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About the Library

Electronic Resources Policy

Collection Development Policy: Electronic Journals and Databases


This policy addresses the selection, acquisition, and delivery of electronic journals and databases. Access may be the result of:

  • individual electronic-only subscriptions
  • multi-title electronic packages, ordered from publishers
  • aggregate products from information providers such as Ebsco, Web of Science, and ProQuest (the Library has no control over the content of these collections)
  • free access 

Selection, Evaluation, and Deselection Criteria

Librarians will consider the following criteria when selecting a new electronic-only title or transferring a subscription from print to electronic or from one electronic version to another:

Databases

  • Content decisions: The extent to which the resource in question either directly or indirectly supports specific areas of the educational and/or research objectives of the university will be evaluated based on the criteria established in the collection development policy. If the resource in question fails in some way to align with these criteria, librarians have the discretion to judge whether the resource may possess other qualities that distinguish it and which would add value to our electronic collection.
  • Cost: Cost is a consideration in the decision to purchase a new database. This is more often the case than with monographic purchases because of the recurring financial commitment that a subscription requires and because freely available databases (as defined by this policy) are rare.
  • Licensing for Access: Access is a fundamental consideration that is comprised of several criteria which may or may not be negotiable through the site license.
  • Remote Access: ability for users to access databases from off campus. For resources that require authentication, IP recognition is required.  
  • Simultaneous users: the number of users who may access a resource at a given time must be cost-effective.
  • Access versus Ownership: does the fee include perpetual access to (ownership of) the content, or does it only include access to the content for the duration of the subscription? Perpetual access (ownership) is preferred.
  • Usage Rights

  • Does the vendor/publisher permit the library’s ILL department to distribute copies according to the normal and proper procedures of interlibrary loan?
  • Does the vendor/publisher permit material to be put on electronic reserve or in learning management software?
  • Are there restrictions on downloading, printing, or viewing articles?
     
  • Consortial agreements: Deselection can occur when external conditions such as the exclusion of a particular database is agreed upon within a consortial group.
     
  • Deselection: Are usage statistics provided by the publisher? Preference will be given to those databases that provide the Library with usage statistics on which to base decisions about the relative usefulness of the database to Library users.

Electronic Journals

For the purposes of this policy, an electronic journal is defined as being a digital version of a print journal or a journal-like electronic publication with no print counterpart. In either case, the following criteria must be considered:

  • Content: the decision whether the topics covered by a journal support the educational and/or research missions of the library and the university should be made based on the selection criteria outlined above.
  • Cost: Cost is a consideration in the decision to purchase a new subscription, more so than with monographic purchases because of the recurring financial commitment that a journal subscription requires. New subscriptions are generally added when accompanied by the cancelling of an equivalently priced journal subscription.
  • Access: Finding aids for access: Whether or not the contents of the journal are covered in indexes to which the library subscribes should be seriously considered. The lack of inclusion in library subscribed indexes significantly reduces the usefulness of the journal to library users.

Licensing access:

  • Remote Access: ability for users to access databases from off campus. For resources that require authentication, IP recognition is required.
  • Simultaneous users: the number of users who may access a resource at a given time must be cost-effective.
  • Access vs. ownership: does the fee include perpetual access to (ownership of) the content or does it only include access to the content for the duration of the subscription?  Perpetual access (ownership) is preferred.
  • Usage rights:
    • Does the vendor/publisher permit the library’s ILL department to distribute copies according to the normal and proper procedures of interlibrary loan?  
    • Does the vendor/publisher permit material to be put on electronic reserves or in learning management software?
    • Are there restrictions on downloading, printing, or viewing articles?
  • Consortial agreements: Deselection can occur when a consortial subscription is not renewed.

In cases when a journal is available as electronic), the following additional criteria should be considered:

  • What is the overall quality of the web site?
  • If images, photographs, or other forms of non-test data are essential parts of articles, are the color and detail presented with acceptable clarity and accuracy?
  • Is the site easy to navigate?
  • Are there any especially desirable features present (e.g. tables of contents or alerting services)?
     
  • Does the subscription include access to the e-journal's backfiles? Preference will be given to those e-journals that provide access to backfiles of a journal either through open access or as a benefit of owning a current subscription.
  • Does the subscription include a guarantee of permanent access to the volumes and issues purchased or will all access cease if (when) the subscription is cancelled? Preference will be given to those e-journals that provide a guarantee of permanent access.
  • Is the website on which the e-journal is published compliant with ADA accessibility requirements? Preference will be given to those e-journals that are accessible to library users with disabilities.
  • Are usage statistics provided by the publisher? Preference will be given to those e-journals that provide the Library with usage statistics on which to base decisions about the relative usefulness of the e-journal to Library users.

Updated 5/2021

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