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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Serials Review, 33(4)

I wrote a recap of my NASIG experience for Serials Review and it was just published in the December issue. It’s not a session-by-session recap like my NASIG page but contains similar information and flows a little more nicely.

I’m keeping track of my publications on a separate page (click here or on the Publications link at the top of this page).

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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 Wordle.net). 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.)

Statistics updated

June’s statistics are now included in the graphs on the statistics page.

I’m reminded again that the troubleshooting tracking sheet doesn’t lend itself to very useful statistics. In tomorrow’s meeting of our serials group (charged with facilitating the merge of our main and medical libraries’ serials departments), we’ll discuss the kinds of data we need to start tracking in order to keep better statistics.

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Statistics updated

May’s statistics are now included in my three charts.

It should be a slow couple of months on the troubleshooting front. May-September were quiet months last year. Perhaps I’ll take advantage of that relative quiet to enhance the statistics-gathering process. To do so, I’ll probably collaborate with my serials colleagues to clarify what we should count in our statistics: shouldn’t our own discoveries of problems be included alongside problems uncovered by or on behalf of patrons?

Also, we should decide what information to include in our statistics-tracking, and what kind of information we should derive from the statistics. To start, we should quantify our unresolved troubleshooting problems; the fact that the majority of May’s problems were resolved within one business day becomes less impressive when you can see that the four unresolved problems from that month are three weeks old.

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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.

It’s been one year

I am going through piles and folders of emails, spreadsheets, and notes from projects past. Started with earnest and abandoned the minute something more important came along, they have gathered sneeze-inducing amounts of dust.

Organizing backlogThe desk beside me is strewn with papers which I am assembling into new piles marked “to revisit,” “to be resolved,” and “resolved”; the rest is being filed or recycled. It’s disappointing to see so many notes and printouts fill my recycling bin. Many of them make no sense to me anymore: a title on a scrap of paper with no details, or a note to email our reps at EBSCO (which I do so frequently that I don’t write it down anymore).

I have a pretty good sixth sense, and no warning bells are going off in my head as I discard half of this pile. My goal was to locate my notes on a few major (abandoned) projects, and I’ve done that. There is momentum gaining around the idea of adding e-resources to my colleagues’ workflows, and these are the projects that need to be revisited as soon as we add that capacity.

I was reviewing posts related to these projects when I saw my first one. I didn’t realize until today that February 26 marked the first anniversary of this blog. It’s a somewhat arbitrary date, and there might be more significant milestones in my work with e-resources. What is significant about these past 12 months in particular are the connections I’ve made with serialists around the country because of this site. My goals were to track my experiences and to discuss issues with other serialists. I’m fairly satisfied with the blog as a tool for storing information and communicating with colleagues. I’ll definitely consider improving the storage/searching of old posts (maybe tags?), and I look forward to making more serials connections and finding other bloggers to follow.

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Another ERMS

Someone posted a query on SERIALST about available ERMS, and I expected to see the usual suspects, the only ones I know: Innovative’s ERM, Verde by Ex Libris, Serials Solutions 360, and Gold Rush. Then a participant said his library decided to go with reSearcher, an ERMS hosted by Simon Fraser University.

I asked him for a little more information on the product from a customer’s point-of-view. I’ll hold onto his response and this link to the SFU website for when my colleagues revisit the discussion themselves.

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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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