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Changes to NHSG library services, March 2008


What is happening?

In March, NHS Grampian (NHSG) is launching a new on-line catalogue, called Shelcat (Scottish Health Libraries Catalogue). Shelcat is a national programme: NHSG is one of 41 Scottish NHS libraries taking part in the first phase of its introduction. Shelcat will improve the delivery of library services across NHSG but it will mean some administrative changes for users of NHSG libraries, which are detailed below. 

The introduction of Shelcat will bring several benefits to NHSG library users:

  • For the first time users will be able to search the stock of all NHSG libraries using a single catalogue.
  • Users will be able to manage their library account on-line, e.g., renewing items on loan or making requests.
  • The stock of all 41 NHS libraries taking part in the first phase of Shelcat will be searchable on-line.  Ultimately, all NHS Scotland libraries will be part of Shelcat.
  • All NHSG library sites will be able to process users' records so the service will be streamlined and more efficient.
  • NHSG Library & Knowledge Services will benefit from improved management reporting, budget control, and stock control.
  • Money and staff time will be released for local services as Shelcat is centrally funded and supported.

NOTE: There will be a transition period between the current arrangements and the full implementation of Shelcat when some services (e.g., managing your library account online) might not be fully available.

How will this affect me?

Current library members
Shelcat is an independent NHS service therefore our current arrangement whereby we share catalogue information and membership details with Aberdeen University (AU) libraries will come to an end.  However, all NHS staff will still be entitled to free, separate membership of AU libraries.
Your current membership of AU libraries will continue, and your library card (with a barcode starting 3100) will remain active.  You will need to complete a new membership form if you wish to continue to use NHSG library services, including borrowing items and using the Inter-Library Loan service.  You do not need to be a member of NHSG libraries to search the catalogue online, to use the libraries to consult items, or to get help (e.g., literature searches).  New membership forms will be sent automatically to all current members.

***Click  Link opens in new windowhere to download a new library membership form.***

IMPORTANT NOTE: For the list of profession codes please see this form

New library members

New members, joining after the introduction of Shelcat, will need to apply separately for membership of NHSG and AU libraries.  Application packs for NHSG libraries are available at all NHSG libraries.  Information on how to apply for membership of AU libraries is available at NHSG libraries: staff require their NHS ID card and a copy of their contract or a letter indicating the length of their contract.
Catalogue searches
You will now be able to search the stock of all NHSG libraries using the online catalogue, not just Cornhill as at present.  The NHSG catalogue is available online at:


Guide to using Shelcat interface Link opens in new windowhere

The stock of AU libraries will no longer appear on the Cornhill library catalogue: you will need to search the AU catalogue separately, online.

Link opens in new windowAberdeen University library catalogue

Borrowing rights
The number of items that can be borrowed and their loan periods are being adjusted following an assessment of current patterns.  From 31 March 2008:
  • NHSG staff will normally be able to borrow 10 items from NHSG libraries for 90 days, though there will be some local variations.
  • NHSG staff will be able to borrow 10 items for 30 days from AU libraries.
As the AU and NHSG library systems will be separated after the introduction of Shelcat all items borrowed from Aberdeen University by NHSG users will be subject to the university's scale of fines for late returns, loss, etc.

You will not be able to order items from AU libraries to be delivered directly to Cornhill library as at present because the two systems will be independent. However, you will be able to:
  1. Order items on the AU catalogue to be delivered to the Medical Library (if you are a member of AU libraries): you can ask the library staff to send the item on to Cornhill library when you have received notification that the item is ready for collection at the Medical Library.  There is a van service between the two libraries and delivery is normally the next working day.

  2. Order an item from any NHSG library to be sent to another NHSG library for you to collect in person (if you are a member of NHSG libraries).
Items from AU libraries can no longer be removed from your record at an NHSG library.  Items can be accepted at Cornhill and Dr Grays libraries to be delivered to the university libraries, however the item will remain on loan to you during this time.  If the item reaches the university library after the loan period expires it will start to accrue fines.

Further Information

If you have any questions on the introduction of Shelcat please contact:


George Dougary
Knowledge Services Manager
Cornhill Library
Extension: 57007
Email: cornhill.library@nhs.net
Or your local NHS library:
Dr Grays
Ext 57485
Ext 67624
Ext 767873