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Application of Electronic Resource Management (ERM) to E-Journals: The IUCAA Library Experience

We present the experience of application of ERM to e-Journals in the IUCAA library and evaluate the usage pattern of electronic resources, where the user community takes the opportunities to make the best use of e-resources provided by the library.

Published onApr 27, 2022
Application of Electronic Resource Management (ERM) to E-Journals: The IUCAA Library Experience


The paper presents the experience of application of ERM to e-Journals in the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) library through the five facets, namely acquisition, access, administration, support and evaluation & monitor management with modified Pecsh's E-Resource Life cycle. The paper attempts to evaluate the usage pattern of electronic resources subscribed by the IUCAA library, Pune, and e-resources made available under the E ShodhSindhu program of Ministry of Human Resources Development, where the user community takes the opportunities to make the best use of e-resources provided by the library.

1 Introduction

A significant shift occurs in libraries, with the purchase of electronic resources, which is different from the traditional library collection. Electronic Resource Management recommends that technical services workflows make a corresponding shift toward e-centric models and highlights the increasing variety of e-formats that are forcing new developments in the field. Nowadays, all academic libraries are equipped with e-resources such as e-books, e-journals, e-databases, etc. The management of e-resources includes proper planning, acquisition, subscription, organization preservation, and access to e-resources/contents.

1.1 IUCAA & its Library 

The Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) is an autonomous institution set up by the University Grants Commission (UGC) India in the year 1989 to promote the nucleation and growth of active groups in astronomy and astrophysics at Indian universities [1]. IUCAA aims to be a center of excellence within the university sector for teaching, research, and development in astronomy and astrophysics. IUCAA Library has been developed to support the institute's teaching, learning, and research activities. The library provides access to the necessary and relevant information required by its users (e.g., "see Figure 2") and contributes to the accomplishment of the institute's aim to become a science institute of the highest caliber. The library's total collection stands at 26,500 (e.g.,"see Table 1"), out of which there are 14,633 books and 11,398 bound volumes. The library has also acquired 2811 E-books (e.g., "see Figure 1") published by Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, and Springer. We subscribe to 100 journals, mainly online subscriptions. Additional to subscribed journals, IUCAA also gets access to around 2811 e-journals from INFLIBNET through MHRD E-ShodhShindu., including journals from the Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, Springer Link, American Institute of Physics, Taylor and Francis, Science Direct with three databases such as Web of Science, ISID, and JCCC.

Types of Collections


Book (Print)


Bound Volumes (Hard Copies)




E-books (Perpetual access)


Magazines/Newspapers (Print)


MVS Books Collections




Table 1. Physical collections of library

Figure 1. List of subscribed & available e-journals

Figure 2. Categories of IUCAA library users

Figure 3. E-Contents of IUCAA’s Institutional Repository

2 Electronic Resources Management (ERM) 

The management of electronic resources is different from that of traditional library collections. ERM includes proper planning, acquisition, subscription, organization preservation, and access to e-contents. ERM is the continuous process that caters to the need for evaluation, selection, purchase, renewal/ cancellation, license agreements, access rights, usage statistics, single access point, copyright, implementation, and administration of E-resources [2]

3 Objectives of the Study 

The objectives of study are to provide an overview of ERM perspectives and offer its practical aspects along with the experience of IUCAA library's e-resources management with five significant facets called acquisition, access, administration, support, and evaluation management with modified Pecsh's E-Resource Life cycle and also evaluate the usage pattern of e-resources made available to users by the IUCAA library and finally, highlight the role and responsibility of librarians to ERM to give the best e-services to its users.

4 Scope and Limitations of the Study

Scope and limitation of this study is the application of the ERM components to manage the e-journals, being subscribed by the library, and access, being provided by e-ShodhShindu, MHRD, Govt. of India. 

5 Model of IUCAA Library E-Resources Management 

In recent years, the IUCAA library has acquired & getting access (via E-shodhShindu) more and more e-resources compared to print collections because of many benefits such as easy access of the information on and off-campus. Owing to an influx of e-resources in the library, the collection, acquisition, and maintenance of these resources have become complicated issues. This forces library to devise strategies to manage and deliver e-resources conveniently. Therefore, ERM has become a challenge among library professionals needing to be addressed through research and practice. To meet these challenges, the library has decided to adopt an electronic resource management systems model to manage e-resources in a more systematic way [3].

