23:3 (2008:09) 23rd Conference (2008): Strategy Session: Real ERM Implementation

August 25, 2008 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Strategy Sessions | 2 Comments


Real ERM Implementation: Notes from the Field
Karl Maria Fattig, Bowdoin College; Jeanne Langendorfer, Bowling Green State University; Jeff Daniels, Grand Valley State University; Paul Moeller, University of Colorado; Toni Katz, Colby College; Ted Fons, Innovative Interfaces, Moderator
Reported by Lynn Shay

This program was a panel of five librarians from universities and colleges that have gone “live” with an ERM system.  Ted Fons, the moderator, had six questions for the panel: (1) describe what the staff is doing differently in terms of workflow and organizational structure; (2) describe the goal of your ERM product launch; (3) describe the role that change management played in the project; (4) describe the major challenges to your implementation and the most rewarding solutions; (5) what would you do differently if you did it again?; (6) describe what you are doing differently for your patrons with your ERM implementation.

The ERM systems used by the represented libraries were Innovative Interfaces, Serials Solutions, or a combination of these two products.  However, the panel focused on the process not the system.  How long an institution had been “live” and when each librarian got involved in the process ranged from Colby College which went live in 2004 with its librarian Toni Katz being involved from the beginning to the University of Colorado which went live in 2007.  Its librarian, Paul Moeller, now serves as chair of the ERM Committee, but he was not involved when the process started. 

In response to the first question the panelists explained their different approaches to staff training and the resulting workflows.  Jeanne Langendorfer of Bowling Green State University explained how technical services staff now work closely with ITS and public services in setting up trials and trouble shooting when there is a problem acquiring and or accessing a database.  Karl Maria Fattig of Bowdoin College was able to implement a major staff restructuring because the ERM is a tool that enables staff to do data manipulation.

Jeff Daniels of Grand Valley State University summed up the goal of his library’s ERM product launch saying they consolidated resource information about access, ILL, course reserves, and licensing on one record with that information being available to anyone in the library.  The consolidation of information on one record in one place or system was a goal for all the panelists.

Toni Katz identified that the lack of data element standards as a major challenge to implementing the ERM.  A very short time line for implementation was a challenge for Jeanne Langendorfer.  She also echoed Toni, saying her library did not know exactly how to get records that give the information needed.  One solution for these libraries was recognizing that coding was on a local level and therefore changeable.  The use of test records helped at Bowling Green State University.  Karl Maria Fattig spoke of the challenges/pulls on his time.  Implementing a new system if often just one part of your job.  Karl’s solution was to work closely with libraries in his consortium, learning from their expertise.

On the question of what they would do differently, all the panelists focused on training – who should be involved and when they should be involved.  All agreed that more stakeholders – people and departments – should be included in the training.

The final discussion centered on improved or new services their libraries were able to offer, or anecdotal evidence of an impact on users because of the ERM.  At Colby College the ERM generates a “Report a Problem” for databases and journals which quickly communicates problems to the person who can correct them.  Paul Moeller feels that the public services librarians are using less time explaining e-journals at the University of Colorado because the ERM has made e-journal use more intuitive.  Based on document delivery statistics and the increase in emailing of library materials Jeff Daniels feels the ERM has given his users more tools for finding information.  At Bowling Green State University users are now aware of license allowances and restrictions and can get to research databases within the OPAC view.

These five practitioners shared their experiences with a receptive audience.  The panel provided a snapshot of the implementation process – planning, production, changes, failures, solutions – to going live.   While there were problems along the way the panel agreed that it was worth the effort to become more efficient and to provide more information to the end users.



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  1. […] about two weeks ago. I think it’s paid off already – I found a blog entry written about a coworker’s recent presentation, and shared that with the rest of the library. This morning, I found a forum post on Urban Planet […]

  2. This was one of the best programs I’ve ever attended at NASIG! One thing that made it so good was Ted’s completely effective moderating. Instead of introducing the speakers, and then letting them each spend 10 or 15 minutes talking, he asked one question, and each panelist had only a few minutes in which to respond. This forced them to be concise. Ted then mixed it up with them by asking an unannounced follow up question, before moving on the next planned question. That kept both the moderator and the panelists on their toes. Way to go Ted, way to go panelists (who were all very good, too), and way to go PPC!

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