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The Front Face of the ERM


Published on

Brown, Christopher C. “The Front Face of the ERM: How we Left Our Home-Grown
Database Management System and Enbraced a More Innovative One.” Presentation
given at the Innovative Users Group 2013, 25 April 2013, San Francisco, CA.

Published in: Education
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The Front Face of the ERM

  1. 1. The Front Face of the ERM: How we Left OurHome-Grown Database Management System andEnbraced a More Innovative OneChristopher C. BrownUniversity of Denver, University Libraries
  2. 2. Abstract• For two years the University of Denver used the Innovative ERM solely tomanage electronic resources. In 2011, however, we were told that thesoftware that was hosting our home-grown A-Z database list would nolonger be supported. Needing another solution we explored using the IIIERM as the front face for our alphabetic and subject access. This talk willdiscuss how we arrived at our subject taxonomy, arrived at consensusamong reference librarians, and implemented the system into a robustentrez to our database offerings. Its all about managing data in a singleplace, rather than double maintenance.• With over 1,000 online databases, maintaining an online ERM listing aswell as an “offline” ColdFusion database usually resulted in disparitybetween the two systems, confusing librarians and users. Our subjectlisting had evolved into an inconsistent mess. This presentation focuseson the front end development and subsequent back end adjustmentsthat enable us to use the ERM as our primary database locator. URL is:
  3. 3. Home-Grown System: Front End
  4. 4. Home-Grown System: Front End
  5. 5. Home-Grown System: BackendAdd/edit databasesAdd/edit taxonomy
  6. 6. Home-Grown System: Backend
  7. 7. Features we liked in old system• Reference librarians maintained e-resourcesdatabase themselves• Reference librarians maintained subjectsthemselves• System could tell if use was on or off campus,and would throw the appropriate URL (proxied ifoff campus)• Reference librarians could add “star” rankingsthemselves• Reference librarians could write their ownannotations
  8. 8. Problems with the old system• We were maintaining a third database of e-resources (Serials Solutions; ERM; ColdFusion)• There was never a perfect match between theERM and the ColdFusion system• Seven reference librarians each had differentideas about the subject taxomony• URLs were sometimes wrong, or didn’t matchthe ERM• Although we could place alerts on the databaselevel, these alerts didn’t “bubble down” toindividual titles
  9. 9. Management Layers with Home-Grown System
  10. 10. Subjects Gone Viral• We had 507 databases with 121 subjects• The subjects we created by 7 referencelibrarians = 7 sets of standards• Some created course-related subjects:Marketing 2800; Marketing 4550• Some had different ideas of top-levelsubjects: Business Academic/ScholarlyArticles; Business Ethics; Business News;Business Planning; Business Research
  11. 11. It’s All About Taxonomy
  12. 12. Summer Subject Summit• In the summer of 2011 the referencelibrarians met to agree on a new taxonomy.• Today there are 51 top-level subjects (downfrom 121 previously)• The subjects are coordinated with ourLibguides’ taxonomy, so that we can easilylink from databases to Libuide help.
  13. 13. Old Subjects
  14. 14. New Subjects
  15. 15. Already Had the Solution: III ERM• The solution to our problem was close athand. We looked to the III ERM to managethe front end. We had been doing back endmanagement for several years, but had neverused it for the front end.• One reason we had not used it was that it didnot allow for our “star” ratings of databases.• We looked to our friends at University ofColorado Boulder to do what they had done.
  16. 16. CU Boulder
  17. 17. CU Boulder
  18. 18. Application of Taxonomy in Resource Records
  19. 19. Resource AdvisoriesOur homegrown system didn’t have resource advisories. The ERMmodule does, thus informing users not just of resources that are down,but of all the dependent journal titles that are also affected.
  20. 20. Resource Advisories Bubble DownAdvisory in resourcerecordBubbles down to eachindividual title
  21. 21. Databases Tab now Features the ERM
  22. 22. ERM taxonomy now syncs with Libguidestaxonomy
  23. 23. Coordinates with Libguides
  24. 24. Our Current A-Z ListBut this is not ideal: Too many clicks; users and librarians get frustrated.
  25. 25. Resource title uses the “y” index
  26. 26. This results in a visit to the resource record: anextra click
  27. 27. Subject List Works Better than A-Z Title Browse
  28. 28. Subject search uses the “h” index•
  29. 29. The “h” index results display direct links toresource as well as links to the resource record
  30. 30. The “h” index• This is exactly what we want: users havefewer clicks, but staff can view licenserestrictions.
  31. 31. Workaround #1 – Most Useful; Also UsefulThis workaround is necessary because the ERM has no ranking system.This is how we separate the core databases from the fringe databases
  32. 32. Workaround #2 (future development) Have A-Ztitles function as subjects
  33. 33. If we treat the A-Z title groupings as subjects,then we get the desired functionality
  34. 34. Workaround #3: adjust tokens so thatdescriptions show on browse screen
  35. 35. Tokens on the subject browse screen
  36. 36. Summary• The Millennium/Sierra ERM module is a mostefficient way to manage the front end of e-resources• Since there is no way to rank resources bysubject, only an alpha presentation, werecommend some subject subcategorization• The A-Z title list should not use the “y” index,since it necessitates too many clicks. Instead werecommend treating titles as subjects inresource records.
  37. 37. URLs• University of Denver University Libraries Website: [see Databases tab]• Databases by Subject:
  38. 38. Thank You!