hoelscher (Web Developer/Content Specialist, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3914-8.ch009
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Abstract

The Pacific Health Organization's Medical Library transitioned from its holdings being entirely in print to entirely online in an extremely short time span—the bulk of the process happened in less than six months. Leadership interests and support drove this transition, as did cost concerns and the interest in providing equal access to a geographically dispersed staff. Flexible staff that was able to adapt to new roles and a robust interlibrary loan system made the change possible. There were initial costs, but on the whole, there were mostly benefits to the change, financial and otherwise. Patron reception was more negative among those with less comfort in the digital environment, but most adjusted well. Ongoing challenges include marketing and maintaining patron awareness without a physical space, meeting user expectations for quick and easy access and information, and keeping up to date with emerging technologies, such as applications for mobile devices.
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Case Description

As 2005 progressed, there was a perfect storm of opportunity for change in the medical library; the medical librarian, who had been in the position for many years and was not a supporter of online materials, left and the library came under new management. At the same time, PHO was making a radical transition from the use of paper to entirely electronic patient medical records. This meant that all health care providers would be working in a digital format in their daily standard work.

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