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Justina Mollach

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Justina Mollach Emporia State University LI 855 XA Professor Sutton

Justina Mollach

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Introduction
Throughout time technology has consistently been pushing the world forward. While, oftentimes, the newest technological development eclipses the past there are instances in which both objects can exist separately and peacefully. A patron is not likely to find a scroll shelved on the stacks, but they can currently choose from a multitude of formats including monographs, CDs, and DVDs. However, many information professionals are being forced to look into the future to prepare for a frontier unlike what they have come across yet: Electronic Resources. Electronic Resources present a multitude of issues that information professionals of twenty years ago could not have fathomed. From the basics of formulating their Collection Development Policies to preparing for the struggles with Technology Protection Measures librarians are being forced to be masters of a rapidly and consistently evolving topic housed under the umbrella of Electronic Resources. To garner an understanding of these difficulties and the possibilities for the future of Electronic Resources we must gain a broad understanding of the topic. To begin we will reflect upon one of the cornerstones of a collection, the Collection Development Policy, and how Electronic Resources are being represented. Of equal importance is the focus upon the significant and impending shift from monograph dominance. In the next section some of the positive aspects that Electronic Resources provide information professionals and their patrons are addressed, such as more readily available usage statistics. In the final section, we will tackle a few of the

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issues that Electronic Resources present for the current and future information environment.

Collection Development Policies and The Shift
Mangrum and Pozzebon (2012) accurately describe the current atmosphere of many libraries stating " Electronic Resources [have] created a paradigm shift in libraries on many levels "forcing information professionals to effectively straddle "two paradigms [while] attempting to cope with both simultaneously" (p. 108). During this unsteady era of libraries, where are librarians to look for guidance? Mangrum and Pozzebon (2012) assert that the professional direction should be from the cornerstone Collection Development Policy. However, during Mangrum and Pozzebon's (2012) evaluation of CD Policies they found that many libraries were attempting to shoe-horn an entirely different and new section of Electronic Resources into the language and format of existing practices geared at tangible items like monographs. They emphasized the importance of not only continually updating CD Policies, but also framing Electronic Resources as their own entities by reminding information professionals that " as librarians seek to leverage new means of resource access into enhanced relevance to external customers, they need some guidance to address decision making on a conceptual level" (p. 113). While Collection Development Policies do not operate as an everyday how-to guide to handling Electronic Resources they help shape current and future best practices.

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Echoing Mangrum and Pozzebon's paradigm straddling, Younger (2002) stresses consideration in "recognizing the duality of print and electronic resources for the present and future" of libraries (p. 21). While Electronic Resources are only going to grow exponentially, monographs are unlikely to be completely eradicated in the future. McMullen (2012) agrees with this sentiment but places a caveat stating that "while there may always be books, the days of the codex as the dominant means of delivery are likely coming to a close" with the understanding that "the ebook is a disruptive technology, one whose net effect on libraries will be powerful and far reaching" (p. 42). We are well into the Electronic Resource shift and must adequately prepare ourselves in practice and on a conceptual level. While we are able to modify some existing practices for Electronic Resources it is important for information professionals to understand the limits of antiquated methods and be prepared to manage a collection with evolving practices and problems. This is not to say, as many of the above professionals stressed, that we should neglect our existing and future collections that are not Electronic Resources. It is our duty to provide the best access to both formats until it is wholly impractical to do so.

Usage and Providing Access
Many librarians and book lovers alike view Electronic Resources with hesitancy and as a threat to their beloved monographs. Believing this newcomer to the block surely spells out the end for libraries as they know them replete with stacks and stacks of books for perusing. Many of these feelings stem from the yearning for the days of libraries as repositories, simply filling a building to the brim with books until there was no

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more room. This nostalgic desire, however, reduces a library and librarians ability to best fulfill the needs of their community. Statistical analysis of usage and circulation allows librarians to better understand what the public needs in the way of information. It is valuable to understand that having a book on the shelf for the "just in case" purpose it is taking up a spot which could be available for a more required text. McMullen (2012) noted "for instance, a full 41 percent of the collection in my building has never circulated – a figure that is very typical in academic institutions" (p. 42). This is an instance where Electronic Resources can be implemented to mitigate the "just in case" predicament. With both Patron Driven Acquisition and easily gathered and analyzed statistics it is easier to understand what the public needs and provide it quickly. Having statistical information is beneficial enough for a library, but there are additional significant factors to consider in combination with statistics. One prominent theme throughout Hulbert and Roach's (2011) presentation on statistic integration in Collection Development decisions was the proposal of continual evaluation on multiple levels. They suggest using quantitative and qualitative data, for instance "gut feelings from users vs. cost per use statistics" (p. 158-159). While numbers can be fairly straightforward it is essential to remember there is always a level of humanity at one end of the service or the other. Another important aspect of statistic integration is actually being able to parse what the numbers mean for the library as well as the patrons. This may be difficult to assess from one viewpoint so Hulbert and Roach (2011) pointed to the example of the

