The ERMes Story - Speaker's Notes


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Speaker's notes for the the ERM Panel Session at the 2009 Minnesota Innovative Users Group (MNIUG) Conference on October 20, 2009 at Northwestern College, St. Paul, MN.

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The ERMes Story - Speaker's Notes

  1. 1. The ERMes Story Galadriel Chilton Speaking Points Slide o Introduction Intro Hello, I’m delighted to be here today and share information about ERMes, the homegrown ERM system that I co-designed with my colleague, William Doering, Systems, Catalog & Digital Initiatives Librarian, and that Bill constructed in Microsoft Access. o This is ERMes’ story… Once upon a time, there was an e-resource librarian, a systems, cataloging, Once Upon a Time… and digital collections librarian, and a piece of paper called “Database of Databases.” 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… The Setting o We have 282 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. Prologue Prologue o When I began managing UW-L’s e-resources 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 "Taming the Tiger," 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 use commercial ERMs. MNIUG Conference Page 1 of 4 October 20, 2009
  2. 2. Speaking Points Slide 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 "How many of you have a commercial ERM?" and "How many of you are happy with your ERM?" 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. Chapter 1 Picture of ERM Blueprint In the beginning there was a colorful diagram o I was delighted when Bill, who uses Access for other library functions, data collection, and reporting, agreed to help create an ERM. o To communicate what I needed in ERM, I created a chart showing the tables and data fields I imagined would be needed; the green and purple boxes represented Microsoft Access tables. o This diagram became a blueprint and a discussion point for our 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! Chapter 2 Screen Shots of old ERM Then there was a simple ERM! o Our ERM was quickly available and functional. Bill had students 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. MNIUG Conference Page 2 of 4 October 20, 2009
  3. 3. Speaking Points Slide Chapter 3 Screen Shots ERMes v. Then the ERM grew; hello ERMes! 2009.05 o In spring 2009, Norma J. Dowell from Iowa State University Tables and relationships contacted Bill, and shared her significant enhancements for the ERM. o Highlights of this current version include: • New and vastly improved interface • New reports and much improved integration of the data from different tables. Chapter 4 The Good, The Bad o Good • ERMes did not cost five (or more) figures to purchase. • There is no annual access fee or reliance on an outside vendor for functionality updates. • ERMes provides reports and functionality that facilitates better management of e-resources, such as keeping track of training sessions and quickly generating a list of databases by renewal, access type, user limits, etc. • Ideal for small to medium e-resource collection or as a tool to transition to a commercial system. • Open Source which means that anyone can download and adjust/customize the database to suite their institution; their e-resource workflow • o Bad • No Knowledge Base • V. 2009.5 requires MS Access 2007; older version that works with older MS Access is still available. • As with any ERM, there is the time-consuming, tedious task of data entry and workflow alteration – it is very true that old processes, despite their inefficiencies, sometimes die a slow, agonizing death. • Right now I’m using ERMes to manage aggregate databases, e-reference books, and journal packages – NOT – individual journal titles. This is in large part because of workflow distribution at Murphy Library. • Time to implement all of the ideas we have to enhance ERMes and support ERMes users. Getting ERMes ERM Download Site Freely Available:; In Spring 2009, 12 libraries were using the ERM. As of October 2009, 27 libraries including the NSF library and the Irish Research eLibrary are using ERMes. 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. MNIUG Conference Page 3 of 4 October 20, 2009
  4. 4. Speaking Points Slide Now, ERMes is part of… Screen shots of Blog, … a suite of tools that I use 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 and that is a very modest hosting fee. The other tools use software already available on our campus (Microsoft Office) or are freely available (e.g. Word Press) The Next Chapter(s) Hopes & Dreams o Bill and I are in the process or exploring grants that would support future development and support of ERMes o We have a list of enhancement ideas for a new release that we plan to compile into a survey so that users can rank/add enhancements: Read-only web interface, on the fly A-Z list generation w/ URLs, etc. o Galadriel has a list of ideas/edits for the ERMes documentation. o Long term goal is compatibility with Open Offices Base database application so that ERMes would be open source at the application level and not rely on MS Access. Thank You! MNIUG Conference Page 4 of 4 October 20, 2009