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ERCOMS: Electronic Reserves Copyright Management Systems

Project web site

Programme area
Electronic Short Loan

Contact details
Anne Ramsden, Project Manager,
International Institute of Electronic Library Research, De Montford University, Kents Hill, Milton Keynes MK7 6HP
Phone: 01908 834924 Fax: 01908 834929

Julian Ball,
GeoData Institute University of Southampton, Highfield, Southampton SO17 1BT
Phone:01703 595000 Fax:01703 592849

Project description

as of 24th July 1996


Copyright monitoring and publisher feedback is a very important aspect of electronic library/reserve development. Under the various licensing schemes for networked texts, whether it be a fixed price licensing model, or usage-based or a combination of both, libraries and universities with networked systems will have to demonstrate they can control access and meter usage. A generic electronic copyright management system which has built-in copyright management capabilities is thus urgently needed. De Montfort University, the lead site for the ERCOMS project, aims to develop such a system capable of working with various electronic reserve management systems, and able to provide full tracking of usage accountability and automatic counts of the occurrence of copyright events.


De Montfort University proposes to develop ERCOMS by building on the copyright and usage tracking experiences of the ELINOR Electronic Library project. The system will be a complete package containing existing software and newly developed programs implemented on the server platform. Managers of electronic reserve systems will be able to feed in their rules on copyright management into the ERCOMS system, which will come with an Application Programming Interface (API), a collection of programs to provide the linkage to the e-reserve system and for collecting the raw data. The data will serve to provide feedback to publishers on the use of their documents as well as providing evaluation data for project purposes. The prototype will be implemented and tested at De Montfort, and thereafter trialled with e-reserve management systems at Southampton University and The Open University Library.

The benefits of ERCOMS include:

  • a generic system which can be applied in other HE Institutions to any reserve system requiring copyright management functions;
  • Reduced development time for setting up a copyright management system. ERCOMS will have all the major built-in functionality for copyright management. Reserve managers requiring copyright management facilities do not need to build a new system from scratch, but just feed their requirements into the system;
  • A PC-based automated rights clearance system for handling electronic permission requests, generating chasers and user agreements.


The Consortium partners are:
  • De Montfort University (lead site)
  • The Open University Library
  • GeoData Institute, University of Southampton

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