Report on JUSP, KB+ and Intota Assessment

Last year we blogged about an internal report we did on our assessment of JUSP, KB+ and Intota Assessment. At the time we shared the report with the 3 resources and have already seen a number of recommendations being adopted.

We thought that the report might be useful for other universities looking at how best to use the 3 resources in conjunction, our view is that with a little development all 3 are essential to our workflows 🙂

For more information, here is the Report

KB+ and JUSP

Following the embedding of KB+ into the workflows of the Journals and E-Resources team at the end of the HIKE project, we recently decided to start looking at how we can incorporate JUSP into this workflow to help inform purchasing decisions and to evaluate and demonstrate the value of our collection.

With the expiry date of the NESLi2 deals (e.g. T&F SSH collection, Wiley STM collection, Sage Premier Collection) approaching we thought we would use these as case studies to investigate the information available within JUSP and KB+, how we could use it and if there was any information that we needed that was missing.

The first statistics that would be needed for this were the usage statistics for the collection. Using the Taylor and Francis SSH collection as an example, which provides us with access to all the titles predominantly from 1997 onwards, we do not receive access to the archive issues as part of this deal, we would require a report which gives us the usage statistics JR1-JR1a. This is available as a report in JUSP which provides you with the total figure for the publisher and with the figures for the individual titles. Additionally it provides you with the number of articles accessed by the publisher which were available as Open Access (OA). This statistic is valuable to know as it allows us to dismiss OA use from the JR1-JR1a figures to give us a more accurate cost per use.

However, there is one major limitation of this report. It does not provide you with a breakdown of the figures through the period chosen either by month or by year, instead it gives the cumulative total of the entire date range. Nevertheless this total is useful to know as it can be used with other figures to provide other evaluation measures such as the cost per download for the life of the package.

picture 1

To obtain a breakdown of usage statistics by month you have to use the ‘JR1, JR1a and JR1 GOA’ report which provides a breakdown of your usage statistics by month and by title. One of the problems with this report is that it does not exclude the JR1a statistics, so the statistics include the downloads from the backfiles which are not part of the NESLi2 deals and therefore should not be included in the statistical analysis as it could skew the figures. However, having checked the current vs. archival usage (which is available on JUSP) the archive usage is minimal, as we don’t own the archive, so in this instance it would be possible to use this report. This will be more of a problem as we start to purchase publisher backfiles.Picture 2

The report gives a monthly breakdown of the usage statistics by title over the time period and for the publisher requested. This information is really useful for a yearly review as it allows you to identify patterns of use and evaluate the value of a single title. It allows us to identify any low use core subscriptions which could potentially be cancelled.

A useful report from JUSP is the ‘View usage of titles and deals’ which retrieves the statistics for the packages by a publisher. This data for the entire package is needed once a year, and then at the end of the package lifetime to evaluate the use of the package and to help use decide whether this is the correct package to renew.

picture 3

Although this report is very useful as it provides us with the Current JR1 total for all the titles within the package, and so excludes the backfile downloads, it only provides the headline figures for the titles for each year. Therefore it is not particularly useful for analysing the monthly use of the package over it’s lifetime. Many of the higher education institutions take NESLi2 packages, therefore these are the statistics that many people require, therefore would it be possible to provide a monthly breakdown of this report including the JR1, JR1a, JR1 GOA and Current JR1 for all the titles of the package?

It is also useful for us to know which of these titles are core titles. Not only does it allow us to identify any core titles that do not have high usage and could perhaps be considered for cancellation but it also allows us to identify any high use titles that we do not have as an individual title which we should consider purchasing at the end of the package lifetime as an individual subscription so that we do not lose access to the title. Although it is possible to identify your core titles in JUSP, we have tended to identify them in KB+ as this system has been developed to help us manage our NESLi2 packages and core titles. Having already identified our core titles in KB+ it is not time efficient to re-add the same information to JUSP – would it be possible for there to be more data sharing between the two systems and have this information transferred over?

Or, even better, would it be possible for JUSP and KB+ to be integrated? At the moment it is only possible to view the usage statistics of an individual journal within a package through KB+. Would it be possible to add links at package level to the different reports available in JUSP e.g. title usage of the package, top 20 titles and expand the number of reports available, a report showing the least used titles would be useful? At the moment it is crucial for us to be able to demonstrate value for money and to be able to identify the titles that are not being used so that we can promote them to allow us to get the most out of a package. If JUSP were integrated within KB+, JUSP could have a section which included the other reports, not package specific, that are available through JUSP.

Analysis of the Journals workflow

Analysis of the Journals workflow

Having analysed the workflows of the main processes of the Acquisitions team we felt it would be beneficial to carry out the same exercise for the E-Resources and Journals team. We decided to look at the workflow of the main processes in lifecycle of a journal – the selection of a new e-journal and the renewal of an e-journal. It is possible to identify a number of issues within these processes where efficiencies could be made and as such need to be considered by the developers of KB+ and a next generation library and web-scale management system.

MyReading software

As demonstrated in the workflow above, at the moment, the initial identification of a new journal title to be taken is by the Librarian requesting a new journal title to be ordered. However, with the development and implementation of MyReading project it is important that we consider how we will identify journal titles which academics have indicated contain relevant material for the students, which we currently do not subscribe to. At the moment, during the first year of the implementation of MyReading colleagues are going through the lists and checking them against our holdings manually. Not only is this time consuming but it also has a high risk of error. It was suggested that it may be possible to create an automated alert so that when a journal appears on a reading list, which we do not have access to, the team are alerted to look in to purchasing access.


