In an essay in the 2003 book: Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman, he writes: “ Consequently, we learned how to use tools most of us don’t understand. This has always been the case with technology, but not quite to this extent. I mean, I drive a car that I can’t fix and that I could certainly never build, but I still understand how it works in a way that goes (slightly) beyond the theoretical. I could explain how a car works to a ten-year-old. Conversely, I don’t understand anything about the construction of the Internet, beyond those conventional Newsweek factoids that everyone knows (and which still seem borderline impossible.) I have no practical knowledge of the “information superhighway.” And I’m not interested in how it works; I just want to feel like I vaguely grasp its potential and vaguely understand how to use that potential to my advantage.” In the June 24/July 1 issue, Entertainment Weekly deems Chuck Klosterman, “…one of America’s top cultural critics.” The magazine also lists him as a member of the 122 people and things we love this summer. Mr. Klosterman is thirty-three years old and a self-admitted Gen-Xer. If we believe Entertainment Weekly, we can conclude that Mr. Klosterman is a representative voice of his generation. The one question that I wish Mr. Klosterman had considered asking in his essay was the potential that a ten-year-old could explain to him how the Internet works, as it has been pointed out in various other venues that most ten-year-olds have a much better grasp of technology than many adults do. Why is this important to libraries and librarians? Mainly, because many of us are in the same boat as Mr. Klosterman, we understand or are at the point of grasping the potential of all of this electronic stuff but are often serving a patron base that is much more savvy and aware of how these things work than we are. In relation to the development of electronic resource management tools, and the processing of electronic resources, this attitude and admittance about the potential of the electronic environment we live in has everything to do with library operations, workflow construction, and the importance of our implementation of electronic resource management tools. How so, you ask? We have to ask ourselves two essential questions when it comes to electronic resource management. The first question is what are the problems of electronic resource management that we currently face are we trying to solve? Secondly, what is it that we’re attempting to achieve with the implementation of electronic management tools which will make this accessibility of resources more readily available to end-user?
However, before we get to answering these questions, we need to establish a few definitions or at the very least, I ask for you to set aside any preconceived notions you may have in regards to electronic resources and electronic resource management and accept my definitions of these things. So here we go, I define an electronic resource as an item to which a library pays for access or has established access to via the Web OPAC and/or via the web pages designed and controlled by a given library. An electronic resource can be an electronic document, an electronic thesis/dissertation, an electronic book, an electronic journal, an electronic governmental publication, an electronically accessible image, etc. Basically, it is an e-thing deemed valuable by a given library that access should be provided to it. The secondary definition of an electronic resource is that it is available 24/7 or whenever an end-user wants to access it via the library’s web presence.
Ellen Finnie Duranceau from MIT helps to define electronic resource management as the support of an electronic resource from selection through purchase, access, license management, end-user support, evaluation, and renewal and cancellation in her September 2004 article “Electronic Resource Management systems From ILS Vendors,” that appeared in Against the Grain .
Now that we’ve defined these two terms, we can move onto what are electronic resource management tools? In the broadest context, electronic resource management tools are any products or series of products that allow for a library to support the electronic resource provision to their end-users. In the narrowest definition, electronic resource management tools are the recent spate of stand-alone modules developed by ILS vendors to manage electronic resources that can be integrated into existing ILS or which can stand outside of any given ILS.
The buzz most recently in regards to electronic resource management tools have been primarily about the ILS vendor tools. As you can see, just about every major ILS provider has an electronic resource management tool either in the early stages of release or in the late stages of development. Let’s go through these quickly. In addition, other major market players such as the subscription vendors and electronic journal management systems also have had products available that aid with the management of electronic resources.
Lastly, we should also note some of the more widely discussed home-grown electronic resource management tools that have been presented in both the library literature and at major library conferences.
The best place to go to find out what is currently available and what the overall specifications are in regards to individual products both commercially developed and developed in-house at various institutions is the Web Hub for Developing Administrative Metadata for Electronic Resource Management, located at this web address: http://www.library.cornell.edu/cts/elicensestudy/home.html . In fact between the information provided here and the chart covering ILS vendors provided by Ellen Finnie Duranceau in her article in Against the Grain , it seems redundant for me to cover specifics of all of the products available on the market at the moment. Suffice it to say that there are a myriad of products all offering different management strengths when it comes to electronic resource management. On the handout that accompanies this presentation, you have been given both this web site address and the citation to Ellen’s article.
