Reference 360: strengthening the e-resources management competencies of UPD Librarians

Got questions? – If e-resources management was a person, this would have been its question to UPD librarians. For information specialists, the concept of managing electronic resources is no longer unusual; their knowledge and expertise extend beyond the bounds of the library. The fundamental competencies needed by librarians on electronic resources in the fourth industrial revolution have been the subject of numerous studies. Yet the question remains: are the skills and competencies of UPD librarians sufficient to meet the demands of managing e-resources in the modern environment?

Due to the increasing demand on the use of electronic resources in the digital age, professional support can provide skills and expertise in addressing the challenges of librarians in developing and enhancing electronic resources management. Thus, The University Library held an activity that aims to uphold its mandate to provide quality access to information resources in support of teaching, research, creative work, and extension work, hence leveraging the community of information professionals an interactive, instructional, and informational training to UPD librarians. The event was held last January 23, 2023 entitled “Reference 360: Strengthening the e-resources management competencies of UPD Librarians.” The goals and objectives of the event was to enable UPD librarians to understand the basic components of e-resources management, from acquisitions to authentication to discovery, acquisition models, and platform interfaces; to reinforce the library staff’s skills in managing e-resources; and to aid the needs of library staff in enhancing and developing skills in instructing users the usage and access of electronic resources. The intended audience for this event are the UP Diliman Main Library Sections Librarians and Staff, and the UP Diliman College Unit Librarians and Staff (user services librarians)

Originally planned, the event was supposed to be a roundtable discussion. The event was deliberately transformed into a workshop activity in order to make it more interesting, comprehensive, and appealing to the attendees. The resource speakers for this workshop event are the Reference Librarians of the University Library. The topics covered are: access models and registration, subscriptions options, access troubleshooting, monitoring and evaluation of usage, marketing and promotion, and e-resources discovery. At the end of each topic, participants are required to actively engage, submit, and report their output to assess the development of their e-resources management skills.

Ms. Rizalyn V. Janio, Head Librarian of the Information Services and Instruction Section together with Ms. Michelle Ann Manalo and Mr. Aaron Paul Madriñan, reference librarians at the University Library as they delivered their respective topics. 

The head of the Information Services and Instruction Section, Ms. Rizalyn Janio, gave the opening presentation entitled “Selection and Acquisition: E-Resource Acquisition Models”. Participants were supposed to gain knowledge of the various acquisition approaches and the life cycle of managing electronic resources. As one of the attendees of the event, Ms. Lea D. Garzon, librarian at the College of Social Work and Community Development library, was asked why she believed UPD librarians should focus on the importance of selection and acquisition of e-resources. She answered, “University libraries are established to consistently support the institution towards the attainment of its goals and mission specifically in the areas of teaching, learning, research, and community service. The usage of e-resources has a significant impact on their academic and research activity because teachers, researchers, and students are the main users of academic libraries. UPD librarians must be familiar with the process of choosing and obtaining electronic resources in order to serve the university’s goals and mission. A key component of collection development is selection and acquisition. It is our responsibility to offer our users high-quality content.”  The discourse led two (2) additional participants to conclude that the evidence-based acquisition and subscription with perpetual access e-resources acquisition models best suit their section or college/unit libraries. The second topic, “No Shelves Required: Electronic Resources in the Library (overview of content/scope/access/interface),” was covered during the presentation of Ms. Michelle Ann Manalo, a College Librarian at the University Library. A broad selection of electronic databases accessible through the UP System and UP Diliman subscription were introduced to the participants. It is our duty as information specialists to properly comprehend and be familiar with the various databases we provide to library users. Ms. April A. Galang, librarian at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) Library, was asked why she believes that libraries should start investing in electronic resources. She answered, “Taking into consideration the changing landscape when it comes to information searching, user preference, and technological advances– a wide array of users shall have more access to information if they are accessible online or electronically.” In addition, Ms. Liziel I. Ogame added, “To embrace the technological advancement brought by the emerging trends in the 21st century, the library strives with its full automation. Thus, investing not only in printed materials but in digital collections as well.” Electronic resources namely, JSTOR, EBSCO academic journals and eBooks, Taylor and Francis, Springer Nature, and SAGE were specifically identified by the participants as being the databases that were fully maximized by the library users at their respective libraries. The third topic, “Authentication and access systems: Where to go and what to do when access is not one-click away,” was discussed by Mr. Aaron Paul Madriñan, a librarian at the University Library as well. Participants were intended to recognize that it is safer to establish a universal login procedure for all electronic subscriptions for security concerns and for convenience. Also, the checklist of new database subscriptions and remote access to e-resources via OpenAthens were demonstrated to participants.