Before subscribing to a journal, the team carry out an evaluation process on the proposed title. This data is then passed back to the Librarian and allows them to make an informed decision. The information that is collected by the team is outlined in the workflow above and includes the fourteen deal breakers outlined and recommended by the TERMS project as elements of the journal to be considered in best practice for the selection of e-resources (please see the TERMS wiki for more information[1]

It is very time consuming collecting all this information from different places and it was suggested that the reporting feature on KB+ could be developed further to include more of the information that is used to evaluate the resource. Although the reporting feature currently looks at some of this information, such as licence criteria, it was wondered if this could be enlarged to include the criteria recommended as best practice by TERMS.

However, although these points are important for the institution to consider before entering into an agreement they are less of a concern if the resource has appeared on a reading list or the request is a result of specific research funding. In these case the new journal title request would by-passes much of the evaluation stage, although given the current monetary constraints on the journal budget it may mean that the ordering of a new title requires the cancellation of another – and for this to happen, some evaluation must take place.

Purchasing and Renewal

The team currently complete paper requisition forms which are passed to the Acquisitions Team to raise an order on Agresso. Once this order has been approved the order is placed with the subscription agent/publisher and they are given the purchase order number. Details of the order, such as the order number and price, are also entered onto a spreadsheet. The inputting of the information on paper requisitions, into Agresso and onto a spreadsheet ensures that work is duplicated and heightens the risk of error. Therefore we would ideally like a punch-out system from the Agresso eMarketplace to Swets, JISC Collections and other subscription agents and publishers. This would create efficiencies and reduce the risk of error. Any of the additional information that is recorded on the spreadsheet relating to the journal title could be recorded in the note field of the journal on KB+. This process could also be used to purchase the renewal subscriptions that occur every year.


As laid out in the TERMS project best practice, the renewal process starts with an intelligence gathering stage.[2] Data, such as communications with vendors/publishers, periods of downtime and user feedback should be collected throughout the year and recorded in a consistent manner. KB+ and 360 Resource Manager offer the facility to be able to record this information in a consistent place and manner and it is encouraged that this is utilised. KB+ also offers the additional feature of a community forum which allows the librarians throughout the country to add and discuss issues with vendors, user feedback and downtime with other colleagues.

Other considerations are if the title is on a reading list and if the need for a specific journal title through specific research funding has ceased.

While a section of the renewals process has been greatly helped by the ‘renewals’ feature within KB+, which creates an easy to understand comparison spreadsheet, we feel that some information that is pertinent to the renewals process is missing from the comparison spreadsheet (see our previous blog post). In addition we need information on the % price increase, which won’t be available from KB+. We would like to investigate the possibility of creating these reports on Agresso, however, this would mean radically changing the workflow.

The final step in the renewals process, to check the access at the beginning of the subscription period, is currently done manually and is time intensive and open to error. An automated check of all the links alerting us to any links that are not working or current would be advantageous

Having studied the two main workflows for the E-Resources and Journals team it is clear that they are complex and time-consuming processes that require attention to detail. As such there is only so much automation can do to create efficiencies and therefore it is crucial that KB+ and a new next generation library and web-scale management systems such as Intota consider and develop the areas where efficiencies can be made.



JISC HIKE Project Workshop – 26th February

Dave Pattern opened the workshop with a welcome to all the participants over coffee before introducing Jane Burke from Serial Solutions. Jane presented an overview of Intota to the workshop, she began by discussing how recent changes in the format of the library’s collections, such as the move to a predominantly e-based collection, the subsequent revision of the acquisitions, the increased purchase of packages over individual titles, have meant that we are now using yesterday’s systems and tools to do today’s jobs. With the old LMS’s and their corresponding workflows designed around the acquisition, maintenance and discovery of print material the move towards e-resources means that they are increasingly not fit for purpose. Jane then moved on to give an update on the development of Intota announcing that they hope to have the Assessment module ready for customers in 2013 and the complete release of the full availability of Intota in 2014. She finished by giving a demonstration of the proposed workflow of acquiring a resource.

Damyanti Patel from JISC Collections then spoke to the workshop about KB+. She open with a discussion about the rationale behind KB+ and how it developed out of a recognition of the need for accurate data and subscription lists and a realisation that every Journals Librarian across the UK was duplicating work as they were all trying to maintain an accurate list. She then moved on to provide an update of the subscriptions that are currently on KB+, the team started by populating the site with Nesli2 collections but have quickly moved on to looking at non-Jisc and non-Nesli2 collections. Damyanti then finished by talking about the future of KB+, how they are hoping to add historical data to the site, work with international partners, improve integration with other systems such as ELCAT, JUSP and 360, and also expand KB+ to cover ebooks.

Damyanti has blogged about her day here:

Dave Pattern and Graham Stone then presented an overview and update on the HIKE project –

The afternoon session was focused around the discussion of three main areas: workflows, cultural change and API’s and interoperability. Having done a lot of work around these areas for Huddersfield we interested to see if other institutions were experiencing the same issues or if they were having different issues what these were so we could factor them into our evaluation.


The intended outcome of this discussion was that the HIKE team would understand other institutions workflows, their pain areas where they felt efficiencies could be made and how the new systems of KB+ and Intota could help them.

Integration between the Library Management System, Reading List Software and Registry

This was raised by a number of different institutions as an area where they felt efficiencies could be made. At the moment many of the LMS’s have no integration with their reading list software, registry or book suppliers, therefore staff have to manually check the reading lists before placing an order with the supplier.

The University of Leicester reported basic integration between their LMS, reading list software (Talis Aspire) and book supplier (Coutts). Here academics create or edit their reading lists on Apsire, which creates a link between the reading list item and catalogue record as the list is being created using Z39.50. These lists are then reviewed by the Librarians who make the purchasing decisions, using a link on Talis Aspire the Librarians can link directly through to Coutts Oasis to place their order. Orders are then loaded overnight on to their LMS Sirsi-Dynix Symphony via EDI. Although this integration developed by Talis has helped reduced the amount of time spent checking the reading lists and inputting the book orders manually, staff are increasingly hoping for a completely automated process. It was agreed that ideally the reading lists created by the Academics with items marked either essential or suggested would, with the information about the number of students enrolled on the module from Registry, generate automatic orders based on a formula designed by the Librarians. The orders would not only go direct to the supplier but would also create an order record within the LMS so it would be possible to identify items that were on order.

