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World Library and Information Congress 73rd IFLA General Conference and Council Cape Town Pre-Conference, August 16-17, 2007. Electronic Resource Management Systems: Alternative Solutions Dalene Hawthorne Emporia State University

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World Library and Information Congress73rd IFLA General Conference and CouncilCape Town Pre-Conference, August 16-17, 2007

Electronic Resource Management Systems: Alternative Solutions

Dalene HawthorneEmporia State University

Jennifer WatsonUniversity of Tennessee Health Science Center


Electronic Resource Management Systems (ERMS) now exist, but many libraries do not yet own them

Our premise about why:

ERMS are prohibitively expensive for many libraries to purchase and implement

We wanted to know:

Does the size of the collection factor in the decision-making process?

Are there other reasons libraries have not yet purchased an ERMS?

What are libraries doing when they can’t justify the purchase of a full-blown ERMS?

Are there alternative solutions we can share?

brief literature review
Brief Literature Review

Focused the review on the period after commercial ERM Systems became available

Most of the literature on ERMS since 2004 is about implementation of commercial ERM Systems

Some limitations of commercial systems emerged from these articles:

the lack of a solution for organizations with multiple integrated library systems, such as consortia

the lack of integration with acquisitions data

commercial systems don’t address local needs

erms survey
ERMS Survey

Emporia State University and University of Tennessee Health Science Center representatives presented their alternative solutions at the North American Serials Interest Group meeting

Realized from the discussion there was a lot of interest in alternatives to full-blown ERM Systems

erms survey1
ERMS Survey

Decided to conduct a survey to try to learn more about ERM Systems in libraries

Developed the survey and announced it on e-mail lists in the U.S. and Europe

Left the survey open for a little over a week

survey results
Survey Results

196 respondents completed the survey

Where are they located?

73.2% United States

17.1% Europe

3.2% Canada

2.8% Australasia

1.9% Asia

1.4% Africa

0.5% South America

survey results1
Survey Results
  • What types of libraries do they represent?
    • 81.8% Academic
    • 15.0% Special/Other
    • 2.8% Public
    • 0.5% School
how many libraries own a commercial erms
How many libraries own a commercial ERMS?
  • 50% of responding libraries own commercial ERMS
  • Not sure everyone understood the question in the same way
is price a limiting factor
Is price a limiting factor?
  • 104 respondents do not own ERMS
    • 47% indicated cost as a very relevant factor
    • Cost was the most relevant factor for libraries that do not own a commercial ERMS
does the number of e resources matter
Does the number of e-resources matter?

Survey Question: Approximately how many electronic resource licenses does your library manage/renew annually?If you buy a bundle of 12 e-journals or a database, count that as 1 license. Count an individual subscription to an e-journal as 1 license. Please estimate the total even if licenses are handled outside of your library.

number of resources as a factor in owning an erms
Number of resources as a factor in owning an ERMS

Approximately 40% of libraries with fewer than 100 e-resources own a commercial ERMS

Approximately 57% of libraries with more than 100 e-resources own a commercial ERMS

number of resources as a factor in owning an erms1
Number of resources as a factor in owning an ERMS
  • However, 49% of libraries that manage more than 500 e-resources own a commercial ERMS
other factors
Other factors?
  • 28% cited concerns about interoperability
  • 27% cited concerns about functionality
  • 25% indicated limited staff and funding to manage an ERMS
  • 18% said already have home grown system
other factors1
Other factors?

15% cited limited resources to research which system to buy

15% indicated reliance on consortia

12% said current workflow was OK

11% said they had too few e-resources to justify the expense

10% cited unsupportive management

alternatives in practice
Alternatives in Practice
  • Homegrown databases
  • Vendor tools
  • New uses for existing tools
  • Content management systems
homegrown databases
Homegrown databases
  • No annual subscription fee
  • Ability to instantly update and alter database
  • Customize database to needs of library
  • Ensure database will integrate into website
  • Staff must keep up with e-journal changes
  • Technical expertise to maintain database
vendor tools
Vendor Tools
  • Help handles aspects of e-resources management
  • Inspire developers of home-grown tools
new uses for existing tools
New Uses for Existing Tools
  • Library catalog
  • Blackboard
  • Blog
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Paper calendar
content management system
Content Management System

Provides multiple points of access to databases on the library’s website

Staff have an easy-to-use interface to add and edit databases


Electronic resource management challenges our organizational skills and tools

As with any system selection, it is critical to analyze the needs of the institution and select an appropriate solution

System can be as simple as a paper calendar or as complex as a commercial ERMS

  • Are there interesting ideas we haven’t covered?
  • Did anyone identify an option that might be useful?

Thank You!

Dalene Hawthorne, Emporia State University,

Jennifer Watson, University of Tennessee Health Science Center,

We thank Kimberly Parker for graciously agreeing to present for us!