In the book Project Management Nation, Jason Charvat writes: “Without a strategic plan in place, executives can literally move from one solution offering to the next, spending millions of dollars in the process, with the result being that many projects head south.” The majority of libraries in the United States of America exist in non-profit institutions, but more and more, libraries have to prove their cost benefit to the populations they serve. This is especially true in higher education organizations. Therefore, it serves the technical services staff or the electronic management staff well to establish the implementation of an electronic resource management tool in the context of the libraries overall strategic initiatives or plan. This should also help define what it is attempting to be solved by implementation of the electronic resource management tool and even help define which tools a library should look at in regards to electronic resource management. For instance, if the problem that a library is trying to solve is that the electronic management sits outside of the integrated library system and this is causing disconnection in the payment and processing of electronic resources then a tool that is part of the integrated library system is all that needs to be considered. However, if the problem is that there is a disconnect between the payment of a resource and the activation of resources once payment is made, then a subscription vendor product such as Ebsco’s EJS may be the best tool to address this issue. Each library has the potential of establishing a different set of needs that could be addressed by a electronic resource management tool.
Libraries must start their review of electronic resource management tools by performing a needs assessment and determining exactly what problems should be fixed or addressed. This may seem elementary but in fact, much of marketing around electronic resource management tools present them as a magic solution which will streamline and make all problems in relation to electronic resource management go away. Often times what is needed is not only a management tool, but a re-conceptualization of the organization and methodology of handling electronic resources. As shown in a previous diagram, the management of electronic resources is cyclical and in turn, transformative of library operations. Instead of processing material in a linear fashion to end-up in storage on a library shelf, we are consistently juggling access points and management of these access points from a myriad of directions. There is constant upkeep that must occur with each renewal, each title activation, each holdings update, each platform change, and each URL switch. To date, no one electronic management tool actual does this work for a library. What the electronic management tool does is bring together the discrete elements of information needed to make these processes easier. However, each system brings these elements together slightly differently so it is up to each individual library to determine which of the discrete elements are needed at their institution to make these processes work in better harmony.
Ghosts in the Machine
Ghosts in the Machine: the Promise of Electronic Resource Management Tools UKSG Annual Conference University of Warwick April 2006
The Potential Factor <ul><ul><li>What are the problems? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What helps the end-user? </li></ul></ul>
What Tools Are Available <ul><ul><li>From ILS Vendors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dynix(Sirsi): Horizon ERM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Endeavor: Meridian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex Libris: Verde </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>III: ERM Module </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>VTLS: Verify </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>From Other Market Players </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Colorado Alliance: GoldRush </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ebsco: EJS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex Libris: SFX </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Harrassowitz: HERMIS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>ProQuest Serials Solutions: ERMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Swets: SwetsWise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TDNet: TeRM </li></ul></ul>
Locally Created ERM Tools <ul><ul><li>Boston College: ERMdb </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cornell: ERM </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>John Hopkins: HERMES </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MIT: VERA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Penn State University: ERLiC </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Taylor University: TPAS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tri-College Consortia: ERTS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Georgia: ERMS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>UNC-Greensboro: Journal Finder w SFX </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Villanova: LibSGR </li></ul></ul>
Most Comprehensive Overview <ul><ul><li>The Web Hub for Developing Administrative Metadata for Electronic Resource Management : </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.library.cornell.edu/cts/elicensestudy/home.html </li></ul></ul>
Be Strategic <ul><ul><li>Do you have a strategic plan or initiatives? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Develop a needs assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problems nonexistent? </li></ul></ul>
Example Needs Analysis Chart <ul><ul><li>Problem </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Compare </li></ul></ul>Based on DLF standards Data entry Once? Email ticklers? Integrated with existing ILS? Product C Product B Product A System Function-ality SAMPLE: ERM Tool Comparison Chart
Thank You! <ul><ul><li>Jill Emery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Director, Electronic Resources Program/Head Serials & Electronic Resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>University of Houston Libraries/University of Texas at Austin </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul></ul>