Monthly Archives: February 2011

University of Swansea

On the 31st January 2011 a use case meeting was held at the University of Swansea. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at Swansea wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

There was an excellent meeting at Swansea, on 31st January, with Ken Chad and Angela Walker representing the project, and Mark Hughes, Paul Andrew Brown, Paul Johnson, Nina Whitcombe, Ann Preece and Kathy Sivertsen representing Swansea.

Swansea do not have an ERM product currently, but are already involved in other Shared Services frameworks within Wales, and are extremely likely to take full part in any library relevant shared service approaches to come out of a wider Welsh HE agenda.

Prior to the meeting we identified 4 topics for discussion – the selection of platform for new e-journal subscriptions; Discovery to Delivery; publisher changes platform ; and budget & accounting for e-journals

After some general discussion of all these areas, we decided to focus & really drill down to the detail on the particular use case of renewing an e-journal subscription. Here it seemed that while there are already efficiencies in place in terms of ‘above campus’ services i.e. Swansea’s use of the agent Swets to handle much of the renewal processes, there were still some significant pain points that revolved around connecting together various technology platforms both inside the library e.g. with SFX & with outside agencies e.g. Swets’ systems, internal Finance Dept systems, and bridging the gap between current system functionality and potentially more efficient library processes.

Overall impressions throughout the meeting were that actually Swansea, and Wales overall, already has in place a number of ‘above campus’ type platforms to which it puts good use e.g. HEPCW procurement deals e.g. Swets, WHELF E-Books deal with NetLibrary, with potentially more on the way via WHELF led shared services projects. Any outcome from the project at a wider shared service basis would need to either link seamlessly with these or have to offer significant benefits in shifting platform to Welsh libraries in order to justify their taking part. It also became clear that managing e-resources has several ‘problem spaces’ that don’t have an ‘above campus’ solution at present, and these represent the areas of opportunity for at least the early stages of any UK wide agenda e.g. around data sharing / Knowledge base type issues…more problematic for the UK wide approach may be in entering spaces where competing ‘above campus’ services are already available or in place.

A very useful meeting that both helped clarify our thoughts (which will in turn be fed back into the WHELF Shared Services Agenda), and hopefully Ken and Angela’s too. This type of cross-pollination of ideas between Sconul’s national agenda and institutional / small consortium based projects will hopefully lead to outcomes that are beneficial to all.

University of Edinburgh

On the 24th January 2011 a use case meeting was held at the University of Edinburgh. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at Edinburgh wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

There was a good meeting at Edinburgh, on 24th January, with Owen Stephens and Angela Walker representing the project, and Simon Bains, Anne Bell, Charles Gray, Elize Rowan and Liz Stevenson representing Edinburgh.

We have licensed an ERM package but have not yet implemented the service – we’ve considered partial implementation, to create a repository of licence information, but the resourcing of that work remains an issue.  We recognise that the need for an ERM or equivalent is critical – to manage the life-cycle of any e-resource; to provide accurate data and information to colleagues, and to track subscriptions, packages and licence agreements effectively and ultimately to improve efficiency.

Prior to the meeting we identified 4 topics for discussion – the selection of platform for e-book purchases; the tracking of expenditure of e-journals and packages; archival rights; and the migration to consortium purchasing of packages.

It was helpful to reflect on all of these, and in the end we focussed on the tracking of e-journals expenditure, including Big Deals and associated licence fees, for our case study, and will be interested to know if our issues and challenges mirror those of other institutions.  We looked at the full cycle, from the point of recommendation for purchase, through to payment, renewal, and cancellation.  The workflows and processes were discussed in detail, and we identified a number of limitations of the LMS in handling the data needed to effectively manage e-resources.  One example of this – while expenditure on subscriptions is recorded at title level, there is also a requirement to have full details of all titles associated with a collection or Big Deal.

We also spent some time discussing the challenges of identifying and recording information about archival rights, both at package and title level, and this also included discussion around the recording of details of licences.  The information is needed both to manage collections effectively, and to inform decisions about the retention [or not] of print.  A national repository of machine readable licence agreements would help with this, especially if the documents could be amended at institutional level to include details of institutional subscriptions and any commercially confidential information such as pricing.  We don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and sharing these core documents makes good sense.  Being able to share or publicise details of key clauses is also important, particularly where there are regular queries to identify, for example, whether material can be used for interlibrary loan, or whether articles/chapters can be used in course packs.

University of Warwick

On the 2nd February 2011 a use case meeting was held at the University of Warwick. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at Warwick wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

The University of Warwick’s Use Case Workshop was attended by Anne Bell (University Librarian), Robin Green (Deputy Librarian), Stuart Hunt (Data Services Manager), Finola Osborn (Procurement Manager), Claire Townsend (Resources Officer) and James Fisher (Digital Access Manager). It was facilitated by David Kay and Owen Stephens.

