In this document “electronic resources” refers to materials that require computer mediation in order to access their contents.
This policy covers materials acquired for the library’s collection that are available for use by patrons. Staff productivity software is not included in this policy.
- Types of Electronic Resources
- Bibliographic indexes: These files contain information that leads the user to other material, rather than being an end in themselves. Often, these are electronic versions of existing print indexes.
- Full-text and primary indexes: Unlike bibliographic indexes, these files contain most of the material referenced. Often they will be a combined bibliographic and primary index.
- Journals: This includes those available directly through the publisher or an electronic aggregator.
- Unsubscribed online resources: Various online resources undefined by the categories above may be added to the library’s collections through links to them in HopeCAT and/or library web pages.
- Application software: This includes all other types of electronic resources including computer assisted instruction, interactive multimedia, and educational games.
- Electronic books
Most of the resources do not physically reside in the library, but are accessed through the Internet. This type of access is most common for bibliographic and full-text indexes. The physical carriers and access methods for electronic resources are dynamic and will change quickly, making it imperative that the library maintain hardware and network infrastructures that make access to electronic resources possible.
- Selection Considerations
In many ways, electronic resources are like any other library material and the same selection procedures (e.g., scope, authority, price, etc.) should be used. There are, however, some unique aspects to electronic resources that must be considered:
- Performance/Access Speed
- Compatibility: Does the product work with existing hardware and the network infrastructure? If not, what would be required to use the product? What effect will the product have on other software? Is additional software needed to use the product?
- Licensing: What is the license agreement for the resource being considered? How will access be regulated (e.g., IP verification, login/password)? Is off-campus access possible? How many simultaneous users are allowed? Does the license allow the product to run over a network, or can it only be run on a stand-alone machine? Is the content purchased or subscribed? Are there any printing or interlibrary loan limitations?
- Life of product: Many electronic resources become dated very quickly. Is this a product that will have lasting value to its users? Is the physical carrier or access method one that will likely be accessible for the foreseeable future? Is the data in a format that will likely be accessible in the future? Is there an archival mechanism in place for the data?
- Selection Considerations for Unsubscribed Online Resources
The library staff may select freely available web sites for addition to HopeCAT and/or library web pages when a web site is recognized to provide searchable, accurate content from an authoritative source at no cost to the user.
(Last revised November 2007.)