21:3 (2006:09) 21st Conference: Electronic Resource Management

August 31, 2006 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


Electronic Resource Management

Janet Chisman, Serials and Electronic Resources Librarian; and Greg Matthews, Catalog Librarian, both from Washington State University
Reported by Virginia A. Rumph 

Janet Chisman and Greg Matthews shared what they had learned in implementing an Electronic Resource Management system at Washington State University.  Rather than analyze a specific system, they examined what worked and what did not work for them.  Chisman said before they implemented their ERM they relied on many different data sources.  Their goal was the ERM resource information contained in Resource Records and License Records with fields that could be modified by the library staff.  That information is then readily available to the public and the staff.  The system should have the flexibility to meet each library’s needs. 

The data sources used to load electronic journal information included publisher lists, the SFX KnowledgeBase, a home-grown ejournals list, and Serials Solutions for dynamic resources such as DOAJ and Lexis-Nexis titles.  This process gave the staff an opportunity to clean up records for a more accurate result.  Since the ERM implementation, only the home-grown ejournals list has been dropped in favor of a list generated from the SFX KnowledgeBase. 

Cooperation, communication, and collaboration proved vital to the success of the project, both within each unit and between units.  They found that there was a need for continual interaction, whether in formal meetings or informal discussions.  A shared virtual space was the result.  A workflow database was also created using MSAccess to track initial loads for the Serials Unit and for the project manager’s use.  It was most useful in balancing workloads and checking individual staff progress.  However, it proved very time consuming, as much of the data could have been transferred directly into the ERM system.  The ERM helps achieve the Serials Unit’s goal of getting holdings dates into the catalog without delays. 

Greg Matthews next described the impact the ERM implementation had on the Cataloging Department.  They began by identifying cataloging issues such as changing workflows and the need to change or create new policies.  Staff also needed to be assigned for the project and they discovered that experience in cataloging did not necessarily equal ability in the ERM environment, so training was needed.  A major cataloging issue was the use of a single or a multiple record approach.  The single record allows for multiple access options, and also achieves the goal of vendor neutrality.  Another question was whether call numbers should be assigned, and if so, to all e-resources or only subscribed ones.  They decided to do so to maintain consistency, and for quality control. 

Matthews found that the ERM project brings a library face to face with the history of its catalog.  Past cataloging practices are preserved.  An ERM system challenges traditional cataloging decisions.  As a result, there were several staffing outcomes.  The breadth of duties had to be examined; what determines the boundaries?  Cataloging started with few people involved and needed to expand their involvement.  However, Serials started with lots of people, then contracted and reorganized.  Chisman and Matthews concluded that the ERM project involved an enormous amount of work, but the end result was worth all the effort.


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