"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 http:www.diglib.org/standards/dlf-erm05.htm). 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 project.

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.

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": http://www.niso.org/committees/SERU/index.html), 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.

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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