NASIG 2008: Using Institutional and Library Identifiers to Ensure Access to Electronic Resources

Presenters: Helen Henderson, Don Hamparian, and John Shaw

One of the perpetual problems with online access to journals is that often, something breaks down on the supply chain, and the library discovers that access has disappeared. The presenters seek to offer ideas for preventing this from happening.

Henderson showed a list of 15 transactions that take place in acquiring and maintaining a subscription to a single title. There are plenty of places for a breakdown. Name changes, agent changes, publisher changes, hosting platform changes, price changes, bundle changes, licensing changes, authentication changes, etc.

OCLC’s WorldCat Registry maintains institutional information for libraries, which is populated and augmented by libraries and partners. Libraries can use it to register their OpenURL resolvers, IP addresses, and to share the profile with selected organizations. OCLC uses it to configure WorldCat Local, among other things. Vendors use it as an OpenURL gateway service and to verify customer data.

Ringgold’s Identify database and services normalizes institutional information for publishers. It includes consortia membership information and the Anglicized name, as well as many of the data elements in OCLC’s registry. Rather than OCLC symbol, they have an identifying number for each institution.

Potential interactions between the two identifiers includes a maping between them. The two directories do not have as much overlapping information as you might think.

Standards and identifiers are becoming even more important to the supply chain with the transition to electronic publication. Publishers need clean records in order to provide holdings lists to libraries and OpenURL resolvers, among other things. Publishers use services like WorldCat Registry and Identify to improve their data, service, and cost-savings that gets passed on to subscribers.

ICEDIS is a standard for the exchange of data between publishers and agents. It is old and has been implemented differently. They are hoping to develop an XML version by 2010, which will include the institutional identifier. ONIX is working on developing automatic holdings reports that will be fed into ERMS.

Project TRANSFER will create a way to exchange subscription information using a unique identifier. KBART is another initiative looking at a portion of the solution. I² (part of NISO) is looking at standardizing metadata using identifiers, beyond just for library resources. CORE is a project in the vendor community working on communicating between the ILS and the ERMS.

Standards will help ease the pain of price agreement between publishers and agents, customer identification, consortia membership and entitlements, and many of the other things that cause the supply chain to break down.

Libraries should include their identifier numbers in orders. The subscription agents are too overwhelmed to implement the kind of change that would require them to look up and add this to every record. Ringgold & OCLC are in communication with NISO to create a standard that is not proprietary.

pruning?

One of the big projects I’ve been working on at MPOW is preparing to shift the bound journal collection, which also includes some systematic deselection. I don’t mean cancelling subscriptions. I’m talking about weeding the journals.

We’re about to run out of space in the building with no prospects of anything new on the horizon, so for the first time in forty years, the books are being weeded. The same thing has to happen to the journals, or we’ll be out of room for them, too. As it is, some areas are so tight that several sections of a range need to be shifted in order to add a new bound volume.

We started by pulling everything that is in JSTOR. This has freed up some significant space, but there is still a bit of dead wood in the collection. With online access, we’ve noticed a precipitous drop in print usage. Whereas we use to have an entire range of shelving for reshelve-prep, we now use a single book truck, which is rarely filled. Sure, we still need the journals that are not online in some fashion, but our students would prefer to use the electronic journals with free printing than get up from the computer, find the volume, and make a not-free photocopy of an article.

Sometimes I wonder why we continue to buy print journals at all, and the answer usually is that the publisher doesn’t have a good platform for their ejournals (if they have them), or for whatever reason, they seem kind of sketchy. Still, we’ve made a lot of transitions to online only in the past couple of years, and I think that will pan out well for slowing the collection growth to maximum capacity.

about

It has come to my attention that I don’t have an About page for this blog. I never really thought that I needed one, but perhaps I do.

I first learned of blogs and blogging when I read about Jessamyn West in Library Journal. I started reading librarian.net on a regular basis, and I was inspired to try this blogging thing myself. The first incarnation of my blog was called “because everyone else is doing it” and was powered by Blogger. Wanting to get away from free webhosts and BlogSpot, I took the plunge and purchased my own domain name and hosting through Powweb. Thus, the eclectic librarian was born.

I have worked in libraries since I was an undergraduate student in 1994. By the time I left to begin the master’s program at the University of Kentucky, I had experience in almost every department of a library. At first I thought I wanted to be a cataloger, but the technology classes interested me more, and I began to explore that aspect of librarianship.

My first post-graduate job was as a serials and database cataloger at a medium-sized comprehensive university in Kentucky. It was mainly a paycheck and a foot in the door of academic librarianship, but after I attended a NASIG conference, I gained a better appreciation of the serials and related electronic resources specialty. My responsibilities shifted more towards electronic resources, mirroring the serials industry’s shift to online access and the issues surrounding that.

Now I am the serials department head and electronic resources librarian for another medium-sized comprehensive university, but this one is in Washington. I work closely with the systems librarian to improve service for our electronic resources. I am still quite interested in the technology aspects of the profession and issues related to them, which is evident in the contents of this blog. I don’t write much about serials in particular, and that’s mainly because most of the innovative work is being done on the electronic side of serials publishing, and there are other blogs that specialize in those issues.

I have a wide variety of other interests, including music, internetbased hobbies, and outdoor activities. I am also occasionally politically minded with a left-of-center flavor and a bit cynical.

Lately I have been writing reviews for Blogcritics.org, so you’ll see a few of these pop up occasionally.