NASIG 2009: ERMS Integration Strategies – Opportunity, Challenge, or Promise?

Speakers: Bob McQuillan (moderator), Karl Maria Fattig, Christine Stamison, and Rebecca Kemp

Many people have an ERM, some are implementing it, but few (in the room) are where they consider to be finished. ERMS present new opportunity and challenges with workflow and staffing, and the presenters intend to provide some insight for those in attendance.

At Fattig’s library, their budget for electronic is increasing as print is decreasing, and they are also running out of space for their physical collections. Their institution’s administration is not supportive of increasing space for materials, so they need to start thinking about how to stall or shrink their physical collection. In addition, they have had reductions in technical services staffing. Sound familiar?

At Kemp’s library, she notes that about 40% of her time is spent on access setup and troubleshooting, which is an indication of how much of their resources is allocated for electronic resources. Is it worth it? They know that many of their online resources are heavily used. Consorital “buying clubs” makes big deals possible, opening up access to more resources than they could afford on their own. Electronic is a good alternative to adding more volumes to already over-loaded shelves.

Stamison (SWETS) notes that they have seen a dramatic shift from print to electronic. At least two-thirds of the subscriptions they handle have an electronic component, and most libraries are going e-only when possible. Libraries tell them that they want their shelf space. Also, many libraries are going direct to publishers for the big deals, with agents getting involved only for EDI invoicing (cutting into the agent’s income). Agents are now investing in new technologies to assist libraries in managing e-collections, including implementing access.

Kemp’s library had a team of three to implement Innovative’s ERM. It took a change in workflow and incorporating additional tasks with existing positions, but everyone pulled through. Like libraries, Stamison notes that agents have had to change their workflow to handle electronic media, including extensive training. And, as libraries have more people working with all formats of serials, agents now have many different contacts within both libraries and publishers.

Fattig’s library also reorganized some positions. The systems librarian, acquisitions librarian, and serials & electronic resources coordinator all work with the ERMS, pulling from the Serials Solutions knowledge base. They have also contracted with someone in Oregon to manage their EZproxy database and WebBridge coverage load. Fattig notes that it takes a village to maintain an ERMS.

Agents with electronic gateway systems are working to become COUNTER compliant, and are heavily involved with developing SUSHI. Some are also providing services to gather those statistics for libraries.

Fattig comments that usage statistics are serials in themselves. At his library, they maintained a homegrown system for collecting usage statistics from 2000-07, then tried Serials Solutions Counter 360 for a year, but now are using an ERM/homegrown hybrid. They created their own script to clean up the files, because as we all know, COUNTER compliance means something different to each publisher. Fattig thinks that database searches are their most important statistics for evaluating platforms. They use their federated search statistics to weigh the statistics from those resources (will be broken out in COUNTER 3 compliance).

Kemp has not been able to import their use stats into ERM. One of their staff members goes in every month to download stats, and the rest come from ScholarlyStats. They are learning to make XML files out of their Excel files and hope to use the cost per use functionality in the future.

Fattig: “We haven’t gotten SUSHI to work in some of the places it’s supposed to.” Todd Carpenter from NISO notes that SUSHI compliance is a requirement of COUNTER 3.

For the next 12-18 months, Fattig expects that they will complete the creation of license and contact records, import all usage data, and implement SUSHI when they can. They will continue to work with their consorital tool, implement a discovery layer, and document everything. Plans to create a “cancellation ray gun and singalong blog” — a tool for taking criteria to generate suggested cancellation reports.

Like Fattig, Kemp plans to finish loading all of the data about license and contacts, also the coverage data. Looking forward to eliminating a legacy spreadsheet. Then, they hope to import COUNTER stats and run cost/use reports.

Agents are working with ONIX-PL to assist libraries in populating their ERMS with license terms. They are also working with CORE to assist libraries with populating acquisitions data. Stamison notes that agents are working to continue to be liaisons between publishers, libraries, and system vendors.

Dan Tonkery notes that he’s been listening to these conversations for years. No one is serving libraries very well. Libraries are working harder to get these things implemented, while also maintaining legacy systems and workarounds. “It’s too much work for something that should be simple.” Char Simser notes that we need to convince our administrations to move more staff into managing eresources as our budgets are shifting more towards them.

Another audience member notes that his main frustration is the lack of cooperation between vendors/products. We need a shared knowledge base like we have a shared repository for our catalog records. This gets tricky with different package holdings and license terms.

