One Year On: Evaluating the Initial Impact of the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL)

RIN and the Scottish Confederation of University and Research Libraries (SCURL) have released One Year On: Evaluating the Initial Impact of the Scottish Higher Education Digital Library (SHEDL).

Here's an excerpt:

SHEDL was formally established as a ‘bloc’ purchaser for the nineteen Scottish HEIs by SCURL, the Scottish Confederation of University & Research Libraries, in 2008. Its first three licences, comprising over 1,500 online journals published by the American Chemical Society, Cambridge University Press and Springer, came into effect in January 2009.

This report presents the findings of an evaluation of changes to usage and cost-per-use since SHEDL was established. This report cannot show long-term trends, since it covers only the first year of SHEDL’s existence. Nevertheless, it provides an overview of the initial changes that have followed the introduction of the three SHEDL licences.

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Evaluating E-Resources, SPEC Kit 316

ARL has released Evaluating E-Resources, SPEC Kit 316 .

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published Evaluating E-resources, SPEC Kit 316, which re-examines the ways in which ARL member libraries have (re)structured themselves to identify the availability of new e-resources in the market; evaluate them as candidates for acquisition; decide to acquire/purchase the e-resources; evaluate them prior to their renewal to determine their continued utility; and publicize or market the new e-resources. Nearly identical questions were posed regarding purchases/licensing by consortia and by individual libraries, enabling comparisons in process to be made.

By the March deadline, responses had been submitted by 73 of the 124 ARL member libraries for a response rate of 59%. The survey results indicated that both consortia and libraries deploy large amounts of staff resources to build e-resource collections and that identification and assessment activities are conducted as communal activities among consortia staff and librarians from across the organization.

There is a strong and somewhat surprising correlation between the ways in which research libraries use consortia to acquire and evaluate e-resources and the ways in which they directly acquire and evaluate e-resources. There is also a strong correlation in the ways in which these libraries are acquiring and evaluating highly specialized and multidisciplinary e-resources. Yet, despite considerable and widespread involvement of staff, the survey uncovered weaknesses in the procurement processes, policies, and procedures. These shortcomings not only open the potential for wasted staff time and poor decision making, they also carry potential legal ramifications, due to the nature of contractual licensing. The findings of the survey should be considered a call for concerted communication, organization, and action among those responsible for the acquisition and assessment of e-resources in ARL libraries.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of e-resource selection policies, e-resource request and evaluation procedures, descriptions of library and consortia e-resource selectors, job descriptions, and promotional methods.

The table of contents and executive summary from this SPEC Kit are available online at

User Behaviour Observational Study: Scholarly Digital Use and Information-Seeking Behaviour in Business and Economics

JISC has released User Behaviour Observational Study: Scholarly Digital Use and Information-Seeking Behaviour in Business and Economics.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The report covers the digital usage and information seeking behaviour of tens of thousands of business/economics/management students, researchers and academic staff. The intention was to inform and provide a context for the small-scale but detailed observational and interview studies undertaken by Middlesex University researchers for a JISC funded User Behaviour Observational Study (Business and Economics). Much of the data were mined from CIBER’s Virtual Scholar research programme and has not been previously published in this form. New data was also obtained from the studies CIBER are currently conducting, especially from the JISC national E-book Observatory project and the RIN funded E-journals study. Log data, the main source of information on usage and information seeking, covers a period of more than five years and the questionnaire data represents more than 5000 people so this probably represents the biggest and most comprehensive usage data set ever assembled on the subject. E-books and e-journals are covered and usage at the three JISC User Behaviour Observational Study case study institutions—LSE, Middlesex and Cranfield, are highlighted A whole variety of analyses are featured including: volume and, patterns of use (in terms of visits and page views), dwell time (session and page times), type of content viewed (PDF, abstracts etc), number of pages viewed in a session, methods of navigating towards content, age of material viewed, and number of searches conducted, names of titles used, user’s organization, age and gender, hardcopy v digital preferences, viewing/reading behaviour.

Presentations from JISC Digital Content Conference 2009

Presentations from the JISC Digital Content Conference 2009 are now available.

