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Ejournal Forum Column: DRAFT FIVE/FINAL DRAFT Staffing for Electronic Resource Management: t e Results of a Sur!



While most libraries are still spending significant portions of their budgets on print resources, there is no doubt that library collections of electronic resources have grown dramatically in the last five years. Indeed, the authors of this installment of The E-Journal Forum both find ourselves deeply immersed in the purchase and maintenance of electronic resources every wor day and have witnessed this ama!ing growth firsthand. "ne of us holds a position with the title of #igital $esources %c&uisitions 'ibrarian( the other is head of )ollection *anagement +ervices but spends well over ,- percent of her time wor ing with e-resources.

"ur perception, not only based on our own e.periences but on the e.changes we see on a variety of discussion lists, on articles in the published literature, on the number of relevant sessions at professional meetings and on personal communications with our peers across the country, is that the problem of staffing for eresources has reached a crisis level in our profession that demands data, attention, and action. In this column, we offer the results of an informal survey intended to gauge eresource staffing trends. "ur e.pectation is that librarians in


our goal was to investigate whether the amount of staff allocated to eresources in academic libraries is ade&uate to meet the demands created by e. we simply wanted to gather enough information to tease out trends. When we conceived the survey. T e Sur!e": Met o#olog" The survey we prepared was intended to identify how prevalent the crisis in staffing is. but not as significantly as the collection has grown. we found that in every case the amount of staff devoted to the activities we as ed about has grown in this period. In other words. +ince neither of us has the time to fill out surveys. While we gathered relevant staffing data from /001 and 2--2. We sent the survey to appro.imately thirty colleagues in academic libraries around the 4nited +tates( we ended up with fifteen responses. we decided from the outset that ours would be as brief as possible 3 we would not attempt to offer a statistically representative sample for full statistical analysis. including our own.all ind of libraries can benefit by access to information about what other institutions are doing to handle the wor load created by eresources.plosive growth in eresource collections. +i. The 2 . of the fifteen respondents provided information for all of the units in a decentrali!ed library system( another two responded for selected units in a decentrali!ed system. "ur analysis concentrates on the picture provided for 2--2.

ro.ayment .e.8 What we wanted was information about how libraries are staffing for activities involving the ac&uisition and maintenance of e-resources and access to them. i.urchase . or gathering usage statistics5/6.%) wor $ecord *anagement9*aintenance of <on-". We elected not to as about selecting. mar eting or teaching patrons how to use e-resources. We included the following functional areas related to e-resource ac&uisition in the survey: • • • • • • • %c&uisition9.%) systems . We told those to whom we sent the survey that they could provide an estimate if they were not certain of a precise number of people involved in any given activity.rocess 'icensing +etting up %ccess Invoicing9. and that they should feel free to include percentages of one FTE9person when that person is involved in multiple tas s.other seven respondents all indicated that they were providing information for a centrali!ed or single library.y +erver *anagement 3 . the behind the scenes activities.roblem +olving )ataloging9". and we did not define or restrict the term 7electronic resources.

The si. *eanwhile.percent increase in FTE.percent to a high of /2?. with a range from 1percent to @0-. The sample included large and medium si!ed academic libraries and a mi. The average e-collection growth during these five years was an astounding //-. institutions that responded to a &uestion as ing them to estimate overall e-collection growth in the five years from /001 to 2--2 provided answers ranging from a low of /-. of public and private institutions. $e" Fin#ings: Staff %ro&t Versus Collection %ro&t "ur impressions that staffing for e-resources is largely inade&uate were confirmed by the survey responses.percent.percent. This average growth in FTE is not 4 . the staff growth reported by the fourteen respondents to this &uestion in this same five-year time period averaged ?/@ percent.roblems +ystems +upport +ite *onitoring +etting up9maintaining lin s to e=ournals from I>% databases %ll respondents were guaranteed anonymity to encourage an open and honest response to the survey and to avoid any possibility of negative repercussions for the respondents at their home institutions.• • • • • 4nion 'isting Troubleshooting %ccess .

