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DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative, Phase II

Description and Goals.

During fall 2002 DLF launched the Electronic Resource Management Initiative (ERMI) to foster “the rapid development of improved tools for managing licensed electronic resources – whether by individual libraries, consortia, or vendors.” The work of ERMI proceeded speedily and included a statement of Functional Requirements, workflow diagrams, a Data Dictionary, Entity Relationship Diagram (ERD), a “Data Structure” tying the dictionary and ERD together, as well as a report describing the problem, documents, and unresolved issues. The work of ERMI was completed and all documents made available electronically in draft form in August 2004, followed by electronic and print publication in June 2005.

Response to ERMI's work has been remarkable. For example, writing about the 2004 ALA Annual conference in Orlando, Andrew Pace noted, “If last year’s hot product was federated searching, then 2004 belongs to electronic resources management (ERM)” and of the impact of the DLF ERMI documents: “in a nearly unprecedented move, nearly every large automation vendor has used the specifications created by librarians.” (American Libraries 35, no. 7)

The second phase of this project capitalizes on and extends the visibility and success of ERMI, with a particular focus on data standards, issues related to license expression, and usage data.

Data Dictionary

A crucial element in the further discussion of data standards is the ERMI Data Dictionary and Data Structure, which consist of over 300 elements organized into 27 entities that exist in a complex web of relationships. While these documents have been used extensively by the vendors just mentioned, exercising rigor over such complex and wide-ranging works is a daunting task. It has been suggested that these documents -- or their merger into a revised Data Dictionary envisioned in the Phase 2 ERMI project -- could benefit from a rigorous review that might render the elements more internally consistent and extensible, and facilitate their machine interoperability with other contexts and systems. We are reviewing how best to improve the internal consistency and long-term viability of the Data Dictionary.

License Expression

A special focus on license expression is also appropriate at this time because interest in license expression issues has been increasing rapidly among various constituencies. For example, EDItEUR has been actively pursuing the possibility that the ERMI data elements for licensing might form the basis for a publishing industry license messaging standard within the ONIX family of transmission standards. A recent NISO-sponsored invitational conference on Digital Rights Expression that attracted a wide range of participants has also suggested the need to broaden conversations about license expression issues to include representatives from such “cultural memory” organizations as museums and archives.

Training and Advocacy

In addition, members of the ERMI Steering Group collaborated with ARL to present an introductory pre-conference workshop at the June 2005 ALA Annual Conference on analyzing license terms for use in ERM systems that rely on the ERMI data elements. Lastly, during that same conference, the ALA/ALCTS Publisher Vendor Library Relations Forum focused its attention on ERMI, and representatives from several publishers expressed an interest in being actively involved in further discussions. Following up on and extending these efforts is likely to be welcomed by the library, publishing, and vendor communities.

Usage Data

Lastly, the 2004 DLF ERMI report describes usage data as an area of increasing interest to libraries, and in a recent survey of librarians interested in electronic resources ( http://www.electroniclibrarian.com/node/22) “extracting and analyzing e-resource data” was the second most-commonly cited problem with which these librarians felt they needed help. During the ERMI project, steering group members heard from librarians they contacted about usage data that they felt that “a common framework for storing and presenting statistics from disparate sources should be provided.” Time and resources did not allow the ERMI steering group to detail libraries’ needs with respect to usage statistics and their management, and they instead pointed to the work of other groups, such as the ARL E-metrics initiative and Project COUNTER.

ERMI 2 will address problems in this area directly. For example, three steering group members are already actively engaged in the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI): http://www.library.cornell.edu/cts/elicensestudy/ermi2/sushi/. This collaborative work is developing a machine-to-machine Web protocol for moving Project COUNTER reports from a vendor site into an ERM system – a function which is proposed as an ERMI 2 deliverable. Such a protocol will enable data handling and manipulation to be much less time-consuming, and -- as ILS vendors are starting to define reporting functionalities -- it would be appropriate to develop a detailed statement of functional requirements in this area. This goal is in keeping with one of the original ERMI aims of fostering “. . . the rapid development of systems and tools for managing e-resources.”

General Strategy, Oversight, and Outreach.

The ERMI 2 Steering Group (SG) consists of 6 of the 7 members of the original group, along with two new members:

  • Timothy Jewell (University of Washington), coordinator
  • Ivy Anderson (California Digital Library)
  • Adam Chandler (Cornell)
  • Trisha Davis (Ohio State University)
  • Sharon Farb (UCLA Libraries)
  • Linda Miller (Library of Congress)
  • Angela Riggio (UCLA Libraries)
  • Nathan Robertson (University of Maryland Law Library)

The SG plans to establish topical working groups and work closely wherever possible with other key organizations like NISO and the Association of Research Libraries. In addition, where the original ERMI project operated with “reactor panels” for librarians and vendors but did not specifically include publishers, special efforts will be made to engage representatives of journal publishers in appropriate discussions.

