A Study of Licence Terms for Electronic Resource Management: Survey Results


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Presented at the 2010 Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference.

Mingyu Chen, University of Houston; Jeannie Downey, Emory University

Abstract: Searches, sessions, article requests - we have access to data, but what's the next step? Learn how the University of Arizona Libraries' Spending Reduction Project analyzed usage of different types of resources to assess them against quality standards and make cancellation decisions. Tools, challenges, and organizational approaches will also be discussed.

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  • I’m going to discuss the questionnaire we designed to elicit what is happening in the ERM world. The University of Houston utilizes Serials Solutions as an ERM and I will make reference to my experience with the system from time to time.
  • The survey was sent to selected librarians in the electronic resources field with a request to fill out the questionnaire. The questionnaire was input into Survey Monkey and the data collected from the Survey Monkey service. Extensive research of publications, papers, interviews with colleagues to determine trends and common practices in ERMS was the focus. The emphasis was placed on how to integrate license terms in ERMS. We were not able to find a lot of research and we dove into examining the questions about the latest trends and how the trends are manifesting themselves. Some of the challenges we faced while conducting this research is the small sample size and the seemingly biased method of our sampling. The qualitative nature of the interview or survey seemed to lend itself to a smaller sample size.
  • For purposes of analyses and presentation, we have broken the survey out into 4 sections: Respondent profile Software & Satisfaction levels Needs, Challenges and organizational issues Trends, Institutional efforts & New Systems Within the respondent profile we saw a lot of interesting answers.
  • The first question categorizes “What is your position title?” What is interesting about this question is that it indicates that only 50% of the respondents were clearly called Electronic Resource Librarians. The other 50% was categorized all over the map. It indicates that we still really don’t know what to call ourselves. This tells me that we are still emerging as an entity, or a subset within librarianship. It tells me that our roles are still not fully defined and we are still emerging as a profession. For example, in my case, I’m an electronic resource coordinator, but I don’t have a clearly defined job description.
  • For the question “How many years experience do you have?” the graph shows a high point of 30 years experience. Although Electronic resources as a position has been around for around 10-15 years. On average, the librarians who responded have 9.41 average years of experience.
  • The question “Which ERM does your library use?” did not have all the companies covered. There are 9 active ERM vendors who have their product available. From our sample, Serials Solutions and III ERM were the most common systems grabbing 71.4% of the respondents. This was followed by Verde. 3% of respondents don’t have an ERM. I find it intriguing about how these respondents manage their electronic resources. I am also curious about why these respondents do not have an ERM. Is it a funding issue or is the amount of ER purchased small enough to warrant not having an ERM? As a point to mention, Serials Solutions is a Software as a Service, or SaaS, which refers to a model of software development whereby a provider licenses an application to customers for use as a service on demand. SaaS software vendors may host the application on their own web servers or upload the application to the consumer device, disabling it after use or after the on-demand contract expires. III ERM is more of a proprietary client which can operate alone or can be integrated within their ILS.
  • In this next section I discuss ERMs and satisfaction levels.
  • This question examines whether your ERM is part of a consortium. The question was asked to see if there would be a representative sample of universities who share resources. However, very few respondents have utilize a consortial environment, only 7.1%. As we all know with the current economic climate public and university libraries are cutting funding. The “Geek the Library” Facebook page has postings several times a week about budget cuts from many different libraries. It is a very scary time for us. At the University of Houston, we have just had a budget give back of state money to the university in order to help defray costs across the board. Consortial ERM purchases are a good way to share the expense of an ERM. It can also be a good way for universities to optimize their existing funds, share costs for training and support, and not have to purchase additional hardware infrastructure to house the software of the ERM. OCUL’s vision is to be a recognized leader in provincial, national and international post-secondary communities for the collaborative development and delivery of outstanding and innovative library services that are critical to the success of Ontario’s universities. Established in 1967, OCUL's twenty-one member institutions continue to enhance their libraries through activities such as resource sharing, collective purchasing, and, joint creation of the digital library Scholars Portal.