Here's an excerpt from the conference page:

In the context of the completion of Phase 2 of the JISC Digitisation Programme the JISC Digital Content Conference aims to discuss and decide the next steps that need to be taken to ensure the sustained integration of digitised content into research and education and is one of the most important events of 2009. It will consider the issues facing the UK's universities as they deal with creating, delivering, sustaining and using a whole range of digital content as well as looking into future opportunities and challenges. The following thematic strands will run throughout the conference: Managing Content; Content Development Strategies; Content In Education; User Engagement; Looking Into The Future.

Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today

Ithaka has released Sustaining Digital Resources: An On-the-Ground View of Projects Today.

Here's an excerpt:

In a multi-phase programme that began in late 2007, Ithaka studied the factors influencing the sustainability of not-for-profit digital resources. In a report issued in 2008, Sustainability and Revenue Models for Online Academic Resources, we examined factors that leaders of online initiatives face when developing sustainability plans for their content-based projects. The report presented overall guidelines for leaders to consider, as well as detailed descriptions of the success drivers and challenges for a range of different revenue models. In two workshops held in London and New York in the spring of 2008, Ithaka staff met with project leaders, programme officers at foundations and library administrators to discuss the report's findings. A strong consensus emerged that the framework and guidelines would be even more useful if tested against real-world examples illustrating the range of theoretical business models the report described. While Sustainability and Revenue Models presented the theory, readers wanted to see how the models were working in practice. How did project leaders define their mission and revenue goals? What steps did they take to develop revenue-generating and cost-management strategies? How did these align with the organisations' missions? To what extent were certain models successful, and how did project leaders define that success? Where were they running into problems?

Based on the community's interest in seeing concrete examples, we embarked on an exploration of the sustainability models of 12 selected digital resources. Our goal is to help illuminate the ways in which the general principles outlined in the first report play out in the real world, as well as to highlight lessons for leaders of other digital projects and other stakeholders in the community. Of course, there is no formula that will guarantee a project's sustainability, but as these case studies demonstrate, there are certain steps that leaders can take to maximise the value a project creates and to leverage that value to better position a resource for success.

ARL Board Passes Resolution against Nondisclosure or Confidentiality Clauses in Publisher/Vendor Agreements

The Association of Research Libraries Board of Directors has passed a resolution asking members to not sign publisher/vendor agreements that include nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses.

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Board of Directors voted in support of a resolution introduced by its Scholarly Communication Steering Committee to strongly encourage ARL member libraries to refrain from signing agreements with publishers or vendors, either individually or through consortia, that include nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses. In addition, the Board encourages ARL members to share upon request from other libraries information contained in these agreements (save for trade secrets or proprietary technical details) for licensing content, licensing software or other tools, and for digitization contracts with third-party vendors. . . .

The resolution was prepared in response to the concerns of membership that, as the amount of licensed content has increased, especially through packages of publications, nondisclosure or confidentiality clauses have had a negative impact on effective negotiations. The Scholarly Communication Steering Committee took the position that an open market will result in better licensing terms. In their discussions, the committee also noted the value of encouraging research projects and other efforts to gather information about the current market and licensing terms, such as an initiative being undertaken by Ted Bergstrom, University of California, Santa Barbara, Paul Courant, University of Michigan, and Preston McAfee, Cal Tech, to acquire information on bundled site-license contracts.

University of California Systemwide 2008 Use Statistics for Databases, E-Books, and Journals

The California Digital Library has released University of California systemwide 2008 use statistics for selected databases, e-books, and journals.

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

One of the observations from reading the 2008 usage reports is that there are wide variations in some reported statistics. Some of the changes may reflect actual usage trends and some may result from anomalies in the data. Below are some possible reasons for the usage changes:

  • New content or backfiles have been added
  • New features or links implemented on the interface associated with full-text access
  • Data mining activities
  • More external entry points for the full-text content, e.g., Google Scholar
  • Greater use of Google Scholar and other search engines instead of A&I databases, resulting in usage declines for those databases
  • Research interest changes on the campuses

In addition, some publishers are now providing and end-users have begun using software that allows users to easily download multiple full-text articles simultaneously.  For example, since September 2008, Elsevier has partnered with Quosa, a document download software company, to allow users to download up to 20 PDF versions of full-text research with only a few clicks.  CDL will be monitoring the effect these new tools may have on UC usage reports.