Figure 4. E-resources management at IUCAA Library based on the model "Electronic Resource Life Cycle"

6 Workflow of five major components of ERM at IUCAA Library

The e-resources life cycle was broken down into mainly five stages by Oliver Pesch and given his model - Electronic Resources Life Cycle (Figure 4 [4]) in year 2009, which includes acquisitions (as trials of e-resources, licensing, and invoicing), providing access (such as activation, cataloguing, updating holdings lists, and proxy support), administration (such as local policies, practices, and/or procedures that facilitate the management of e-resources), support and evaluation (such as troubleshooting and problem resolution, overlap analysis, usage, cost data, decision-making regarding the continuation of a resource)[5]. Library’s e-resources can be manage smoothly based on this E-Resources Lifecycle. IUCAA library is subscribing different types of e-resources (see Figure 1), for smooth and easy access of subscribed e-resources by users, required lots of inside jobs to be done library staff continuously. IUCAA library using this model for the e-resources management.

6.1 Acquisition Management

 Acquisition management (e.g., “see Figure 5”) of e-journals start from making a provision for access need budget based on the need of e-resources by academic staff and then ask accurate information of the e-journals from publisher to get full details of it based on in-principle approval from authorities for selection of particular resources, then ask for trial access of selected e-journals for evaluation and finally price negotiation & review by committee members for final ordering and paying for e-journals.

Figure 5. Workflow of acquisition management of e-journals

6.2 Access Management

 Access management (e.g., “see Figure 6”) is the essential function to provide and show the pathway of e-resources availability, as well as the display of those e-resources in an acceptable manner to cater to the user, needs to be based on their digital device. The online access is based on IP addresses for on-campus and off-campus users via remote access software such as EZproxy, etc. Library also uses different online access tools developed by the library and made available by the content provider for smooth access of e-resources. IUCAA library has to ensure e-resource MARC records or Duplin Core Metadata should be uploaded in the Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) with made an available list of e-resources in the library website. 

Figure 6. Workflow of access management of e-journals

6.3 Administration Management 

The librarian should know-how functionality and access to e-resources are configured in the ERM system. It has to prepare the standard e-resource license agreement and guidelines for fair use to the better administrative management of e-resources. That should be disseminated through the library website promptly (e.g., “Figure 7”). 

Figure 7. Workflow of administration management of e-Journals

The components that are administrative management are the holding list of all e-journals linked it with library homepage, online access management via IP addresses for on-campus users and for off-campus, access via EZproxy software, access restrictions for unauthorized access, make provision for admin module for e-journals management, keep reviewing URL links of e-journals and updates if required and make a claim to the publisher if any access issues.

6.4 Support Management

Support Management (e.g., "see Figure 8") components are to make a proper database for all contact details of publishers of e-journals for easy and timely contact with publishers, subscriptions of additional software if required for easy access by users, make arrangements for all required additional hardware/various devices in the library for users and solve troubleshooting issues if any on time to time.

Figure 8. Workflow of Support Management of E-Journals

6.5 Evaluation and Monitor management

Evaluation and monitor management (e.g. "see Figure 9”) is on the last phase of the e-resource management life cycle. This is very important for renewing the E-resources for another year, a multi-year contract, or even cancelling the e-resources, etc. The main evaluation tools are usage statistics, feedback, downtime analysis, and uniqueness (De-duplication).

