Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Electronic Resources & Libraries Conference - Is the Bloom Off the ERMS Rose?

There is a lot of discussion at the Electronic Resources and Libraries conference in Austin, Texas this week about the experiences different libraries have had over the past few years with ERM (electronic resource management) systems.

These systems help track licensing, usage, cost and administrative information about e-resources such as databases.

A few points of consensus emerge in any conversation:
  • no one is fully happy with any specific ERMS as there always seem to be bits of data that libraries want to track that don't seem to fit into any of the available ERMS categories
  • not all vendors have adopted the COUNTER industry standard for usage stats, though this is improving. There are also questions about differences in the way stats are provided by vendors and by tools such as link resolvers in some cases - which usage data and ROI data can librarians trust when evaluating resources for decisions about acquisitions or weeding collections?
  • librarians are hoping and praying for greater interoperability between library software packages so that components from different vendors can more easily talk to each other (for example, the link resolver installed from one company can work with the licensing module of the ERMS bought from another vendor)
In general, though, despite growing pains and frustrations, the message seems to be that the "bloom is not off the ERM rose". However, people have to be more realistic as no one product will solve every problem involved in managing a proliferating number of e-journals, databases, and e-book packages.

More later.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 4:24 pm


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