During this discussion a few points were raised that must be considered when developing or implementing this integrated and automated process. Firstly this process would not take into account any cross-over between subjects such as English and History, or Maths and Physics were traditionally students have shared books. This could result in a large number of surplus books. Secondly this automated process of procurement would need to be considered when developing the integration between Intota and a financial system.

 Other systems

Many of the delegates raised the lack of interoperability between the LMS and a wide variety of systems as a particular pain point. These included all of the above and also subscription agents, publishers and email. One major problem was the inability to record information – of course this is something that KB+ is offering.

The lack of interoperability has led some to by-pass the LMS completely.

Knowledge Base +

An issue raised regarding KB+ was that is was not yet embedded into current workflows – this could cause a problem even if libraries subscribed – if it is not part of the workflow it won’t get used. This is something for HIKE to consider when looking ‘dream workflow’.

A point was also raised regarding the amount of human intervention in the current workflows, and whether KB+ could offer rules to put into place to improve efficiencies and prevent human error.


Another area where it was agreed that duplication of work and the risk of error could be reduced was within the financial workflows. Like us the majority of the institutions duplicate all their financial accounting in the LMS and their institutions financial management system and have the same problems that we have outlined in earlier posts. It was agreed that interoperability between Intota and the financial system is highly sought after. Again a number of points were raised that would need to be considered when developing and implementing the integration between Intota and the financial system. These were how would the system deal with:

  • the top slicing of budgets which frequently occur in Libraries
  • the split responsibilities of different subject areas between different Librarians; and
  • the subscription to multi-year deals and the commitment of money through the years.

Acquisitions workflow

One of the issues raised when looking at the acquisitions workflows was that there was a marked difference between supplier databases and that there was an on-going out of print books problem.

It was also suggested that in the next national book contracts that technology needs to be a driver for choosing the contracts and that more attention needs to be paid to workflows, it was suggested that with Intota, EDI might be surplus to requirements!

Finally, nobody had a solution for the back office pain of dealing with the huge files involved with PDA.

Cultural Change

Throughout this project we have been aware that the implementation of either or both KB+ and Intota would lead to significant cultural change, and if the implementation of these systems were to be successful how this change is managed would be important. Therefore the theme of our second discussion was cultural change – we were interested in finding out what issues delegates thought their colleagues may have about the change and how these changes could be managed.

One of the main concerns people felt their colleagues would have was that the automation of many of the processes that make up their job would led to their de-skilling, loss of knowledge and less interesting jobs. Others thought that colleagues would be unsettled by the change in responsibilities and tasks as it may require additional training and the learning of new skills. Other factors that would contribute to colleagues feeling unsettled and anxious about such changes are the changes in routine, the lack of control and the feeling of incompetence.

After identifying the factors that could cause worry and apprehension regarding the implementation of these new systems we moved on to discuss how such a change could be managed to alleviate many of these concerns and for the system to be introduced successfully. Everyone agreed that the most important contribution to change management was to ensure that everyone was comfortable with the change and that staff at all levels have the relevant information, are fully involved and actively participating from the beginning.

It was felt that this could be enabled through a series of workshops which members of staff could come to and identify for themselves where there is duplication, a high risk of error and the points of pain in the old system and then help to define how the new system would bring benefits. It was felt that such a workshop would only work if an environment was created where staff would feel comfortable to come forward and express their concerns and anxieties about the new systems without being criticised or judged – staff need the opportunity to moan. One suggestion at this point was the use of an external moderator for such workshops? It was also suggested that these workshops should be continued after the implementation and evolve in to a user group were staff regularly evaluate the system and provides feedback to the company about possible developments. Staff need to understand the journey and help to identify the skills gaps.

It was suggested that we need to evolve people into new jobs. One way of offering reassurance to staff would be to show how the time that had become free through the automation of process would be used, it was suggested that this was not just giving staff mundane tasks but about giving them the opportunity to develop themselves through the participation in projects, etc. and to show how this would benefit the library. The timing of the installation of a new system was also believed to play an important part in how the change is perceived by staff. While implementation at the busiest period of the year was not recommended it was thought that it should be during a moderately busy period in order to demonstrate the effectiveness and benefits of the new system.

However, one group wondered to what extent have we already moved towards change anyway? At least two universities present have gone down the route of having a single team that swaps tasks, and others were thinking about doing the same thing. This was also linked back to the discussion on workflows – a possibility is that we could adopt one workflow for all resources – would this lead to one team, or would this spread things out too thinly? Do we still need experts in certain areas?

Another useful point was that many ‘back room’ teams have been dealing with change for some time – the biggest impact may actually be on the subject teams as their role may change, e.g. PDA vs. subject librarians orders. It was felt the these teams need to be engaged from the outset as there is a clear tension between the need to do more outreach work and ordering resources at granular level.

It was also pointed out that we live in a constantly changing and developing world and it is important that institutions and workflows have enough flexibility to be able to constantly enact change to keep in-line with these developments. Therefore it is important that using all the ideas above we can create an environment that is safe, comfortable and open to change. Intota is part of a suite of changes and it is our responsibility to adapt to them.

Finally it was argued that things take time and we have learnt many lessons already from our implementations of Summon. However, if we don’t make our processes more efficient it’s only a matter of time before somebody else does!