Ithaka’s 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher Education

Ithaka Harbors has published Ithaka’s 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher Education.

Here'e an excerpt from the Faculty and Librarian Surveys Web page:

Our 2006 survey of faculty members sought to determine their attitudes related to online resources, electronic archiving, teaching and learning and related subjects. This study affords the opportunity to develop trend analysis of many measurements that we collected in the 2003 and 2000 faculty surveys. . . . In 2006, for the first time, we are also able to offer extensive comparison with the attitudes and perspectives of academic librarians on the perceived roles of the library and librarian on campuses; the impact of transitioning to electronic material on library practices; the place of digital repositories in the campus information-services landscape; and the future plans of academic libraries. Librarians surveyed include both directors and collection development leaders from a wide variety of 4-year academic institutions across the United States.

Life Cycle Information for E-Literature: LIFE2 Conference Presentations

Presentations from the LIFE2 Conference are now available.

LIFE2 is the second phase of the LIFE project, which the below excerpt from the project's home page explains:

LIFE (Life Cycle Information for E-Literature) is a project looking at the life cycle of the collection and preservation of digital material. The project is a collaboration between University College London (UCL) Library Services and the British Library and funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC).

Licensing across Borders—A Round Table Discussion Podcast

JISC has released a new podcast titled Licensing across Borders—A Round Table Discussion.

The podcast deals with the Knowledge Exchange's multinational licensing initiative. Knowledge Exchange participants are JISC, Danmark's Elektroniske Fag-og Forskningsbibliotek (DEF), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), and the SURF Foundation.

reSearcher: Open Source Citation Management, Federated Searching, Link Resolution, and Serials Management

Simon Fraser University Library's Linux-based reSearcher, which is widely used in Canada, is an open source software suite that includes:

  • Citation Manager: "Citation Manager allows faculty, students and staff to quickly and accurately capture citations or references from library resources into their own personal, online database."
  • CUFTS (serials management): "As a knowledgebase of over 375 fulltext resources, CUFTS provides Electronic Resource Management services, an integrated serials database, link resolving, and MARC records for your library."
  • dbWIZ (federated searching): "dbWiz provides library users with a single interface for searching a wide range of library resources, and returns records in an integrated result listing."
  • GODOT (link resolution): "Launched from a link embedded in your library's citation databases or other resources, GODOT provides direct links to your fulltext collections, using the CUFTS knowledge base, and also reveals holdings in your catalogue or in other locations."

JISC E-Journal Archive Registry Study

JISC has released "Scoping Study for a Registry of Electronic Journals That Indicates Where They Are Archived."

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

The research and especially the interviews have confirmed the assumption behind the project that there is a need for more information, and more easily accessible information, about where e-journals are archived. However, what has also emerged strongly is that this issue cannot be considered in isolation, either from the overall context of relationships within the scholarly communication system, nor from other initiatives being undertaken to improve information flows e.g. in relation to the transfer of journal titles between publishers. . . .

Librarians felt that they were most likely to consult a registry in situations where they were considering taking out or renewing a subscription; considering cancellation of a print subscription in favour of an e-only subscription; contemplating relocating or discarding print holdings. The vast majority of potential users of such a registry would be library staff in university and national libraries, though organisations licensing e-journals on behalf of the library community would also be likely to use the registry to check compliance with licence conditions.

One of the key benefits of a registry is perceived to be the exposure of gaps in archive provision. This was identified by all types of stakeholder: librarians would want to be alerted to risks to any of their holdings; publishers who are making provision would like to see their efforts recognised and pressure placed on publishers who are not making satisfactory arrangements; archive organisations would also benefit as that effect fed through to more demand for their services.

The drawbacks to a registry as a solution to the acknowledged information gap were mainly seen as ones of practicality (keeping the information accurate and up to date), trust (especially whether a national solution is appropriate, and conversely whether an international solution is feasible) and sustainability of the funding model. Other solutions were suggested, mainly involving either WorldCat or ERM vendors such as Serials Solutions. The latter were also suggested as a complementary part of a solution involving, but not limited to, a registry.

NISO Releases SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding

The National Information Standards Organization has released SERU: A Shared Electronic Resource Understanding. The document "codifies best practices for the sale of e-resources without license agreements."