The University Library’s reference librarians Mr. Martian Jinio and Ms. Eunice Ann Chua, along with Mr. John Christopherson Fredeluces, Head of the Strategic Communications, Research, and Marketing Division, as they provided their fellow librarians with informative sessions. In the image above, an activity or workshop was also depicted.

The fourth topic, “Exploring discoveries through the use of EBSCO Discovery Service” was discussed by Mr. Martian Jinio, a reference librarian at the University Library as well. The new EDS interface, features, and navigation were the main points of this talk. EBSCO Discovery Service is a one stop searching tool for all subscribed e-resources of the University Library. One of the attendees commented on how the user-friendliness and availability of faceted search tools made this search tool highly dependable. When asked how she believes EBSCO Discovery Service can assist their library patrons with their research, Ms. April A. Galang, librarian at the School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) Library, responded in the affirmative. She reiterated that, “With EDS tools/features, searching for materials related to the user’s topic and the management of these materials via the EDS platform will be more easier, convenient, collaborative.” Meanwhile, Ms. Lea D. Garzon was asked to enumerate at least three (3) aspects of the EBSCO Discovery Service that she believed were beneficial for researchers. She answered, “EDS provides citation search which allows users to copy and paste citations into the EDS search box and delivers the relevant match to the top of the result list, reducing search time for known items. EDS provides subject indexes from the most sought-after resources which are then integrated in EDS, so your users enjoy the quickest and most precise pathway to research success. What’s more, mapped vocabulary terms from multiple sources are used to add precision for topical searches.” The fifth topic, “Key to on-going improvement and streamlining: Monitoring and evaluation of usage of Electronic Resources” was discussed by Mr. John Christopherson Fredeluces, head of the Strategic Communication, Research and Marketing Section. The goal was that each of the participants would be aware of the subscribed online databases’ effectiveness as reflected by their usage statistics. Also, participants were able to understand the value of monitoring and evaluating the use of electronic resources as a result of the exercise. And for the last topic, “Do you know who’s watching?: utilizing various platforms in marketing and promotion of the e-resources of the University Library” was presented by Ms. Eunice Ann Chua, librarian at the University Library as well. Library marketing and promotion is vital to keeping library users and potential users informed and educated about the new resources and services that match their needs and interests. As a result, informed users make better decisions about the resources they use and how they utilize them. The speaker provided participants with examples of existing library promotional materials designed to reach a wider audience. Ms. Liziel L. Ogame, librarian at the School of Urban and Regional Planning Library, was asked why she believes that marketing and promotion had a significant influence on the utilization of the library’s various platforms. She answered, “Library marketing and promotion is important because it informs students about available library services and resources to use, motivates them to use library resources and highlights the value of library resources in students’ learning.” Staying consistent with the library’s identity, using memorable or catchy taglines, and using social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok) to market the library are some of the best ideas to keep in mind.

It is our duty as information specialists to make library patrons aware of the resources and services that are available to them. Lifelong learning is a process. We must devise a strategy to enable library users to benefit the most from our online subscriptions. Librarians should be constantly thinking about strategies to market and advertise libraries. This workshop session is a great opportunity to support UPD librarians to improve their expertise in managing e-resources. UPD librarians enthusiastically participated in all the workshops prepared by each speaker. Participants learned about the various acquisition models, received additional information on the various apps available for creating publication materials, received advice on how to acquire and maintain electronic resources, and improved their knowledge of how to use them. 

Speakers and UPD librarians in attendance at the training-workshop “Reference 360: strengthening the e-resources management competencies of UPD Librarians.”

Now that the training-workshop has been concluded. The real question for UPD Librarians is: Are you competent enough to take on the challenges of managing electronic resources in the information landscape of today?