24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Tactics Session: Registration Ruminations

September 14, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment

Registration Ruminations: Do Your End-Users Have Access to Everything You’ve Paid For?

Kristina Krusmark, EBSCO; Mary Throumoulos, Rollins College
Report by Laura Edwards

Kristina Krusmark from EBSCO and Mary Throumoulos from Rollins College, located in Winter Park, Florida, discussed issues registering online journals.  In the summer of 2008, EBSCO commissioned a study to identify challenges in managing electronic resources.  About 50% of the libraries in North America participated in the study.  One of the main problems affecting these libraries was registration and activation of online content.  The survey found that the registration process is too complicated, usually due to missing information and incomplete instructions.  Libraries are also losing staff that could help manage the registration process: 66% of library respondents have just one person dedicated to managing electronic resources.  

Krusmark and Throumoulos noted the irony: as the number of online journals increases, the number of library staff to deal with them decreases.  This can mean a delay in access to online content, especially if the registration process proves difficult.  This could be problematic in a variety of ways, not least considering the fact that low-use journals are usually the first to be targeted for budget cuts.  The survey found that this is the route 44% of library respondents take.  However, one audience member pointed out that if links to online content have been provided in the catalog and A-Z list, and no one reports a problem accessing a journal that was not registered, it may make sense to target that journal for elimination.

Throumoulos shared some of her experiences in dealing with online content.  She noted some of the issues she has encountered, such as unresponsive publishers and publishers directing subscribers to mailing labels for registration IDs.  She pointed out that mailing labels are generally printed on material that is usually discarded when a journal is checked in.  She stressed the importance of reading licenses, and establishing a workflow.  She prioritizes online-only subscriptions, then by publisher (problematic ones first), title, and finally, where she is in the process of registering a title.  Some audience members discussed their workflows.  One participant sets up automatic emails for follow-up notifications during the registration process.  Another audience member puts a “coming soon” note in her library’s A-Z list and catalog for new titles so users are aware that access may not yet be active.  A third person prioritizes according to the length of grace periods for new journals.

Krusmark said that agents try to register on behalf of their customers as much as possible, since they know how problematic the process can be.  When the publisher requires the library to do it, then the agent tries to provide as much information possible about registration details.  She noted that libraries sometimes will examine the registration requirements for a journal before deciding whether to subscribe.  They closed by summarizing areas for improvement: the need for more industry initiatives like SERU, increased standardization of publisher registration models, and a more efficient exchange of information between agents and publishers.


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