ERMes and Journals> What should that look like?

As planned back in September,  we’re now seeking feedback about how you would like ERMes to function as a tool to manage journals at the title level:

While the above link takes you to the ‘official’ survey questions; if I have missed a key feature or if you wish to share a narrative vision of how you want to manage journals in ERMes, please contact me: galadriel dot chilton at uconn dot edu.

Our goal is to keep this open source ERM freely available and as simple as possible given the complexities of managing e-resources and journals; your help in this endeavor is very much appreciated!

Implementing ERMes: Part 1

As I mentioned in my last post, I am excited to explore the applicability of ERMes as an e-resource management system at the University of Connecticut. While I have yet to determine if ERMes is the right ERM for the long-term, I am planning an immediate implementation of ERMes because:

  1. UConn Libraries’ existing home-grown ERM is primarily used to generate an A-Z list and subject pages.
  2. The existing ERM does not have reports and the reports in ERMes are integral to my work!
  3. Though UConn has a great ITS team and a programmer to support the existing ERM, I do not have the skills to quickly customize it on my own.
  4. The existing ERM does not include cost information, but does include nearly all of the data entry fields listed in the DLF ERM Initiative’s Electronic Resource Management System Data. Structure. This means that the system is quite complex and includes more unused fields than used fields.
  5. I need to quickly gain an understanding of UConn’s e-resource collection and using a system I already know will save time.
  6. If ERMes is not appropriate as a long-term ERM, I will have all the e-resource data in one place which will make it much easier to migrate to another ERM.

With that said, I will be documenting my implementation process with hopes that doing so will help other users!

The following installment is short, but shows how I have a back-up instance of ERMes, and how I customize the Preliminary Information tables for Access and Source.

The Access table is intended identifies which campuses, locations, or groups that have access to an e-resource while the Source table identifies who is paying subscription and purchase fees. But of course, because it is ERMes, these fields can be customized and changed to match your needs!

Movie IconImplementing ERMes Video: Part 1


Note: For more detailed instructions and information about implementing ERMes, please see the instructions and release notes on the ERMes website.

Breaking Radio Blog Silence

I know that many current and potential ERMes users have been wondering what in the world is happening with ERMes and when the next release of ERMes would come. I also know that the lack of concrete information has likely been perplexing and discouraging. Please take heart and know that as an open source electronic resource management system, ERMes is still evolving just as the user community keeps growing!

Here is an overdue update:

  • We’re working with a development partner that would help facilitate multi-user access. We saw a demo of his work last May and believe that it has the potential to be a non-MS Access, optional ERMes add-on that would  fill the need of read-only access to ERMes data. This work will continue  through the fall.
  • Though we have four top priorities for the next release, the one that I am asked most about is serials management at the title level. However, as Bill and I begin to ponder the implications and discuss options, we realized that, because managing e-journals was not part of my e-resource management work, we would be delving into unknown territory. Thus, we became concerned that the options we were considering were inappropriate, and the last thing we want to do with ERMes is create a tool based on guesses that – like many other ERMS – doesn’t meet users’ needs. So, in the coming weeks, I will be posting a short survey, and seek feedback from ERMes users that *do* have e-journal management expertise  to determine exactly what serial management at the title level should be in ERMes.
  • In August, I began a new position at the University of Connecticut’s Homer Babbige Library and Jen Holman took over my e-resource responsibilities at UW-L. Because of the transition, and the above challenges, William  and I decided that, it would be best to pause development until we were more comfortable and certain that the new developments met our expectations and would be what users want. Though such changes mean development delay, I am thrilled that these changes mean that I will be managing e-resources in a new environment where I can explore whether ERMes might or might not work at a much larger institution. Additionally,  Jen’s experience with access and serials management have already lead to some beautiful tweaks and new reports in ERMes!

Soon, I will be posting a link seeking feedback about serials management and new how-too information, but in the meantime, apologies for the blog silence!

Back from New Orleans

On June 26, William and I had the pleasure of presenting at this year’s annual American Library Association conference with Benjamin Heet and Robin Malott from the University of Notre Dame.  We had a good audience and for me, it was fantastic to hear more about CORAL, and to be able to see the unique characteristics of CORAL and ERMes as open source ERMS.

