New Approaches to E‐reserve: Linking, Sharing and Streaming

Martin Myhill (Library – Forum Project Director, University of Essex, UK)

Program: electronic library and information systems

ISSN: 0033-0337

Article publication date: 26 July 2011




Myhill, M. (2011), "New Approaches to E‐reserve: Linking, Sharing and Streaming", Program: electronic library and information systems, Vol. 45 No. 3, pp. 357-358.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

If any book can encourage you to shout “Hooray for MARC Field 856”, this will be it. What was probably a speculative glint in the eye of the American Library Association in the late 1990s has more than proved its worth over the years and this publication describes a number of ways in which record linking via the 856 field has been used to “front‐end” the management of e‐reserves and reading lists.

The authors draw heavily on the varied methods used by the Ryerson University Library to manage its e‐reserves over a comparatively long period. However, they have also drawn on experience from other countries in a more limited way. Systems considered include OPAC links via the library management system, virtual learning environment, local repository, link resolvers, citation management systems and streaming (including I Tunes U applications). The work is therefore current and informative although as a comment on page 150 somewhat tardily concedes,

There is no best practice for e‐reserve operation as its effectiveness is dependent on a lot of interaction with other administrative units inside and outside the library.

The work is descriptive but that's just as well when there are no perfect answers. The various experiences are honestly considered, additional input added at appropriate points and the book ends with a review of the most recent concepts, which might help overcome the very stubborn barriers that prevent a more comprehensive resolution to the problems of e‐reserves – including Creative Commons Licences, federated searching and open‐access resources.

Certainly the academic library world continues to juggle with management of e‐reserves. E‐reserves are vital as a major weapon in the battle to ensure our customers can get their hands on key reading material when they want to and for as long as they need to – a complete contrast to the previous generations of printed course packs. Couple this with the impatience of the “one click” online generation contrasted with user identification and copyright compliance issues and the reader may wonder why the authors ever thought of writing this book in the first place.

They have overcome these challenges very well, however. It is true that there are proprietary systems that are designed to help the library facilitate the treacherous triangle between lecturer, reading list and student – such as Talis List (now replaced by Talis Aspire). While these are not considered in the book, this does not detract from a quality text which clearly plays out the real‐world practices, challenges and developments in providing what is and will remain a key library service.

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