then.pect or even need staff and collection to have to grown in e.percentC. then. Four respondents reported growth more than doubling. but collections grew at least ten times larger in the same period B/--. )learly. areas in which staff was consistently reported as inade&uate Bby half or more responding to the &uestionC.%) record management( troubleshooting access problems( site monitoring 5 .percent increaseC. *ore meaningful is the fact that eight of fourteen respondents reported staff growth for e-resource support hovering around the /---2-.act proportion to each other. "verall. they have not been adding staff in a way that comes close to being in proportion to collection growth. including: licensing( cataloging( non". and no respondent indicated staff growth of less than 1-A. There were si. we can conclude that for this group of libraries. while libraries have been adding staff in response to needs for eresource support. invoicing Bseven of eight reporting ade&uate staffC and systems support Beleven of thirteen reporting ade&uate staffC were clearly ade&uately staffed in all respondentsD institutions. given the wide range of reported staff growth.particularly meaningful. This conclusion is supported by the respondentsD answers to &uestions about whether various aspects of e-resource management were ade&uately staffed. "f the nine areas for which this &uestion was as ed. staff at least doubled B/-.percent range. While one would not e. the fact that staff and collection growth are an order of magnitude apart does strongly suggest that more staff needs to be deployed in e-collection support. only two.

"ne librarian offered the following: 7I do not thin my answers reflect how understaffed we are for dealing with digital resources.for content changes( and setting up lin s between I>% databases and fullte. and interdependent tas s that re&uire a 6 . Eecause we have added only one staff position to assist with the proliferation of electronic materials.isting wor as not decreased.pectations and has also added a layer of comple. but many. where we find few if any FroutineD tas s related to digital resource management. "ne area. many comple. with four institutions believing it was an area that was ade&uately staffed and three institutions believing it was not. which have been added on top of other duties. we are as ing e. but that the demands electronic resources place on staff are &ualitatively different than the demands of print.ity in the delivery of information that re&uires greater e.pertise among staff.ed set of responses.isting librarians and staff to continually do additional wor while the e.8 This same librarian ma es the important point that not only is more staff needed to deal with digital resources. $espondentsD comments support these observations. in that 7BtCechnology has raised e.t. presented a mi.8 )ertainly we have noticed this trend both in the *IT and 4niversity at Euffalo 'ibraries. the ac&uisition9purchase process.

8 This library does not believe this distribution is very effective. however. added significantly to staff wor ing on electronic resources. *ost of the libraries responding to our survey have.y server. staffing sort of FhappenedD to accommodate.broad nowledge of library systems. The ey to ma ing a distributed system wor would seem to be creating a team approach to pull together distributed functions. and our pro. the campus networ . 7 . rather than relying on the ind of fragmented system with many players and no well-developed communication channels that can emerge organically in response to the pressure of new tas s related to eresources.8 %nother notes that: 7We have the process spread out over many depart5ments6. as noted above. In many cases. as it allows all of the staff to wor with the resources that are becoming the most significant and predominant in libraries today. the growth in staffing was more an FabsorptionD of tas s rather than getting new staff. a distributed model may indeed be the best model. "ne library. "ne comments: 7#ue to enormous growth of eresources. rather than hiring staff to handle the particular demands of digital resources. In the long run. reports that 7We have approached the staffing to meet the demands created by new electronic resources through a distributed approach with only two positions having very specific and substantial functions related to the process.8 Two other librarians reinforce this theme. as well as broad and deep nowledge of the particular products we have purchased. for e. but most have done so by distributing the wor among many additional players.ample.

"nly four sites indicated that they had hired a new or additional librarian to handle e-resource ac&uisition( the remaining institutions reported that the individuals handling eresource ac&uisitions had been reassigned from other tas s or had simply had the duties added to e. In every case.isting wor loads. involved as well.Eelow we review each of these functional areas for e-resource management to provide a more in-depth review of what the respondents reported. 8 . +even said that they have one or more positions with responsibilities dedicated to ac&uiring electronic resources. %s noted above. '(ser!e# Tren#s Electronic Resource Ac)uisitions %ll fifteen libraries responding to the survey indicated that they are actively involved in the ac&uisition of electronic resources. although nine libraries said that they have support staff. the level of the staff member responsible for ac&uiring e-resources was that of a librarian. respondents from four out of seven institutions indicated that they believe that they have sufficient staff to ade&uately handle eresource ac&uisition( three believe staff to be insufficient in this area. often 7high level8 support staff.

