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How And Why an ERM: Speaker's Outline


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Speaking points for the Getting a Handle on E-Resource Management: An ERM Panel at the 2009 Library Technology Conference at Macalester College, St. Paul, MN.

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How And Why an ERM: Speaker's Outline

  1. 1. Why & How We Created an ERM Galadriel Chilton Speaking Points Slide Introduction Intro o Hello, I’m delighted to be here today and share information about the homegrown ERM system that I co-designed with my colleague, William Agenda Doering, Systems, Catalog & Digital Initiatives Librarian, and that Bill constructed in Microsoft Access. Agenda o o Background & Context o What the ERM Does & Doesn’t Do o Suite of E-Resource Management Tools o Thoughts & Questions Background Context & Background First I’d like to provide a little history about the e-resource management environment at UW-L and what lead us to create an ERM instead of buying/subscribing to a commercial system… Context o We have 215 E-Resources – primarily subscription databases, but a few CD-ROMS, and a few free resources such as EBSCOhost’s GreenFile and LISTA. o Subscription resources come to us via local purchase directly from the vendor, through our consortia, or buying groups. We also have access to resources purchased by UW Madison or UW System. Background o When I began UW-L in 2003, I had a file cabinet, a couple of static intranet pages, and 3-ring binders as my e-resource management toolbox.  File cabinet folders included license agreements, print- outs of e-mail correspondence, contact info, print outs of usage reports, admin URLs usernames/passwords.  Binders included invoices  Intranet pages listed an out-dated inventory with user limits, subscription origin (local, consortium, etc.) o Very quickly, I had an easel in my office where I planned a database of databases; I envisioned an MS Access relational databases that would significantly help me manage e- resources. o Then, in January 2004, I attended Taming the Electronic Tiger: Effective Management of E-Resources at ALA Midwinter. Presenters spoke of how automation vendors were creating robust ERM systems that would surpass the need for homegrown systems. I came away with the message that if you don’t have an ERM now, don’t spend time creating one because robust commercial ERMs were coming. o After attending quot;Taming the Tiger,quot; I continued adding to my list of desired attributes for an ERM but put plans of creating an Access database on hold. Instead, I began contacting vendors who had or were developing ERMs. I attended webinars, requested pricing information, and also began monitoring listservs for posts by librarians who had begun to Libraries & Technology Conference Page 1 of 3 March 19, 2009
  2. 2. Speaking Points Slide use commercial ERMs. o My desire for an ERM grew, but commercial ERMs are expensive. Furthermore, listserv posts and survey results began to reveal that commercial ERMs were not necessarily living up to librarians' expectations. o A combination of factors led me to reignite my dream of a Microsoft Access database of databases: • Mounting evidence that commercial ERMs were not living up to expectations--For example, in March 2008. I attended ER&L, and in one session with about 75 attendees, the audience was asked quot;How many of you have a commercial ERM?quot; and quot;How many of you are happy with your ERM?quot; While about half of those in the room worked at libraries with commercial ERM systems, no one was happy with his or her system. • Budget deficits were forcing cuts to acquisitions; our budget has been cut repeatedly over the past few years--thus the possibility of purchasing a commercial electronic resource management (ERM) system was a pipe dream at the very best. • My extended absence from the office in Fall 2008 and the necessity for colleagues to be able to cover my responsibilities--They would need to be able to quickly and easily access a variety of data about our libraries' e-resources. I was delighted when Bill, who uses Access for other library o Picture of ERM Blueprint functions, data collection, and reporting, agreed to help create an ERM. To communicate what I needed in ERM, I created a chart o showing the tables and data fields I imagined would be needed; the green and purple boxes represented Microsoft Access tables. This diagram became a blueprint and a discussion point for our o conversations about what I needed and what he could do with Microsoft Access. While aspects of the overall ERM were tweaked as it was developed, most of these tweaks were due to Bill's insight and recommended enhancements by other e- resource librarians! The following table lists various data related to e-resource o Functionality Table management and how such data was organized before and after our locally developed Microsoft Access ERM. Our ERM was quickly available and functional. Bill had students o Screen Shots of ERM entering test data in less than 3 weeks, and while small enhancements continue, the system went from concept to fully-functional in about a month. It did not cost five (or more) figures to purchase. o There is no annual access fee or reliance on an outside vendor o for functionality updates. Our ERM provides reports and functionality that facilitates o better management of e-resources, such as keeping track of Libraries & Technology Conference Page 2 of 3 March 19, 2009
  3. 3. Speaking Points Slide training sessions and quickly generating a list of databases by renewal, access type, user limits, etc. o Ideal for small to medium e-resource collection or as a tool to transition to a commercial system. o The most challenging part for me is to change my e-resource management work-flow habits to take full advantage of the new ERM – it’s amazing how old processes, despite their inefficiencies, die hard. Freely Available:; ERM Download Site Currently used by 12 Libraries including UW-L The great thing is that if you try it don’t like it, you’ve probably lost a bit of time but not thousands of dollars. Screen shots of Blog, The ERM is part of a Suite of tools for E-Resource Management Excel spread sheet, LibData, Price Sharing While this may not be ideal for some, it’s working. (One bonus to Project having multiple tools is that if one goes down, I still have the others to work with in the interim; they serve as back-ups for one another) o PSP (Student hired for PHP skills) o LibData o Blog o Excel Of these, the only tool that has an annual fee is LibData (very modest). The other tools use software already available on our campus (Microsoft Office) or are freely available (e.g. Word Press) Thank You! Libraries & Technology Conference Page 3 of 3 March 19, 2009