Erasmus University Rotterdam

Offer your collection as a service

Students at Erasmus University Rotterdam
Photo: Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (Erik Fecken)

"WorldShare e-Services allows us to support our teachers and students right in their own digital environment, and that's such a key thing for us."

Matthijs van Otegem
Former Managing Director, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Erasmus University Rotterdam library was ready to make a major paradigm shift. "We decided we wanted to shift the focus from collection to services, especially research services," explained Matthijs van Otegem, the library's former Managing Director. "We needed a system that allows us to handle collections and do the processing as a commodity so we can focus on our real new tasks: online learning, research support, grant support." WorldShare® e-Services has allowed the library to simplify collection development and maintenance to address these new priorities.

The librarians already knew that their e-resources were accessed 100 times more than their print resources. "Traditional services are dropping, and we're open about it," Matthijs said. WorldShare e-Services has allowed the library to begin deselecting print material while implementing a book ordering system for research staff that focuses the collection on the resources that the faculty and students need most. "They can now easily connect to WorldCat®," Matthijs said, "so they can see, if they want to order a book, whether the library has ordered it… or they can easily make a request or order it on our budget, use it first and then hand it over to us. It is one of the new services we can offer now that we have WorldShare e-Services in place."

"Having this research information isn't the key thing anymore. It's more about how you can use it within the context that's necessary. We needed a flexible system that could handle that information as a commodity rather than focusing on traditional selecting, processing and making things accessible."

"We see a trend that the information is coming from everywhere, and should be made available everywhere," Matthijs continued. As Eugenie van den Hoven, Project Manager of Library Innovation, explained, "We implemented EZproxy® … to make it easier to collect off campus. This is also supporting people to study where they want, when they want." Matthijs added that while managing e-resource licenses is important, "it's far more important to be able to export these license conditions within the context of choosing learning materials," which WorldShare License Manager helps the library automate.

All of this efficiency has helped Erasmus University Rotterdam library staff think about library services in a different way. "First, we had a building and information, and we expected people to come to our building. Then, we digitized, and we expected people to come to our website," Matthijs said. But now, "there's no entry point anymore. …It's our job to adapt." He continued, "We took the initiative to form teams across different units [within the university] to change the experience, improve things together." The library staff also works closely with the university's course coordinators and looks for ways to support new and existing programs with information, online modules, videos and other resources. WorldShare e-Services has allowed the library to offer "the collection as a service," Matthijs said. "It's a new thing. We've really enjoyed it, and we actually are really quite excited about the new opportunities we're ready to grasp."

Map showing locaation of Erasmus University Rotterdam

Library at a glance

  • Consists of a main library on Woudestein campus and three faculty libraries across two other campuses
  • Circulation in 2014 included 3,400,000 full-text periodical downloads and 36,000 loans
  • Took on a renovation project that allowed the library to rethink its use of space and technology

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