  • The responses to this question indicate librarians are generally satisfied with the way in which the licenses are displayed in their ERM. However, approximately 1/5 th of people are not satisfied with the way the ERM manages their licenses. We can see that no one is 100% satisfied because no one strongly agreed with the question. Although, 2/3 rd s of respondents agree that the management of their licenses were well managed. In my experience, Serials Solutions is an easy product to interface with. The way in which the licenses are managed is taken directly from the ERMI. Having said this, I’m not promoting Serials Solutions. The basic operation of Serials Solutions is intuitive. I have used Verde and found it in some ways more robust, but extremely cumbersome to use.
  • This question asks whether the respondent is satisfied with the level of training. The responses for this question were evenly split across the board. Based on the high percentage of neutral and disagree responses, this indicates ERM vendors need to address streamlining the training sessions that are offered to clients. In the graph, it seems that we have a lot of contradictions on the level of training that was received. What is interesting is that 7.1% have a strong conviction that the training received is not properly done. However, 3.6% strongly agree that the training is good. In the extreme answers, 1/3 of the people do not agree about the level of training.
  • Conversely, it appears that the survey respondents were more ambivalent about their ERM vendor’s online help than about the training the vendors provided. While approximately 36% are satisfied with the help available, it appears that vendors can do better redesigning what they are offering their clients.
  • This question asks if “The license agreement display in the ERM is clear and comprehensive.” 22% of respondents do not think that the licensing module of their ERM meets the needs of their library. In the graph, we see that the respondents were split evenly between agreeing and being neutral about the licensing display. As a point of clarification, by licensing display we mean the section of the ERM in which you enter the licensing terms. Each display is unique according to the vendor, but all the products contain fields from the ERMI within their product. Collins (2008) analyzed the existing ERMS and most of the products encompassed most of the ERMI fields. If I were to answer this question about Serials Solutions, I would have to answer that I disagree. The license display is very clear, but because of the framework, you really can’t capture the rich content of most of licenses. Especially E-Book licenses. It seems that there are terms and conditions delineated within an E-Book license that are not part of a typical journal or database license, such as the platform. This information is not truly captured within the existing ERM.
  • In the following slides we wanted to identify the needs, challenges, and organizational issues brought out by the survey. I believe that the following information will be crucial in the development of ERMS. The loss of funding at universities will present a major challenge. A potential way to solve this would be making use of consortial purchases and more communication between libraries and vendors in order to facilitate a collegial atmosphere, collaborate, and bring a better product to the end user. We also wanted to look at organizational issues to see how ERMS are managed internally.
  • As you can see, the terms deemed most important for inclusion in a license agreement are: ILL Perpetual access Walk in users In the licenses I negotiate, more often than not I have to customize each agreement to include these items. Especially ILL. ILL is a right that we usually take for granted as being present and product vendors seem to think that we will be willing to contract away our essential copyright rights. Perpetual access is something that we strive to negotiate for, but seldom get. Resource vendors have finally gotten the hint about including Walk in users as part of the license; It took many years. Perhaps, over time, they will begin to gain some understanding in the other issues we find so important. Other choices in the survey were: Fair use rights as defined by copyright law Compliance warranty on all database and search software All usage statistics compiled by the vendor be reported to the library on a regular basis of electronic material for interlibrary loan Any usage information compiled by the vendor be used only for the vendor’s internal operations and not released to outside parties Ability to produce and keep an archival copy
  • This next question examines Which department in your library manages the licensing of electronic resources. As we emerge as a field within librarianship, we are still not only struggling for a uniform way to call ourselves, but also trying to figure out where we live within a library’s org chart. It is interesting to see that most places do have dedicated electronic resource departments, however, equally distributed is the loose end departments, where we are farmed off to Collection Development or even the worst scenario: a single person manages the highest demanded resources in the library. Remembering back to the first question about position title, we had 50% of librarians who had a title that appropriately described what they did, but only 35% of these librarians were part of their own department. Nearly 40% of respondents were part other departments. There are still universities that do not realize the importance of the existence of this department for the institution given the trends that we will see. The responses to this question open a good discussion about where this function should reside in an org chart. There isn’t a unified vision about where we fit.