in microform.Licensing Electronic Resources In the olden days of yore.imately . though support staff or even student assistants were sometimes said to be involved in controlling the associated paperwor . address ranges or passwords. having one or more dedicated positions 3 the range was from appro. to provide information about I. the library staff seldom needed to have anyone review a license agreement before cran ing out a purchase order. "nce again. Three libraries had new positions added to ta e responsibility for 9 . and with the introduction of licensed Internet resources. all fifteen libraries have someone who does this activity. but in this case more high level support staff are stepping up to the plate. Setting *+ Access 'ibraries need to have staff to handle the registration of e-resources.FTE to two staff members. the person in &uestion is a librarian. In every case. and to actually set up access to e-resources. With the introduction of computer files. %ll fifteen of the responding libraries are involved with licensing agreements. things began to change. or on an audio or video medium. "nly four sites reported having sufficient staff to ade&uately review and negotiate license agreements. and more than half 3 eight 3 have someone on staff who is specifically assigned to handle them./. "nce again. Ten libraries have librarians handling registration. having someone on staff to review licenses and perhaps to consult with legal advisors became a fact of life. when library resources were purchased on paper. si. three sites indicated that a new librarian was involved in handling this activity.

to . FTEs involved in fund management for eresource invoices. to 2.AC -or.a"ment . naturally all fifteen reported being involved in paying and resolving problems with invoices for these products. In 2--2.%) wor .ro(lem Sol!ing +ince all fifteen of the libraries surveyed indicated that they were purchasing eresources.. librarian and support staff lines to eresource cataloging and ". Eleven of the fifteen libraries reported having a librarian handling or to some e. In only two cases were new staff lines added to help with this new wor load.. The remaining institutions reported between . Fourteen of the fifteen libraries responding to the survey indicated that they have staff involved in cataloging eresources or in otherwise representing the presence of these materials in their online catalogs. four indicated that their institutions have dedicated anywhere from . the percentage of that staff memberDs time dedicated to eresources ranged from . "f the fourteen. "ne respondent stated that 10 .FTE.the tas ( others have been handling eresource registration through reassignments or adding new duties to someoneDs =ob description.tent involved with invoice payment and problem resolution for eresources.2.. In!oicing/.to ./.-.1. but seven institutions indicated that they believe that they have ade&uate staff to meet these needs. Four of the institutions responding to the survey indicated that they have dedicated some percentage of a staff member to specifically wor with eresource invoices and problems. Cataloging/'.

% second said 7Hes 5we are ade&uately staffed for this need6. or perhaps in addition to.8 That is.AC S"stems We indicated on our survey that this category should include 7Web design for delivery of e-resources and adding resources to Web pages. respondents said that their institution has devoted some percentage of a new FTE to dealing with non-". Fourteen of the fifteen librarians responding to the survey indicated that their institutions are actively involved in providing and maintaining this ind of access to eresources. We 11 . +i.%)s has been handled through reassignment and9or the addition of duties to current wor loads. ranging in total from . Recor# Management/Maintenance of Non/'. access through the ". until aggregator titles are added. The respondent from one of the institutions which had added a new staff position to help deal with this new wor load said that they were ade&uately staffed for it. "nly one institution firmly indicated that they believe they are ade&uately staffed to handle the eresource cataloging wor load.their institution 7would li e a new digital resources catalog librarian. Eight institutions said that they currently have staff dedicated to this G FTE and generally said to be either librarians or systems9computer support staff. we intended for this &uestion to address access to eresources through library websites rather than. the potentially highly labor intensive wor of representing e-resources in ".8 In all but one case.%).8 Ten institutions believe they are inade&uately staffed to provide access to eresources through websites.%) access to eresources./.

