Job Announcement – Serials/Electronic Resources Professional

Join the University of Vermont community! -Toni

Serials/Electronic Resources Professional – Dana Medical Library, Univ. of Vermont (Burlington, VT)

Library Faculty or Classified Staff: Classified Staff
Posting date: 6/9/2008

Job Overview: Oversee print serials and electronic resource acquisition and records management, to include create and place orders with vendors for print and electronic subscriptions; identify, create, and edit records database and website; maintain records and monitor expenditures; facilitate access to electronic collections; communicate with vendors to resolve problems and gather and report acquisitions and usage statistics for the Library’s electronic resources.
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Electronic Resources Management Systems: Alternative Solutions

Jennifer Watson and Dalene Hawthorne’s paper from the Electronic Resource Management Systems conference is available online.

I enjoyed emailing with Jennifer while she was writing the paper. I shared information with her about our library’s shared folder of scanned license agreements. She refers to that on pp. 7-8 of the paper and slide 55 of the presentation.

Open paper in PDF ___ Open presentation in PPT

I understand they could not attend the Cape Town, South Africa, conference to give the presentation themselves. What an amazing trip that would have been.

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The end of eresourcejournal

At the end of the month, I will begin my new job at Norwich University as their Distance Learning Librarian. I am very excited about this position because I’ve wanted to work with distance learning students since the not-so-long-ago days of my own online graduate program. This is my dream job.

And so, eresourcejournal reaches its end. This blog has been more helpful to me than I expected. The process of writing about things that puzzle and frustrate me has been beneficial. First, it makes me think things through. My brain works faster than my fingers, and as I type my mind wanders to another (more appropriate) idea. Had I not taken the time to write about these topics, I may not have come to those more useful conclusions.

In addition, writing is a great memory tool. Writing online with blog software allowed me to easily retrace my steps and remind myself of past discoveries. In some cases, I was able to solve a new problem by looking back at similar situations.

Lastly, blogging connects: the advantage of writing publicly and online is that other people found me. I am grateful for the comments and emails I’ve received from everyone who visits the site or reads the RSS feed. Librarians have been a source of (wonderful) ideas, commiseration, and camaraderie. EBSCO folks have been very generous with their time, emailing me directly about the concerns and ideas I’ve covered in my posts.

Perhaps others will continue to discover these posts and find them useful. Clearly, they’ll be curious about troubleshooting electronic serials problems, as illustrated in this nifty word cloud of all the text at eresourcejournal (made at I don’t know yet whether I will blog about my new job. As I re-read that sentence, I realize I likely will. I want to remain connected to my community of colleagues. I have been and will continue to follow blogs related to distance learning and distance learning librarianship. I’m sure I’ll have a few things to talk about, too.

Thank you for your visits and keeping me in your feed readers. Most of all, thank you for your comments.

(P.S. It’s a time of transition: Kelly retired one of her blogs this week. Great minds think alike!)

(P.P.S. It seems like a good idea to close the comments on all my old posts. So I’m gonna. I’ll keep this post open, so feel free to leave a message.)

Workflow roundtable at ER&L

Elizabeth Winter, moderator of the workflow roundtable on Friday, wrote about our discussion on the ER&L Forum blog. There are two posts, one with general notes, and one listing the technologies we use in e-resource management.

She encourages participants to use the forum space to continue the conversation. That was the nice thing about the conference Moodle last year: it was a good place to keep the discussion going, but unfortunately was underused.

Elizabeth made a good point: it would have been nice to have sign-up sheets at the end of the session so that interested participants can keep in contact after the conference. As it were, she emailed the people she remembered were there. I imagine that other folks might subscribe to the ER&L blog, like I do, and may learn about it that way.

I spoke briefly with a few participants on our way out (it was the very last session on the very last day), exchanged business cards, and invited people to check out this blog. If you are one of those people I met, welcome! Look around and leave comments. Chat with me in the box to the right. I look forward to talking with you!

ER&L Friday

What I ended up attending, Friday edition:

The roundtable topics were determined by two kinds of participant feedback: evaluations at the original sessions and the results of the ER&L Thought Cloud, where participants suggested and voted on topics they wanted to discuss.

The closing speaker, Tom Wilson (University of Alabama), briefly made a point about Google that I really liked, and that led to discussion afterwards. He pointed out that Google is not a federated search engine: it uses relevancy ranking (maybe well, maybe not well) and federated searches can’t. Federated search engines are, by nature, multiple databases, and can’t apply relevancy like Google can with its single database. I had never thought through to that point, and I think it’ll be on my mind for the plane ride home. (3/23/08: I will contact Tom Wilson about his remarks to make sure I haven’t completely misinterpreted the relevancy point.)

The roundtable about workflow could have been a conference in itself: different libraries (formally) present their situations, challenges, and successes, followed by discussion.

photo of me on Friday @ ER&L 2008It may look like I’m throwing scissors, but I’m really talking about workflow.

