ThirdIron on tour

Published on 09 November 2022, by Alan Fricker

Electronic resources, Discovery, LibKey Nomad, Resource Discovery

Tips and progress with enabling smooth access to journal articles

During the first week of October we were glad to be able to welcome members of the ThirdIron team to the UK to deliver a series of sessions on all things LibKey, Browzine and Nomad.  It was great to see so many people in person and at the online session with people sharing their progress and finding out more about options. This post follows up with some of the things that were discussed and some frequently asked questions.

As a reminder this is the suite of resources that HEE procure from Third Iron for the NHS in England (all populated with holdings data within the EBSCO link resolver, HLM):

LibKey Discovery: one-click access to PDF articles from the Knowledge and Library Hub

BrowZine Web: Browse Journals on the Hub or directly with a clear display format offering the same one-click links to both national and locally purchased content. You can also embed a search box in your website like Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust.

LibKey Link: one-click access to PDFs or an ILL request form when full text is not available from a wide range of databases.  This has been incorporated into all core content databases, as well as Google Scholar (which automatically picks up your Library if you have Nomad installed).  Setting it up as part of the Outside tool for PubMed was a theme during the sessions with not everyone having completed this task.  PubMed is popular with many users so do consider registering.  There is a tailored guide available and the Service Desk are here to help. simple DOI and PubMed ID look up against your library’s subscribed and open access resources.  We are working with ThirdIron to create a requesting tool for interlibrary article sharing based on this tool.

LibKey Nomad: browser extension that provides one-click link to your full-text content when users are searching the open web, e.g., Google, Wikipedia or publishers websites.  An ILL form is offered when full-text is not available.  Now available for Chrome, Edge and Safari browsers (mobile browsers are not compatible).


LibKey Nomad was a particular focus for discussion.  Many libraries reported making progress with their IT Departments on installing Nomad across machines in the Trust.  Search “Nomad” on the Service Desk to find the up to date support documentation on this process.  We will continue to update the briefing to IT departments.

We previously featured a number of case studies of library teams getting Nomad rolled out.  Last month Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust saw Nomad enable a leap of 400% in their LibKey downloads following Trust wide installation. ThirdIron shared a nicely presented case study of Chesterfield Royal Hospital deploying Nomad and seeing similar rises.

I am sure I was not alone in being tickled to watch Nomad populating links on the fly into Wikipedia and PubMed pages.

The LibKey icon showing available fulltext content on a Wikipedia page

Browser plugins like Nomad are likely to be a new concept for many users so they do need promotion.  ThirdIron have created promotional resources including a two page guide, brief video and social media content.  Word of mouth is powerful and we suggest targeting demos at potential heavy users who can spread the word.  With many users having Apple products at home the recent launch of a Safari plugin is another opportunity to target a time where people might do more of their research (and have more control over their IT experience).

There were questions about the potential for privacy issues.  Nomad records which Library you belong to (click on the Plugin icon to swiftly change between libraries if you have more than one) but does not store any login details.  By knowing which library you are aligned with it knows which content to show you.  Open Access articles are offered first and where subscription content is available the user is then taken via OpenAthens.  A Data Protection Impact Assessment is not required – contact us for details of assurance.

With Nomad preferring PDF articles there were questions about when you wanted access to the HTML version instead.  In this instance you can take the DoI and search on the Knowledge & Library Hub or where you will be given the choice if available.

Always happy to hear about successes and consider how to address blockages around getting this great tool into the virtual hands of our users.


Alan Fricker

[email protected]