*nion Listing Eleven out of our fifteen responding institutions indicate that they are actively involved in union listing. "nly three institutions indicated that they had hired new staff to. 12 .wonder how outsourcing solutions such as those offered by +erials +olutions and T#<et will affect this area in the future.indicated that we have a position dedicated to handling the union listing of eformats. institutions said that they are ade&uately staffed to handle the activity.y server.ro0" Ser!er Management Fourteen of the fifteen institutions responding to the survey have pro. and the fifteenth is in the process of creating one.-? to 2 FTE. the tas falls to librarians. our survey form failed to clearly as whether they union list eresources. at least in part. with the amount of time ranging from . The results lead us to surmise that they do not.y server management. Iowever. In other cases. Ten sites specifically mention systems or computing professionals or technology support staff( in the remainder of cases. Five institutions have staff dedicated to handling the pro. +i. help with pro. Trou(les ooting Access .isting staff have had to absorb this new wor load.y servers. . since not one of those responding 3 including ourselves -.

-. %ll fifteen respondents indicated that they are involved with this activity( si. but that they need to get additional staff involved.FTE to troubleshooting. indicate that they have dedicated anywhere from ./. systems. and in only three cases were new staff members hired to help. but the remainder indicated that they are. this heading included a parenthetical remar e. to .If your library offers eresources.y server management is considered separately. and some support staff. S"stems Su++ort "n the survey. "ne institution indicated that until they added titles from aggregator databases that they had been in good shape. The respondent from one institution indicated that her institution actively discourages purchasing or establishing access to eresources that re&uire encoded passwords.. then without a doubt it needs staff to troubleshoot inevitable access problems.2. Three institutions had new hires involved in systems 13 . Two of the fifteen institutions said that they are not involved in systems activities such as writing scripts to encode . while eight believed that they did not have ade&uate staff. The level of staff involved included librarians. Eoth librarians and support staff are reported as regularly involved.. Five institutions reported having FTE dedicated to systems support.plaining that by systems support we meant to include such activities as writing scripts to encode passwords for access( pro. Five institutions said that they believe that they have ade&uate staff available for troubleshooting. although the amount of time involved is very small. ranging from .. or systems support staff.

but in two cases student assistants. *ost respondents did not estimate the staff time devoted to this 2 FTE and included not only librarians. We as ed respondents to tell us not only whether they actively monitor access to their eresources. four 14 . but whether they do so manually or with the assistance of a software program.isting staff oversee this wor load. "f the nine institutions monitoring eresources.t can be interrupted.cept for two institutions which are incorporating new FTEs. the responses ranged from . said that they did both automated lin chec ing and manual site monitoring. computer only one institution indicated that it had insufficient staff to meet this need. sometimes because a new pricing model has been adopted by the publisher or provider and the library has either not paid the new fee or signed a newly re&uired license agreement. <ine institutions said that they have FTEs dedicated to site monitoring. and support staff. two said that they did not and four left the &uestion blan or indicated that they had not understood the &uestion. Two institutions said that they have only automated lin chec ing( si. Site Monitoring There are many reasons why libraries need to monitor the lin s that they set up for eresources. <ine libraries answered that they engage in site monitoring. Eresources can disappear altogether( their 4$'+ can and do change( their scopes and titles can change( and access to full te. e. but of the five sites that did provide an answer. "ne site that said that it monitored its eresources failed to say how it chec ed. E./.

Conclusion "ur survey confirmed the sense that we had from our own institutions and those of our peers that academic libraries are in dire need of more staff to support the ac&uisition and ongoing management of digital .indicated that they are ade&uately staffed for the tas while five said that they are not..tent in this activity in 2--2. while not insignificant.ternal full te. though the amount of staff time devoted is low. The most critical problems reported were in the functional areas of licensing( cataloging( record management for non-". has not been sufficient to eep up with collection growth. Thirteen respondents indicated that they are involved to some e. $espondents were clear that staff growth.t. E. but only one was said to be so in /001. Setting *+/Maintaining Lin./. and +FJ. Five of the thirteen have a dedicated position. and only two 3 the same two 3 reported having sufficient staff to handle the wor load. support staff and in one case student assistants help with this activity. .t.%) systems( troubleshooting access problems( site monitoring for content and access changes( and setting up lin s to fullte.pect this area will demand even more staff in the future as more libraries implement +FJ or other similar lin ing schemes. computer staff. 15 .ub*edDs 'in "ut.FTE. ranging from . I+IDs 'in s. Two institutions reported having new staff lines to deal with lin s from I>% databases to available full te. We e. 'ibrarians.s to E1ournals from I2A Data(ases "ur final &uestion dealt with the concept of software that allows libraries to create lin s from bibliographic databases to e..t articles stored on other Web-based systems.amples include "vidDs "pen'in s.