During the workshop we considered 5 Use Cases in varying degrees of detail. These were as follows:

  • New e-book purchase/subscription – (a) Select Platform
  • Cancellation of a journal title
  • Publisher changes platform
  • Budget and accounting for e-journals
  • Discovery to delivery

The discussion flowed quickly from one topic to the next and despite spending the best part of 5 hours around the table the session passed in next to no time. The cases highlighted the different tasks required to be carried out by various teams within the Library and the dependencies between the teams. More details were provided in response to searching questions from David and Owen. It became apparent how disjointed many of our processes are due to the fact that those processes have developed ad-hoc in response to external factors that we can’t control. The phrase “you wouldn’t start here” was used on at least one occasion. Hopefully, lessons can be learned from this when setting up any new shared services.

We spent a significant proportion of the workshop explaining the processes involved in a major periodicals review which took place in the summer of 2009. This seemed a valuable experience to share with colleagues at other institutions and the results are still being used to make renewal and cancellation decisions today.

All in all it was a very interesting day and hopefully we all learned something. We look forward to the session in London due to take place in a few days time.

University of Stirling

On the 27th January 2011 a use case meeting was held at the University of Stirling. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at Stirling wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

We have a strong commitment to providing material in electronic form and the issues relating to licensing, budgeting and, crucially, collection management have been at the forefront of discussions at Stirling for some time. As we have not yet implemented the ERM module of our LMS, we are very interested in the possibilities that may accrue from a shared service.

A small team of staff is looking at the project here: Mark Toole, the Director of Information Services, Colin Sinclair, Library Content Manager and Sonia Wilson, Serials and Eresources Librarian. Prior to the visit from David and Ken, we considered the use cases and selected 5 areas that caused us significant “pain”. On reflection, we bit off rather more than we could chew and were able to collate our thoughts on 3 of the areas – relating to the purchase of ebooks , moving subscriptions to consortium deals and the gathering of usage statistics. In what proved an interesting and wide ranging discussion on the 27th of Jan, we focussed on the issues relating to moving subs to consortium deals.

This area has a particular angle for Scottish university libraries as a result of the SHEDL initiative which has successfully delivered extensive new content to Scottish HEIs from a range of publishers including CUP, OUP, Springer, Berg and others. The key differential between SHEDL and NESLI deals is that SHEDL is not an “opt-in” deal, we commit to the deal up front, publishers get a guaranteed income, a three year (typically) commitment and a reduced admin overhead (one bill not several) and we get additional content. We also reflected on the type of licence that an e-content licence is and how closely they mirror licences we sign for software, for example.

Stirling has benefited greatly from the SHEDL initiative, as seen in the increased use of the content our users can now access. In terms of managing the resources, it has had financial implications, both in terms of the amount we spend in this way and how we arrange our budgets. It also affects what we do with the related print content. Our discussion ever speculated on how we might make more efficient use of university finance systems and speed the process of ordering and “switching on” e-access. Maybe we got a little bit carried away.

Our discussions on ebooks, while somewhat shorter, were no less interesting. The buying process at Stirling is driven by the consortial purchasing framework which selects from three ebook vendors. Our processes are still fluid in this area, but managing a procurement process that requires a mini-competition poses some challenges. We long for the day when we can gather details of availability and price for ebooks content from all aggregators and publishers from a single location, comparethe(ebook)market .com? Not as all simples.

We look forward to sharing our experiences and thoughts with other libraries taking part in the project.

The Open University

On the 1st February 2011 a use case meeting was held at the Open University. The documentation is available as a pdf, and the team at the Open University wrote a short summary of the meeting from their point of view.

The Open University Library Services SCONUL ERM Case Study workshop was held on 1st February.  Facilitated by David Kay and Owen Stephens, the session brought together a group of staff across Library Services led by the Director Nicky Whitsed and including members of the Content and Licensing, Learning and Teaching and Systems teams.

Starting with a review of our E-resources processes we touched on our increasingly rapid move towards a mainly electronic model and looked at some of the differences that the OU model of study implies for Library Services.  At the OU students are currently studying a module at a time with gaps in study being the norm.   We talked about how OU models are changing and potential areas of convergence with other HE models as we move to the new funding regime.

Over the course of the four hour workshop we spent a lot of time looking at licensing, particularly the challenges of e-book licensing.  We talked about the approach we take to ensure that e-books can work with course models that may have as many as 3,000 students needing access to a single chapter at the same time for a single week of the course, but that isn’t looked at for the rest of the year.  What emerged was an understanding of the amount of work we do to ensure we have the right licenses for our needs.

We went through four possible use case scenarios (e-book procurement, usage data, budgeting and discovery to delivery) but settled for working up a use case on e-books.  Discussing our approach to Discovery to Delivery was interesting as it led us to a discussion about how we use the SFX knowledge base to add to our Ebsco Discovery Solution and the realisation that it would be feasible to use a Knowledge Base at an ‘above campus’ level in the same way.  Another interesting idea that came out of the discussions was the value that might be gained from some form of ‘e-books In Print’ solution.

On reflection the workshop gave us a chance to think about our processes and how they might change, where there might be opportunities to look at alternative ‘above the campus’ solutions, and where there might be convergence trends across the sector.