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teaching:the-erm-librarian [2019/01/25 15:40] (current)
seanburns created
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 +# The ERM Librarian
 +## Date: Wed 09 Jan 2019 
 +This semester we're learning about electronic resources and a bit about
 +how to manage them. We can begin first by outlining the kinds of things
 +that are electronic resources. [Karin Wikoff][1] (2011) outlines the
 +major categories, and these include:
 +- databases
 +    - A&I databases (abstracting and indexing) / bibliographic databases
 +    - full text databases
 +    - journal collections,​ such as Project Muse or JSTOR
 +    - specialized and hybrid databases, such as chemical databases,
 +      genetic databases, stock and business databases
 +    - primary source databases, such as original newspaper databases,
 +      oral histories, and like
 +- e-journals
 +    - open access or proprietary,​ and all the issues associated with
 +      these types
 +- e-books
 +    - one note about e-books -- here the technology is rather complex
 +      and differentiated dependinig on the copyright status, the
 +      filetype (PDF, ePUB, TXT, etc.), the purpose or genre (textbook,
 +      fiction or non-fiction,​ etc.). In many cases, e-books may be
 +      considered applications and not just plain or marked up text, and
 +      they also vary by platform or the application used to interact
 +      with the text, which may offer different types of functionality.
 +- linking technologies,​ e.g., where metadata is embedded in a URL and
 +  sent across networks, these include:
 +    - Z39.50
 +    - OpenURL
 +    - Federated search
 +The promise of linking technologies is that a user would be able to
 +start off in one system, such as an OPAC, and expand a query to other
 +systems without going out and initiating searches in those other
 +systems. For example, a user may start off at and find a
 +book that's available at a nearby library. The user would only need to
 +click on the local library link and be transferred to that library'​s
 +As you can from the above list, electronic resources are now a major
 +part of any library, whether academic, public, school, or special. And
 +the need to manage them and incorporate them into a library work flow is
 +of utter importance. This will be much of what we'll discuss and learn
 +about this semester. And it will be complicated. The print only era of
 +libraries was difficult enough for many reasons, but electronic
 +resources have raised the ante. Just think, civilizations have had 500
 +years to work out print technology, yet we've had only about four or so
 +decades to figure out digital technology. We're a long way off from
 +settling on anything stable and still face quite a few challenges and
 +frustrations. ​
 +## Our Readings -- the nature of ERM librarianship
 +Our readings this week function as nice introductions to the role of the
 +electronic resource librarian and really set the stage and framework for
 +this entire course. The first article by Stachokas surveys part of the
 +history of this specialist librarian role and then reports on a recent
 +study of what the electronic resource librarian does today and where she
 +or he is likely to be found. We'll talk about this in our discussion
 +In the second article, Hulseberg uses the field of technical
 +communication (TC) to interpret the field of electronic resource
 +librarianship. That is, Hulseberg takes the view that an electronic
 +resource librarian is, perhaps among other things, a technical
 +communicator. This is much different than being someone who simply helps
 +patrons with their technical problems. Rather, this is someone who does
 +advanced work in documenting and reporting technical processes. ​
 +Hulseberg highlights four important themes about ERM: one of the most
 +attractive to me is *Theme Two: Collaborating in a "web of
 +relationships."​* When I was an undergraduate,​ I imagined the kind of job
 +that I would like would be one that would involve connecting people
 +coming from different silos to each other and helping them communicate,​
 +which is often harder than it sounds. It turns out electronic resource
 +librarianship is about this kind of work. However, the other themes are
 +just as important, and in particular, theme four, about jurisdiction,​
 +highlights one of the most disruptive acts on librarianship in the last
 +thirty or forty years. Consider, for example, that most people,
 +researchers and scholars included, use non-library provided resources to
 +locate information. Additionally,​ more work, scholarly and non, has
 +become more freely available to the public as open access or like.
 +Jointly, this means, perhaps, that the library, academic, public, and
 +more, is hypothetically becoming disintermediated as a result of people
 +using sites like Google Scholar to retrieve works freely available on
 +the web. As a result, what becomes of the core jurisdiction of the
 +librarian? And of the electronic resource librarian, in particular? To
 +put this in concrete terms: a [recent paper][2] reported that
 +researchers in their survey stated they use Google Scholar 83% of the
 +time and EBSCOhost 29% of the time to find relevant material. That
 +raises questions, strategic and technical ones, about the role of the
 +librarian and library.
 +The third article, by Zhu, places an entirely different theoretical lens
 +on what it means to be an electronic resource librarian. Here Zhu posits
 +that the licensing aspect of electronic resource management has been a
 +major influence on ER librarianship identity. We will spend some time
 +this semester discussing licensing because it is a fundamental aspect of
 +the work. The reason why Zhu's findings are insightful is because of the
 +nature of electronic resources and the problems with copyright law,
 +which has been largely ineffective in dealing with digital works.
 +Copyright law, historically,​ has provided libraries with its most
 +important legal justification for collecting works, and while no one
 +could prove a counterfactual like this, it could be that if the internet
 +and the web had been created before the modern library, then libraries
 +might not exist at all, because such a legal justification would not
 +have existed. However, they do, of course, but the introduction of
 +digital and electronic resources has resulted in substantial
 +disruptions,​ organizational changes, and other issues. I'll ask you to
 +discuss the details of Zhu's article on the boards.
 +Stachokas, Hulseberg, and Zhu present the historical and environmental
 +forces that have shaped these views of this work and these identities,
 +and they each discuss various important themes that function as evidence
 +of these identities. In your discussions this week, focus on these
 +themes and talk about how you make sense of it all.
 +In conclusion, this semester we'll be exposed to a number of new
 +technologies that an electronic resource librarian must deal with and
 +also the implications of those technologies on the social aspects of our
 +work. These aspects include our work flows, our organizational
 +structures, our measurement activities, design and usability, security,
 +access, licensing and negotiating,​ and so forth. As we start to look
 +forward to look all of this, we might consider two questions:
 +1. How do we manage all of this electronic stuff? Not only does it
 +   ​include a lot of technology and has an impact on our patrons, but it
 +   also may involve a lot of librarians.
 +2. What exactly is an electronic resource librarian? I like this basic
 +   ​question because, due to perhaps various representations in the media
 +   ​(movies,​ TV shows, books, etc.) and various interactions we've had
 +   with librarians in our lifetimes, we might all have pretty
 +   ​well-defined,​ whether or not accurate, images of what a reference
 +   ​librarian is or what a cataloging librarian is, but what about an
 +   ​electronic resource librarian? This is something different, right?
 +   And it's not likely to be a position that's ever really captured and
 +   ​presented to the public.
 +Keep this these questions in mind as you read the material this week.
 +See you on the boards.
 +## Reference
 +Wikoff, K. (2011). Electronics Resources Management in the Academic
 +Library: A Professional Guide. ABC-CLIO.
teaching/the-erm-librarian.txt ยท Last modified: 2019/01/25 15:40 by seanburns