Providing a service, validating its need, and enhancing the value: Current Awareness

October 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

It is always good to evaluate any library service to make sure it is actually meeting a need.   When sending out the latest journal table of contents to our users, we inserted a highlighted question asking what they like about Current Awareness and how it has helps their work at Mayo.  With an open-ended question, many users went into some detail when responding as to how this service has benefited them.  Comments came from various occupations representing multiple Mayo Clinic locations (MDs, PhDs, RNs, Analysts, Managers, Program Directors, Educators, Pharmacists, Administration etc.). Simply posing a question to our users resulted in almost 200 replies within a couple of weeks.   The response rate was fantastic!  [we have captured just a few below]

What was the consensus?  In summary, Current Awareness users appreciate delivery to their inboxes where they can quickly browse journal contents and read what is presently pertinent.  Emails act as a prompt to take a minute and see what’s new.  Many users stated they don’t have time to track information on their own.  They indicated that by selecting specific journals to follow, they’re able to rapidly monitor what is new related to their research and clinical practice.  There is no need for them to set up alerts and passwords at different publisher sites or remember to check on a journal issue in print. Instant electronic access to articles is another major advantage of Current Awareness.  A quick click retrieves the articles and saves so many steps for staff.

There are other rich aspects of this service including coverage of almost all e-journals in the Mayo Clinic Libraries collection.  Simple subject categories enable users to discover journals that may not have previously been on their radar.  Limited-time only content is more readily caught with Current Awareness notifications.  Also, a quick link to the publisher site provides archived past issues as well as path to instructions for authors who are looking to publish.

Yet, Current Awareness doesn’t stop there!  For those who want to restrict email and set aside a later time to browse their selected titles, there’s a solution!  The “turn off emails” button saves users’ selections so they can view an archive of recently sent alerts at their convenience.  This feature maximizes users’ limited time and it’s great for those going on a business trip or vacation.  Email notifications are effortlessly resumed with a simple click.

Behind the scenes, we are working hard to more efficiently deliver journal tables of contents to our users.  We’re managing journal changes, adding new titles, and ensuring alerts are delivered in a timely manner.  One of our endeavors is automating the delivery process to send out hundreds of email notifications in a minute’s time.  The automation makes a noticeable difference in dispatching over 20,000 alerts in an average month.

Brand new to Current Awareness is a fresh face that harmonizes with the forthcoming redesigned Mayo Clinic Libraries homepage.  Users will notice cleaner lines and easy navigation tools.  Current Awareness will be featured on the front page under the Services tab. We do hope more staff will discover this useful tool, and take full advantage of the many benefits.

New page for Current Awareness:

current awareness

Just a few of the comments:

There is no doubt this service allows me to keep up on the latest information happening in my specialty while maintaining a busy clinical schedule!  Thank you for this wonderful service! –MD

I get regular emails for the “current awareness” service and I consider this one of the best perks of working at Mayo.  I don’t have to go hunting for literature regularly on my own, instead, it is delivered to me when available.  It keeps me on track and up to date. I greatly appreciate this service and thank those who provide it. –MD

Current Awareness is a service that I have enjoyed at Mayo for 16 years. It allows me to keep up on the journals that make a difference to me and my work. In the busy day to day blur the fact that you push the information to us is such a help.  It might not receive the priority for me to seek it out otherwise. Many thanks! –Administrator

I really appreciate this service very much!!!  Without it…I definitely don’t have the time to find all these journal articles myself.  Thanks a MILLION!  You are one of the reasons Mayo Clinic is #1 in the Nation!!!! Thank you!!!! -Nurse manager

The current awareness service is INDISPENSIBLE! I use it in a variety of ways:

  • Keep my own knowledge and skills up-to-date with the latest information
  • Obtain materials to help develop Mayo staff that I supervise as well as assist with specific educational needs for my department
  • Use it for MBA and MHHS courses that I teach –since those classes are comprised of 95%+ Mayo employees, help educate our current and next generation of leaders.—Admin.

Beth Miller, Colonial Library Services

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