In the final session of the day, groups attempted to come up with lists of APIs and stuff they wish they had – or would want in a new system:

  • To talk to the financial system
  • Less duplication of effort – we are always trying to reconcile things
  • A wish list system
  • A way of reporting problems to all systems without having to re-write the same query three times
  • To be intelligent about students, e.g. on placement – linking student records to the student information system
  • An integrated VLE
  • Integration with every operating system in the University!
  • Active directory – smartcards etc.
  • Integrated with reading lists
  • RFID – Can we GPS track the orders
  • Notification of reservations
  • Could we give more information than just ‘on order’ or ‘reserved’  – e.g. use supply times from vendors to say when an item is expected?
  • Integrated ILL – not just with the British Library, but other local libraries too
  • Ethos!!!

Some thoughts on what we don’t want!

  • FTP
  • EDI
  • Imports and exports
  • Student records in the LMS – no duplication of data!
  • Single point of failure, e.g. staff who own important pieces of information

However, before we got too carried away, we also thought that removing the library catalogue completely might be a step to far for some – back to evolving our users/staff needs through cultural change.

With thanks to all who attended the HIKE workshop for their invaluable thoughts and feedback!

Serials Solutions’ 360 Resource Manager and JISC’s KB+

As part of the HIKE project we have been populating and using both Serial Solutions 360 Resource Manager and KB+, therefore we thought it would be useful to write a comparison between the two systems and evaluate which is the best system to use for our purposes and propose an ideal workflow for using the two systems.

At Huddersfield, we will use the information held in these two systems in different ways. Primarily data from both systems will be used to help the Information Resources team with the management of the electronic resources lifecycle, but it is also used as a reference tool for the Academic Services team to answer any enquiries on access, ILL allowances, etc. In order to evaluate the systems we propose to compare and contrast three different areas of the system before offering an ideal workflow and suggestions of any developments that would need to be considered to facilitate the proposed workflow. The three areas for the initial investigation are

  • the aims and objectives of the two systems
  • the population of the two databases
  • the functionality of the two systems

Aims and Objectives of the systems

The aim of KB+ is to support the management of all electronic resources by holding the pertinent information from the current licences and subscriptions that are maintained by the library, holding historical data about subscriptions and licences, and providing a forum for shared community activity relating to the management of electronic resources. This is all the information that the Information Resources team will need to know when dealing with the lifecycle of the resource and for answering any enquiries relating to access and use.

In contrast the purpose of Resource Manager is to hold all the information about the resources, and be interactive and aid in the management of the resources. By entering all the information about a resource such as fund and payment information, contact details, password and access information, expiry dates and licence details Resource Manager has the potential to play an active part in the selection, acquisition and renewal of electronic resources through integrated alerts, automated reports and the interlinking of resource information. For example, once you have set an expiry date on a subscription you can ask the system to notify you of the impending renewal a month before it is due.

Population of the two databases

KB LicencePopulating the database with information, in both systems, begins with the creation of a new licence. In both it is possible to either create an entry from scratch or to copy an existing template including the restrictions and modify it. For each licence in KB+ there is an information box which holds the name of the licence, the notice period for cancellation, linked subscriptions and the URL of the licence if available.

The location of this important information for identifying the resource is well placed at the top of the page as it immediately and clearly identifies which licence is being dealt with, the subscriptions that are governed by these restrictions and the period of notice that needs to be given if you intend to cancel.KB traffic light table (1)

The key properties of the licence, which were defined  and identified by the KB+ community as the properties which you most frequently need to know are displayed in a traffic light table below. For each property you can select from a drop down menu of yes, no or other and then provide an explanation and more information if required in the column next to it. You can also upload an electronic copy of the licence and any other relevant documents, and there is the facility to add notes to record any information you feel may be beneficial keeping, for example if a lecturer has asked you to subscribe to a specific resource. These notes can also be made public which shares the information with the KB+ community. It is thought that one use of this feature may be to identify access problems and alert others to the problems. 

In Resource Manager there are two sections relating to the licence that need to be filled in. The first is the general information about the licence such as the name, duration of the licence, location of the licence, status and the period of notice of expiration that the library would like.  Similar to KB+ this is located as the first page of licence details RMwhich is useful as it gives the main points of information relating to the licence. There is then another page, for specifying the terms of the licence, which is a mixture of tick boxes, drop-down and free text fields.  We found Resource Manager harder to populate as it required a more in-depth knowledge of the licences and many of the fields required information that is based on North American licence models and are not always relevant in the UK or do not have an equivalent. There were also a number of fields that would be relevant for British HEIs but were missing such as: the ability to use the resource at multi-sites or if overseas students are allowed to use the resource. Like KB+ it offers the ability to link the licence to the resource/resources it governs, but because they are linked to the Serial Solutions Knowledge Base there are a larger number of resources to which licences can be linked. 

There are a number of fields within Resource Manager which we are not using but which we believe will be beneficial for us to populate and use in the future. By recording this information in a clear, concise and systematic way through Resource Manager it will allow us to easily extract the information to understand more about the resource in order to answer enquiries and make informed decisions in the selection, acquisition and renewal of electronic resources. The fields indicated below and information they hold are the additional fields we believe should be populated as they will help HE institutions in the management of their electronic resources.

  • Fair clause – permitted uses of the published material such as ILL
  • Scholarly sharing – non-systematic classroom use e.g. the printing of a section of a journal by a tutor for their class as a one off.
  • Electronic link – VLE or wiki
  • Perpetual access holdings  – indicate the dates of our perpetual access e.g. 1996 – 2000
  • Governing law/copyright/governing jurisdiction = UK/US copyright
  • Execution date – date the licence was signed and agreed
  • There are also a couple of fields relating to the use of published material and repositories which may in the future be useful. Although at the moment very few licences mention repositories and this information is kept separately at SHERPA.

Resource Manager also offers the opportunity to add notes like KB+; however, this information cannot be shared. Additionally users may feel uncomfortable about using commercial software, such as Resource Manager to record information about the parent company, Proquest, although we have been informed that it is possible to hide these notes from the vendor. Another difference between the two systems is that you are unable to upload an electronic copy of the licence in Resource Manager meaning you are still dependent on the paper copy. However, Resource Manager does offer additional features, e.g. recording administrative details such as the dates of acquisition and renewal, the log on details for users and admin users, the contact details of the account manager, and payment details such as invoice details, amount and fund.

