Elizabeth Winter March 25th, 2008
At the Workflow Roundtable, the group also discussed the ways in which they were using a variety of tools and technologies to assist with workflow-related issues.
Some of them were:
- A blog to track resource problems and experiences (to keep track for personal use, in case the same problem comes up again)
- Scanning/digitizing license agreements and keeping them on a shared drive so that they can be retrieved and emailed to library employees as needed.
- ERMs: Obviously, this is a major tool many libraries are working on using for many things; some mentioend using existing problem-tracking fields or creating customized fields for this purpose, so that library employees can see when resources are experiencing problems.
- Adapted ILS modules to deal with e-resources in lieu of an ERM, e.g., eTracker (Deberah England from Wright State Univ. presented on this during ER&L 2008)
- An internal listserv with a searchable archives feature for those who work with e-resources to share info.
- A wiki for communication between collection development and acquisitiosn regarding e-resource subscriptions (new purchases, renewals, changes, etc. We are doing this at Georgia Tech…a presentation I gave at ALA 2007 in part on this topic is available at http://r2consulting.org/ppnts/GTWikisEtc.ppt)
Elizabeth Winter March 25th, 2008
Due to popular demand on the ER&L 2008 Thought Cloud @ http://www.electroniclibrarian.org/tagcloud, a group of 25-30 met to discuss workflow on the last day of ER&L 2008.
The notes below are from the group’s discussion. Feel free to continue the discussion and share more ideas using the “comments” feature below…
Some problems/issues raised by participants regarding workflow were:
- Dealing with change
- New to e-resources work
- Stagnant workflow
- Too much work
- Staffing–limited skills/knowledge (are the people who have the time to do the work willing and able to do the work?)
- Communication between departments w/in your library
- Training (time-consuming, difficult)
- Staff mindset (print-based/inflexible/don’t want to learn new things)
- Huge variety of work (all vendors are different, many different types of tasks = hard to delegate)
- How to reorganize staff to deal with the mass of e-resources
Some suggestions offered to selected issues were:
Re. “too much work”:
- Make print your backlog: Prioritize training people on working with “e” and if you don’t have enough time to do everything, then don’t be afraid to allow print to pile up a bit while you work out the “e” workflow
- Involve students in check-in: Don’t be afraid of “devaluing” the work by allowing student workers to do it–there are some reliable and smart students out there (the trick is finding them!).
- Outsource: Prioritize the duties that need to be done across your department, regardless of whether they are print or “e”; then figure out which duties can be outsourced; outsource them and train/re-train staff in-house to do the specialized things that can’t be outsourced
Re. “Staffing–limited skills/knowledge (are the people who have the time to do the work willing and able to do the work?)”:
- If your organization is amenable to this and you don’t already have the staff in your department, figure out how to involved people in other areas of the library who are interested/willing/able to help with “e” work.
- Sometimes you just have to wait it out and take advantage of attrition. When someone retires or a position is vacated, do the work of retooling (and reclassifying, if needed) it to suit the work that needs to be done. Then make sure you don’t settle in your hiring process–get someone who is willing and able to do what needs to be done.
Re. “Staff mindset (print-based/inflexible/don’t want to learn new things)”:
- Do the sometimes difficult and tedious work of helping staff make the connection between print work and electronic work. Sit down and figure out how what you want them to do with “e” relates to what they already know how to do with print. Then explain it to them…several times, if necessary. It’s incumbent upon us as supervisors to do this bit of critical thinking/communication/salesmanship.
Bonnie Tijerina July 24th, 2007
I was not in attendance at NASIG this year, but Jill Emery and Dana Walker held what sounded like a lively conversation with a standing room only crowd in Louisville. Below are Dana’s notes.
Key issues discussed included:
â€¢ ERM implementation and workflow planning
â€¢ Staffing for electronic resource management
â€¢ Standards for electronic resource data management
Participants expressed the need for an ERM implementation and workflow planning web space. An online community where libraries could share ERM implementation experiences and issues. â€“ (We think ER&L site would be a perfect place for this!!)
There was considerable discussion regarding the quality of knowledgebase data. Is there a place for agents, other vendors, to improve the data in KBs.
Participants would like to see ERM vendors supply an optional default set up so initial ERM implementation could be simplified and streamlined.
How should libraries manage staffing for e-resources? If 60-70% of budget is spent on e-resources but only 20-30% of staffing thereâ€™s a gap. Typically managing e-resources requires more higher level staff.
â€¢ What level of staffing is needed both initially and for ongoing maintenance?
â€¢ We lack trained support staff to help with electronic resource management.
â€¢ What is the appropriate staff classification for ERM/SFX management?
Whatâ€™s still holding us back from driving the ERM market?
â€¢ We created home grown systems and stopped when vendors started creating ERMs.
â€¢ Biggest problem is coverage loads.
â€¢ Canâ€™t get standardized data from publishers or aggregators.
â€¢ More consulting between ERM vendors and libraries to understand local workflow.
NASIG and ER&L could potentially provide continuing education regional workshops for ERM implementation planning.
Bonnie Tijerina March 22nd, 2007
As “e” becomes more prevalent, we are shifting workflows, but how about the creation of a new department focused solely on electronic? At the ER&L Conference we heard a few libraries are doing that, one being UCLA. Sharon Farb, Angela Riggio and Andrew Stancliffe presented on how they used the workflow diagrams from the ERMI Report to create the Digital Collections Services Department. I am interested to see how this relatively new department grows/changes. This presentation brought up a few questions for me that I don’t have answers to but are on my mind:
- Are we putting appropriate time, effort, resources into what is (or is becoming) the majority of what we spend our materials budget on? If not, why not?
- What changes should we be making in resource allocation and, more importantly, how do we convince those who allocate resources?
susangue February 26th, 2007
I noticed in many of the sessions I attended that folks discussed the problem of vendors having the wrong contact person in their files (or hanging on to a selector’s email as a contact point). At Emory, we solved this by creating a list-serv type email address that anyone can be added to or taken off of. Right now we have 3 people reading and any one of the three of us can deal with issues sent in an email (down time of e-resources, renewals, invoices, etc).
This also helps if staff changes frequently. Vendors retain one single generic email address (eresources-L@myuniversity.edu) instead of MarySmith@myuniversity.edu. This way, when Mary Smith retires, gets “downsized” or wins the lottery, the vendor or publisher’s email doesn’t go to a sole email address to be lost in email limbo. The publisher has no idea who is reading our list-serv style email so they don’t notice a change if personnel changes or if a different person replies. The “from” address remains the listserv address.
It also works great when one of us is on vacation. A renewal doesn’t sit until the “right” person comes back. We’ve had a great response from vendors/publishers when sending the request to change to this address. We let them know it’s in their best interest to do so (”you will get paid faster if this is read sooner.”) We are also able to enter this into the email contact line when registering as administrators on web sites or registering to add access for single titles on smaller vendor sites.
I hope this is helpful to others.