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Library Building FAU Libraries
Collection Development Policy:
Electronic Resources


Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. Selection
  3. Access
  4. Review of Electronic Resources
  5. Policy Review

I. Introduction

This collection development policy states the principles and guidelines the FAU Libraries follow in the selection and acquisition of electronic resources.

The FAU Libraries collect electronic resources to support the instructional, research and service activities of the Florida Atlantic University students, faculty and staff. Electronic resources are defined as resources that require computer access. These include, but are not limited to, electronic serials or collections of serials; online bibliographic or numeric databases; electronic reference materials; electronic monographs or collections of monographs; and streaming media.

As part of the State University Library (SUL) consortium, the FAU Libraries cooperated in the provision and management of a statewide shared electronic collection in support of the universities’ academic programs. As of July 1, 2012 the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) was formed and will oversee centralized purchasing of a shared college and university libraries collection. Additionally, the FAU Libraries participate in consortial purchases with those college and university libraries interested in acquiring particular resources.

II. Selection

Electronic resources should be relevant and appropriate to a significant segment of the Libraries’ users, meet current academic and research needs, and support the University’s mission. Electronic resources considered for addition to the collection should fall within current guidelines as reflected in the FAU Libraries Collection Development Policy and other appropriate guidelines. 

Duplication of the print and electronic versions of a resource are generally discouraged but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Libraries prefer to acquire materials in electronic format if available and deemed appropriate to provide improved access to all campuses or to enhance the Libraries’ current collections. Electronic access is the preferred format for serials when available.

Freely available websites suggested by faculty or library staff will be considered for addition, and will be evaluated by librarians/selectors with expertise in the relevant subject area. The criteria for inclusion are the same as listed below, with special attention to credibility, institutional affiliation, authority, status, and reputation of a site; the source of the information should be clearly identified. Websites that advertise a service or product will not be considered.

Traditional selection criteria for library materials apply to electronic resources as well. However, due to their unique nature, special criteria need also be applied.

  1. Criteria

    1. Cost, including any hidden costs, the possibility of consortial arrangements, and whether the cost is for a one-time purchase (which may include annual access fees), or a subscription.
    2. Technical considerations:
      1. Access by IP recognition, including remote access;
      2. No requirements for additional or special hardware or software, other than what is freely available and widely used;
      3. Compatibility across different platforms (PC, Mac, etc.) and browsers.
    3. Compatibility with open URL link resolvers, federated searching, or Web-scale discovery services currently utilized by the Libraries.
    4. Full-text availability in PDF and/or HTML, as appropriate.
    5. Compatibility with course management software.
    6. Trial period available for review of the resource prior to purchase decision.
    7. Value added enhancements and/or improved access, such as:
      1. More extensive content;
      2. More up-to-date content;
      3. Mobile compatibility and applications;
      4. Compatibility with citation management software;
      5. Ability to customize interface;
      6. Inclusion of graphics/images.
    8. Should be user-friendly and provide assistance to the user by prompts and menus, context or function specific help screens, or tutorials.
    9. Updated on a regular basis, if currency is a factor.
    10. Vendor reliability as to content, business practices, customer and technical support, documentation and training, and notification of content and format changes.
    11. Should include printing, downloading and email capabilities.
    12. Availability of the most current release of Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) compliant usage data.
    13. Acceptable license terms.

  2. Responsibilties

Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Libraries’ electronic collection rests with the Dean of University Libraries. The Dean’s authority for routine decisions is normally delegated to the Associate Dean, under whose direction electronic resources are selected.

The Electronic Resources Librarian coordinates the selection, deselection and acquisition of electronic resources, and represents the FAU Libraries on the statewide Electronic Resources Subcommittee. Selection, deselection and acquisition decisions are informed by the Electronic Resources Group. The Electronic Resources Group consists of the Electronic Resources Librarian, Associate Dean, Assistant Dean of Public Services, The Collection Development Librarian and university department liaisons, including the branch campus librarians. Journal subscription requests are reviewed by the Collection Development Review Committee (See FAU Libraries Collection Development Policy, specifically II. C.)

The Associate Dean and the Electronic Resources Librarian also work in concert with the Acquisitions Librarians, Systems Librarian, Medical Librarians and Reference Librarians in purchase, maintenance, access, and communications regarding electronic resources.

Faculty, students and staff may recommend particular electronic resources be added to the collection by submitting the Electronic Materials Suggestion Form. Product trials are made available to appropriate faculty and library staff and feedback is solicited.

  1. Licensing

The FAU Libraries will negotiate the best possible license with each vendor. Each resource may have differing terms and not all preferences may be met. In general, the vendor should provide a standard agreement that describes the terms of the license in easy-to-understand and explicit language. Licenses should include, but are not limited to:

  1. Broad definitions of authorized users including faculty, students, staff, and walk-in users.
  2. Broad definitions of authorized sites with permission to access from anywhere via the University's network, including remotely via EZproxy authentication.
  3. Fair use permission of all information for non-commercial, educational, instructional, and research purposes by authorized users. Other uses permitted under fair use should include ILL, e-reserves, course packs, and virtual reference.
  4. Pricing model, service fees, and any price caps applicable to multi-year licenses.
  5. An early termination clause for multi-year licenses.
  6. Realistic expectations concerning the Libraries' ability to monitor and detect abuse.
  7. Provision of perpetual access to the subscribed years.
  8. Provision for some type of archival copy of the material.
  9. Warranties that the licensor has the right and authority to license the material.
  10. Duration of the license and whether automatic renewal is assumed.
  11. Termination not be required in writing or more than 30 days in advance of the renewal date.
  12. A continuous service and scheduled down-time clause.
  13. Guaranteed anonymity of the users and confidentiality of their information.
  14. Dispute resolution arrangements.

III. Access

Most electronic resources are cataloged as part of the Libraries’ collection. Web-based resources will also be made available using links on the Libraries’ web pages and via electronic resource management services such link resolvers, A-Z journal lists, and Web-scale discovery services. Depending on the licensing and purchasing agreements, some resources may only be available on a single campus, to affiliates of a department/college, or to students enrolled in a specific course.

Additionally, electronic resources will be promoted to relevant faculty, students and staff. Training will be arranged, when necessary, in order to further increase the use of electronic resources.

IV. Review of Electronic Resources

Electronic resources are reviewed and reassessed before renewal. A resource may be withdrawn from the collection when:
  1. The resource no longer supports the curriculum and/or research needs of the University.
  2. The resource is no longer available or maintained.
  3. The resource is no longer reliable or relevant.
  4. The resource overlaps or duplicates material in another resource which provides more comprehensive coverage of the subject.
  5. The information is available in a more suitable format.
  6. Usage statistics indicate a declining level of interest.
  7. Cost is not commensurate with usage.
  8. The current product becomes obsolete or damaged.
  9. Budget reductions force cancellation of products.

V. Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed and revised as needed in order to address changes and reflect current practices in the continually evolving electronic information environment.


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