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Keywords:

  • digital information resources;
  • health information needs;
  • interviews;
  • professional associations

Abstract

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Background

Healthcare practitioners in Alberta and across Canada have varying levels of access to information resources depending on their institutional and professional affiliations, yet access to current health information is critical for all.

Objectives

To determine what information resources and services are provided by Albertan and Canadian professional health associations to their members.

Methods

Representatives of professional colleges and associations were interviewed regarding information resources and services offered to members and perceptions of their members' information needs.

Results

National-level associations are more likely to provide resources than provincial ones. There is a clear distinction between colleges and associations in terms of information offered: colleges provide regulatory information, while associations are responsible for provision of clinical information resources. Only half of the associations interviewed provide members with access to licensed databases, with cost being a major barrier.

Conclusions

There is considerable variation in the number of electronic resources and the levels of information support provided by professional health associations in Alberta and Canada. Access and usage vary among the health professions. National licensing of resources or creation of a portal linking to freely available alternatives are potential options for increasing access and awareness.

Key Messages

Implication for Practice

  • Awareness of and access to information resources and services among practising health professionals need to be enhanced. Professional associations, hospitals and academic libraries should endeavour, and perhaps work together, to improve this situation.
  • Academic libraries should seek to understand the information needs of their alumni, so that enhancements made to alumni library services are evidence-based.

Implications for Policy

  • Access to information resources and services for health professionals varies across professions and across Canada. Measures to reduce this inequality should be taken.
  • National licensing of resources or creation of a portal to high-quality online information are potential methods for increasing access to evidence-based health information.

Introduction

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

At the University of Alberta (U of A) in Edmonton Alberta Canada, faculty members, students and staff enjoy access to a wide range of library resources. However, once students graduate from their programs and are no longer affiliated with the University, access to U of A electronic resources is terminated to comply with vendor and publisher licensing agreements. While alumni may purchase an alumni card to continue access to the library's print collections, access to electronic resources is not an option owing to the licensing agreements. This is a disappointment to many, particularly to graduates of the health sciences programs, because access to current health information is crucial for evidence-based patient care and the continuing professional education of health personnel. Many of our alumni stay in Alberta to practice, and the vast majority remain in Canada. In such a geographically dispersed country, electronic access to information is particularly important.

Librarians from the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library and a faculty member from the School of Library and Information Studies at the U of A partnered on a multiphase project to investigate the information needs of U of A health sciences alumni and, specifically, to identify potential barriers or gaps they may encounter in accessing needed information resources in both electronic and print formats. This article reports on the first phase of this study, which sought to identify those resources and information services provided by professional health associations in Alberta and at the national level. This research was undertaken to learn more about what resources might be available to U of A health sciences alumni via other routes.

Literature review

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Healthcare practitioners in Alberta and across Canada have varying levels of access to information resources depending on their institutional and professional affiliations. As Stieda and Bacic discussed previously, Canada, unlike the US and the UK, does not have a national health library, and provision of information resources happens at a provincial or regional level.[1] Health libraries and information providers across the country have formed various consortia to address licensing and management of electronic resources. Although these consortia have been successful in negotiating reasonable prices for institutions and health services, not all Canadian provinces or territories are covered by consortial agreements. Even within those that are, many health professionals (especially in primary care) do not have access to important evidence-based information.

Focusing on Alberta specifically, Stieda and Colvin analysed access to health information resources in the province and found significant gaps between urban and rural health regions, and also among rural regions.[2] The two urban regions were well served, especially the practitioners who are associated with a university. Of the seven rural health regions, only five had a print library collection, while only four licensed any e-resources. Since this study was conducted, Alberta's health regions have been dissolved and replaced by a single province-wide authority (Alberta Health Services), although this is unlikely to resolve the disparity in access to resources.

With regard to alumni services, few post-secondary institutions in Canada currently offer licensed information resources to alumni. North American institutions that have implemented alumni services report varying levels of uptake.[3, 4] In 2007, the U of A investigated the licensing of e-resources for all alumni but determined that the cost was prohibitive.

Using free Web resources is the most viable option for many practitioners. Open access (OA) has been discussed as an important means of reducing barriers to health information.[5, 6] As many funding agencies now mandate OA to research results, healthcare professionals can also access a growing amount of journal literature for free. Preliminary studies indicate that OA can lead to increased usage, at least as demonstrated by citation counts.[7, 8] Although practitioners make use of many free Web resources,[9, 10] the use of OA articles and the influence of OA on actual practice is largely unknown. One study of mental health workers did conclude that free access increased readership but did not affect treatment outcome.[11] For alumni in low-access settings, free resources may be the only option.

