24:3 (2009:09) 24th Conference: Tactics Session: Using a Local ERMS to Manage E-Journals

September 14, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Conference Reports, Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment

Using a Local ERMS to Manage E-Journals: Can It Get Any Better Than This?

Polly Khater, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
Reported by Virginia A. Rumph

Polly Khater presented information about the Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ (SIL) locally developed and maintained database for the management of electronic resources.  She also discussed the cataloging and ERM workflows, pros and cons of the current arrangement, and plans for the future.  She emphasized that one size does not fit all; each library is unique, and the path it takes will be determined by its particular needs and resources.  The SIL ERM is used to collect and track journal and database titles, vendors, ILL information, and PURLs for both paid and free content.  It provides title access alphabetically, by keyword, and by vendor.  Currently, over half the SIL e-journals are either in the Horizon catalog or in the queue waiting to be added.  One step in the journals workflow is the determination of whether or not a title fits within the scope of the catalog, which explains why all SIL e-journals are not included in the catalog.  If the decision is negative, the title is only added to the A-Z list.

Khater talked about the pros and cons of the current SIL e-journals management system.  The pros include local creation and control of the ERM; ease of updating license and vendor information; use restrictions spelled out clearly; real time updating; SI purls generated; adding e-journal information to the print record in Horizon, most SIL titles are print + online; no external vendor costs; and intermediary click through.  Khater’s list of cons includes the excessive amount of staff time and energy required; equipment and IT constraints; everything is done manually, title by title; no link resolver; cataloging backlog; no holdings in either the ERM or Horizon; and intermediary click through.  The Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ staff members involved in the process are tired of the currently required duplicate data-entry into the catalog and the A-Z list.  Various bottlenecks within the workflow also slow the process down.  Khater is now on a committee evaluating options for the future:  stay with the status quo; move all the titles into the catalog and scrap the ERM; or contract with a vendor for a commercial ERM.  She voiced the opinion that the status quo is becoming increasingly unworkable, and some alternative will have to be found.


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