Author Archives: ostephens

University of Wolverhampton

On 11th January a use case meeting was held at University of Wolverhampton. The documentation is available as a pdf, and Frances Machell, Hybrid Collections Coordinator wrote a short summary of the meeting from the point of view of the team at Wolverhampton.

The University of Wolverhampton’s ERM use case meeting was attended by Fiona Parsons, Director of Learning and Information Services, John Dowd, Hybrid Services Manager, and Frances Machell, Hybrid Collections Coordinator, and was ably facilitated by David Kay and Owen Stephens on behalf of the project. From Wolverhampton’s perspective, we had had no difficulty in choosing five cases to consider, with many of the cases suggested matching real work areas which we were already considering. However, the specific cases swiftly connected and overlapped, and there were many common themes.

Inefficiency is a major barrier: e-resources management requires too many multiple systems and too much manual intervention, which leaves us with little time for analysing and adding value to the data we collect. David and Owen asked us some challenging questions about what information genuinely supports decision making, for example when moving to e-only journals, and how ERM ultimately supports the institution’s wider strategic drivers.

The department had already done an extensive process mapping exercise to set down what we actually do. However, we found ourselves drawn to the use cases which were not ‘process’ issues as such, but rather the grey areas not easily covered by a process map: licensing and terms of access, budgeting, usage statistics. The discussion also revealed that we were not talking about an opposition between e-resources versus print, but more between subscription based resources versus one-off purchases.

Rather than monolithic systems, the discussion moved towards the opportunities presented by a shared “factory in the cloud”, not doing everything but doing core activities reliably and robustly. The measure of success for such as system would not be perfection, but rather – does it meet a need and is it used?

All in all, a thought provoking discussion, and one to which we were very pleased to contribute. The University of Wolverhampton are committed to this project and any future development in this area.

Royal Holloway, University of London

In order to understand fully how a ‘above campus’ electronic resource management system might impact on Universities and other institutions, this project will visit 16 sites to discuss different aspects of the electronic resource management process, and get feedback from the relevant staff on how processes might change if an ‘above campus’ system was introduced. The first institution to be visited was Royal Holloway, University of London. The resulting documentation is now available as a pdf. The Director of Library Services at Royal Holloway, John Tuck, also wrote a brief reflection of his experience of the meeting.

Our meeting with David and Ken took place just before Christmas. It brought together a Director, an Associate Director (E-Strategy), an E-Resources Manager and a Head of Academic Liaison. Talking from the perspective of the Director, the day was very successful and stimulating, even if it took us two hours to work out ‘how many librarians does it take to order a journal?’! Not only were we all involved in this important `above-campus’ Electronic Resources Management work but also we could share own areas of expertise with each other in a focussed and problem-solving environment.

Some of the key barriers we explored were:

  • difficulty of coordinating deadlines (subscription year vs university budget year vs cancellation deadlines)
  • difficulty of liaising between so many parties (librarians, academics, consortia, subscription agents, publishers)
  • difficulty of managing data across so many systems, which are not currently joined together.

We realised that the data we need is all there – we’ve got potentially very rich bibliographic, acquisitions and usage information which could create a useful decision support tool – if only we could get the various internal/external systems across the sector containing this data to ‘talk to each other’.

I learnt a lot (that perhaps I should know!) from my colleagues and from the consultants. I sensed that we were all fully engaged with an initiative which has national and consortial importance.

John Tuck, Director of Library Services, Royal Holloway, University of London