LIS 855: Reading Journal Week 13

Unit topic: Reflections on the Worklife of an ER Librarian

Reading list:

  1. Rebecca S. Albitz, Wendy Allen Shelbern (2007) “Marian Through the Looking Glass: The Unique Evolution of the Electronic Resources (ER) Librarian Position” in Mark Jacobs (Ed) Electronic Resources Librarianship and Management of Digital Information: Emerging and Professional Roles, Binghamton NY: Hayword, pp 15-30.
  2. Glenda Griffin (2009) “How to survive as a new serialist” Chapter in The E-Resources Management Handbook. (2006-present) Editor Graham Stone, Rick Anderson, Jessica Feinstein.
  3. Afifi, M. “Process Mapping for Electronic Resources: A Lesson From Business Models” Chapter 6 in H. Yu and S. Breivold Electronic Resource Management in Libraries: Research and Practice. Information Science Reference: Hershey PA, 2008.

My response to Griffin’s chapter is: awesome.  I want a cheat sheet like that for music librarianship.  All the listservs, acronyms, organizations, learning resources–what an amazing little compact guide.  This is giving me ideas to start one on music librarianship for my own reference, maybe post it as pages on my WordPress site . . . this is so not something I have time for at the moment!

Albitz and Shelbern’s study was pretty interesting.  In a way it makes sense that ER librarian positions are integrated more with public services.  Although it is very behind-the-scenes and techy, it seems like the average public services librarian is not well-versed enough in ERM to provide adequate feedback to ER librarians, who definitely need to know how the services they’re implementing come across on the frontlines.  Personally, if I were an ER librarian, I would want those refdesk shifts and other public services tasks as part of my responsibilities, just so I have a first-hand feel for the ER-related issues that are coming up for users and what users’ concerns are.

Also fascinating to me is the disappearance of the “collection development” component of the ER librarian position in the latest survey results.  Presumably the subject librarians who are in charge of collection development would need to maintain open lines of communication with the ER librarian, since the purchase of ERs is not as simple as checking desired items on a list any more.  Without close communication and negotiation between the subject librarians and ER librarian, the various “big deal” packages and other similar bundlings of ERs by vendors and publishers would force the ER librarian to have to make some difficult choices on their own that might deviate from what the subject librarians would prefer.

As for the process maps that Afifi recommends, I say: nothing would be more beautiful.  I wish all organizations would do what that library did (the one described at length in Afifi’s article), taking the time and effort to actually map out all the various organizational processes they support in handy flowchart formats.  Having these maps would make it so much easier for new employees to hit the ground running, for organizations to draw up better positions descriptions, etc.  The benefits would be endless.  Hmm . . . this is giving me ideas, too . . .

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