An exercise we've just been through (don't ask!) has revealed a dire need to track information about subscription service vendors (e.g. serials, databases, e-book publishers) in a better way than Office documents. I am looking for a tool, ideally one to rule them all. Throwing it out here.

The sort of information I am wanting to manage and give everyone an easy reference to is:

* name
* previous and variant names (they do like to re-brand)
* login details (I can probably live with this being in a separate tool)
* contact names and numbers
* remote host URLs and URL patterns
* ways we interact with them (e.g. do we change registered IP addresses by online form or by email notification?)
* license information, maybe copies of them
* how we authenticate our users
* conditions of access (e.g. on/off campus, students/staff/alumni/walk-ins)
* a simple activity log or just notes field

Excluded or at least hidden from ordinary users:
* invoicing and financial information
* passwords (seems risky, happy to use a password safe for this)

Essentially it's a catalogue/inventory of subscriptions we have. In some respects it's a lightweight CRM.

Bonus points, I think, for having citable entries that we can share in emails (URLs probably, so a web interface).

It would be brilliant if salient information was structured enough to export summaries or, say, generate EZProxy configuration files.

I have been thinking along the lines of Mediawiki, maybe with a good template. From experience though, I worry about the willingness of new users to edit wiki content, especially in templates with lots of curly braces. I don't know if there is an actively maintained plug-in to turn a template into a non-threatening online form. Evan Prodromou's extension seems long abandoned [1]. Solving that issue, I think Mediawiki would be a good fit.

So what do folks in this list use for the above functionality and how does it work? Or what _would_ you use? All insight appreciated.



Hugh Barnes
Digital Access Coordinator
Library, Teaching and Learning
Lincoln University
New Zealand
p +64 3 423 0357

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