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Bull Med Libr Assoc. 1997 Jul;85(3):245-51.

User support for a library-managed online database search service: the BMA Library free MEDLINE service.

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BMA Library, London, United Kingdom.


This paper discusses user support in the context of a library-managed online database search service. Experience is drawn from the British Medical Association (BMA) Library's Free MEDLINE Service. More than 9,600 BMA members, who are largely unfamiliar with computer communications and database searching, have registered as users of the service. User support has played a significant role in the development of the service and has comprised four main aspects: an information pack, a help desk, online help, and MEDLINE courses. The paper includes an analysis of help desk usage statistics collected from January 1996 through June 1996, and highlights other relevant research. Plans for further service enhancements and their implications in terms of future user support are discussed.

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