ZB MED has clearly stated its mission: "As the central information centre for life sciences, ZB MED focuses its research activities on developing tailor-made products for each and every stage of its customers' research work while simultaneously striving to ensure free and open access to information."
ZB MED cooperates extensively with the target groups and partners that make up Germany's information infrastructure and systematically applies its strengths to fuel progress in its key areas of activity. The most important resource on its path to becoming a 'learning organisation' are the people who work at the ZB MED. It is their motivation and expertise that provides the drive and momentum required to satisfy our customers' needs and support their work processes.
ZB MED's services are aimed at people who carry out research or who require scientific information for their studies, research projects or profession. That's what makes ZB MED the most important provider of specialist information and information-based research support in the field of life sciences – both online and in the real world.
Between 2012 and 2014 ZB MED carried out a comprehensive strategy development and restructuring process. Part of this process involved a major market study which was undertaken with external assistance. This study stemmed from an evaluation by the Leibniz Association in 2011, which resulted in funding being made available by the central government and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. The goal of the study was to identify the library's key target groups and to decide on the best choice of markets in which ZB MED should actively provide services. The library used the results to draw up a new strategy document and to adapt its organizational structure to meet present-day challenges.
Based on the initial identification of potential target groups, numerous interviews were conducted to obtain a better understanding of potential users' working environments. The study team drew on these initial findings to develop an online questionnaire which was used to survey specific target groups to discover how they work and what support they need. A total of 2,387 questionnaires were analysed. A gap analysis was then performed to discover the extent to which ZB MED's offerings match the needs of current and potential users. Since then, the library has been conducting focus group interviews to compare the product strategies derived from the study to ZB MED customers' currents needs and requirements.