The De La Salle Health Sciences Institute (DLSHSI) in the Philippines is an academic community comprising around 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and staff. Its affiliate hospital, the University Medical Center, serves diverse clients, including interns, residents and staff. It offers undergraduate programmes in a variety of allied healthcare disciplines, as well as graduate programmes in medicine and nursing.
The Romeo P. Ariniego MD Library Services (RPAMDLS) is the Institute’s partner for accessing quality health information. It supports the teaching, learning, and research needs of the community through its resources, services, facilities, and programs. The Library has a Director, six librarians and ten support staff.
One of the Library’s prime services is its online resources – collections of electronic books, journals, multimedia resources, and evidence-based information – accessed through 12 online databases. However, accessing these resources was cumbersome and inconvenient. Off-site access used to require different usernames and passwords for each resource and, in some cases, remote access was impossible. In the Philippines, the Internet is a critical communication and information channel and, increasingly, people rely on it for their business and educational, as well as social needs. Because of the growing demand from its communities and the expanding use of mobile devices, the Library wanted to provide full and easy access for users. However, it did not have the necessary technical skills or infrastructure to manage a complex IP authentication capability.
The Library has been working with EBSCO, the leading provider of online research systems and content, to upgrade its information service. The EBSCO Discovery Service has provided an easy and convenient way to search and access quality resources. A key element of the upgrade is OpenAthens, which securely and effectively manages user access to online resources.
In line with its goal of taking a lead in the use of technology to innovate information access and delivery, DLSHSI RPAMDLS is the first academic library in the Philippines to implement OpenAthens.
OpenAthens allows users to access any resources they are entitled to view with a single sign-on, from any location. Currently, there are around 1,000 licences, but the Library expects this to increase significantly as services are rolled out to more medical students and undergraduates.
OpenAthens is especially suited to DLSHSI library staff because it has non-technical features, like a graphical portal interface, which makes access and service use simple to manage and control. In addition, OpenAthens provides detailed and realtime management information- such as who is using which resources and how often – which is easily accessible via the portal.
As a hosted service, OpenAthens significantly reduces the burden on IT departments because it removes the need to invest in additional, on-site expertise. It also integrates easily with existing systems and does not require special or additional IT infrastructure, such as server space or internet bandwidth.
Feedback from the customer
As well as being an efficient and cost-effective way to access information, OpenAthens has enabled additional cost savings. It means we don’t have to hire a technical person to manage the service or spend time coordinating with our IT Department. And we plan to make OpenAthens a value-added service which will satisfy the needs of users and bring additional funds to the Library.”
Although DLSHSI is passionate about giving our community the best information, access, especially off-site, has long been an issue for users and until OpenAthens, options were limited and costly. But with OpenAthens we’ve turned our folio of services into a comprehensive solution which enables optimal and effective use of resources. Providing better access also supports our goal of encouraging and enhancing research among the faculty community.”
Efren M. Torres, JR., MLIS, Director, Romeo P. Ariniego MD Library Services De La Salle Health Sciences Institute