Archive for May, 2009

Thanks from Minnesota

I’d like to thank William, Galadriel, Norma, and Jen, for sharing their wonderful work with the larger library community. I’m the e-resources librarian at Gustavus Adolphus College, and we’ve been looking for an affordable ERM solution and were very excited to read about this ERM in William and Galadriel’s Computers in Libraries article in September 2008. We downloaded the ERM earlier this spring and have begun entering (and using) vendor data and admin website access data. I’ve had wonderful e-mail discussions with Galadriel about the joys and challenges of e-resources management, and about the structure of ERMes (thanks for adding our suggestion of allowing multiple subjects/departments for a resource!). I look forward to continuing these discussions on the blog. We decided to wait for this new version and instructions before adding more data, and look forward to entering all of our databases and using the newly-improved ERMes to its full potential!

Anna Hulseberg

Welcome from Bill Doering

As the co-originator of ERMes, I wanted to introduce myself to the blog.  I have worked at UW-La Crosse for about 15 years.  I started as a systems librarians which has morphed to include cataloging, all forms of technology and digital initiatives.  I started with Access about 10 years ago when we migrated to Endeavor as our library catalog.  I write Access queries on what seems a daily basis in order to get data out of our system.  I have also used Access to solve other challenges I’ve encountered at my job and personal life.  Yet, I’ve barely tapped the surface of what Access can do.  Several years ago, I put a student on porting some of our most used Access reports to PHP.  That was a huge success.  PHP means that we don’t have to install ODBC drivers, which means that faculty and students can run queries against our library catalog in real time without bothering me.  Yet, I digress.  My taining on Access is somewhat dated now that 2007 has come out.  Does anyone know of good classes to learn what’s new, without starting from ground zero? 

UW-L started developing an ERM because we needed a short term solution to a problem – several people needed access to our e-resources and everything was scattered.  I put together something fairly quickly to solve the problem and thought others might benefit from a database which provided some basic organization.  It’s taken off quickly and code has been greatly inproved during ERMes first year of existence.  I’ve given no less than 3 presentations and written one journal article on what is now ERMes and after one year 14 libraries are using it ERMes in production with numerous other institutions waiting for what is now release 2009_05.

I will be updating the instructions and then taking a new round of enhancements.  I haven’t decided what those will be.  So, if you have ideas, please post those to the blog.

William Doering

New Release > ERMes v. 2009.05

I’m very excited to share the good news that the latest release of ERMes (v. 2009.05) is now available!

Here is what William Doering has to say about this new and greatly improved version:

I apologize for not getting out a new release of ERMes (yes we now have a name) earlier.  But you won’t be disappointed.  This release is a total rewrite of the ERM which includes improved logic, a new interface, and includes new functionality available in Access 2007 (yes, you now have to use Access 2007 to use ERMes).

This release also includes COUNTER functionality and additional ASP code and instructions for creating an A-Z list of databases just in case your Metalib or Libdata instance goes down which it did for us.

This release would not have been possible without the assistance of Norma Dowell from Iowa State University and Jen Holman from UW-L who provided substantial code.  I guess this makes ERMes open source.  If you want to contribute code, please let me know before you start, as we need to coordinate sole access to the Access database code so multiple people aren’t changes things which would need to get reconciled and may in fact conflict.

I will get new instructions to ERMes web site shortly.

Check out the ERMes web site for the new download and migration tips.

Say Cheese ERMes

So what does ERMes look like?

Here are a few screen captures from the upcoming release.

ERMes switchboard; the first thing you see.

ERMes' switchboard; the first thing you see.

Example screen for a resorce.

Example screen for a resource.

Another example of a resource entry screen.

Another example of a resource info screen.

Example problem log entry for tracking e-resource access, content, and other errors.

Example problem log entry for tracking e-resource access, content, and other errors.

Reports

Reports

New Release Coming Soon

Thanks to Norma J. Dowell’s excellent work, a new greatly improved version of ERMes is forthcoming. Tomorrow, William Doering is going to port our ERMes data into the new version. Then, once testing is complete, Bill will make the new version available for download via the ERMes website.

Greetings from Iowa

Hello everyone!  I would like to introduce myself and give a bit of background of my involvement with this project.

I am a Library Assistant IV at Iowa State University Library.  I have been working in the Subject Departments for over twelve years now.  I just completed my MSIT in System Design and Programming from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN.

During my time as a library assistant in Reference and Instruction, I have learned a lot about statistics and keeping them in line.  Back in 2001, the department decided that there had to be a better way to keep track of statistics, and for the sake of figuring out which journal titles were not being used, we should find a good way to track usage.  We formed a group that went about the task of contacting vendors for statistical usage of their journals and databases.  My task in this venture was to assemble the statistics into a usable form for everyone to read.

Starting with Excel tables, I compiled all the various username/password combination into a working file which became quite burdensome as the number of titles and vendors grew.  In March of 2002 when Project COUNTER began, we found this to be the perfect time to organize statistics into a project database.  The decision was made to locally build an Access database to house the information for faculty to gather. Forms and reports were added to this simple database to find information more easily.  Our collections department and faculty still use this today.  While we did not see the need to actively gather monthly statistics on databases, journal statistics were constantly being gathered and reported.

Fast forward to 2008 and the advent of budget cuts.  It was deemed necessary by our administration to perform a major overhaul of our subscriptions and cut where we could.  I was asked to provide statistics for databases in general.  While I had a copy of ERMes and played with it once in a while, I had little idea how powerful a tool it would be for this project.

With the wealth of knowledge I have gained over the years building Access databases alongside this excellent open source application, I spent some time updating the ERMes for use with Access 2007 for our local faculty.  Coupling our tables with this application made it a lot easier to “see what we might be missing” and use the tool to provide faculty and administration with accurate, up-to-date information about databases and journals by library users.  Once I got this “new” version of ERMes to work, I sent a copy to William Doering for review and comment.  It is a distinct honor to be considered part of the team as a result of that email attachment!

Over the next few months, I would like to share how things are going here while using ERMes.  I still do a lot of local tweaking of the system, but always look forward to sharing with the community of folks who use ERMes.  So you may see information on how we made subtle changes locally to fit what we are doing locally.

I am looking forward to sharing thoughts with you all!

Norma J Dowell
LAIV, Iowa State University Library

This I Believe

On a good day, the idea of managing e-resources in the neat tidy work flows analogous to buying books is hilarious as every time I think I’ve grasped what it is I’m managing,  I turn around and realize that my plan was based on looking at a reflection of our e-resource collection in a fun house mirror.

While, I don’t have the superpowers to morph e-resources into matching entities for easier wrangling, I do have an amazing colleague, William Doering, who was able to turn my blueprint of a “database of databases” into ERMes, an open source ERM tool.

I believe that librarians are fiercely talented folks that are good at sharing and have the ability to change the world, at least the world of e-resource management.  I believe that having the right tools to do our jobs will help us survive the fun house, and that if the people who manage e-resources create the ERM, then we’ll end up with a powerful tool that does exactly what we need and doesn’t cost five figures to purchase + annual maintenance fees.

Please share your ideas about e-resource management and ERMes, and then let’s change the world, or at least conquer the fun house.


ERMes Website

Download the latest version of ERMes, get instructions, etc. http://murphylibrary.uwlax.edu/erm/

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

May 2009
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