Figure 9. Workflow of Evaluation and Monitor Management of e-Journals

7 Overall E-Journals Usage of IUCAA from 2012 to 2019 

Usage statistics are commonly employed by librarians to help evaluate the effectiveness of e-resources on several different levels [6]. Librarians can track statistics for unanticipated levels of high or low usage and use this data as feedback to modify instruction strategies, target specific audiences, edit in-house web guides, or make cautious inferences about user behaviors [7]. The best available standards for counting the use of an E-resource are called "COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources), in which usage statistics are free to access, view, and download. To look at the statistics or download them to your computer for further manipulation, ask your vendor for access to an administrative site where the statistics are stored, or ask the vendor to e-mail the monthly reports to you. IUCAA Library used to get usages of subscribed and available via a portal called InfiStats developed via INFLIBNET Centre (INFLIBNET 2021). The library has deployed the EZproxy access and authentication software to facilitate off-campus access. The analysis of usage statistics of subscribed and available e-resources via E-ShodhShindu, for the year 2012-2019, has been given in figures 10 and figure 11, which have been used by on-campus users with statistics that maximum e-resources accessed in the year 2019 compared to minimum in the year 2012 which shows that popularity of e-resources among the users increased year wise, and figure 12 shows the status of usage used by off-campus users via EZproxy software for period April 2019 to March 2020 [8] which shows that maximum e-journals from Institute of Physics accessed in the year 2019 compared to Taylor and Francis journals.

Figure 10. Status of Usage of E-Journals from the year 2012 to 2019

Figure 11. Status of Usage of E-Journals from April 2012 to March 2020

Figure 12. Status of Usage (Via EXproxy) from April 2019 to March 2020

8 User Feedback

User feedback regarding the e-resources which they have used for their research and teaching works is very important to take further decisions to improve services and user's satisfaction. IUCAA Library used to take feedback from the user's/library committee members for evaluation and renewal/ cancellation of e-resources on a yearly basis. Based on inputs data received from users, in last 10 years, library had discontinued around 40 journals out of 120 journals, which were no usages or very low usages and presently library subscribed 80 journals only. However, library used to get access of around 4500 journals via Shodhshindhu program of MHRD, Govt. of India.

9 Conditions of Use and Licensing Restrictions for E-Resources

The IUCAA Library subscribes to hundreds of e-journals and bibliographic databases for use by authorized users in the organisation. The license terms and conditions for using these resources are spelled out in electronic resource license agreements with each publisher. Licenses vary from publisher to publisher. However, the general principles in detail have been mentioned on the IUCAA Library homepage. This is responsibility of users, to ensure that the use of e-resources does not breach the terms and conditions of the license, specified in the license agreements. However, we used to communicate to users; what will happen if in the case license is violated? Publishers used to track the use of their electronic resources in terms of the number of downloads made by subscribing institutions. Misuse, if any, is notified to the subscribing resources with details of kinds of violations, and the institution is expected to take action. The publisher also suspends the access to e-resource pending suitable action by subscribing institutions. Online access is stopped not only for journals where the license agreement was violated but for all journals by the same publisher. Moreover, online access is suspended not only for the individual violator but for the entire institution.

 10 Role of Librarian in E-Resource Management

Role and responsibilities of Librarian for E-Resource Management, as listed out by Peggy Johnson [9], in her book entitled "Fundamentals of collection development and management. Some of them are listed below as 

  • Coordinating the overall activities of Electronic Resources Management

  • Negotiating with publishers for subscription and the terms and conditions of its licenses

  • Administering new and existing licenses for electronic products and maintain their records

  • To apply knowledge of copyright and intellectual property principles to ensure that library users' rights are protected

  • Working closely with library staff to identify, select, and acquire new e-resources, assess needs of the user community, and adjust resources to fit these needs, and ensure that e-resources are catalog as appropriate

  • Monitoring vendor services and performing vendor evaluations

  • Compiling and analyzing electronic resource usage statistics and keep track of URL updates


The paper has been presented in a case study of an overview of perspectives and applied part of e-resource management. This paper also has attempted to evaluate the usage pattern of electronic resources subscribed by the IUCAA library and access made available under the ESS Program of the MHRD, Govt. of India. Data received based on user’s survey & feedback, Library has decided to add more e-resources and discontinued some e-journals which had no or very low usages. Our user community takes the opportunities to make the best use of e-resources provided by the library. Finally, this article enlists the role and responsibility of librarians in ERM to give the best e-services to its esteemed users.


The author is thankful to various contributors whose research works; articles are freely used and cited. The validity of claims reported in the literature cannot be guaranteed, but suggestions for corrections are solicited.

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