The functionality of the systems

We found that the pertinent information of the licence was displayed on KB+ in clean, clear and easy to understand way. The presentation of this information provides a quick and easy reference tool for someone answering an enquiry.  However, if you were using KB+ to answer a query about a resource or journal you would need to know which licence governed your resource or which collection the journal was part of before you could identify and find the correct licence on KB+ to extract the relevant information.

Whereas with Resource Manager you can search the Serial Solutions Knowledge Base at journal level and then follow a series of links which will take you to the licence that governs that journal. Yet the presentation of the information of the correct licence in Resource Manager is not as easy to understand as in KB+, despite holding all the same information and more. Resource Manager has the appearance of a busy screen due to the small font and line spacing of the page which makes it difficult to identify the relevant information at first glance.

KB+ is the easier of the two systems to populate and displays relevant licence information in a clean and simple way making it straightforward to understand. However, a certain amount of knowledge about the resource is required to be able to find the terms of the licence. Conversely Resource Manager is harder to populate as it requires more detailed information and it is harder to find and extract the information, but it is easier to find the relevant licence within the system without any prior knowledge of the resource. Being an interactive aid in the management of electronic resources Resource Manager offers additional features KB+ does not. Therefore although additional time may be spent inputting detailed data, theoretically, in the long run, it will save you time.

In conclusion we recommend that both systems are used but for different purposes:

  • Resource Manager will help the Information Resources team in the management of electronic resources in an active way
  • KB+ will provide an ideal reference tool for answering enquiries relating to the access and use of the resources.

Ideal workflow and use of KB+ and Serial Solution’s Resource Manager

After data inputting, and comparing and contrasting the two systems we propose the ideal workflow to be to input the data into KB+ first before importing it into Resource Manager. KB+ is easier to populate and clearer for the user to understand which field requires which information. Additionally as JISC Collections produce definitive lists of journal titles within the different collections each year it is only necessary to amend the lists to identify the core titles for your institution and check against the previous year’s list for changes of titles within the collections by using the new renewals tool.

For those Serials Solutions customers that decide not to subscribe to KB+, the option would still be available to populate licence information from scratch or by using the templates provided in Resource Manager.

For those who do subscribe to KB+ we recommend that the information about the licences and the changes to identify the core titles and access dates etc. should be enacted in KB+ first and then imported into Resource Manager to save the duplication of work. Unfortunately there are a couple of sections within Resource Manager such as the costing information and administrative details that do not have an equivalent in KB+ and would therefore need to be populated separately.

In an ideal world the definitive lists of journal titles within the collections and their associated licences could then be exported via an API into Resource Manager. The fields not populated by KB+ would ideally be populated by another API to the relevant system or manually. Once fully populated with the information needed, Resource Manager could then help the Information Resources team by playing an active part in the selection, acquisition and renewal of electronic resources through integrated alerts, automated reports and the interlinking of resource information.


In order for this proposed data transfer between the two systems what data needs to be transferred? And how could this be achieved? We recommend that all the data from KB+ would need to be transferred to Resource Manager. However, at the moment the only export of data that is supported by KB+ are CSV files.

Currently it is possible to download the generic subscriptions negotiated by JISC Collections at, it is also possible to export all of the subscriptions taken by your institution, which have been amended to reflect the local holdings as CSV files. Although this export does include the local changes by the institution of the start and end date of the coverage and any embargoes, unfortunately it does not include the identification of the institutions core titles – this information is crucial for the management of electronic journals. If the ideal workflow is to input the data into KB+ and then export it to 360 Resource Manager the exports from KB+ must be able to reflect all the locally made amendments by each institution to the subscriptions.

Although a CSV file export of the License information is not currently available, all JISC collection licences have already been provided to Serial Solutions for inclusion in Resource Manager. However, these licences are the generic ones that do not contain local information – in addition, 360 Resource Manager cannot display the licence terms in the traffic light system available on KB+. Additionally there are a couple of fields within KB+ that contain information relevant to UK HE institutions, such as multiple site access and overseas student’s access, which are missing from Resource Manager.  Both systems need to be able to display the same fields – or at least a set of core fields.

In order for the workflow that we have proposed to utilise both KB+ and Resource Manager to their full potential, a couple of developments would need to be developed by both systems. In addition to the generic exports of journal titles in each collection KB+ would need to develop the ability for institutions to export their subscription details and include all local changes in the export. In turn Serial Solutions would need to consider providing the option of importing data into Resource Manager. Although they currently offer uploading information for their customers, the facility to import your own data would be easier and more useful. Another development that would need to be considered it the method of data transfer. Although it is currently possible through CSV files, such exports require further manipulation of the data into an acceptable format before being uploaded as a CSV file into another system, therefore a more suitable method would be through compatible CSV files. However, the ideal method of transferring data from KB+ to Resource Manager and vice versa would be through an API.

We hope that this sort of functionality will be made available by KB+ as it develops and by Serials Solutions as part of Intota. But why stop at APIs between KB+ and Intota – for example, might it be possible for financial information Agresso and administrative information from our subscription agent to be pulled in via API too.

KB+ and the renewals process

After the release of the ‘renewals’ feature in KB+ in December 2012 which aims to facilitate the renewals process undertaken by Journals teams throughout the UK HE sector we thought it would be useful to provide some feedback to the KB+ team. The ‘renewals’ feature intends to simplify the journals renewals process, specifically the big deal renewals – both mid multi-year deal renewals and the renewal of the big deals themselves. The renewals tool will help to maintain an accurate list of titles within the different subscriptions we subscribe to, identify the dates we have access to and any core titles within the collection. It is also hoped that as each year’s subscription details are uploaded into the system, KB+ will provide historical documentation of all the titles we have subscribed to, the access we have to these, identification of the core titles with any changes tracked, and the changes in publishers and titles tracked through the years.

