The purpose of the EEMs project was to create a clear, sustainable set of practices for collecting, processing, and making accessible single digital bibliographic resources. Called Everyday Electronic Materials (EEMs) because of how frequently they are encountered, on the internet, through links sent by email, and so forth, these resources are relatively easy to capture, but raise a number of policy and procedural questions when they are integrated into a library collection.
EEMs Rights Policies
This project provided an opportunity to examine many of the rights issues that capturing and redistributing digital material raises. The Assistant University Librarian and Chief of Staff, who coordinates rights policy for SULAIR, worked with University counsel to craft policies to guide the selectors in their assertion of rights. In general, capturing and redistributing digital material is understood to be an act of distribution, which is an exclusive right of the copyright owner. Therefore, SULAIR must seek permission from the rights holder, unless the work is in the public domain or explicitly licensed for redistribution.
The workflow for assessing works and seeking permissions shown in Figure 1 was developed in consultation with, and approved by, Stanford University counsel. The workflow strikes a balance between making a reasonable effort to obtain permission to redistribute, and allowing capture of an object for which SULAIR has been unable to obtain such permission, whether through inability to locate the copyright owner or a lack of response to requests for permission. According to counsel, this workflow is consistent with policies in effect at other universities.
EEMs Collections Policies
The EEMs project provided an opportunity for the development of an organization-wide policy for collecting this type of digital material. An EEMs collection development policy group has established a clear set of categories and policies for choosing a particular format or workflow for a particular digital object. Prior to development of the EEMs workflow, the only option available to selectors was to print the digital documents and request that they be added to the collection.
EEMs Processing Policies
The new EEMs workflow has also raised policy questions for Technical Services. SULAIR’s long-held policy to represent all manifestations of a given work on a single bibliographic record in the OPAC had recently been abandoned because of the excessive volume and complex challenges of e-book records. Automated record-matching is impossible to accomplish reliably for these historic collections, and dedicating staff to making the match “by hand” is antithetical to the principle of cost savings expected by loading vendor records. EEMs ran the same risk of duplicating print material, or in some cases, other versions of the same digital content (e.g., government documents on remote servers represented by MARCIVE records). Therefore, Technical Services policy is that EEMs may be represented by bibliographic records separate from the records for print versions of the same title, or by records pointing to remotely served digital copy of the same object. This policy greatly simplifies the data flow from the Digital Object Registry (DOR) underlying the EEMs tool to the Symphony integrated library system.
Although there was some concern on the part of Technical Services staff that the pent-up demand for the EEMs workflow would create an unmanageable workload for metadata staff, as it turned out, either the actual demand was not as great as had been thought, or the rights process applied a brake preventing a flood of requests. Nonetheless, conversations are underway between Technical Services and collections leaders to determine general priority for EEMs processing relative to other types of material. There is still much to be learned about what collection areas are likely to see the greatest impact from EEMs. In fact, publication patterns seem so unstable at this point (with some movement away from PDF document distribution to new forms and formats of publication, for example) that it may be hard to get a general sense of which disciplinary areas are most likely to distribute published material as EEMs (i.e., PDFs on the web), or of what general disciplinary trends are, aside from focusing on a particular moment in our current flow of EEMs requests.