Here's an excerpt from the press release:

SERU offers publishers and librarians the opportunity to save both the time and the costs associated with a negotiated and signed license agreement by agreeing to operate within a framework of shared understanding and good faith.

Publication of SERU follows a trial-use period of June through December 2007, during which time librarians and publishers reported—all positively—on their experiences using the draft document. . . .

The SERU Working Group was launched in late 2006 following the recommendation of participants in a meeting exploring opportunities to reduce the use of licensing agreements. The 2006 meeting was sponsored by ARL, NISO, the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP). More information about the SERU Working Group, including FAQs and an electronic mailing list, can be found at

Detailed Notes and PowerPoints from the ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group Midwinter Meeting

Jennifer W. Lang has posted very detailed notes about the 2008 Midwinter meeting of the ALCTS Electronic Resources Interest Group.

Meeting speakers included Nicole Pelsinsky of Serials Solutions ("Making E-Resources Management More Manageable"), Timothy Savage of OCLC ("Automated E-Resource Cataloging"), and Peter Fletcher of the UCLA Library Cataloging and Metadata Center ("Provider Neutral Record for Remote Access Electronic Integrating Resources").

White Paper on Interoperability between Acquisitions Modules of Integrated Library Systems and Electronic Resource Management Systems

A subcommittee of the Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative, Phase II has released White Paper on Interoperability between Acquisitions Modules of Integrated Library Systems and Electronic Resource Management Systems.

Here's an excerpt from the "Executive Summary":

The following white paper investigates interoperability between the acquisitions modules of integrated library systems (ILS) and electronic resource management systems (ERMS). The first section of the paper features four case studies: UCLA, Cornell University, the Tri-College Consortium of Bryn Mawr, Haverford, & Swarthmore Colleges, and the Library of Congress. Each case highlights the library’s institutional environment, consortium considerations, systems architecture (ILS, ERMS, and link resolver), and electronic resource workflows. . . .

The second part of the paper reports on conversations held with product managers and other relevant staff of the leading ERMS. . . .

The paper concludes with a recap of the general value of ILS/ERMS interoperability and some of the more significant barriers to achieving it. Finally, it is proposed that further discussions among stakeholders take place, and that these discussions focus on establishing agreement on a small set of elements for exchange and on the development of standard identifiers.

New Electronic Resources Management Mailing List

The LITA/ALCTS Electronic Resources Management Interest Group has established a mailing list (

Here is a description of the IG from its home page:

Established in 2005. The purpose of the LITA/ALCTS Electronic Resources Management Interest Group is to promote and enable the exchange of information and discussion among librarians, publishers, electronic resource management system vendors and related service organizations concerning issues related to the management of electronic resources. The group will assist in developing appropriate and responsive systems and standards by fostering open and collaborative discussions and implementation issues.

Draft White Paper on Acquisitions and Electronic Resource Management Systems Interoperability

The Digital Library Federation’s Electronic Resource Management Initiative Phase II Steering Committee has released a draft white paper on the interoperability of ILS acquisition modules and electronic resource management systems.

Here is the introduction:

Electronic resource management systems are becoming an important tool in many libraries. Commercial ERMS development has been driven in part by the lack of accommodation within integrated library systems for elements specific to electronic resources. Financial aspects of acquiring e-resources, in particular, necessitate recording an array of data not suited to ILS acquisitions modules. Unlike other data recorded in an ERMS such as licensing and administrative terms, a moderate percentage of acquisitions data is redundant, being populated in ILS during the acquisitions process, while also being accommodated within ERMS in accordance with the data structure detailed in Electronic Resource Management: Report of the DLF Electronic Resource Management Initiative (Digital Library Federation, 2004). ERMS implementers are eager to automate the process by which acquisitions data move from their ILS into their ERMS. This interest has grown substantially over the past few months as the prospect of connecting financial data to usage statistics has been facilitated through the Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting Initiative (SUSHI), a NISO draft standard.

This white paper describes workflows at four libraries; reports on conversations held with product managers and other relevant staff of the leading ERMS; summarizes common themes; and suggests next steps. The paper is a draft for comment; it is hoped that those with interest in this area will provide insight to further this investigation.