It is not clear to what degree health professionals actively demand or expect access to licensed information resources. The initial impetus behind this research study was an increase in the number of alumni asking for electronic resource access at the U of A health sciences library, indicating that demand exists. However, many factors may affect this demand, as well as its translation into actual use. Several studies have investigated low uptake of electronic resource use among health professionals and identified common factors that may affect usage, including anxiety around finding and using information, lack of time to access information and insufficient training regarding use of those resources.[10, 12, 13] It may be that individuals are not aware of what they are missing, or it may be that they do not have the skills or knowledge to make use of what they do have. These issues are beyond the scope of this paper, but will be explored in the second phase of the project, which is a survey of U of A health sciences alumni.

Objectives

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

The objectives of this phase of the study were to investigate the information resources and services provided to health professionals through their professional associations and professional licensing colleges, to determine whether these resources and services are being used by members, and to explore whether these organisations feel that they are meeting the information needs of members.

Methods

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

A list was compiled of nine provincial- (Alberta only) and 14 national-level professional associations and colleges. These bodies represented a range of health professions: physicians, pharmacists, nurses, dentists, physical and occupational therapists, and dieticians. The researchers chose to focus on Alberta-based associations and colleges because many U of A alumni work in Alberta.

A representative from each organisation was contacted by email and invited to participate in a telephone interview to discuss association members' information needs and usage. The individuals contacted were generally those responsible for providing professional information to members, that is, an association's librarian, communications officer or someone in a similar role. Participation was entirely voluntary. The interview questions were sent in advance to allow respondents to prepare their answers. Interviewers took notes throughout the conversations. Ten interviews were conducted in July and August of 2009 by a research assistant (MP) hired through a grant provided by the U of A Libraries Research Support Fund. Two other interviews were conducted later by librarians on the project team.

The structured interviews sought to identify the types of information resources and services provided to members by the various associations, the types of resources and services desired by members, usage and satisfaction levels with information services, and any barriers or opportunities that existed for professional organisations to make professional resources available to members. In the development of the interview questions, the researchers decided that because access to licensed electronic resources was a key demand expressed in alumni requests, it was an important issue to explore. While access to print resources was discussed in passing, most of the interviews focused on electronic resources. The full list of interview questions is available in Appendix Appendix. The interviews and data gathering are in line with the U of A ethics guidelines and were approved by the research ethics board.

When national associations and colleges either did not respond or declined to participate, information about their resources and services was derived from the association websites. However, as members-only sections of the websites could not be accessed, information presented here may not be complete.

Results

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Of the 23 organisations contacted, 12 individuals agreed to be interviewed. One participant responded to the interview questions via email, as she had to seek answers to the questions from various other individuals within the association. Respondents represented three provincial colleges, two provincial associations and seven national associations. The range of resources and services provided varied considerably. Some associations provide no information support, while others employ librarians and offer a suite of licensed resources.

Provincial association results

The three colleges – Alberta College of Pharmacists, College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta and College of Dieticians of Alberta – are provincial licensing bodies for their respective professions. Membership is therefore mandatory for practising professionals in these disciplines. Information provided on their websites relates primarily to licensing and registration, ethics, standards of practice and continuing competencies. None provide access to clinical information through licensed resources or librarian services.

Membership in the two provincial associations interviewed is not mandatory as they are not involved in licensing of health professionals. Information is provided to members via email communications or through a members-only section of the association website. This information is not clinically focused, but relates to the profession. It includes news regarding funding, insurance, membership information and continuing medical education. The only clinical resources provided by the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) are those for which the association had been involved in the development process. The provision of library resources and services is left to the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). While the Alberta Physiotherapy Association (APA) had not typically licensed resources in the past, at the time of the interview they had started providing access to a full-text database through EBSCO. They planned to track usage statistics of the resource and create an online tutorial on how to use the database. They planned to assess at a later date whether a part-time librarian would be hired to enhance their information services. However, since the time of the interview, the APA has ceased operation and has been subsumed into the College of Physical Therapists of Alberta (CAPT). CAPT is the provincial regulatory body for physical therapists. Neither AMA nor APA had conducted surveys of their membership to investigate what their members need or want in terms of information resources or services.

National association results

Professional associations at the national level are much more likely to provide information resources and services. None are involved with licensing health professionals as this is administered by provincial regulatory bodies. Membership requirements differ. Membership is not compulsory for five of the seven associations. It is mandatory for the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) and the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) except in Ontario and Quebec. Where membership is not required, between 55% and 75% of practitioners in the field still choose to join the association. Several organisations [Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists (CASLPA), CNA] are involved with certification programs and/or the administration of national exams. Many have large numbers of student members, with one (CAOT) providing free membership to this group.