As we noted in the program, CORAL is often described as well-suited for large institutions. The CORAL feature for e-resource workflow tracking that e-mails alerts and the module for managing licenses were two of many highlights for me. ERMes on the other hand, is primarily used by small to medium-sized organizations. Right now our instance of ERMes has 384 resource records and ERMes’ reports are a feature that I rely on heavily for quickly determining cost-per-use, cost increases, renewal time periods, and lists of resources by subject and source.

Presentation materials are available via SlideShare:

Open Source Electronic Resource Management Systems: CORAL and ERMes

Speakers’ Notes

PowerPoint Slides

Program Description: To tame the complex and ever-changing electronic resource management landscape, electronic resource management systems need to be flexible, evolving and affordable. Two such systems are ERMes and CORAL, developed by libraries for libraries and made freely available. ERMes runs in Microsoft Access and is suitable for small and medium libraries. Released in summer 2010, CORAL, is a modular, web-based system. Presenters will discuss the development, use and future plans for each system.

51 and Beyond

As of November 2010, 51 institutions are using ERMes to help manager their library’s e-resources. Wow. We’re humbled and amazed by this, especially considering that last November, there were 31.

Now, we’re looking forward to the 2011 release….

Thanks to ERMes user feedback, and our own experience, here are our top priorities for ERMes v.2011.05:

  • Data migration tool to aid transition to new releases of ERMes,
  • Multi-user access,
  • Web interface/accss.
  • Serials management at the title level

We’re also excited to share that we’ve identified partnerships with others to help these priorities become a reality!

We’ll begin work on v.2011.05 in early 2011; so, if you have any comments, feedback, suggests, etc, please let us know: Galadriel Chilton (chilton dot gala at uwlax dot edu) or William Doering (doering dot will at uwlax dot edu).

Feedback Wanted!

For William and I, the two most important parts of ERMes development are:

  1. That ERMes is a free, open-source electronic resource management system always and forever, and
  2. That enhancements are user driven; ERMes is developed by librarians for librarians.

With this in mind, we’re beginning to look into the next round of enhancements and into grant funds to support developments that are beyond our expertise. We also need your feedback.

If you use ERMes or are even thinking about using ERMes, please take a moment to complete this short survey.

Thank you!

P.S. There’s still time to register for tomorrow’s ERMes webinar!

New Version of A to Z List

Hi ERMes Users,

I’m Jen Holman and I work with Galadriel and William at UW-La Crosse.  I know just enough about web-enabling Access databases to be dangerous, but somewhat helpful.  We use ERMes data as a backup when our A-to-Z list (currently powered by LibData from the University of Minnesota)  goes down.  Over the summer, I updated the existing ASP code to  The code is now much simpler and should be less taxing to your web server (which must be running at least ASP.Net 2.x).

Our page looks like this:

The data come from just three tables within ERMes:

To simplify matters, I created a new database (which lives on the web server) and pulled in just those three tables.  This database is in Access 2003 format with an .mdb extension.  To update the data, I just import the tables again.

The code is very simple as well:

I use SharePoint to load the database and page to our web server.  I am not sure what problems you may encounter loading this code, but please let me know.

I also have some questions for the ERMes community.  I wonder if any other campuses are using the older code?  Will you use the new code?  Is there additional functionality you would like to see in an a-to-z list?  Would anyone want to help develop new functionality, like paging?

Please respond in the comments.

A zip file containing the code and a sample database are available for download from the ERMes web site.

ERMes Webinars

William and I have arranged for our staff library services organization (Wisconsin Library Services, WiLS) to host two free ERMes info/training sessions.  Below are descriptions of each session and a link to register, but if you have any questions please let us know ( or  We are particularly interested in the September 16th sessions as this will help us with future ERMes development.

WiLS is hosting two session on ERMes, the Open Source Electronic Resource Management System developed by William Doering of UW-La Crosse to help Galadriel Chilton help manage their campuses Electronic Resources.   The first session on September 10 is primarily intended for people who are interested in, but not currently using ERMes.  The second session on September 16 is an update for current users.

September 10, 2010; 2:00-3:30 CDT
Introduction to ERMes
(Open Source Electronic Resource Management System)
In spring 2008, William Doering created a basic ERM system (see flyer) to help Galadriel Chilton manage the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Electronic Resources. Now in its third release, ERMes is used by nearly 43 libraries world-wide. In this informational session, Bill and Galadriel will share the history and goals of ERMes, discuss what ERMes can and cannot do, and answer participant questions about this freely available e-resource management tool. Register for free session.