The ‘renewals’ feature on KB+ allows you to compare your current subscription, with the core titles clearly identified, with the proposed renewals package from the publisher. It is also possible to compare these with any other journals packages offered, and you are not restricted by publisher. For example you could compare Package A year X with year Y, but also package B etc. The comparison is clearly displayed by a colour-coded spread sheet and identifies the titles available in the package, highlighting those titles that are missing from the previous year’s collection and any new titles that have entered the journals package. This enables us to identify any issues at a glance. However, we wondered if it would be possible for the spread sheet to also include why some of the titles are missing such as if they have ceased publication, transferred to another publisher, combined with another journal or split into two journals, or would this information be something each individual library would need to chase up after their absence in the journal package has been drawn to our attention by KB+? Additionally we wondered if it would be possible for the spread sheet to identify which journal titles are hybrid (subscription and OA) and which are OA? We don’t want to be paying twice for an OA title so we could do with seeing the percentage OA content.

Once this comparison spread sheet has been downloaded from the renewals section it is possible for you to amend the details of the coming year, e.g. add the core titles, to reflect your holdings before uploading the spread sheet to KB+ to record the coming year’s holdings. For this document to be used as a record of historical entitlements and reflect accurately the current holdings of the institution, the additional information of the format of the title, print, electronic or both, and the dates of the access would also need to be included in the comparison spread sheet. We would also like to be able use the data in the spread sheet related to the renewal as a master version that could be uploaded (perhaps automatically) into Serial Solutions to amend the knowledgebase to accurate reflect our new holdings?

The KB+ ‘renewals’ will greatly help the Journals teams by:

  • gathering the information on the titles that have changed title or publisher, ceased or are new in the package
  • displaying it in an easy to read and interpret colour-coded spread sheet
  • highlighting the titles which have changed from last year.

It will save time and automate one of the tedious and manual jobs that has to be undertaken each year. We also think it could be improved even further if JUSP (Journals Usage Statistics Portal) information to also be included on the comparison spread sheet. This would mean that if a title was missing from the collection during the coming year we would be able to evaluate the impact it may have on our institution by analysing the usage stats from the previous year, e.g. if a title had a handful of downloads in the previous year we might not mind losing it from the collection, however, if a ‘non-core’ title was highly accessed we might want to consider a subscription with the new publisher. In addition it would be good to see the percentage of movement in a given deal in order to access the stability of a package – the downtime would be good too – but we may be asking a little too much with that one!!

Finally, we’d like to thank Liam Earney at JISC Collections (and our project team!) who has already taken some of these points forward 🙂

The Acquisitions workflow, Intota and Dawson Books

We recently met with Dawson Books to discuss our current acquisitions workflows (see our workflows blog posts), our ideal workflows and their implications for Intota, the Acquisitions team at Huddersfield and Dawson Books.

We began by discussing the information that would need to be provided by Dawson Books via Intota in order for us to make an informed decision on the items we would be purchasing. The details that we would ideally like to be visible are the:

  • format of the item
  • supplier
  • estimated delivery date
  • price

The actual price we would like to see would not be the list price, it would need to be the overall cost of the item including the servicing, delivery, vat and discount. However, at a later stage we would also want to know the price broken down in order to assign the costs to different budgets, at Huddersfield we pay for shelf ready processing costs out of a different budget to the actual book itself.

For e-books the following additional information would be required:

  • licence information
  • access criteria (how many users can have access, other options for more users)
  • purchase module (outright, credit based, availability as subscription through a collection)

Dawson Books confirmed that they would be able to supply all of this information; however, Intota would need to find a standard way of displaying the data from all of the different suppliers.

National Book Contract

Adherence to the National Book Contract was raised as an issue at this stage as we would only want to see information about the suppliers we had a contract with. Therefore it was suggested that Intota would need a series of default settings which can be amended by libraries to ensure that if the book is available from any of the chosen suppliers they are shown immediately and the search is only widened if there are no results from the chosen suppliers or the library manually chooses to widen it.


We then looked at the ordering process; one suggestion was to automate the whole process, perhaps creating a profile for each Librarian defaulting to specific loan types, etc. Unfortunately this would not be possible for individual orders at Huddersfield because there are too many variations. However, it is hoped that once our MyReading project is fully developed there will be formulae which will automatically create orders rather than going to the subject teams for approval and thus making efficiencies in the workflow (see previous blog Patron-Driven Acquisition for more information).      

Book reports

Book reports are currently supplied by Dawson Books to us via EDI or email and with the exception of cancellations very little is done with them. Dawson Books thought that it would be possible to supply this information directly to Intota via a feed. It was then suggested that these feeds could appear on a dashboard on the homepage of an individual alongside reports from all the suppliers. Due to the number of reports received it was decided that this would need to be customised to individuals so that the reports would only go to the relevant people, this led to the suggestion that reports from all suppliers would go directly to the relevant people based on the fund codes the items/resources are paid from. Further to this it was suggested that the reports would need to go to more than one person as this may cause problems during periods of absence. While discussing the idea of a dashboard on individuals homepages it was also suggested that a general overview could be presented when they log in, for example a graph could be used to show projected spend against actual spend and there could be detail on the amounts left in the budget, committed and spent visible when the individual immediately logs on. It was thought that because the information is more visible it may make the budget easier to manage and may help stabilise spend throughout the year. In addition longer reports would need to be exported as a csv file from Intota so that we could use it for other purposes if required, custom and standard reports would also need to be displayed on screen in html (or appropriate format) if a quick check of the figures was all that was required.