Table 1 displays a comparison of the resources and services provided by the seven national associations interviewed. Five of the seven provide electronic access to databases. Databases offered by the Dieticians of Canada (DietC) and CASLPA were developed in-house. The CMA, CNA and CDA provide access to licensed databases. All three license Medline, either through OVID or EBSCO, though CDA access is for staff only. All three provide access to the Cochrane Library, with CDA indicating specifically that they had acquired their subscription prior to the national pilot that made it freely available to all Canadians for a limited period of time. Stat!Ref and Lexi-Comp are each provided by two associations. CNA provides CINAHL, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health database, and at the time of the interview was trialing Dynamed for members. CMA offers MDConsult and has recently added Dynamed to their list of offerings. A complete list of the resources provided by the national associations may be requested from the authors.

Table 1. Overview of resources provided by Canadian professional associations – interviewed
CMACNACDACSHPCAOTDietCCASLPA
  1. CAOT, Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists; CASLPA, Canadian Association of Speech Language Pathologists and Audiologists; CDA, Canadian Dental Association; CMA, Canadian Medical Association; CNA, Canadian Nurses Association; DietC, Dieticians of Canada; CSHP, Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists.

Licensed databasesYYY
Databases developed in-houseYY
Journals/Magazines (if number is 1, is usually the association's publication)

Y (over 3000

titles)

Y (over 2150

titles)

Y (1 personal, can request delivery of

articles

from over 200 titles)

Y (1)Y (5)Y (1)

Y (1 – hoping

to offer more soon)

Ebooks

Y (over 60 via

Stat!Ref

and

MDConsult)

Y (25 via Stat!

Ref)

Drug referenceY (lexi-Comp)Y (Lexi-Comp)
Members-only websiteYYYYYYY
Usage statisticsY

In process of

implementing

YY

Y (factsheets

only)

SurveysYYYYY
Library/Information support servicesYYYYY
Current awareness servicesYYYYYY

Few associations are considering adding additional licensed information resources to their offerings. Several cite cost as the major barrier. If funds were made available, the CMA would license UpToDate, and the CNA would seek to include EBSCO Nursing Reference Centre, the Joanna Briggs Institute and additional Canadian e-books into its NurseONE Portal. Several organisations cite the importance of additional information access for their own staff, as opposed to access for their members. As resources and policy documents are often created in-house, the need for access to research from the journal literature is extremely important but currently insufficiently supported. All seven national associations provide access to periodicals, although for three (CASLPA, Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, DietC), the only serials offered are journals or magazines published by the association itself. Members of CMA, CNA and CAOT can access journals electronically, while members of the CDA must request delivery of specific articles.

Table 2 displays a comparison of the resources and services derived from the websites of the seven national associations or colleges not interviewed. The majority provide fewer extensive resources and services than the interviewed associations. None provide access to online databases, though members of the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) are allowed five free mediated searches conducted yearly on their behalf. Additional searches cost eight dollars. The Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) website refers to an outcome measures database, which might have been developed in-house. The Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons (CAPS) and the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) do not offer any journals to members, while the CFPC, CPA, Canadian Pharmacists Association (CPhA), Society of Rural Physicians of Canada (SRPC) and Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) all provide members with a subscription to their respective association's journal publication. Members of the CFPC are entitled to 25 free articles per year, selected from the holdings of the University of Western Ontario's (UWO) or from those titles available through UWO's participation in library networks such as OCLC WorldCat. Additional articles cost two dollars apiece. Members also receive book loans for the cost of return delivery. The CAEP, CPA and CPhA all offer discounts to members on publications purchased through the association.

Table 2. Overview of resources provided by Canadian professional associations – not interviewed
CPhACPACAEPSRPCCAPSCFPCRCDC
  1. CAEP, Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians; CAPS, Canadian Association of Paediatric Surgeons; CFPC, College of Family Physicians of Canada; CPA, Canadian Physiotherapy Association; CPhA, Canadian Pharmacists Association; RCDC, Royal College of Dentists of Canada; SRPC, Society of Rural Physicians of Canada; UWO, University of Western Ontario's.

