"ERMI 2" Status Report, as of May 16th, 2007 

The final report of the DLF's Electronic Resources Management Initiative
("ERMI") was completed in August 2004 and has been instrumental in
spurring development of ERM systems and services - but in the opinions
of its authors, it left some important "loose ends." To tie up those
loose ends, a second phase to the project - called "ERMI 2" - has been
underway with DLF sponsorship since November 2005 (see Work on all facets of ERMI
2 is now nearing completion, and release of a revised set of
deliverables and final report is planned for this summer. What follows
is a brief status report on the most important components of the

*	E- Resource Usage Statistics. The most significant deliverable
for this segment of ERMI 2 was to be development of "a protocol for
automated delivery of COUNTER-compliant vendor usage data to ERM
systems, and a demonstration of its use in practice." Envisioned as a
way to dramatically reduce the time spent by library staff in gathering
and reporting usage data, this idea has been warmly embraced by the
library community, and the protocol itself has been developed and
publicized as SUSHI (for "Standardized Usage Statistics Harvesting
Initiative"). Sponsored and supported by NISO (see, and co-chaired by
ERMI 2 steering group member Adam Chandler and EBSCO's Oliver Pesch.
SUSHI is well on its way to becoming an official standard, since it is
now in the "draft standard for trial use" phase of development, with a
comment deadline of May 20th. SUSHI has been tested successfully and
continues to get a lot of attention, since its potential for reducing
library staff time spend gathering statistics appears now to be well
established. For example, at a recent ICOLC meeting in Montreal, Kathy
Perry of the VIVA consortium described a pilot project in which use of
SUSHI reduced the time to process the reports for one vendor from 10
hours to 15 minutes. 

The adoption of SUSHI by content providers will be critical to its
success, and may be accelerated if a recommendation to include SUSHI as
a requirement for COUNTER compliance is accepted for the next release of
the COUNTER Code of Practice -- due out in early 2008. COUNTER is also
working to revamp the consortium reports in the next release as well.
These reports will be available only in XML (directly or through SUSHI)
and will allow a consortium to retrieve detailed usage information for
each member in a single message. 

*	License expression. Dozens of the 300+ data elements included in
the ERMI Data Dictionary published as part of the original project
report dealt with "terms of use" from licenses. However, these data
elements and proposed values had yet to be tested widely by libraries.
Accordingly ERMI 2 aimed to foster uptake and testing of the "ERMI
approach" to the description and sharing of license information
("license mapping"), while working with NISO, EDItEUR and other
appropriate publisher, vendor, and library groups to take a more
rigorous and systematic approach to reviewing the suitability of the
ERMI license element set as a basis for standardized description and
communication of e-resource license provisions and related licensing

	*	Training in License Term Mapping. A pilot license
mapping workshop was cosponsored by the Association of Research
Libraries and the DLF and conducted in June 2005, and the ERMI 2 plan
called for further development of the pilot course materials and
provision of additional training opportunities. Trisha Davis (Ohio State
University) and Diane Grover (University of Washington) were both named
ARL Visiting Program Officers to undertake this work, and they began
their one-year appointments in January 2006. Since then, 4 well-attended
3-4 hour workshops have been presented to upwards of 160 people (at
NASIG, ALA Annual and the Charleston Conference in 2006, and ALA
midwinter in 2007), the instructional materials have been refined, and
valuable experience and attendee feedback gained with each offering.
That feedback is being used to inform additional license expression work
described below; common and consistent feedback themes were that
interpreting even relatively simple and "library-friendly" licenses can
be quite difficult and complex, that there is a real need for simplicity
in expressing the important terms of use, and that there is an ongoing
need for training both in licensing skills and mapping. 
	*	License Expression Data Standards. Prior to and
independent of the development of the ERMI data dictionary, work toward
a more detailed and differently structured licensing data dictionary had
been undertaken under EDItEUR sponsorship, in conjunction with ONIX.
Discussions of possible areas and strategies for collaboration across
the two projects started to take place during the initial phase of ERMI,
which helped pave the way toward formation of the NISO License
Expression Working Group, co-chaired by ERMI steering group member
Nathan Robertson and Alicia Wise from the Publishers Licensing Society.
By December a draft mapping of the ERMI license terms to the ONIX set
(now referred to as the ONIX Publications License, or "ONIX-PL") was
produced with partial support from the DLF, and discussed in detail at
meetings in Boston in late December attended by representatives from
ERMI, NISO, ILS vendors, ONIX, and others. 

The mapping is currently in process of being finalized, but a few
important issues have been identified.  The metadata crosswalk will be
imperfect.  It will be possible to map only a selection of concepts from
ONIX-PL to ERMI.  Furthermore, during the ONIX-PL to ERMI mapping
process, certain values will be converted to notes.  Any return mapping
from ERMI to ONIX-PL will leave these concepts in note form.
Specificity and granularity is therefore lost in the mapping process.
In addition, the ONIX-PL approach allows for substantially more detailed
license expression than many libraries need or want.  Although ONIX-PL
cannot be used to apply DRM technologies, many librarians continue to be
concerned that the creation of detailed rights encodings will facilitate
the application of automated restrictions in the future.  Moreover,
there is a continuing question from libraries about the cost in time and
effort of developing detailed expressions of individual licenses when
libraries do not need or want that level of detail.   Lastly, while it
might be desirable for libraries and publishers or vendors to exchange
versions of licenses during a negotiation process, ERMs would have to be
substantially re-tooled to support that from the libraries side.  And as
these developments have been taking place, NISO's Shared E-Resource
Understanding initiative ("SERU":, which aims to offer an
alternative to current reliance on negotiated licenses, has gathered
momentum.  While it is too early to tell what effect SERU might have on
license expression and mapping, reducing the number of licenses to be
analyzed and mapped, and promoting simpler agreements would both be
welcomed by many librarians. 

*	Interoperability. An earlier ERMI 2 status report noted that ".
. . the final area of focus for the project is interoperability between
ERM systems and other ILS modules, which is problematic for those
libraries in "mixed" environments where an ERM has been acquired from
one vendor and it must be made to work with and complement another
vendor's ILS - particularly an acquisition module." Last summer a small
group under the leadership of Norm Medeiros (Haverford College and the
Tri-College Consortium near Philadelphia) began examining this problem,
and produced a draft white paper that was released for comment in
January. The white paper is now undergoing revision, and when complete
in June will include use cases and a list of data elements perceived as
"core" to interoperability, provide comments supporting the need for
standard "resource" identifiers, and discuss some emerging issues
concerning cost per use calculations and their interpretation. 

An important goal of all ERMI 2 work clearly has been the development
and wide adoption of standards for the project's areas of interest:
delivery of electronic usage statistics, license expression, and
ERMI/Acquisitions module interoperability. The initiative's final report
will offer suggestions for further progress toward that goal. 

Tim Jewell, ERMI 2 Project Coordinator 
Director, Information Resources, Collections
    and Scholarly Communication
University of Washington Libraries, Box 352900
Seattle, WA  98195-2900
phone: 206-543-3890  fax: 206-685-8727
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