  • This question is about open text fields in an ERM. This question was asked to see if this is something we can take to vendors as a need. Free text fields within an ERM would give more flexibility to input the information we find important, but is not included in the ERMI data dictionary. Specifically, within the licensing module, there is usually information contained within the license that we are not able to input into the ERM. Sometimes these terms are robust and extremely important. While some ERMs allow for notes to be added, it would be easier to include information about licenses directly with the licenses. Additionally, with Serials Solutions, there is really no specific place to keep user names and passwords for the collection of use data. This information must be kept in an additional spreadsheet. Stopping the creation and keeping of additional spreadsheets is precisely why we invested in an ERM to begin with. Regarding the survey, it is the only question that had nearly 68% of people in agreement.
  • Now we are going to look at the current trends, institutional efforts and new systems.
  • This question was open ended on the survey. We purposefully made it open ended to see what our colleagues think is the most important trend. It is our hope that ERM vendors will look at the results of this survey to see what librarians are looking for in a product. One ERM vendor wrote in 2009 that the most significant trends were: KB that doesn’t require much maintenance, data driven system, modularity, customizable workflow, and standards adoption. In other words, this is the direction of the business model for this particular ERM. Of these above trends only standards adoption and customizable workflow were deemed important by librarians answering the survey. Use stats harvesting continue to be mentioned as a trend, which tells us that it is still a huge hurdle to overcome. License standardization is also mentioned. This is interesting because there are product vendors who do participate in SERU. Whether your state laws will allow for SERU to stand for the contract is another story. Open source ERM tools was also a notable trend to mention. ERMes, produced by University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, is an open source ERM with around 30 users.
  • This question examines what the principle challenges are regarding licensing electronic resources. What is interesting about this question is it shows what survey respondents found challenging. Lack of staff and the complex nature of licenses have proven to be the most challenging for Electronic Resource Librarians. Workflow management has also proven to be a top contender for challenges. Typically, there isn’t a how to manual for workflow. There is almost no research available on ERM Workflow. We must make it up as we go and determine by trial and error if a particular practice is going to work. Inconsistent practices among vendors are more frustrating for Electronic Resource Librarians. The fact that we must spend an extraordinary amount of time going through each license, tailoring and customizing for our individual institution needs causes us to wish for a standard contract. SERU is available for those who are able to use such a document, but for some people, with strict state laws governing contract, it is neigh impossible for them to utilize any form of standardization. Another challenge Electronic Resource Librarians face is the lack of intensive training by ERM vendors. We all remember the training sessions, where the ERM vendor chooses the simplest resource vendor to work with and leaves the most difficult for us to figure out when we are alone. And, finally, with everything that we must do for our day-to-day it is very difficult for us to stay current with the latest trends and issues in our field.
  • This question asks about whether ONIX-PL will help to simplify the tasks related to license management. A quick question: prior to this session, how many of you knew about ONIX-PL? The total number of people who Strongly Agree and Agree with this question is 42.8%. While it is still less than those people who feel neutral about ONIX-PL at 53.6%, it is important to recognize that ONIX-PL is being discussed as a potential NISO standard. ONIX-PL has the “potential” to make our lives as Electronic Resource Librarians easier by using XML to populate fields with language in the license. The draw back to having these fields populated by the vendor is that if you go in and customize an area in a license, you will have to go into the record within the ERM and alter the text to reflect the customization. However, since we usually do not customize every field in the license, ONIX-PL can significantly reduce our work load, if both the ERM vendors and product vendors implement it.
  • The ERM vendors have utilized the ERMI data dictionary to come up with the fields most of the commercially available ERMS. Out of curiosity, of those who have ERMS how many people utilize all the fields in their ERM? Ok… How many of you have integrated your ILS with your ERM? The responses to this question suggest that perhaps librarians and vendors need to begin a dialogue regarding what fields are truly necessary in the ERM.
