Electronic Resources Management: Identifying issues and improving them

A few weeks ago, we decided to do away with one of our ERM system (with management blessings). Let’s call this system “X”.  After all these years, “X” has served its purpose but not effectively as we have hoped for.  We are now looking for alternatives.  Whether this would be an open source or commercial system would be another issue.

Being curious, I decided to trawl the scholarly articles for information on ERM systems and implementation.  Here’s some that I got so far:

  • Enoch, T. (2014). Preparation is Key: Lessons Learned from an ERM System Implementation. The Serials Librarian, 66(1-4), 182-188. doi:10.1080/0361526x.2014.877276
  • Mi, J., & Wang, Y. (2013). Implementation and Application of CORAL: An Open Source ERM System. Collection Management, 38(1), 75-79. doi:10.1080/01462679.2012.730493
  • Hartnett, E., Beh, E., Resnick, T., Ugaz, A., & Tabacaru, S. (2013). Charting a Course through CORAL: Texas A&M University Libraries’ Experience Implementing an Open-Source Electronic Resources Management System. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 25(1), 16-38. doi:10.1080/1941126x.2013.760402
  • England, D. (2013). We Have Our ERM System, It’s Implemented: Why am I Still Going Here and There to Get the Information I Need? The Serials Librarian, 64(1-4), 111-117. doi:10.1080/0361526X.2013.760148
  • Silton, K., & LeMaistre, T. (2011). Innovative Interfaces’ Electronic Resources Management System: A Survey on the State of Implementation and Usage. Serials Review, 37(2), 80-86. doi:10.1080/00987913.2011.10765355
  • Taylor, D., Dodd, F., & Murphy, J. (2010). Open-Source Electronic Resource Management System: A Collaborative Implementation. The Serials Librarian, 58(1-4), 61-72. doi:10.1080/03615261003623039

Before I proceed further, I felt it is also more beneficial for the team to focus on the existing systems, workflows, procedures and policies pertaining to electronic resources management.  Why? When we understand how things currently work, we may see ‘hidden’ issues.  Issues that are not visible to the naked eye.  Things that have slipped through the cracks.

These issues could be lurking somewhere within the main phases of ERM such as:

  • Trial and Feedback mechanisms
  • License Agreements negotiations
  • Technical Feasibility
  • Access implementation
  • Troubleshooting / Triage

One of things that I intend to do is to go back to the drawing board.  Working with stakeholders and staff in charge of the various ERM stages.  That’s where delegating leadership comes in 🙂

One of my main areas that I need to have a close look would be access implementation.  This would involve working with the Metadata team.  Since we have migrated to our new AZ management system and Summon Discovery layer, we need to identify that obsolete processes / procedures and implement new ones wherever possible.  Workflows and procedures have to be updated and staff brought up to speed.

At the same time, we started implementing RDA.  Thus the team needs to be aware of the changes and keep tabs of issues during this transition period.  They need to be aware of the differences between AACR2, RDA as well as the MARC21 .  Not only are we cataloging print items, but being a digitally-born library, more and more of our resources are in electronic format.  The team needs to be ready when initiatives to digitally store home-grown items into our system get mandated.

On another note, one of my ‘pet’ areas is troubleshooting electronic resources issues.  I’m glad to say that we have moved from using email system to a more dynamic platform – LibAnswers. Previously, issues tend to get lost in the email Inbox jungle.  With introduction of LibAnswers, things have become more streamlined.  I’m not going in depth right now to touch on the benefits of LibAnswers but perhaps at a later time.

Identifying the main issues / patterns of electronic resources would be crucial in my work.  When we can identify them earlier, things can be nipped in the bud.  Furthermore, being proactive is much better than reactive.  How we can push information to our users so that they are empowered to solve the issues themselves 🙂

Having good relations with publishers / vendors are also important.  Those tech guys are usually helpful and responsive to our inquiries.  Always there to provide assistance.

This is the just the beginning of the journey. Stay tune.
Highway 6


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