Since the activities envisioned for ERMI 2 differ significantly from those pursued during the initial phase, it is useful to divide them into one of three categories, according to level of responsibility for outcomes and deliverables:

  • Type 1 (T1) activity will involve direct responsibility for the creation and production of deliverables. Members of the SG will either work together as a unit to create a product, or members of the SG will act as project managers for work brings in non-SG participants.
  • Type 2 (T2) will involve active and ongoing participation by members of the SG in projects sponsored and led by other organizations, towards goals that complement ERMI 2 goals.
  • Type 3 (T3) will involve the SG acting as a library-centric reactor panel that other organizations may call upon for advice and comment. Such comments could be offered in written form, or SG members could present them as conference speakers or panelists.

Project Goals and Deliverables.

1. Data Standards. The following 3 activities are envisioned as closely tied to one another:

a. Devise and offer the means for system vendors, publishers, librarians, and other interested parties to review the ERMI Data Dictionary and Structure documents in the light of actual implementation, practice, and experience to assess their adequacy; determine any required modifications; and issue any necessary revisions.
  • Deliverables:

    ERMI 2 Enhanced Data Dictionary: revision and integration of the previously-released versions of the Data Dictionary and Data Structure. [T1]

    Develop a set of schemas that can be used to validate ERMI record data and enable its future machine-to-machine transmission. [T1]
b. Using the ERMI Data Dictionary and its licensing data elements as a basis -- and working with NISO, EDItEUR and other appropriate publisher, vendor, and library groups on such related initiatives as ONIX for Licensing Terms -- establish practical, standardized ways of describing and communicating e-resource license provisions and related licensing metadata. c. With NISO, the NISO/EDItEUR Joint Working Party, and other appropriate organizations and groups, undertake a review of options for establishing an organizational structure for addressing ERM standards issues on an ongoing basis.
  • Deliverable:

    Recommended strategy and suitable agency identified for ongoing maintenance of the Enhanced Data Dictionary. [T2]

2. Professional Training in License Term Mapping.

Working closely with the appropriate groups working on the data standards issues mentioned above and building on the pilot ARL/DLF license language “mapping” workshop presented at the 2005 ALA Annual Conference, develop appropriate course materials and training opportunities to support the description and sharing of license information.

  • Deliverables:

    a. Syllabi and course materials for license language mapping skill. [T1]

    b. A minimum of two modified/updated versions of the pilot ARL/DLF workshop on Reading and Mapping License Language for Electronic Resource Management (http://www.arl.org/stats/work/mapping.html) presented at appropriate conferences. [T1]

    c. Plan for ongoing license mapping skills training. [T1]

3. E-Resource Usage Statistics.

Work closely with the Association of Research Libraries, Project COUNTER and other organizations and initiatives to further develop and refine requirements and data standards related to vendor/publisher-supplied usage statistics within the ERM environment.

  • Deliverables:

    a. A protocol for automated delivery of COUNTER-compliant vendor usage data to ERM systems, and a demonstration of its use in practice. [T1]

    b. Assist in planning for and presentation of a proposed NISO workshop on Project COUNTER usage data. [T2]

    c. A statement of functional requirements for vendor/publisher-supplied usage data harvesting, management, and reporting. [T1]

4. Coordinate ERMI work with related initiatives, including the joint DLF/NISO/Editeur License Information Exchange Standard Working Group and the proposed Institution Registry. [T2]

Meetings and Timelines.

Different for the various components/sub-projects, but generally:

1. Metadata work to be done in phases:

  • a. Data Dictionary work schedule will depend partly on the schedule adopted by NISO License Expression Working Group now being formed.
  • b. License mapping workshops will be presented at NASIG 2006 (Denver), the 2006 ALA Annual Conference (New Orleans), and at two other conferences during fall 2006 and winter 2007 to be announced.
  • c. Revised syllabi/course material work and plan for ongoing training will be completed by late summer 2006.

2. Usage data work to be accomplished by summer 2006:

  • a. Alpha transmission protocol to be released for comment by December 2005.
  • b. NISO workshop on Project COUNTER usage data in spring 2006.
  • c. Beta transmission protocol to be released for comment by summer 2006 and handed to an appropriate standards agency (NISO).
  • d. Statement of functional requirements by August 2006.

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