V-sources, of course there is a Dutch library using an ERM solution

Joost de Vletter from Eindhoven University addressed me to say they have developed V-sources an ERM system, which they use and is going to be used by Delft University as well. Two posts ago I said I did not know of any Dutch libraries using an ERM system.
I was thinking of the efforts of the consortium of Dutch University libraries and the Royal Library to select a system. These efforts were unsuccessful so far. I forgot that Eindhoven invested in developing a system themselves, which will also be available commercially.

Joost also reacted on my remarks about the lack of integration of management of paper and electronic subscriptions. He answered that their system, like most other ERM systems is based on the DLF (Digital Library Federation) ERMI document. This describes a data model that does not consider the administration of paper subscriptions. He is right and following standards is a very good thing. And since these new library system components are far more open then before, it is probably easier to link between the paper subscription in one system and the electronic subscription in the other. However, the 'old' serials management systems of most vendors will not be that open, which will probably make integration more difficult. I sometimes think that vendors use the component based architecture argument to just sell more sytems.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for component based and even service oriented architectures, but not for just a part of our systems. Our management problems with electronic subscriptions, with mostly 'big deals' do not justify a separate ERM system. We can solve our problems with extra features within the serials management system. However, if there would be a national ERM system, shared between university libraries we would also benefit from a single point of administration. That would be a reason to implement ERM, assuming it would have a rich set of web services available. I heared from Thomas Place of Tilburg University, he is thinking in this same direction and I think most Dutch university libraries will consider this a good way to go.


European Library Automation Group - 32nd ELAG Library Systems Seminar - 14-16 april 2008

We have just opened the web site we have created (using WebQuery of course)for this years ELAG conference, which we will host in April. I will present a paper on our "Digital Library" as we call our library website. I will speak about our decisions and efforts to start building a Library Content Management System. There will be a lot of other interesting papers as well. Another exciting thing about ELAG meetings are the workshops. ELAG is not about listening to presentations only. You participate in one workshop during the conference and discuss a subject. Workshop reports are presented on the last day. This year you can also come and talk, without having to prepare a paper!!! You can express your ideas in 5 minute ligthning talks. So join us. Be fast. Convenient hotel accomodation nearby is limited.


Serials Management, the last conversion

This week we hope to start using our new serials management application. The last application that is still running on our old system. Cardex, the name of the application, is now based on the new CMS. It is entirely build using XSLT, some javascript and a bit of perl that does background printing and emailing of claims for missing issues or stagnating subscriptions. The old version, which has been used until now was build in 1982 (to be honest, the first patch of the code dates back to november 1982, so I presume 1982 must have been the year it was born). It was based on Minisis and written in SPL, a Pascal like proprietary programming language for the HP3000 series computers. Although the application was old, it had evolved over the years and people were pretty happy with it. We kept the same application properties, but the application, a web application now, has got a completely different look and feel. It now has all the old features and some more. Next step is to put in new functionality concerning electronic subscriptions or to integrate it with components for this, so called Electronic Resource Management (ERM) systems. The problem is, that I have not seen systems that make the connection with traditional serials management systems, which is quite strange, especially since subscriptions are often paper plus digital content (ok, it is changing). They do integrate with Open URL resolvers and sometimes with cataloging components. It feels like these systems force to separate paper and electronic serials management, just like in most systems, cataloging digital content (in meta search portals and OpenURL systems) is separated from traditional cataloguing of paper content in a ILS. Vendors have not split up their traditional ILS's into components yet.
For now I think we have to built these features ourselves. So far, no Dutch library I know has implemented a ERM system. Am I wrong ?


By the way ......

One of my last posts in Dutch I mentioned we were running WebQuery version 5.34. Now, two years later we are running version 5.52 This latest version introduced PAM (plugable authentication module) authentication. This is our first step towards implementing federated authentication.

Code reviewing

We are working with 8 people on the sytem now. Six of them do application development and we have reached a point where we have to consider implementing some quality control tools. One of them is code reviewing. We started with this recently. We have found it too much to start doing it systematically, for the moment. So we do not have every bit of code reviewed. We will take a piece of code every month and one of us, not the developer, will write e review and present this to the rest of us. We spend a morning discussing the review. This will lead to agreements on coding standards and one of us will document this in our wiki.
So far we have had only one review. The discussions at the moment are very much about very basic standards we have never explicitly formulated. I suppose that later on we will discuss more local practices. I think we have found an excellent way to create acceptable standards. Everybody is excited about it.

And now I will continue ...

I have been very quiet on this blog for two years !!
We have been working hard on implementing all library applications using the LCMS and I haven't found the urge to report about it. However, blogging has become more popular over the last two years and reading blogs as well. I will also start blogging in English (please be merciful !) since this might appeal to a much larger community.