UC Electronic Resources Management Planning Meeting: Needs, Priorities, and Systems Final Report April 2004

April 2004


The two-day UC Electronic Resources Management Planning Meeting was held at UC Irvine on March 11-12, 2004. The SOPAG initiative was an effort to bring the campuses and CDL together for a common understanding in terms of an electronic resources management system (ERMS), related vocabulary, vendor products, and standards development. [1] It was also a tremendous opportunity to bring together all of the players involved in electronic resources management (ERM) for the first time in order to determine common needs and priorities. [2]

The session was developed by a Program Planning Committee appointed by SOPAG, chaired by Stefanie Wittenbach (R), and including Sharon Farb (LA), Lorelei Tanji (I), Tony Harvell (SD), and Steve Toub (CDL). [3] The Planning Committee designed the two days to include presentations on existing vendor systems, the Digital Library Federation Electronic Resources Management Initiative, breakout sessions to discuss common needs and priorities, and open discussion for the whole group. [4]

Meeting Preparation

In addition, participants were sent background reading and a campus survey to be completed prior to the Planning Meeting. [5] The surveys were returned by all campuses and CDL in a very timely fashion. The results [6] show much commonality in points of pain and greatest needs. The parts of ERM that are not working well or are not presently available were identified as follows:

  • No single master list of titles available via CDL with their current status, etc.
  • Need to track resources from trial through licensing and renewal
  • Track content of journal packages, including migration of titles and relationship to print
  • Redundancy of data within campus ILSs, local title lists, spreadsheets, and SFX.
  • A-Z list creation/maintenance
  • Tracking of license details

The greatest needs were identified as:

  • A single database to track workflow status and licensing and payment information at the title/package level
  • Ability to impart, export and synchronize information from multiple sources without duplicate effort
  • Easy access to information on trials/products under consideration for local and systemwide decision-making
  • Ability to generate customized management and statistics reports
  • Real time information

The greatest barriers to implementing a systemwide ERMS were identified as:

  • The multiplicity of existing tools and data structures, especially the different ILSs.
  • The lack of consistent and standardized data
  • The inherent inefficiencies of collective decision-making
  • The difficulty of achieving consensus due to differing campus priorities and ability to participate.
  • The resources required to migrate to new tools and the complexity of such a migration
  • Lack of resources – staff and money
  • Immaturity of ERMS products
  • Difficulty of merging local and shared data streams and workflows

Meeting Sessions, Day 1

The meeting began with a presentation by Tony Harvell (SD) on basic ERM definitions, workflow, decision-making, tools, and a discussion of the campus survey data described above. [7] Following lunch, Sharon Farb and Angela Riggio (LA) provided in-depth information on the work of the Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative. [8] The next session included presentations on several products currently available that address different aspects of ERM. Steve Toub (CDL) presented “ERM Building Blocks and Systems: Introduction to the Current Landscape” and discussed various parts of an ERM data model, including data management, access, and reporting and analysis tools. In addition, Steve described a number of vendor products either currently available or on the horizon. [9] Following Steve’s introductions were presentations listed below:
Tony Harvell (SD), “Overview of III’s Electronic Resources Management System” [10]
Margery Tibbetts (CDL), “Can UC-eLinks Help?” [11]
Anita Colby (LA), “Introducing UCLA’s ERDb (Electronic Resources Database)” [12]
Each speaker discussed the system’s features for handling management data, holdings/coverage, and other functionality.

The first day concluded with a discussion amongst the whole group about reaction to the vendor systems demonstrated and preliminary identification of consortial needs. In continuing to bring the group to a common level of understanding, we talked about basic definitions/behavior of Tier 1 and Tier 2 resources, Systemwide Library Planning, and locally-licensed resources. [13]

Meeting Session, Day 2

Day 2 of the Planning Meeting began with small group sessions so the participants could talk in detail about the CDL Needs Statement (based on the DLF functionality requirements) and what might be lacking from it. The small groups were organized by system functionality/workflow areas:

Group 1: Collection development decision-making
Groups 2 & 3: Ongoing e-resource management and tracking
Group 4: Access management, trouble-shooting, interoperability, linking
Group 5: End-user discovery, instruction and outreach

Meeting participants were divided into these breakout groups based on their job titles/areas of responsibility. The groups identified general principles that applied to their discussion area as well as specifics to be incorporated into the needs statement by specific element number. The needs statement has yet to be revised to incorporate these comments. [14] The whole group reconvened following the breakout session and discussed each group’s findings. What began to emerge were possible next steps for UC to take towards accomplishing a systemwide ERMS, common themes and principles, and a clear need for access to comprehensive information about systemwide and locally-licensed electronic resources and related print subscriptions.