Licensed databases

Indirectly through

librarian services

Databases developed in-house

Y? Reference

to database

of outcome

measures

Journals/MagazinesY (1)Y (1)Y (1)Y (1)

Y (1 personal, 25 free articles

per year from large

number of titles available

through the UWO and its

network)

Print books

N (member

discounts

on CPhA

electronic

and print

products)

N (60% off

publications

available

through

e-store)

N (Member

discount

on

products

and

services)

Y (loans through the

Canadian

Library of Family

Medicine at the

UWO)

Lists of links to free online resourcesYYY
Drug referenceY (CPS)
Members-only websiteYYYYYY
Library/Information support servicesY
Current awareness services

For all associations, access to resources is via a members-only section of the website. Usage rates for these resources are largely unknown. While statistical programs like Google Analytics are popular, they are used mostly to assess website access as opposed to licensed resource use. Tracking usage is regarded as valuable, however, and several associations are planning more assessment in future. As a preliminary indication of usage, members must register for a login and password in order to obtain access to the CNA's NurseONE Portal. Though the resource has been heavily marketed, only 20 000 of the association's 136 000 members have signed up for access. The reason for the low sign-up rate is unknown. Member surveys have not typically been used to evaluate the use of the information resources provided. CAOT surveys lapsed members, finding that these individuals predominantly used the career links and the main website page for information. CASLPA's member survey from 2008 identified evidence-based practice resources as one of four main areas of interest along with advocacy, relationship of the association with members, and concerns about system funding. Of the three largest associations, neither CDA nor CMA had conducted formal member surveys. CNA had recently conducted a survey but was awaiting results at the time of the interview.

Five of the seven associations interviewed indicated that they provide some sort of library or information support services. This included answering questions, performing literature searches and/or providing document delivery. For three of these associations (CAOT, CASLPA, DietC), the information services were provided not by librarians but by other staff – policy analysts, directors who are professionals in the field or other staff members. CMA and CDA both employ librarians. The CNA does not provide information services to members but has a library technician for taking care of association staff needs. Information services are typically marketed via the website, emails, electronic newsletters, at conferences and/or as information provided with membership renewals. Of the associations not interviewed, only the CFPC offers information support services in the form of mediated literature searching and document delivery. One physician member of the SRPC is referred to as their librarian and is responsible for adding links to online reports and reviews to their library of rural medicine links.

Discussion

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Health professionals' access to information resources and services varies greatly, depending on which professional memberships they hold. Membership in CNA and CDA is mandatory except in Ontario and Quebec, so most practitioners of nursing and dentistry across the country have access to the resources offered. This is especially important for dentists, most of whom are in private practice and therefore would not otherwise have access unless they purchased it for themselves. The low uptake of use of CNA's NurseONE Portal is disconcerting. Less than 15% of the association's members have registered for a free login and password. It can likely be assumed that not all those who have registered actually use the Portal. This means that while all nurses across Canada (except some in Ontario and Quebec) can obtain free access to current evidence-based information licensed by their association, the vast majority are not making use of that access. It is possible that they are relying on other information sources such as institutional protocols, continuing education, and in-service training, or perhaps, the experience of their colleagues and supervisors. The nursing culture that relates to evidence-based practice, asking clinical questions, and information seeking and use should also be explored.

Canadian Nurses Association, CDA and CMA have made substantial commitments to licensing and marketing resources to their members. However, the uneven availability of resources depending upon profession and the relatively low usage rates and/or lack of information about usage, indicate that the information needs of Canadian health professionals need further exploration. Also, the lack of support in using these resources should be explored. For example, CNA offers a wide range of resources but it is unclear whether members are familiar and comfortable with using the resources offered. As discussed in the literature review, factors besides access such as lack of time and lack of training may influence information use.

For the other associations, membership is not required and generally only between 55% and 75% of practitioners join. This means that between one quarter and one half of practising health professionals are not benefiting from resource access through professional associations. Therefore, unless they have access via their employing institution, many must either purchase resources for themselves or rely on free materials. For individuals in private practices, there is likely to be little access, while those affiliated with academic institutions or large hospitals will be among the best-supported practitioners. This inequity of access will be further explored during the second phase of this project, which will survey the University of Alberta's health sciences alumni regarding information access and use.

Owing to the fact that half of the associations contacted either declined participation or could not be reached, the information presented does not provide a complete overview of resources provided to health practitioners in Alberta or Canada via professional affiliations. The investigators have attempted to address this gap by collecting information from the non-responding organisations' websites when available. This study did not explore information resources provided by provincial associations outside of Alberta, or by provincial licensing bodies such as Saskatchewan Health Information Resources Partnership (SHIRP) or the Electronic Health Library of British Columbia (e-HLBC), although we know many alumni practicing in these provinces likely gain access via these routes. As a large proportion of U of A alumni remain in Alberta after graduation, the investigators decided that exploring the various licensing arrangements of other Canadian provinces was beyond the scope of this project.

