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.)

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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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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Ex Libris ERM

I should have recapped the Ex Libris presentations while they were fresh in my mind, but time escaped me. I actually don’t have too much to say about Verde, because my attention was stolen by the Primo presentation. But, about Verde:

Like Innovative’s ERM, Verde operates independently from other programs. (Though it’s probably helpful that our ILS is also an Ex Libris product.) One of my colleagues asked how Verde would work with our other products. Ex Libris is open to working with any platform, and reps said it was a matter of we the customers telling the other platform that we would like them to work with Ex Libris. The rep said we could pioneer EBSCO use.

Another colleague asked about differentiating between e-journal titles for which we have a direct subscription, and those that we might get by subscribing to other titles. (We have some agreements with publishers where we subscribe to specific titles and get bonus subscriptions; we have to be sure to maintain subscriptions to those core titles.) The Ex Libris reps didn’t have a solution for that, but were interested in exploring how to best approach this situation.

The second presentation of the day was on Primo, their discovery and delivery tool. It can incorporate multiple formats into a single record and allows librarians to promote the use of, say, electronic versions over print. Libraries can include book jacket information (images and text) and patrons can add reviews and tags. Primo uses CSS, which means we can personalize the interface.

I think the part I like best is that students can log in to Primo. They can keep a record of items they’re interested in (not to mention create reviews and add/manage tags), but more importantly it automatically authenticates them for IP access if they’re off campus. People talk about integrating library resources in Facebook, where students have centralized so much of their web presence that word on the street is email and blogs are so yesterday.* So Facebook is just one login for all of a student’s web needs. Our library, if we use something like Primo, would be the academic version. Maybe WebCT is a better comparison, with its messaging abilities, but Primo (or VuFind) integration can’t be too far off. Are the majority of students using WebCT?

*Communication seems to be funneled entirely through Facebook and cell phones. I’ve started a game with myself where I presume that at least one student at a computer block (in the library or at the campus center) is on Facebook; at the campus center, they usually all are. Yesterday at a crosswalk, the two students waiting with me both flipped open their cell phones to check for or send text messages. It’s instinctual and maybe compulsive.

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September forum on e-resources

NISO and the Bibliographic Center for Research are hosting a two-day forum on e-resource management:

The how-to character of the Forum will provide practical guidance both to librarians currently implementing electronic resources management systems and those weighing ERM options. Subscription agents, ILS vendors, and publishers will also have a rare opportunity to integrate their perspectives and questions into sessions that examine ERM selection and operation.

The speakers include a few librarians, someone from EBSCO, the representative from Innovative who introduced our library to their ERM, and someone from Gold Rush. I wonder if any libraries are using Gold Rush with Voyager.

All of the topics look interesting, especially:

• How to choose an ERM and what information to include in your system

• Workflow from a management perspective
• Case studies: how ERMs can help maximize the user experience and how they improve work from the back-end

It doesn’t look like any sessions will be recorded and made available to those who don’t attend. Too bad. It sounds like an excellent event and I’d love to listen in.

In other NISO news, Duke University Press just announced its participation in SERU.

(P.S. The Gold Rush site has the best FAQ page I’ve seen. Click on a question and the answer appears right there: no dumping you in the middle of a long page of answers. Excellent!)

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Another ERM

We’re having a presentation by Ex Libris next week. I’ve been looking at their Verde and Primo sites this morning.

I’m trying to look at the Verde information in two ways: how it compares to what I know about other ERMs (Innovative’s) and how it compares to what we’ve been doing so far to manage our e-resources. I’m not sure I’ll have any specific questions in advance, but I’m hoping to familiarize myself with Verde as much as possible before the presentation so that the questions I do have are more to the point.

I might spend some time this weekend looking at Primo and VuFind and comparing the two, out of personal interest.

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Innovative Interfaces ERM

A representative from Innovative Interfaces gave a presentation today about their Electronic Resource Management product. I’ll reserve my judgment until there’s a presentation on another ERM to compare it to (Verde, please), but here are my notes and thoughts.

  • I like that ERM can be used as a stand-alone product and that the public view is optional; we don’t need another portal for finding e-journals.
  • The Content Access Service (CASE) sounds like a useful tool, but I wonder how accurate their coverage information is, who maintains it, and how frequently it’s updated. I’d like to compare its accuracy to a few EBSCO records that have been problematic. CASE is free in the first year, and I think it would be worth subscribing to after that.
  • The system is built around resource data records and license data records. A single resource record is created from a contact record, order record, and license record; the resource record itself can have multiple holdings. I would presume that means we can save old information from cancelled records, but I’d like to confirm that.
  • I had a few questions that I hoped would be covered in the presentation. A couple that were addressed were enhancements attributed to the developers, who requested a way to flag problems (email tickler) and track incidents.
  • I’m still curious whether we will be able to track who makes changes to a record, like in Voyager’s cataloging module. I only noticed the report maker/boolean function had such an area (for initials). That made me miss the Innovative ILS (my experience with it is all pre-Millennium). Oh, to be free to run my own reports again.
  • It was great to see that coverage can be listed by volume, issue, and date (not just date, as in EBSCO’s systems). We can look up all the publications from a resource and, conversely, all the resources a publication can be viewed from; however, there wasn’t any coverage information provided in the ERM for the latter. The Innovative rep pointed out that the coverage information will display in the public view. But what if we don’t plan to use the public view?
  • I think it would be important to be able to assign multiple codes to the same field, such as “pending” and “problem” to a status field, and “wrong IP ranges” and “wrong coverage” to an incident report. It sounds like Innovative can accommodate this, but it’s not (yet?) standard.
  • A lot of the presentation focused on the automated harvesting of usage statistics and the user site, two things that aren’t of much importance [related] to my position. I think I got enough information from the session to be able to compare Innovative’s product to other ERMs.

    (When talking about how the ERM can organize information, the Innovative rep showed a photo of a person sitting at a desk in front of a mountain of paper. What paper? Everything’s electronic. You can still see the surface the desk when the computer holds 77 unread/unanswered emails and a growing collection of unfinished “priority” projects that have lost their importance with the discovery of new fires to put out. I started thinking about this a few weeks ago: what’s the 21st century visualization of a backlog?)