The afternoon breakout sessions grouped participants by campus in order to allow the campus and CDL staff to caucus on the most immediate needs. There was consensus by several campuses on the immediate need for a centralized database containing detailed, title-level information for systemwide and local electronic resources. Others also identified an immediate need for relief from the duplication of effort throughout the current ERM model and sustainability with current staffing. [15]


To summarize, the main points that were reiterated throughout the Planning Meeting were:

  • Need to determine the extent of coupling between a central ERMS and campus ILSs; what information must reside in the ILS and what can be served up by the central ERMS?
  • How much would a central ERMS cost?
  • We must reduce human interaction whenever possible.
  • Data must be credible, reliable, current, consistent and standardized.
  • There is a need for a single data warehouse for all campus serials information that can be repackaged for various needs, including customizable reports.
  • An ERMS must be sustainable with existing staff.
  • Workflows should drive data flow.
  • We need to address ERM system wide, not just an ERMS.
  • There is a need to improve communication and tools in order to reduce redundancy across campuses.
  • The system needs to be a record of decision-making along the way with status, where it is in the process/pipeline, including both a voting mechanism and historical information.

The session concluded with consensus amongst the group for SOPAG to create a task force to further address the many issues raised during the Planning Meeting, including developing functional specifications for the immediate needs identified and determining priorities and recommending a planning process for addressing ERM.


  1. Executive summary report [PDF]
  2. Goals/Outcomes/Preparation Needed [PDF]
  3. Committee appointment and charge [PDF]
  4. Meeting agenda [PDF], list of participants [XLS]
  5. “Campus/CDL Survey” [PDF], “Report of the DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative; Appendix A: Functional Requirements for Electronic Resource Management” [PDF], “Report of the DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative, Appendix B: Electronic Resource Management Workflow Flowchart” [PDF], “CDL Electronic Resource Management Needs Statement draft 1/16/04” [PDF], “The Many Facets of Managing Electronic Resources” [PDF], by Marshall Breeding, Information Today, v. 24, no. 1 (Jan. 2004)
  6. Survey summary spreadsheets and campus responses:
    summary [XLS]
    CDL [PDF]
    UC Merced [PDF]
    UC Berkeley [PDF]
    UC Davis [PDF]
    UC Irvine [PDF]
    UCLA [PDF]
    UC Riverside [PDF]
    UC Santa Cruz [PDF]
    UC San Diego [PDF]
    UC San Francisco [PDF]
  7. Tony Harvell’s slides [PPT]
  8. “The DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative” [PPT]
  9. “ERM Building Blocks and Systems: Introduction to the Current Landscape” [PPT] and
    “A rough comparison between Serials Solutions and SFX” [PDF]
  10. “Overview of III’s Electronic Resources Management System” [PPT]
  11. “Can UC-eLinks Help?” [PPT]
  12. “Introducing UCLA’s ERDb (Electronic Resources Database)” [PPT]
  13. “Definitions – Thursday, March 11, 2004” session notes [PDF]
  14. Group session comments:
    ERM notes 3-12-04 am [PDF]
    ERMS Data Flow Diagram.pdf [PDF]
    ERMS Group 3 Breakout Session 301204 am.doc [PDF]
    ERMS Group1 collection development morning session [PDF]
    ERMS Management-Tracking-Acq-Cataloging Needs [PDF]
    ERM notes 3-12-04 am [PDF]
  15. “Friday Summary, March 12, 2004”  [PDF]session notes,
    ERM Immediate Needs by Campus [PDF]