Despite these limitations, the results illustrate the potential information gaps that exist for groups of health professionals, especially in Alberta, but also in Canada as a whole. They also demonstrate some of the challenges associated with providing effective information services through professional associations. In the case of those associations such as CNA who do provide access, it can be seen that access alone may only be one piece of the puzzle.

Conclusions

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

There is considerable variation in the number of resources and the levels of information support provided by professional associations in Alberta and Canada. When they are provided to members, it occurs mostly at a national association level rather than a provincial one. Some possible options for enhancing access include development of a portal to freely available online resources or national licensing of key resources, as with the 2009 pilot initiative by the Canadian Health Libraries Association (CHLA/ABSC) that provided nationwide access to the Cochrane Library for a limited period of time. The Canadian Virtual Health Library (CVHL), an initiative of CHLA/ABSC, is currently working towards further national licensing of health resources. The CVHL announced in January 2011 that a Web Content Strategy Expert Panel had been formed to help identify, evaluate, select and organise free high-quality electronic health content that would be linked to from the CVHL website. The site is freely available online at http://cvhl.ca/ and contains descriptions and links to selected content that is relevant to Canadian health practice.

Knowing what resources are offered to Canadian healthcare practitioners through professional associations will assist librarians at the John W. Scott Health Sciences Library at the University of Alberta in directing graduating students and alumni to these resources and increasing awareness about means of access. It will also permit the compilation of lists of other high quality, freely available electronic materials that will supplement and complement the resources available via other means. The University of Alberta uses LibGuides software for the development of subject specific resource guides. A LibGuide for health sciences alumni has been constructed as a means of providing a central access point to freely available and association-provided resources. Each health specialty has its own tabbed page, where the resources available from professional associations are listed alongside other high-quality free electronic resources. This guide is promoted to alumni when library staff members receive direct questions about accessible resources, is advertised to graduating students either during instruction sessions or via email and is linked to from the alumni library access page on the Office of Alumni Affairs website. In this manner, alumni will be kept more up to date with current advancements in the health fields and will therefore be more fully involved in evidence-based practice. This method of reaching out to alumni is also one way to help keep them connected with their alma mater and to promote the library's continued relevance, which may in turn lead to increased donations for the library.

On a broader scale, it is hoped that increasing awareness of gaps in information access that exist for health practitioners may extend and inform discussions that are happening both regionally and nationally surrounding licensing of electronic resources. Although licensing resources for alumni is not an option for many universities because of prohibitive costs or restrictive licensing policies, there may be opportunities for academic libraries, hospitals or licensing consortia to work together with professional associations, where possible, to ensure that these groups remain aware of free resources, that they license high-quality resources and that they effectively promote resources and services to their members.

Acknowledgements

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

The authors would like to acknowledge Michelle Papineau-Couture for her assistance with conducting the interviews.

Source of funding

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Funding for the research was provided through the University of Alberta Libraries Research Support Fund.

References

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Appendix 1

  1. Top of page
  2. Abstract
  3. Introduction
  4. Literature review
  5. Objectives
  6. Methods
  7. Results
  8. Discussion
  9. Conclusions
  10. Acknowledgements
  11. Conflict of interest
  12. Source of funding
  13. References
  14. Appendix 1

Association telephone interview questions

  1. What professional association do you represent?
  2. Is membership in your association mandatory for professional practice? Are you involved in licensing of professionals?
  3. Please describe the breadth of your membership. (i.e. how many members? Geographic range? Occupations represented? If membership is not compulsory, roughly what percentage of professionals become members?)
  4. What information resources do you provide access to for your members? How many of these are related to accreditation? How many are general health resources?
  5. Where do members go to gain access to these resources? (i.e. main webpage with log in, members-only section, etc.)
  6. Are these resources used frequently? Do you keep usage statistics?
  7. What are the resources to which you think your members would like to have access? Are you considering adding additional licensed resources?
  8. Have you surveyed your members to find out the resources and services to which they would like access? When? What did you find? Are you willing to share the results with us?
  9. Does your association provide information support services to your members? If so, please describe what this involves (i.e. literature searches, document delivery, setting up alerts etc.). Who provides the service? Do you have a librarian on staff? How much does your association invest (in terms of time, staff, money) to providing such services?
  10. How do your information services to members get publicised? (i.e. emails, brochure with membership renewal, etc.)
  11. Do these services get used? Which service is the most popular? Which demographic group within your membership accesses these services most often?
  12. When our portal is available, may we contact you for permission to link to your association website? Would you be interested in providing a link to our portal?

To ask of national-level associations:

  1. How much does the need for the information you provide differ by province?