Electronic Resources Collection Management Policy

Collection Development Policy


The Electronic Resources Collection Management policy is part of the Rod Library larger Collection Management policy. This document addresses those aspects of collection development and evaluation decisions which are particular to electronic resources. Such decisions are made in the framework of general policy statements concerning the acquisition and provision of access to resources which are not contained in the Collection Management Policy.

This policy is not intended to address the provision of access to remote electronic resources through links established on the library=s World Wide Web home page or through UNISTAR, the online catalog.

I. Types of Electronic Resources

The library acquires selected electronic directories, and bibliographic, full-text, multi-media, and numeric file electronic resources. These include, but may not be limited to:

  1. index and abstract titles which support study and teaching in primary areas of emphasis within the university curriculum;
  2. general reference works and bibliographic tools;
  3. information, textual, or graphical sources in subject areas of significance within the university curriculum;
  4. federal and state depository resources anticipated to be of use to the university and/or larger regional community;
  5. whole books in electronic format when appropriate, and when the electronic format adds particular interest to the text, as in the use of graphics, hypertext, or interactive relationship with the reader;
  6. simulations or game-like resources when the primary intent of these simulations is educational and the material is focused on some aspect of the University curriculum;
  7. sources of basic or core information in subject fields not represented in the university curriculum; and
  8. resources that support faculty and advanced student research.

II. Selection Procedures

Patrons or library staff who recommend that the library add a particular title are expected to complete a form which requests general information about the focus, anticipated use, and technical requirements of the product. The recommendation is forwarded to the Head of Collection Management & Special Services, who in turn forwards the form to the appropriate subject bibliographer or unit librarian for consideration of the product. Copies of recommendations for indexes or abstracts in electronic format also will be provided to the Reference Collection Management Coordinator.

The subject bibliographer or librarian who recommends or endorses acquisition or provision of access to a database or other electronic resource completes an evaluation based on a variety of selection and technical factors; this process includes a preliminary technical review that considers product requirements relative to the Library's current capabilities. The administrator or head of the area also will consider at this time the effect of adding a product on existing services. In some instances, arrangements may be made for an in-house trial with the approval of the appropriate library administrator.

Recommendations or endorsements made by bibliographers or other librarians for acquisition of serial titles will be forwarded to the Periodicals Oversight Committee. Recommendations or endorsements of monographic titles will be forwarded to the Head of Collection Management & Special Services. The POC or Head of Collection Management & Special Services may ask the Department of Library Technologies and Systems to further evaluate technical requirements associated with providing access. Final authority for adding serial titles rests with the Periodicals Oversight Committee; for monographic titles with the Head of Collection Management & Special Services.

Final selection decisions will consider the full range of anticipated organizational impacts, with particular attention to cost, service, and workload implications. All licensing agreements are reviewed and approved by the Head of Acquisitions, who serves as the Library=s principal contact person for all licensing agreements.

III. Selection Criteria

Electronic resources, whether serials or monographs, are selected in accordance with many of the same factors used in making selection decisions for library resources in other formats. The subject emphasis and scope of coverage are primary factors in any selection decision; these are considered in the context of established subject collection development policies.

Bibliographers make initial evaluations and recommendations for purchase or provision of access to electronic resources, reviewing recommendations submitted by other members of the library faculty and staff or larger university community. Selection and evaluation of titles for the Reference Collection and Indexes/Abstracts are coordinated by the Reference Collection Management Coordinator. Selection and evaluation of titles within the collecting responsibilities of Special Services units are coordinated by the Head of Collection Management & Special Services.

As appropriate, the administrator of the department(s) or area(s) in which a product would be located evaluates the effect of adding or providing access to that product on the area's existing services and operations. Technical evaluation, including hardware requirements, systems compatibility, and networking requirements is coordinated with the Department of Library Technologies and Systems.

Evaluation of electronic resources also involves specialized, frequently format-specific, factors and technical considerations. Consideration is given to the size of the potential user group, subject and technical relationship to other titles already in the collection or to which remote access is provided, search capabilities, ease of use relative to alternative products, and initial and ongoing costs relative to the anticipated usefulness of the product. Alternative means of access are reviewed in consultation with the Library Technologies and Systems Department, and the need for print/electronic duplication assessed. Search software, operating and network software, licensing restrictions, contractual obligations, hardware availability and compatibility, and vendor support also are evaluated. Likely effects on existing services and operations, including development of staff expertise and the need for patron training in use of a product, are weighed. In some instances, a decision may be made that an electronic resource will be acquired or access provided with only minimal staff assistance to be provided to the public. The potential impact on Interlibrary Loan services is reviewed with the Head of Access Services.

IV. Access Considerations

Wherever possible, the library seeks to provide training and both instructional and technical support for electronic resources which it makes available. In-library access to particular resources may be determined by technical or software limitations. As appropriate and necessary, locally owned materials will be made available for use outside the library through networking or circulation.

A perceived need for new hardware and software associated with purchasing or providing access to a particular product should be communicated to the Head of Collection Management & Special Services by the area bibliographer/librarian following consultation with the Library Technologies and Systems Department in order that the need may be considered in the context of other departmental and library equipment requests.

When specialized software is required to access a particular database the cost of such software will be charged to the fund line against which purchase or access costs are charged. For products designed to be used in the library this software will be loaded on library equipment or made available on a check-out basis as technical requirements and anticipated use make most appropriate. The Library may not assume responsibility for training or software support for every software package it makes publicly available.

The library may acquire or support access to databases for which it does not own the required hardware or which it does not wish to load on library workstations or networks where known campus interests warrant doing so. These resources will be made available to library patrons through regular circulation or other access procedures as will any associated software. The library will assume no liability for hardware problems associated with patron use of such software.

V. Review of Electronic Resources Subscriptions

Departments administering electronic resources will gather use statistics on a regular basis, evaluate them, and determine whether currently available products continue to be the best way to meet the needs of library users. Such statistics and relevant analysis will be forwarded to the head of the department and to the Head of Collection Management & Special Services. Evaluation of the continued need for and desirability of maintaining subscriptions or providing access to materials in particular formats will be coordinated by these individuals.


Endorsed by LAC on July 11, 1996