those of a )oordinator of Electronic )ollections. a )oordinator of 'ibraries Web #evelopment and +ervices. The 'ibraries have created lines for an %ssistant %c&uisitions 'ibrarian for Electronic $esources and for a Lirtual 'ibrary +upport 'ibrarian. In this same fiscal year 2--2. The 4niversity at Euffalo 'ibraries are decentrali!ed and have not effected an overall reorgani!ation to ta e eresource ac&uisition and management into account. or GG percent.2. "ther new positions. of its total serial dollars to electronic resources. it seems relevant to provide e. and from two part-time positions amounting to a total of /. in response to the enormous growth in the number and range of eresources offered since /001. the *IT 'ibraries spent K1 percent of the total new serial funds on electronic resources. FTEs in 2--/. to parts of si. Iowever. %t *IT. involve 16 . %t the time of this writing at the close of fiscal year 2--2. the *IT 'ibraries have devoted a full one-third. This strong emphasis on collecting electronic resources demands a comparable commitment of staff. and a Iead of Electronic Information and %ccess +ervices in the 'aw 'ibrary. different positions for the latter part of 2--2. in response to the pressures of this growth.amples of relevant staffing changes from the authorsD institutions. the 'ibraries have =ust completed a reorgani!ation that shifts responsibility for ac&uiring and maintaining this collection from one service unit to three.In closing. adding roughly one full FTE to eresource ac&uisition and support.

but if this group of libraries is at all representative. This effort at both the 4niversity at Euffalo and *IT to reorgani!e and9or reassign duties to accommodate growth in eresource collections reflects a recognition of the need seen across this survey to focus more staff on the labor-intensive =obs of ac&uiring and maintaining electronic resources. these efforts have not been ade&uate to meet the rather astonishing level of demand created by the volume 17 . a number of staff in )entral Technical +ervices. We are creating local reports that will help us improve control and monitor access. licensing. Eut the bottom line that emerges from our survey is that in academic libraries today. %s discussed above. more staff is needed to support ecollections growing rapidly in si!e and significance. the 'aw 'ibraryDs Technical +ervices. the Iealth +ciences 'ibraryDs )ollection *anagement +ervices. 'ibraries have clearly made fairly significant efforts to reallocate staff or redefine positions. and we are beginning to incorporate outsourcing solutions into our overall eresource management scheme. mainstreamed approach is better. one could debate whether a centrali!ed staff to support such resources or an integrated. and trac ing of e-resources or the provision and maintenance of access.reassignments. In addition. *any staff in the 'ibraries continuously and actively monitor the information environment for new ways to efficiently and effectively manage eresources. and the 4niversity 'ibraryDs +ystems "ffice have absorbed sometimes very significant wor loads that involve either the purchase.

and instruction related to eresources also present serious demands on staff time and in many cases present issues more comple.org9stats9newmeas9emetrics9contract----/. which are the focus of this study. it is important to note that selecting. Iowever. +hould we say that this is fertile ground for more in-depth researchMN Endnote: /We did not as about these areas of electronic resource support since they seemed to fall beyond standard ac&uisition and maintenance channels. 5see http:99www.ity of digital collections.html6. mar eting. the need to gather effective use statistics represents another labor-intensive process that re&uires a significant commitment of fairly high-level staff time and is increasingly essential to every libraryDs mission. than those raised for comparable print collections.arl.and comple. The recent wor by the %ssociation of $esearch 'ibraries to provide a standard for gathering and reporting usage statistics as part of their E*etrics pro=ect is an important step to bring libraries together on this important issue. 18 . In particular.