  • There is no doubt that the libraries need a better system to manage the electronic resources, although the findings in this research do not show a representative group of unsatisfied users, there is a lot of room for improvement in this important tool. An ERM is basically for librarians, but its impact also relates to end users. An ERM system can open up new horizons related to collection management and as a starting point for user’s interaction with e-resources. The products in the market seem to be adequate and becoming more involved with standards organizations like NISO. Consortia are gaining influence in the procurement and management of e-resources. ERM implementation and ERM workflow need to accommodate change. The workflow plan should not be seen as final, but as an interactive document that can be modified as needed. Internal changes in staff and systems, as well as external changes such as new systems and information standards, require a library to assess its current needs and to update the workflow after the initial implementation. And finally, it is important to examine the prevailing NISO standards to see what the vendors may be integrating into potential updates to the ERM software. Standards such as ONIX-PL may be included in future releases of ERMS.
  • Ok, that is all we have. Are there any questions?
  • A Study of Licence Terms for Electronic Resource Management: Survey Results

    1. 1. Survey Findings Librarians point of view <ul><li>Study of license terms for ERM </li></ul><ul><li>ER&L Conference 2010 </li></ul><ul><li>-Jeannie Downey Castro </li></ul><ul><li>University of Houston Libraries </li></ul>
    2. 2. Methodology <ul><li>Qualitative Survey sent to selected respondents with at least one year of experience in the field </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive research of publications, papers and interviews with colleagues to determine trends and common practices in ERMS </li></ul>
    3. 3. RESPONDENTS PROFILE http://www.freephotosbank.com/14html
    4. 4. What is your position title?
    5. 5. How many years experience do you have? 9.41 years Average
    6. 6. Which ERMS does your library use?
    7. 7. SOFTWARE & SATISFACTION LEVELS http://www.freephotosbank.com/72.html
    8. 8. Is your ERM part of a consortium? If yes, which one? OCUL is a consortium of twenty-one university libraries in the province of Ontario. The member libraries cooperate to enhance information services through resource sharing, collective purchasing, document delivery and many other similar activities.
    9. 9. I am satisfied with the way my electronic resource licenses are currently managed in the ERM.
    10. 10. I am satisfied with the level of training I receive from my ERM.
    11. 11. I am satisfied with the availability of online help offered by my ERM.
    12. 12. The license agreement display in the ERM is clear, comprehensive, and is able to meet the needs of my library.
    14. 14. License agreements need to include information from the below areas. The most important are: <ul><li>ILL (both electronic and digital) </li></ul><ul><li>Perpetual access to purchased information </li></ul>1 3. Insure authorized users including simultaneous users are allowed to use an electronic resource at a public terminal
    15. 15. Which department in your library manages the licensing of electronic resources? <ul><li>Other: </li></ul><ul><li>Combined Acquisitions & Serials department </li></ul><ul><li>Collection Development </li></ul><ul><li>Library Collection Services </li></ul><ul><li>E-resources and serials </li></ul><ul><li>A person manages this, not a department </li></ul>
    16. 16. Open text fields are important in an ERM because I can highlight the fields I deem significant within the ERM.
    17. 17. TRENDS, INSTITUTIONAL EFFORTS & NEW SYSTEMS http://www.freephotosbank.com/152.html
    18. 18. What do you think is the single most important emerging trend regarding ERMs? <ul><li>NISO Licensing standards </li></ul><ul><li>Different initiatives to standardize licence agreements </li></ul><ul><li>Open source ERM tools </li></ul><ul><li>Integration with discovery services </li></ul><ul><li>Automatically loading statistics with SUSHI </li></ul><ul><li>Local configuration </li></ul><ul><li>ERM interoperation with databases and websites </li></ul><ul><li>Importing and exporting usage statistics </li></ul><ul><li>Electronic licensing based on XML schemas </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow management </li></ul><ul><li>Pricing model s </li></ul><ul><li>Customization </li></ul>
    19. 19. What is the principal challenge of managing licensing for electronic resources in your institution? <ul><li>Vendor Inconsistencies </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing Info </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Standard contracts </li></ul><ul><li>Workflow management </li></ul><ul><li>Tracking Terms </li></ul><ul><li>Customizing to local needs </li></ul><ul><li>Changes </li></ul><ul><li>Terms of licensing </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing Reviews </li></ul><ul><li>Licensing Info </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of Staff/Time </li></ul><ul><li>Lack of training </li></ul><ul><li>Cost </li></ul><ul><li>Decision making </li></ul><ul><li>Multiples Sites </li></ul><ul><li>Currency </li></ul>
    20. 20. ONIX-PL will help simplify the tasks related to license management and make workflows more efficient in today’s library environment
    21. 21. Many commercial ERMS have taken all of the licensing components from the DLF ERMI from 2004. The ERMI is still able to facilitate the management of licensing.
