Our job over the next five to ten years is to provide a way to access these valuable resources in an intuitive, easy to use one-stop shop, and not to be afraid of running continual beta test where new services and functions can be added when necessary. To do this we need flexible, interoperable resource-discovery systems based on open source software. In addition, we must keep evaluating users' needs and reach out by adapting our systems to fit their requirements, rather than expecting them to come to us; indeed our very future depends on it.
TERMS: Techniques for electronic resource management
Two decades after the advent of electronic journals and databases, librarians are still grappling with ways to best manage these resources in conjunction with their print resources. In addition, economic pressures at most institutions of higher learning are resulting in librarians having to justify each dollar spent on collections and resource management. Furthermore, ebooks are becoming yet another stream of purchasing and management with the added complexity of patron driven acquisitions. All this results in the need to codify the management of electronic resource management more than ever.
"Our job over the next five to ten years is to provide a way to access these valuable resources in an intuitive, easy to use one-stop shop, and not to be afraid of running continual beta test where new services and functions can be added when necessary. To do this we need flexible, interoperable resource-discovery systems based on open source software. In addition, we must keep evaluating users’ needs and reach out by adapting our systems to fit their requirements, rather than expecting them to come to us; indeed our very future depends on it." (1)
In the past, we have been able to afford ‘nice to have’ resources and renew our electronic resources without real evaluation of their worth. In times of budgetary constraints and staffing reductions we are now working our electronic resources harder than ever in order to extract maximum value for money from them. We must now look closely at all of our electronic resources at all steps of the e-resource life cycle (2).
There has been a lot of discussion about the implementation of ERM systems in recent years (3), however, use of these systems is still far from ubiquitous and many academic libraries have yet to implement or even purchase a system. Despite early expectations Collins and Grogg see the current crop of ERM systems as ‘less like a silver bullet and more that a round of buckshot’ (4).
A growing area of recent research has been around workflow management. Collins and Grogg (4) found that over 1/3 of academic libraries in their survey put workflow management at the top of their prioritization list. This area has also been highlighted as a gap by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) ERM Data Standards and Best Practices Review (5). In the UK, two projects, the SCONUL shared ERM requirements project (6) and the Managing Electronic Resource Issues (MERI) project at the University of Salford (7), have looked in depth at workflows.
Both the University of Huddersfield and the Portland State University will be sharing their workflows as part of TERMS, and we encourage others who would be willing to share your own workflows to contact us at the email addresses given below.
Over the next 3 months TERMS will look at each of the stages in the e-resources cycle on our blog:
1 Investigating New Content for purchase/addition
2. Acquire New Content
4. Evaluation and Ongoing Access
5. Annual Review
6. Cancellation and replacement
We will add a new TERM every 2 weeks and invite you to review and comment on each of them. If you have any suggestions and tips from your workplace, please feel free to add your experiences. In this way we hope to crowd source TERMS through open peer commentary with a view to providing a first definitive draft in early 2012. However, we plan to keep the TERMS blog going after this date so that TERMS will become a reference point to those who are new to e-resource management and for those who may want to implement its recommendations of best practice. You can follow us on twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/6terms or join the Facebook group: TERMS
Jill Emery: firstname.lastname@example.org
Graham Stone: G.Stone@hud.ac.uk
1 Stone, G., Resource Discovery. In: Digital Information: Order or anarchy? Facet, London, 2009, 133-164. ISBN 9781856046800
2. Pesch, O., Resource management: today and for the future. Online Conference of the Netherlands 7 November 2006
3. Gustafson-Sundell, N., Think Locally: A Prudent Approach to Electronic Resource Management Systems, Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 2011, 23 (2), 126-141 DOI 10.1080/1941126X.2011.576955
5. NISO, ERM Data Standards & Best Practices Review. http://www.niso.org/workrooms/ermreview
6. SCONUL shared ERM requirements project. http://sconulerm.jiscinvolve.org/wp/