Thursday, May 04, 2006

Spooky report

Ghosts in the machine: the promise of electronic resource management tools
Briefing session by Jill Emery

The intent of this session was to provide an overview of the products on the market, cover some of the functional aspects provided and point out functionality that would be helpful in the future but was not quite there yet. Furthermore, the audience was invited to consider what their needs and operations are with regard to electronic resource management, and the tools available in this context were evaluated. At this point, there are two distinct set of products available for use: those products associated with integrated library systems that work in an integrated manner with order and cataloging records, and products associated which work with knowledge-bases created by the serials management providers.

The presentation covered how many operations work now, pulling information from paper licenses, e-mails, MS Excel spreadsheets, the library OPAC and the library’s web presence, and suggested ways that an ERM can help codify these various information silos into one tool. Another important aspect of the session focused on how these tools help any librarian/library better serve their end-user by managing these resources in a more co-ordinated and consistent manner. Lastly, the program examined where data may need to be pushed and where data may need to be pulled from in order to give the end-user the most informed and consistent access to all of a library’s electronic resources.

Libraries and librarians continued to feel very overwhelmed by the workload that electronic resources demand. While many efforts have been explored to establish set procedures and ways of handling of access to this content, the magic formula has yet to be discovered to make any of this easier for librarians and libraries. Electronic resource management tools do hold and deliver the promise of making this workflow much better in a given organization. However, making the right choice and spending the time on implementation seems just as daunting at the beginning stages. The session ended by providing suggestions for evaluation of the products on the market and concluded that the end result does make access better for the end-user.

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