Audience question: When will the ERM become integrated into the ILS? Response: System vendors are listening, and the development cycle is dependent on customer input. Every library approaches their record keeping in different ways.

CiL 2008: Woepac to Wowpac

Moderator: Karen G. Schneider – “You’re going to go un-suck your OPACs, right?”


Speaker: Roy Tennant

Tennant spent the last ten years trying to kill off the term OPAC.

The ILS is your back end system, which is different from the discovery system (doesn’t replace the ILS). Both of these systems can be locally configured or hosted elsewhere. Worldcat Local is a particular kind of discovery system that Tenant will talk about if he has time.

Traditionally, users would search the ILS to locate items, but now the discovery system will search the ILS and other sources and present it to the user in a less “card catalog” way. Things to consider: Do you want to replace your ILS or just your public interface? Can you consider open source options (Koha, Evergreen, vuFind, LibraryFind etc.)? Do you have the technical expertise to set it up and maintain it? Are you willing to regularly harvest data from your catalog to power a separate user interface?


Speaker: Kate Sheehan

Speaking from her experience of being at the first library to implement LibraryThing for Libraries.

The OPAC sucks, so we look for something else, like LibraryThing. The users of LibraryThing want to be catalogers, which Sheehan finds amusing (and so did the audience) because so few librarians want to be catalogers. “It’s a bunch of really excited curators.”

LibraryThing for libraries takes the information available in LibraryThing (images, tags, etc.) and drops them into the OPAC (platform independent). The display includes other editions of books owned by the library, recommendations based on what people actually read, and a tag cloud. The tag cloud links to a tag browser that opens up on top of the catalog and allows users to explore other resources in the catalog based on natural language tags rather than just subject headings. Using a Greasmonkey script in your browser, you can also incorporate user reviews pulled from LibraryThing. Statistics show that the library is averaging around 30 tag clicks and 18 recommendations per day, which is pretty good for a library that size.

“Arson is fantastic. It keeps your libraries fresh.” — Sheehan joking about an unusual form of collection weeding (Danbury was burnt to the ground a few years ago)

Data doesn’t grow on trees. Getting a bunch of useful information dropped into the catalog saves staff time and energy. LibraryThing for Libraries didn’t ask for a lot from patrons, and it gave them a lot in return.


Speaker: Cindi Trainor

Are we there yet? No. We can buy products or use open source programs, but they still are not the solution.

Today’s websites are consist of content, community (interaction with other users), interactivity (single user customization), and interoperability (mashups). RSS feeds are the intersection of interactivity and content. There are a few websites that are in the sweet spot in the middle of all of these: Amazon (26/32)*, Flickr (26/32), Pandora (20/32), and Wikipedia (21/32) are a few examples.

Where are the next generation catalog enhancements? Each product has a varying degree of each element. Using a scoring system with 8 points for each of the four elements, these products were ranked: Encore (10/32), LibraryFind (12/32), Scriblio (14/32), and WorldCat Local (16/32). Trainor looked at whether the content lived in the system or elsewhere and the degree to which it pulled information from sources not in the catalog. Library products still have a long way to go – Voyager scored a 2/32.

*Trainor’s scoring system as described in paragraph three.


Speaker: John Blyberg

When we talk about OPACs, we tend to fetishize them. In theory, it’s not hard to create a Wowpac. The difficulty is in creating the system that lives behind it. We have lost touch with the ability to empower ourselves to fix the problems we have with integrated library systems and our online public access catalogs.

The OPAC is a reflection of the health of the system. The OPAC should be spilling out onto our website and beyond, mashing it up with other sites. The only way that can happen is with a rich API, which we don’t have.

The title of systems librarian is becoming redundant because we all have a responsibility and role in maintaining the health of library systems. In today’s information ecology, there is no destination — we’re online experiencing information everywhere.

There is no way to predict how the information ecology will change, so we need systems that will be flexible and can grow and change over time. (Sopac 2.0 will be released later this year for libraries who want to do something different with their OPACs.) Containers will fail. Containers are temporary. We cannot hang our hat on one specific format — we need systems that permit portability of data.

Nobody in libraries talks about “the enterprise” like they do in the corporate world. Design and development of the enterprise cannot be done by a committee, unless they are simply advisors.

The 21st century library remains un-designed – so let’s get going on it.

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.