    22. 22. Conclusion <ul><li>Further research needed to expand what is not addressed in license modules </li></ul><ul><li>Room for improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Accommodate change for workflow </li></ul><ul><li>Standards integration </li></ul><ul><li>Internal changes in staff and systems </li></ul>
    23. 23. QUESTIONS & SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH? <ul><li>Please send to: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>OR </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
    24. 24. References <ul><li>Aipperspach, J. (2009). ERMS, workflow, and standards: A product development view. Information Standards Quarterly, 21 (4), 21. </li></ul><ul><li>DLF electronic resources management initiative, phase I: final report. Retrieved from http://www.diglib.org/pubs/dlf102/ </li></ul><ul><li>DLF electronic resources management initiative, phase II: Final report. Retrieved from http://www.diglib.org/standards/ERMI2_Final_Report_20081230.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Fons, T. A., & Jewell, T.D. (2007). Envisioning the future of ERM systems. The Serials Librarian, 52 (1/2), 151-166. </li></ul>
    25. 25. <ul><li>ERM data standards review. Retrieved from http://www.niso.org/workrooms/ermreview </li></ul><ul><li>Hawthorne, D. (2003). Administrative metadata to support the acquisition of continuing e-resources. Serials Review, 29 (4): 276-281. doi: 10.1016/j.serrev.2003.09.006 </li></ul><ul><li>Koppel, T. EDItEUR's ONIX for licensing terms, ONIX tools and NISO's License Expression Working group. Retrieved from http://niso.kavi.com/news/events/niso/past/LicenseIssues-07-seminar/lic07koppel.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>Koppel, T. (2006, April) : An introduction to the rapidly changing world of ERM standards. Retrieved from http://www.exlibrisgroup.com/files/Publications/RapidlychangingworldofERMstandards.pdf </li></ul>
    26. 26. <ul><li>ONIX ERMI encoding format, (2007, Nov. 19).Retrieved from http://www.niso.org/workrooms/lewg/071119ONIX_ERMIencodingformat.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>ONIX ERMI mapping. (2007, November 20). Retrieved from http://www.niso.org/workrooms/lewg/071119ONIX_ERMImapping.pdf </li></ul><ul><li>ONIX for publications licenses (ONIX-PL). Retrieved from http://www.niso.org/news/events/2008/webinars/onixpl/ </li></ul><ul><li>ONIX for serials. Retrieved from http://www.editeur.org/onixserials.html </li></ul><ul><li>ONIX-PL. Retrieved from http://www.editeur.org/onix_licensing.html </li></ul>
    27. 27. <ul><li>Ruth, L.B. (2008) License mapping for ERM systems: existing practices and initiatives for support. Serials Revie w, 34(2), 137-143. </li></ul><ul><li>Sadeh, T., & Ellingsen, M. (2005). Electronic resource management systems: the need and the realization. New Library World, 106 (5/6), 208-218. doi: 10.1108/03074800510595823   </li></ul><ul><li>Skaggs, B.L., Poe, J.W., & Stevens, K.W. (2006). One-stop shopping: a perspective on the evolution of electronic resources management. OCLC Systems & Services, 22 (3). doi: 10.1108/10650750610686243) </li></ul><ul><li>Soete, G.J., & Davis, T. (1999). Managing the licensing of electronic products. SPEC Kit 248 . Washington, D.C.: Association of Research Libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>What do you get when you cross a license and XML? Answer: ONIX-PL. Retrieved from http://www.niso.org/apps/group_public/download.php/2254/TAC_NASIG-ONIX-PL-UpdateFINAL.pdf </li></ul>