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.)

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When an email starts a snowball

We (or maybe just I) receive messages from publishers telling us when we have new content available online. I received one last month from Atypon about three Thomas Telford titles. Generally, the announcement is just a heads-up that there are more issues online because more issues have been published.

But I noticed a few problems with this most recent message. I checked each title (and its alternate title formats, such as Proceedings of the…) at the publisher’s site (Atypon), the A-to-Z administrator, and our order records (EBSCONET).

Two titles aren’t listed on the Atypon site so I can’t check for access. I have to ask Atypon why. The third title is, but EBSCO doesn’t have a Publisher’s Site link; I asked them to add a link. Once I find out whether there will be access on Atypon, I’ll ask EBSCO to add records in the Title Wizard.

None of this is a big deal. None of this is challenging. None of this is hard to remember. It’s worth illustrating because it’s typical of how a seemingly simple notification can become a very involved process and result in a lot of work. I think that’s what most of my efforts go towards: a whole bunch of work that comes from an itty bitty notification.

That’s why the troubleshooting statistics aren’t truly indicative of the amount of work involved with problem solving and management. A troubleshooting problem that can be quickly resolved for the patron still may result in a lot more work. Snowball effect.

SpringerLINK

I received another troubleshooting report that wouldn’t have come up if the custom coverage showed up in the MARC record. In this case, instead of bringing it to EBSCO’s attention, I’m going to resolve it while tackling a larger problem.

This particular 856 (the one lacking coverage dates) is for SpringerLINK. We also have an 856 in this record for SpringerLINK (NERL), which is our consortial subscription. Because the list of titles in the SpringerLINK (NERL) package isn’t up-to-date, we added the SpringerLINK records to compensate for the missing titles.

I’m going to go through and look at all of the SpringerLINK records. If there is a second, SpringerLINK (NERL) record, I’ll remove the SpringerLINK link. The remaining SpringerLINK records will either be

  • part of our non-NERL Springer subscription, or
  • should be part of the NERL subscription.

It’s a somewhat daunting project, given the number of titles, but it will save me so much time in the end. I’ll have a clear picture of particular titles missing from the NERL list and I’ll avoid a few troubleshooting problems.

Posted in Access, EBSCO, Single-record approach, Workflow. Comments Off on SpringerLINK

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.

Posted in News, Workflow. Comments Off on It’s been one year

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]
Posted in Workflow. Comments Off on Defining troubleshooting

Re: Sharing eResource duties

There have been two responses to the message on ERIL about sharing e-resource management responsibilities. I was especially pleased to learn about the e-resources team at the University of Mississippi because:

a) they have a Head of Serials position

b) their primary troubleshooter is an e-resources librarian

c) they use Sharepoint to communicate among the six-member team

I think it would be great to have at least a serials librarian position. I like the idea of an e-resources librarian reporting to a broader serials librarian.

And speaking of an e-resources librarian, I wholeheartedly agree that the first line of defense for troubleshooting can be a librarian-level position. That kind of work can be very intricate and involved, requiring professional skills. It makes sense for the librarian to be the first line of defense and coordinate the distribution of troubleshooting reports.

I was excited to see that they communicate in Sharepoint. UVM has Sharepoint, but I don’t know if any Libraries folks are making use of it. It’s an intriguing possibility, and perhaps a band-aid until we acquire a commercial ERM.

Sharing eResource duties

I am eager to read the responses to a message posted on ERIL today. Kelly Smith at EKU asked how libraries with more than one librarian working on electronic resources are dividing the work. I spoke with colleagues about this topic yesterday, and I wondered aloud who at these libraries advertising for e-resource librarian positions is handling the remaining print subscriptions. I look forward to the replies on the list.

If you work with e-resources and do not subscribe to ERIL, I encourage you to sign up. Then search the archives for the title of the message, “Sharing eResource duties”.