Electronic resource management

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Electronic resource management (ERM) is the practices and techniques used by librarians and library staff to track the selection, acquisition, licensing, access, maintenance, usage, evaluation, retention, and de-selection of a library’s electronic information resources. These resources include, but are not limited to, electronic journals, electronic books, streaming media, databases, datasets, CD-ROMs, and computer software.


Early history[edit]

Following the advent of the Digital Revolution, libraries began incorporating electronic information resources into their collections and services. The inclusion of these resources was driven by the core values of library science, as expressed by Raganathan’s five laws of library science, especially the belief that electronic technologies made access to information more direct, convenient, and timely.[1] By the end of 1990s, however, it became clear that the techniques used by librarians to manage physical resources did not transfer well to the electronic medium. In January 2000, the Digital Library Federation (DLF) conducted an informal survey aimed at identifying the major challenges facing research libraries regarding their use of information technologies. The survey revealed that digital collection development was considered the greatest source of anxiety and uncertainty among librarians, and that knowledge regarding the handling of electronic resources was rarely shared outside individual libraries. As a result, the Digital Library Federation created the Collection Practices Initiative and commissioned three reports with the goal of documenting effective practices in electronic resource management.[2]

In his 2001 report entitled Selection and Presentation of Commercially Available Electronic Resources, Timothy Jewell of the University of Washington discussed the home-grown and ad hoc management techniques academic libraries were employing to handle the acquisition, licensing, and activation of electronic resources. He concluded that “existing library management systems and software lack important features and functionality” to track electronic resources and that “coordinated efforts to define needs and establish standards may prove to be of broad benefit.”[2]

Electronic Resource Management Initiative[edit]

As a result of Jewell's report, the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) and the Digital Library Federation sponsored a workshop in May 2002 with the goal of beginning “the process of developing a standard set of data definitions and common XML schema, encompassing names, definitions, and semantic relationships for elements related to identification, access and licensing” of electronic resources.[3] The workshop, held in Chicago, was attended by 40 librarians and several library vendors, including representatives from EBSCO, ExLibris, Innovative Interfaces, and Serials Solutions.[4] Following this workshop, the Digital Library Federation established the Electronic Resource Management Initiative, or ERMI, with the stated goal of creating “a coordinated solution” by “developing the common specifications...for the management of license agreements, related administrative information, and the internal processes associated with licensed electronic resources.”[5] The initiative resulted in several documents being published by the Digital Library Federation, which detailed the typical electronic resource workflow and defined entities, relationships, and data elements related to electronic resource management.[6]

The second phase of the Electronic Resource Management Initiative, called ERMI 2, began in 2005 with a “focus on data standards, issues related to license expression, and usage data.”[7] Coordinated by Timothy Jewell, members of the initiative’s steering group worked closely with other publisher, vendor, and library groups, including the Association of Research Libraries, NISO, and COUNTER. The initiative resulted in the development of several working groups, such as the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI), which are still functional today. ERMI 2 ended in December 2008 after the publication of a final report by Timothy Jewell.[8]

Features of systems[edit]

Features of some ERM systems include:[9]

  • Supporting acquisition and management of licensed e-resources
  • May be integrated into other library system modules or may be a standalone system
  • May have a public interface, either separate or integrated into the OPAC
  • Providing descriptions of resources at the package (database) level and relate package contents (e.g. e-journals) to the package record
  • Encoding and perhaps publicly displaying licensed rights such as e-reserves, coursepacks, and interlibrary loan
  • Tracking electronic resources from point of order through licensing and final access
  • Providing information about the data providers, consortial arrangements, access platform
  • Providing contact information for all content providers
  • Logging problems with resources and providers
  • Providing customizable e-mail alerting systems (e.g. notices to managers when actions are expected or required)
  • Linking license documents to resource records
  • Supports retrieval of SUSHI usage statistics

Examples of products[edit]

Several library automation companies have developed ERM products, including several with generic-sounding names for specific commercial products. Some open-source ERM systems also exist.

AMSL Linked Data approach by Leipzig University Library, open source


Consortia Manager

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hawthorne, Dalene (2008-01-01). History of Electronic Resources. IGI Global. pp. 1–15. doi:10.4018/978-1-59904-891-8.ch001. 
  2. ^ a b Jewell, Timothy D. (2001). Selection and Presentation of Commercially Available Electronic Resources: Issues and Practices (PDF) (Report). Digital Library Federation. p. iv. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  3. ^ "Electronic Resource Management Standards - National Information Standards Organization". www.niso.org. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  4. ^ "DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative". Digital Library Federation. Digital Library Federation. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  5. ^ "Electronic Resource Management". Digital Library Federation. Digital Library Federation. 2004. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  6. ^ Jewell,, Timothy D.; et al. (2004). Electronic Resource Management: Report of the DLF ERM Initiative (PDF) (Report). Digital Library Federation. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  7. ^ "DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative, Phase II". Digital Library Federation. Digital Library Federation. 2006. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  8. ^ Jewell, Timothy D. (2008-12-30). DLF Electronic Resources Management Initiative, Phase II: Final Report (PDF) (Report). Digital Library Federation. Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  9. ^ Feather, Celeste (2007-03-22). ERM Systems: What Are They and What Do They Do?. Columbus Metropolitan Library, Columbus, OH: OhioNET. 

Further reading[edit]