24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Strategy Session: Not Just Drifting

September 11, 2009 at 3:09 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Strategy Sessions | Leave a comment

Not Just Drifting: Checking Online Serial Issue Availability

Kitti Canepi and Andrea Imre, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale
Reported by Amy Carlson

Kitti Canepi and Andrea Imre’s presentation concentrated on current and future processes to determine electronic resources’ issue availability.  Beginning with their current environment at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Canepi and Imre conducted a survey to determine the systematic check-in of electronic serial issues on a wider scale.  While considering the larger issues related to electronic resource access, Canepi and Imre discussed the future possibilities with new technologies.

Currently, Southern Illinois University Carbondale utilizes a process based on print serials to verify receipt of electronic serials.  Although the resources are in an online format, their process lacks automation and standardization.  In 2009, they wanted to know how others managed the workload and what other possibilities existed, especially automated or any standardized protocols to share information, such as ONIX for Serials.  Specifically, they wanted to find out how others systematically tracked serial access: what are the trigger mechanisms; how do they verify access; and who manages the checking and who solves the problems?

After a literature search, they composed a survey and distributed the instrument through discussion lists.  After analyzing the results they found a picture of current practices.  They received 237 responses.  They found a correlation between budget size and online journal only spending; namely, the greater the budget the more likely the library will subscribe to the online version only.  51% of respondents are systematically checking access.   Half of those check access annually. 57% use some form of trigger to check access, such as the ILS prediction pattern, or other methods such as spreadsheets or calendars.  How they verify access ranges from opening an article (79%), to checking the journal website.  Imre delved into the problems faced with checking publisher’s administration sites, as the fact that each publisher provides different bits of information in a variety of formats.  The lack of standardization adds to the complexity of the process and the time required verifying access.  39% responded that a faculty/librarian conducts the checking, with support staff checking for 32%.  However, for 61% of the respondents, the faculty/librarian resolves the problems.  When asked to assess their process, half of those responding suggested that the process worked fairly well but could be improved.  83% had either slight or no familiarity with ONIX for Serials, while 45% were very or fairly interested in it.

What if librarians could receive issue availability information rather than simply checking access?  Canepi asked the audience to imagine receiving an automatic message when a new issue becomes available.  The local system would collect the message and the specific url for the issue.  The local system could also check the url for any problems and send an auto-claim to the provider as needed.  What if these automatic messages could help maintain the link resolver, provide catalog updates, or send the table of contents to patrons?  In 1999 book publishers and vendors began to use ONIX (Online Information eXchange) an XML schema.  In 2002, EDItEUR wrote a white paper looking at the possibilities for serials, including a number of different elements.  These were: Serials Products and Subscriptions (SPS), for communicating subscription information; Serials Online Holdings (SOH) for transmission of holdings information; and Serials Release Notification, (SRN), used to communicate availability and potentially additional content such as reviews or abstracts.  Currently these schemas are in pilot versions only.

Both Canepi and Imre recommended participation of librarians as customers to urge vendors and publishers to work with these new protocols.  They suggested that librarians do not want email or another list to verify, but that an automated and standardized solution that is consistent and that could be monitored by different personnel is needed.  They hope to see standardization and better communication between librarians, publishers, Electronic Resource Management Systems and link resolvers in the future.

Questions from the audience ranged from specifics on checking access to working with publishers to standardize information.


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