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librarians at the University of St. Thomas who "work in roundtables to distribute funds, recommend cancellations, weed collections, expend book budgets, and evaluate databases" (p. 160). In this format, traditional and Electronic Resource based decisions are made on multiple levels addressing the patrons needs while making the best financial decisions for the institution. This method seems the most responsible going forward into the future of Electronic Resource decisions as very few individuals can be experts on all ER subjects. Two other positive aspects that information professionals can utilize Electronic Resources for are Consortia and Open Access information. Both of these structures allow for easier access of information to a broader community with Electronic Resources than with traditional formats. While one front pushes for restrictive licensing and cost hikes another front continually pushes for scholarly work to be available freely for those who need it. Medeiros (2006) notes that this is not exactly a brand new trend explaining the "Open Archives Initiative was founded in 1999 to enhance access to scholarship" (p. 8). Medeiros (2006) clarifies one reason why this is a relevant movement "open access scholarly journals [...] have a greater chance of being cited, and therefore of attaining a higher impact" (p. 9). Another way to reach a broader community and increase the impact of your Electronic Resources are Consortia. While Consortia are never easy or simple, they allow a broader swath of patrons at multiple libraries to utilize Electronic Resources in a way that is not possible with traditional formats such as monographs.

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Special Issues and Considerations
While Electronic Resources provide a multitude of opportunities for growth in the present and future, there are also issues that are acting as a hindrance. Medeiros (2006) explains why the litany of issues arise with Electronic Resources mentioning that "these resources possess an array of restrictions, elements that don’t easily fit, and were never intended, for capture in integrated library systems" (p. 4). In this case it is not a problem of access in means of a rare manuscript but the publishers restrictions. This predicament was foreseen as Medeiros (2006) states "some librarians knew a day would come when the access components – the ways we get users to electronic content – would mature and become second–nature, but that contracts, and the lawyers who write them, would make our lives hell forever" (p. 4). Another complication with Electronic Resources access and licensing is the non linear structure of Collection Development. It is never as simple as purchasing a tangible journal and receiving the journal, a fairly uncomplicated process. Medeiros (2006) explains that there are often behind the scenes strings attached to Electronic Resources. For example, when his library " purchases a journal in print for $1,000 [...] electronic access to it costs an additional $500" (p. 4). This is where the complexity of access increases exponentially and Medeiros (2006) drives home the importance of Metadata. Metadata is explained in this context by Medeiros (2006) as "elements about licensed electronic resources" such as " terms of a license, the name and contact information for a vendor representative, the purchase arrangement, and the URL where

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usage statistics are located" (p. 4). To maintain a grasp on all of the issues that arise from licensing and access, it is essential to understand the minutiae of metadata. A further complication with Electronic Resources is understanding the workflow of their users. Few information seekers start at the library or the library website to find the information that they need. Han (2012) agrees that "students are no longer starting from library websites, but when they are led to a library website, they will use it" (p. 165). The starting point for many patrons and students is often a larger search engine, rather than trying to work against this Han (2012) suggests "letting major search engines harvest library data [to] soften this issue and help to get more traffic into library" (p. 165). Often younger patrons and, particularly, students are used to information being brought to them, rather than having to journey out to seek it. Instead of fighting this trend libraries are and should increase their efforts to take themselves to the community instead of bringing the community to the library. Two other issues that have numerous discussions and books devoted to the complications they cause are Copyright Law and Technical Protection Measures. Many copyright issues result from the grey areas that remain undefined or antiquated in the written law. Han (2012) urges " librarians, especially those who understand copyright, to voice [their] concern to lawmakers and ask them to figure out a possible solution" instead of simply prosecuting the individuals who are involved in the muddled predicament (p. 168). Han also advocates for librarians taking a proactive stake in the issue, bringing the issue to the government, not waiting for them to pick up the matter.

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One last example of the myriad of hindrances which libraries face with collection development of Electronic Resources are Technical Protection Measures. The measures are placed upon files by the vendors restricting what format the patrons are allowed to view and use the information in. Eschenfelder (2008) found that "If the user can't 'take' the information in the form that they want, it has a negative impact on them" (p. 206). This is another issues in which information professionals need to understand the needs of their patrons and work with the vendors to meet in the middle or change the situation altogether. Ultimately, Electronic Resource Collection Development is a bit of a mixed bag. There is great growth and even greater potential in the section, but there are also many steep issues that must be solved before it can really move forward with balance and confidence. I agree fully with many of the authors who prescribe a greater understanding of the details involved with Electronic Resources (like Metadata) and that information professionals need to be proactive instead of waiting for these solutions to fall in their laps. Electronic Resources are a huge part of the future of libraries and information professionals, new and old alike, should take charge of its direction.

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Works Cited Eschenfelder, K. R. (2008). Every library's nightmare? Digital rights management, use restrictions, and licensed scholarly digital resources. College & Research Libraries, 69(3), 205-225. Han, N. (2012). Managing a 21st-century library collection, The Serials Librarian, 63(2), 158-169 Hulbert, L. and Roach, D. (2011). Integrating usage statistics into collection development decisions, The Serials Librarian, 6(1-4), 158-163 Mangrum, S. and Pozzebon, M. (2012). Use of collection development policies in electronic resource management, Collection Building, 31 (3), 108 - 114 McMullen, A. (2012). "Judging books by their (lack of) covers", Bottom Line: Managing Library Finances, 25(2), 41 - 43 Medeiros, N. (2006). House of horrors: Exorcising electronic resources. Managing Electronic Resources: Contemporary Problems and Emerging Issues, Retrieved from http://eprints.rclis.org/bitstream/10760/7510/1/ELIS_ House_of_Horrors_chapter.pdf Younger, J. (2002). From the inside out, Journal of Library Administration, 36:3, 19-37