MARC records

The discussion then turned to the importing of MARC records. At Huddersfield we currently import our MARC records when we receive the books on to the system and pay Dawson Books. However, it is thought that with Intota we will be able to pull the records from the cloud at the time of order. While this will potentially save HEIs money as we will no longer paying the supplier for them as our access to the records will be part of the subscription to Intota. Dawson Books highlighted the possibility of poor records. Although it was acknowledged that the majority of the records would be of a high standard it was brought to our attention that books purchased pre-publication and e-books often have poor quality records. Something for Serial Solutions to consider when developing Intota?


This naturally turned our attention towards e-books; it currently around 48 hours after ordering for the record and link to become available on the catalogue.  With users expecting instantaneous access to e-books through Amazon and I-Tunes, this immediate access, alongside real-time invoicing, must be available to HE institutions through Intota. Dawson Books explained that one of the main reasons for the delay in the access to the book was the creation of the catalogue record, upon which it was suggested that with the implementation of Intota such a record may not be needed. If the front end of Intota is Summon, surely this will remove the need of a catalogue record as it will only need to be switched on in the Knowledge Base and be searchable through Summon?

Payments and our financial system

At Huddersfield we have moved to credit card payment for book orders rather than the traditional purchase order route – we would be interested to know if anyone else does this? We had a discussion about the interaction that would be required between us, Dawson Books, Intota and our financial system, Agresso, in order for the process to run smoothly and create efficiencies.

It is hoped that Intota will be able to work with Agresso and that during the ordering process we will be able to assign a Cost Centre and Nominal to each purchase which will then be visible in Intota and Agresso. Following on from this, we wondered if, after all the items on a delivery note/invoice had been received either manually or via RFID on Intota, it would be possible to send a notification Dawson Books via Intota instructing them to take payment from our credit card. If it were possible for each credit card transaction pulled in by Agresso to retain the Cost Centre and Nominal information input during the ordering process it would fully automate the payment system and significantly reduce the amount of work. However, although we use the credit card to pay it was acknowledged that other HEIs use purchase orders; therefore we turned our discussion to the payment by purchase order workflow. Similarly it was thought that if a notification could be sent to Agresso delivering the items on a purchase order, after they had been received on Intota, once the invoice was input in to the system by the Finance department, Agresso could immediately pay the invoice by BACs.

Out of print books

It was agreed that a more efficient way of ordering and supplying out of print items must be found.  There are a number of issues surrounding the order and supply of out of print items through the library’s approved book suppliers such:

  • out of print items not always being listed on the book supplier’s database, even though in a number of cases they are able to obtain them
  • if the items do appear, there can be inadequate information and sometimes no price
  • the cost of these items can be a lot more expensive
  • the speed of supply can often be a lot slower
  • the current process generally leads to confusion amongst the subject teams as to the best place to obtain the item from, which often means lots of emails/phone calls between subject teams, Acquisitions team and Dawson Books.

One suggestion was a two tiered ordering system whereby if we were to find a copy with an out of print distributor through Intota (via an out of print supplier option?) we could select to purchase that option but then request that it be processed by Dawson Books. While it was agreed that this was a good idea we were unsure how it would work in practice, for example, how would Dawson Books receive and purchase the item from the Out of Print distributor, and agreed that further discussion would be needed if we were to pursue this.

Additional features

Finally, we looked at some additional features that would be helpful for HEIs and whether it would be possible to incorporate these into Intota direct from the book suppliers. The first item mentioned was the possibility of being able to see if an item you are considering is already on order, had been previously supplied or is currently sat in a basket for your institution. Dawson Books confirmed that this information would be able to be supplied to Intota and that Serial Solutions would need to find a way of displaying this information.

On a similar theme the possibility of a reporting feature, which could remember what you had searched for was discussed and thought to be advantageous. For example, if you had looked for a number of e-books within a collection (publisher or aggregated) it was hoped that the system would be able to notify you and recommend that you purchase the collection. Following on from this, the possibility of e-books working like JISC Collections database deals was considered, whereby if you buy a database and part way through the subscription it becomes part of a national deal, you are credited with the difference to pay on the old subscription. Could e-books and national deals work in a similar way – could you get a discount from a nationally negotiated e-books deal if you had already purchased a number of titles outright, and could Intota provide this information at the point of need – possibly listing those national deals in the drop down of suppliers? Something for KB+ and JISC Collections to look into further perhaps?

Some figures!

In order to decide on the workflows we need to adopt in future, we are busy populating both KB+ and Serial Solution’s 360 Resource Manager with licenses. We are putting about 50% in each to see which is the most effiecient (more about that in a future blog post!). In the meantime we thought it would be useful to try and quantify the work as “one of the most time consuming parts of an ERM implementation is analyzing of licenses and inputting them into the relevant fields of an ERM in order for them to meaningful to librarians and patrons”. (1)

Indeed, “a risk of ERMS implementations, more talked about than written about… …was that the costs (in added work) to maintain a new system would outweigh the value of the added functionality.”(2)

In total we have access to and guide students towards 645 different e-resources, these include: subscriptions such as Early English Books Online; negotiated journal packages such as ScienceDirect; free resources such as 19th century British pamphlets; individual journal titles with an e-access element; and links to other miscellaneous resources.

Out of these 645 resources, 483 (75%) are available through Serial Solutions, of these 483 we only have licences for 175 (36%) of the resources.

Of the 162 resources that are not available through Serial Solutions we have licences for 66 (40%).

Therefore we only have around 37% of the available licences.

Although this appears as though we have only a small percentage of the licences we should have, in a number of instances licences are not available for the resource. Some are free resources that are available to all via the internet, others are resources from small companies which although require a subscription they don’t have a licence, and there are some which are open access resources which do not necessarily have a licence agreement. This is something we need to consider in future, we could for example, approach publishers/vendors to accept the SERU guidelines (3).