ER&L Thursday

What I ended up attending, Thursday edition:

The LibGuides session was very well done. The librarians shared their subject and class guides before and after LibGuides, and the capabilities of the product are exciting. I really like the use of LibGuides at Scottsdale Community College: their library website is a LibGuides page.

Now I’m going to attempt to be in two places at once. Fortunately, User-Centered Tech Support of E-Resources and The Inexorable March to Online Only are next door to each other. Both are highly relevant to my work: we evaluated our organizational structure, and, although we’ve switched a great deal of our subscriptions to online, we could improve our criteria and approach. Fortunately, both presentations are very detailed and I can pick up a lot from the slides.

(It’s very flattering that Pat and Kelly cite my Library Student Journal article in their presentation.)

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ER&L Wednesday

Karen Coyle gave a very interesting keynote this morning that she called “There’s no catalog like no catalog.” She showed the familiar statistic that shows students don’t start library research at the library. Maybe that’s OK, maybe it isn’t, she said. Our information is useful, but we need to put it out on the web where users are. Our catalogs are rich with information if we know how to pull out that information and interpret it. She showed WorldCat Identities, which I hadn’t seen before, and is a really good example of how strong our catalog is when information is combined and viewed together.

A point Coyle made that I really liked (and I hope my paraphrasing is accurate) was that it’s no longer about having the most perfect catalog record, but that our catalog record connects out to other resources and enhances their information.

What I ended up attending, Wednesday edition:

Participants received a flash drive loaded with the conference proceedings, but not all presentations were included. I imagine that may have been due to time constraints and that the missing presentations will later be included on the conference website.

photo of Chandra, Pamela, and me @ ER&L 2008Chandra, Pamela, and me

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Ten reasons for a single-record approach

I would very much like to have a single catalog record for each journal, rather than a separate one for print and electronic access. Here are ten reasons why:

1. It would better serve our patrons to go back to maintaining our own serials records rather than having EBSCO control (and sometimes refuse) the changes.

2. By linking from the catalog to the A-to-Z list, we would avoid the trouble of maintaining links and coverage dates in the catalog record.

(According to EBSCO, they “would likely strip down the 856 to the bare minimum and exclude coverage and embargo information – that would be discovered on the A-to-Z list.” That would be a single 856 field directing patrons to online access.)

3. Coverage dates (managed or custom) sometimes do not appear in the MARC record even though they appear in the A-to-Z. We could direct people to this information by having a single 856 field to all online access.

4. Every patron would see the notes and instructions in the A-to-Z list. Notes aren’t included in the MARC records, so people using the catalog might miss important information.

5. It cleans up the catalog. Less records. Clear results. Straightforward for patrons.

6. If we eliminate duplicate information, we will reduce (or eliminate) patrons’ confusion about coverage and access.

7. If we eliminate duplicate information, we will reduce amount of work for serials staff to answer troubleshooting questions related to missing or incorrect coverage dates and MARC records that have not been updated.

What if we didn’t get MARC updates from EBSCO?

8. If we maintain our own records, we can fix problems ourselves that take EBSCO a long time to address (e.g. the diacritic problems and extra characters in 245 fields).

9. If we maintain our own records, we can fix problems that EBSCO is unwilling to address (e.g. adjusting CONSER information, duplicate bib records, and unadjustable subject headings).

10. We wouldn’t have to confirm our changes in the monthly MARC updates. The A-to-Z list is updated immediately, but the MARC files are updated only monthly. Also, depending on when a correction is made, library staff may need check two consecutive MARC updates to ensure that outdated information doesn’t overlay corrected records.

Defining troubleshooting

I expect to receive the 300th troubleshooting report in a month or two. Hooray. (Insert slow, sarcastic clap.) Hooray for problems.

Truthfully, I think I’ve been doing myself a disservice by counting only the problems that are reported by colleagues in ILL and Reference. My serials colleagues find lots of problems that are just as (or more) difficult and involving. I should have corrected my definition of “troubleshooting” a long time ago: then I’d probably be nearing the 600 mark.

Working definition:

Troubleshooting: any problem about electronic access that results in a data or subscription correction involving the library, publisher, vendor, or a combination thereof.

Troubleshooting: responding to questions from colleagues and patrons regarding access to electronic journals; includes any problem about electronic access that results in data or subscription correction involving the library, publisher, vendor, or a combination thereof.

[revised 2/20/08]
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NISO issues SERU

Just read this on the NASIG newsletter:

Slightly more than a year after the Shared E-Resource Understanding (SERU) Working Group was formed, NISO has issued the SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding as part of its Recommended Practice series… SERU offers publishers and librarians the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement for electronic resources by agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith.

Link to Document, Press Release

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