September 16, 2010; 2:00-3:30 CDT
The New ERMes

With the primary release of ERMes 2010.05 available, William Doering and Galadriel Chilton wish to provide ERMes users with an update of their ideas for this open source ERMS. Because their goal is to drive enhancements from user needs, this session will consist of a brief overview of future plans as well as significant time for discussion and questions. Please feel free to submit questions and discussion topics prior to the event ( or Register for free session.

Where in the world are ERMes users?

At 43 spots on the globe:

ERMes Goes to ALA

On Sunday, June 27, from 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. I will be part of a panel on open source tools for technical services and William will be on hand to answer questions.

Here’s more about the program:

Open to Change: Open Source and Next Generation ILS and ERMS
ALCTS – AS, ALCTS – CRS Washington Convention Center -146C Collection Management & Technical Services
Join us in thinking outside the out-of-the-box, proprietary ILS or ERM as the members of this panel discuss the latest developments in open source library applications. Although much attention has been paid to the promise of open source and new technologies for the OPAC, this panel will shed light on how next-generation technology, open source projects, and the widespread sharing of home-grown solutions can help change the game in acquisitions and e-resource management.
Speakers: Galadriel Chilton, University of Wisconsin La Crosse, Electronic Resources Librarian; Bill Erickson, Equinox Software, VP of Software Development & Integration; Joshua Ferraro, LibLime, CEO; Robert H. McDonald, Indiana University, Associate Dean for Library Technologies & Executive Director, Kuali OLE.

Then, on Sunday evening at 5:30 pm, William and I will be at the Coutts Award Ceremony in the Renaissance Washington Hotel, Grand Ballroom South/Central.

If you’re available before or after either event, please seek us out, we’d both love to talk with hear your ideas for ERMes’ future, answer questions, etc.!

ERMes Website

Download the latest version of ERMes, get instructions, etc.

Author Affiliations

Galadriel Chilton, Electronic Resources Management Librarian, University of Connecticut

William Doering, Systems, Catalog & Digital Initiatives Librarian, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Norma J. Dowell, Library Assistant IV, Iowa State University

Jen Holman, Periodicals & Acquisitions Librarian, University of Wisconsin - La Crosse

Anna Hulseberg, Academic Librarian, Gustavus Adolphus College

ERMes Users

Alverno College Library

Baker College

Beloit College

Bethel University

Birmingham City University

Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health

Capella University

Cardinal Stritch University

Carleton College

Carroll University

Deerfield Academy

Drake University

Florida Institute of Technology

Georgia Perimeter College

Gustavus Adolphus College

Harrisburg Area Community College

Illinois Wesleyan University

Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

Iowa State University

Irish Research eLibrary

Lincoln University (Lincoln, New Zealand)

Loyola University Health Science Library

Manhattanville College

Monterey Peninsula College

National Science Foundation

Nicolet Area Technical College

Northern Michigan University

Northwestern College

Oakton Community College

Presbyterian College

Ripon College

Rivier College

St. Norbert College

Southwestern College

Springfield College

SUNY-Rockland Community College

Technical University of Denmark

University of Alabama in Huntsville

University of Idaho

University of the Pacific - Stockton

University of Wisconsin-Colleges

University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh

University of Wisconsin-Platteville

University of Wisconsin-River Falls

Viterbo University

Walden University

Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds

ERMes Articles & Presentations

Presentation: The ERMes Story: A Work in Progress (Galadriel Chilton) part of Open to Change: Open Source and Next Generation ILS and ERMS
ALA Annual, Washington, DC, June 2010

Presentation: The ERMes Story: A Work in Progress (Galadriel Chilton)
Minnesota Innovative Users Group Conference, October 2009

Article: ERMes: Open Source Simplicity for Your E-Resource Management By William Doering and Galadriel Chilton
Computers in Libraries 29(8), September 2009

Presentation: Keeping It All Together: One Library's Strategy for Electronic Resource Management (William Doering)
WAAL, April 2009

Presentation: Getting a Handle on E-Resource Management: An ERM Panel (Galadriel Chilton)
Library Technology Conference 2009, March 2009

Article: A Locally Created ERM: How and Why We Did It By William Doering and Galadriel Chilton
Computers in Libraries 28(8), September 2008

September 2021