[1] Jill Emery and Graham Stone, “TERMS (Techniques in Electronic Resource Management),” Library technology Reports forthcoming April 2013.

[2]. Nat Gustafson-Sundell, “Think Locally: A Prudent Approach to Electronic Resource Management Systems,” Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship 23, no.2 (2011), 126-141.

[3]. NISO, “SERU Guidelines,” (accessed 6 November 2012).

Journal Subscriptions and renewals

Each year as part of the NESLi2 deals renewal process, we receive a list of our ‘core’ titles from some of the journals publishers – these are the ones that we are not allowed to cancel as part of the licence (see our earlier blog post on core titles).

We then work through the list checking each title they have recorded as a ‘core’ title against our own lists of ‘core’ titles and the information from our subscription agent to identify the discrepancies between them. For the majority of the titles there is agreement between the journals team, the publishers and the subscription agent, however, there are always a small number of titles that we do not agree on – and this happens year after year after year! While some are titles where all parties do not agree as to whether they are core or not, others are trials that will automatically renew if they are not cancelled.

 It is these discrepancies in the lists that cause major headaches for all parties during the renewal process as we have to open negotiations to resolve the differences that arise despite already having agreed a contract. This process can take a long time due to the queries that go back and forth, and the explanations and discussions over the different titles. This process can also, occasionally, impact on the student experience of the library as if the titles have not been agreed, the payments not sorted and the new invoices agreements not signed by each party before January it can result in the loss of access to the materials, which happened last year. Other reasons for having an accurate and up to date understanding of our subscriptions can be found in a blog post about Knowledge Base + at

It is hoped that with the release of KB+ these particular difficulties in the renewals process for the journal teams, publishers and subscription agents may be a thing of the past? With KB+ offering the institutions the facilities to keep an electronic record of their ‘core’ journal titles and to upload electronic documents it is hoped that the management of journal subscriptions will become easier, more efficient  and more accurate hopefully making renewal negotiations to become less problematic. In fact, we hope that having this information stored at KB+ and therefore accessible to JISC Collections at the negotiation stage that in the near future we won’t even have to have the conversation at all!

In the next few weeks, the HIKE project will be working with KB+ to look at how we manage renewals in a multi-year NESLi2 deal and how this impacts on KB+ and ultimately Intota. We will blog the outcomes soon!

Core titles

A discussion about the subscription side of KB+ and the information it maintains and support at the recent Institutional Partners Meeting in October inevitably led to a discussion on core titles. Core titles are at the very heart of understanding many ‘big deal’ journal subscriptions and are crucial when looking at post-cancellation access. However, core titles are very complex issue and vary from institution to institution and publisher deal to publisher deal, so we have decided to try and get to the bottom of our understanding core journal titles.

The NESLi2 model licence defines a core title as, “the core collection of journals selected by the Institution from the Licensed Material. The core collection will be updated by the Publisher in consultation with the Institution at least annually. The Publisher will list the selected journals in the core collection of each Institution in Schedule 2 of such Institution’s NESLi2 Licence for Journals.” (1)

So basically, the core titles are the ones we had before the big deal – any title that is subscribed to individually (either as electronic, print or electronic and print) and is invoiced individually. Core titles can also be found both outside the negotiated big deal – this is where we have a part of the deal, say the STM collection, but the publisher requires us to keep subscriptions to all of their content (see below).

Post-cancellation access to subscribed content is dependent on whether the title is core or part of a package. Generally for titles that are part of negotiated deals, once the deal has ended you will only retain access to the electronic issues for the years that you were paying. For example, if a deal is negotiated between 2009-2012 for access to a group of journals covering the years 1990-present, while you are paying for the deal you will have access to all the electronic issues between 1990 and the present, however once the deal has expired if you don’t renew your subscription you will only retain access to electronic issues between 2009-2012.

Core titles, as historical individual subscriptions, allow you to retain access to all the issues for the years that you have subscribed to. So for the core titles within deals you will still retain access to the years you have paid for. Obviously post-cancellation access is completely dependent on if the publisher allows it or not.

Cancellation allowances are governed by core and non-core titles and can vary dependent on an institutions subscriptions and are never consistent between publishers. For example, Huddersfield subscribes to the STM collection from Wiley and has core titles within this collection and also within the SSH collection which we do not subscribe to. Generally we are not allowed to cancel any core title inside the collection we subscribe to or outside, although as we have a cancellation allowance specified in licence we can cancel 5% for 2012 and 2.5% in each of 2013 and 2014 of our core titles within the STM collection and the SSH collection. However, for any title cancelled within a package all access is lost. These rules apply to any titles with an e-element.

The Oxford University Press NESLI 2012/13 deal differs in that it is e-only content and is based on the JISC pricing bands rather that core subs pricing. This has eliminated the idea of core subs until the end of the deal. During the deal all core subs are identifiable but are in a limbo state until the end of the deal. When the deal expires all core titles will be returned to their previous status and will be invoiced individually unless we cancel them or another deal is negotiated. Within this deal access to the titles as part of the deals will be available for the years you have subscribed to but access to those titles identified as core will be retained from any previous access you may have had in addition to the years of the deal.

The other publishers Taylor and Francis, Elsevier and Springer also have the notion of core titles within their deals. While the definition of what constitutes a core title remains the same throughout the different publishers, each individual publisher will impose different regulations and restrictions about post-cancellation access and cancellation allowances on their core titles. As demonstrated above Wiley and Oxford differ in cancellation allowances and post-cancellation access rights for their core titles but further variants can be found with the other publishers Taylor and Francis, Elsevier and Springer.

The question is – how do we translate this complicated process to KB+ and 360 Resource Manager? Especially when we have core titles that either don’t exist for the deal (the OUP model) or that are not even in the deal (the Wiley model).


1. JISC Collections, “The Model NESLi2 Licence for Journals”,