Colgate University Libraries Collection Development Policy for E-Resources

1996 rev. Mar. 1999

I.       Scope of the Collection

E-resources refer to materials or information that require computer access. The collection consists of all titles that are intended for use by the Colgate community. The collection includes resources that are physically located in the Libraries, as well as remotely accessed resources for which the Libraries pay subscription or other access costs or for which they create or maintain cataloging or other access mechanisms. It includes both networked and stand-alone serial and monographic titles that are purchased or accessed for free and titles that are physically held or accessed via the Internet. Excluded from this policy are application software (e.g., Word processing or spreadsheet programs), computer hardware, and supplies.

 II.     Responsibility for Selection

Any member of the Colgate community may initiate requests for new titles. The Electronic Products Evaluation Committee (EPEC) has responsibility for the following:

§         The evaluation and selection of all electronic materials priced over $700. [The Head of Collection Development is responsible for evaluating and authorizing materials that cost less than $700.]

§         The selection of software and hardware platforms.

§         Questions regarding the retention of print materials that duplicate these electronic materials.

§         All decisions to network electronic products that might require a continuing commitment of networked drives.

§         All decisions to mount products that will require a continuing commitment of a stand-alone workstation.

§         Other matters, which may be referred to the Committee by the Head of Collection Development for action or advice.

The membership of EPEC includes the Head of Collection Development, Director of the Library, Systems Librarian, the Head of Reference, the Head of Public Services, the Science Librarian, and, if necessary, the Head of Cataloging or their designate.

Decisions to create or maintain cataloging or other access mechanisms for remotely accessed resources that do not require purchase or subscription payments need not be referred to EPEC or the Head of Collection Development, but should generally follow the guidelines and criteria prescribed below. The Head of Documents retains responsibility for evaluating and selecting all items received on deposit from the US Government. The selection criteria listed below will guide those decisions.

 III.    Primary Guidelines for Selection

Priority will be given to those resources that support the curriculum followed by titles that benefit the entire campus but which are general in nature (such as general encyclopedias), titles that support current faculty research, and titles that support administrative offices.

Priority will be given to those resources that offer economies of scale by benefiting the most faculty and students.

Priority should be given to electronic resources that offer significant added value over print subscriptions including the following:

· Improved ability to search the contents of a database.

· Greater currency.

· More extensive content.

· The ability and ease of linking the libraries' holdings to the database.

· Greater accessibility from all areas of campus if demand is great.

· Price equal to or less expensive than the print version or pricing strategies that are cost effective given current or projected use.

 IV.    General Selection Criteria or Issues

  1. How relevant is the database to the academic mission?
  2. Does the database significantly add to or enhance the existing collection? Does the title duplicate or replace print or other digital materials? Is it identical in scope or is it broader or narrower? Does the online product add valuable enhancements to the print product or does it just replicate it? Will the database lead to a greater use of our existing print resources?
  3. Are there favorable reviews of the product from outside sources? What criteria went into the selection of sources available in the database or what is the authoritativeness of the database? Is the content accurate and up to date?
  4. The database should at least be as current as any print equivalents. What are the number of years covered by the database and are back files only available at an added cost? What is the frequency of updates and is the publisher, producer, or host able to maintain the publication schedule?
  5. Response time and general connectivity should be adequate for both web and CD-ROM connections.
  6. Ideally the database should be accessible to multiple platforms, especially those operating systems commonly available on campus and supported by Information Technology Services. Do we have the hardware, software, and computer space necessary to run the database? Is the database compatible with our existing information technology set up? Is the software necessary to install the title included in the purchase price? How will the database impact local systems support?
  7. The database should be user-friendly in terms of searching, limiting, printing, and downloading capabilities. There should be clearly written and easily navigated help screens or a clearly written manual.


  8. Is technical support available, including vendor, producer, or host? Is customer service assistance prompt, courteous, and competent?
  9. When the database is available from multiple vendors, higher weighting will be given to an interface that is familiar to our user community. In general, revolving platforms antagonize users and increase administrative costs.
  10. Appropriateness of the resource for self-directed student use. In general, the Libraries do not purchase resources that are more appropriate for a closely supervised laboratory or classroom setting.
  11. Are copyright and licensing considerations clearly laid out? We will avoid or seek to change any that infringe on standard fair use policies or require excessive record keeping or reporting. What restrictions are imposed by the license on the use of the database? If onerous, can they be negotiated out? Is the process for authentication, identification, and other security arrangements acceptable?
  12. Is the product leased or purchased outright? Will access be provided after the license ceases and how will this be arranged and paid for? Is archival access an important issue for our users?
  13. What is the replacement policy of the vendor, publisher, or producer in the event of damage or theft?
  14. What is the reputation of the publisher, producer, or host and are they financially stable?
  15. How will acquisition of the database impact interlibrary loan? Are there restrictions on the use of the database for interlibrary lending?
  16. What is the potential to reduce costs through consortial or other pricing arrangements?
  17. How many Colgate users will benefit from the product? Is there sufficient value for the price paid? Looking at current and projected use patterns, is it more cost effective to purchase the database by subscription or pay by the search (if that option is available)?

V.     Location of E-resources

E-resources acquired or accessed by the Libraries are located in one of the University Libraries or accessed via the campus network or library website. Decisions about whether or not a title should be networked will be based on:

  • Number of current or projected users. Networking is a priority if a resource is expected to receive heavy use or if a resource is expected to receive frequent use from several locations on campus.
  • The cost of networking (including license costs, equipment, and administration) and the projected availability of funds.
  • Accessibility and response time.

VI.    Duplication of Title in Multiple Formats

In determining whether a print subscription should be retained along with an electronic subscription, the following questions need to be addressed:

  • Cost of maintaining both subscriptions.
  • The scope of the online title and whether it significantly enhances the print product.
  • Currency of the electronic title and/or frequency of updates as compared to the print source.
  • Continued availability of back files in either print or electronic format.
  • Reliability of the producer, publisher, host, and vendor.
  • Quality of graphic materials should be comparable to the print or better.
  • Ability of primary users to access the electronic product on a consistent basis. Relative difficulty in using the printed version vs. electronic counterpart.
  • Users' perceptions of the relative importance of unique applications in either the print or the electronic version that are not well served by either medium and thereby justify the retention of both formats.

Exceptions are made for titles that are currently free on the Internet assuming there are no onerous license restrictions.

VII.   Copyright

The Libraries will comply with the existing copyright laws. The Libraries will also promote copyright compliance among users and among its staff.