March 30, 2009

What is an Electronic Resource Librarian?

I've had a few friends ask what I do as an Electronic Resource Librarian, and I thought I'd share the answer more widely, in case others are curious.

If you are looking for a job as an Electronic Resource Librarian, I expect that most libraries (usually academic) would want:
  1. Experience with licensing for all kinds of electronic resources (individual journals, journal packages, databases, e-books, etc.)
  2. Experience using & troubleshooting access to same
  3. Experience obtaining, compiling, and analyzing usage data
One big issue that many electronic resource librarians are wrestling with is how to manage the resources -- often, but not always using something called an ERM (electronic resource management system). Elements that need to be managed can include (but are not limited to!):
  1. When the license was signed, by whom, and if by the university alone or in a consortium. When the license renews / expires;
  2. What the license permits (for Interlibrary Loan -- sending by print, email, or secure transmission; for electronic reserves -- in print? an electronic course pack?);
  3. The URL for patron access as well as the administrative interface;
  4. If & how the resource provides access to usage statistics. If so, notes about how & where to access them.
ERM systems are usually based on the Electronic Resource Management Initiative (ERMI), which covers most possible permutations of data elements that electronic resource librarians need to track.

I have blogged about troubleshooting UConn's e-resources at which provides a real-life sense of the issues we deal with.

Definitions from the Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science
For More Information (all of these are available in Gale's OneFile database)
  • Young, Jeanne. "Electronic records management on a shoestring: Three case studies." Information Management Journal 39.1 (Jan-Feb 2005): p58(3)
  • Tull, Laura. "Electronic resources and Web sites: replacing a back-end database with innovative's Electronic Resource Management." Information Technology and Libraries 24.4 (Dec 2005): p163(7).
  • Grogg, Jill. "Investing in digital: as electronic spending rises, ERAMS, ERM, and URM systems step in to help with acquisitions and reporting." Library Journal 132.9 (May 15, 2007): p30(4).
  • "The ERMI and its offspring." Library Technology Reports 42.2 (March-April 2006): p14(8).

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