Putting together a weekly targeted bulletin

My library is establishing links with the public health teams in the area and one of the services we provide is to send them a bulletin once a week with information that is relevant to them. It goes out on a Friday. My manager used to put it together, but when she went on maternity leave she handed the task over to me. I did a few while she was still here so I had some guidance, and she also wrote a procedure of how it all works (applied knowledge management, right there). So my Friday mornings are now taken up by putting the bulletin together.

The content comes from subscriptions to various bulletins and email alerts from organisations like Public Health England and the King’s Fund, journals etc. which all include public health content, but a lot of irrelevant things as well. I also have a list of websites in my bookmarks that I scan for the bulletin. My main job with this is separating the wheat from the chaff and making sure I only include items that will be relevant to the audience. I found this a bit tricky when I first started doing the bulletin, but looking through some of the previous ones that my manager had done helped. So, unexpectedly enough, did doing info lit training sessions with public health teams, as those gave me a sense of what they were working on and therefore likely to be interested in. Putting the bulletin together also has a nice side effect in that it helps me keep up with news in the field myself.

To keep the bulletin nice and organised, we have a template with headings covering different aspects of health which are all hyperlinked so people can get to the bit they want to read quickly and ignore things that don’t apply to them. The bulletin also includes journal table of contents and events listings.

It gets sent out by normal email to the team admins, who forward it to the teams. Currently we have no means of tracking what people click on. There has been verbal feedback though from the teams that they are finding it very useful. I sometimes still find that it runs too long. I suppose there is always a balance act with bulletins, as they need to be short enough that they get read at all but also need to include all relevant information that was published that week. When I presented at HLG, my co-presenter Jenny McCullough talked about a system that they use for bulletins at the Royal College of Surgeons and which enables them to track what people are reading. Not something I can do right now, but definitely something I’m keeping in the back of my mind for bulletins.

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