Benefits for E-Resource or Acquisitions Librarians

You’re responsible for purchasing the majority of electronic resource subscriptions for your institution.  Along with that responsibility typically come a variety of joys: submitting lists of IP address ranges to the provider; verifying that it gets turned on when purchased; notifying everybody from cataloging to IT to administration to public services that the new subscription is available; then following up with the inevitable access problems every time a campus network changes.  These responsibilities and often thankless tasks are at the core of nearly all e-resource access concerns.

Callisto was designed for you more directly than anyone else.  The more e-resource subscriptions you have and the larger or more distributed or complex your campus/organization is, the more Callisto will do for you.  Shortly after deploying Callisto, you will experience an odd sense of wonder if things are real — like the protagonist of a Twilight-Zone episode.  Then as you become assured that our reports are real, you’ll be asking “Why couldn’t we have this service years ago?!”

You’ll spend far less time troubleshooting and communicating about inconsistent access problems.  You’ll spend less time contacting and re-contacting your publishers & content providers because you’ll know exactly what to tell them to correct the first time.  You’ll no longer have to waste time testing websites to see if your new subscriptions have become active yet.

Example Scenario 1:

You get a vague report forwarded to you which originally came from a graduate student trying to use the new e-book collection.  They claim the site won’t let them check out the book they want and surprisingly they even gave the book’s title in the message.  So you log into the same site and the book is available and the site seems to be working perfectly.  Last time you had a situation like this you got caught in a lengthy series of back-and-forth messages where the patron only answered one of several questions each time.  You wanted to know where they were connecting from, whether they went through the library proxy server, what day and time it was, and which web browser type they used, and so on.

But then you remember you just subscribed to Callisto this week.  You take a quick look there before replying to the patron to start a series of questions.  You look at the recent events logged and see that the e-book site was up and down twice the same morning that the patron sent the message about their problem.  With that information and your own confirmation that the book is now available, you reply to the patron with a much simpler suggestion — simply try it again now, the e-book database was not functioning correctly at that time.  You also suggest that if they have any other difficulties with accessing subscription content in the future, they try out the library’s new status portal site (powered by Elara), since it is likely to help them immediately.

Example Scenario 2:

You just found out that campus IT has attained a new range of IP addresses and started allocating them to departments.  Faculty in those new departments are aggravated and complaining because every time they want to use e-resources they have to activate the campus VPN or follow links through the library’s catalog to enable EZproxy.   Your library Director keeps getting cornered at the Deans’ meetings and is thus putting the pressure on you to fix the problems.  Despite accepting that the problem wasn’t your fault, your Director still wants them fixed ASAP.

Here’s where Callisto comes in.  IT or someone else in one of the affected new departments installs a Sharp Moon remote-access probe and you activate that new network range in Callisto’s management interface.  In an hour you’ll have a complete list of your e-resource providers giving a virtual and dynamic checklist of which providers still need to be contacted.  Someone still has the work of contacting, but verifying them and notifying other staff of the availability becomes automatic.

Example Scenario 3:

Your library has acquired many online journal subscriptions over a period of 10 years.  Since many of these came “free with print”, your departmental/subject librarians became the de-facto contacts to those publishers.  Now you have no idea which of the many campus IP address ranges were supplied for each subscription over the years, but you’re pretty sure it’s a mess from the variety of user complaints.

Callisto is the answer.  With one or more remote-access probes installed in each campus network that should have access to some or all of your subscriptions, you’ll get a real-time “map” of all your e-resource providers and from where each is accessible.  You or Library IT will need to work with either central IT or someone in each network region to install one probe in the non-library networks.

Faculty researchers should be especially supportive and cooperative with this once you explain the increased scope and consistency of access to vital resources that will result.  Fortunately the probe software runs on any Windows computers and requires no local configuration or maintenance.

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