SPEC Kit 316: Evaluating E-resources · 13
most highly rated criteria were uniqueness/complete-
ness of content, anticipated usage rate, user-friendly
interface, and relevance to faculty research. The least
important criteria were whether all or most consortia
members were likely to subscribe and the e-resource’s
potential accessibility through such mobile devices as
BlackBerry, iPhone, Kindle, etc.
Sixteen comments listed other selection criteria for
the purchase and licensing of a consortial e-resource.
Four indicated the importance of perpetual access and
interlibrary loan rights. Additional criteria included
the capacity to swap and/or cancel material and stable
pricing. One respondent stated in part that, “…some
aspects that are very important to users (bibliographic
export, interface) do not normally play a large role in
making an acquisition decision, which is driven most
strongly by content relevance so long as cost or access
are not prohibitive aspects.”
Sixty respondents (83%) reported that the consor-
tium uses standard licensing terms or model licenses
for e-resources. Only 15 (22%) reported that the con-
sortium has used the National Information Standards
Organization Shared E-Resource Understanding
(NISO SERU) for any e-resources. Respondents com-
mented that few publishers have accepted SERU, yet.
They also indicated that use of SERU is more a local,
rather than a consortial, practice.
As with selection criteria, respondents were asked
to rate a list of 14 licensing terms on a five-point scale
ranging from Not at All Important to Deal Breaker.
Applicable law was rated a deal breaker by 23 re-
spondents (32%) and 41 others (56%) rated it very im-
portant or important. Walk-in users was rated a deal
breaker by 21 respondents (29%) and very important
or important by 47 others (64%). No other licensing
term garnered more than 5% of responses as a deal
breaker. The next most important licensing issues
were electronic reserves, level of support, cancella-
tion restrictions, and interlibrary loan (86% to 89% of
respondents). Seventy percent of respondents rated
consequences of unauthorized access to the data-
base and consequences of unauthorized use of the
database content as important, very important, or
deal breaker. A number of these reiterated in their
comments that any requirement for the library to
indemnify the licensor is a deal breaker. Other very
important license terms include archival and per-
petual access rights, access by IP, and use of licensed
content in course packs. Compensation for service
failures and obligation of the library to train users
were the least important issues.
The survey asked respondents to indicate how
frequently specific activities were performed as part
of the assessment process for new consortial e-re-
sources. The top five activities that most respondents
(74% to 90%) report are always or usually part of the
process include comparing the title or other content
to e-resource products already held by the library,
reviewing the vendor/publisher preservation ar-
rangement, conducting a trial use of the e-resource,
checking the e-resource’s compatibility with library
systems (e.g., link resolver), and reviewing the product
license against pre-existing organizational criteria.
Only three respondents report usually contacting
existing subscribing institutions for evaluations.
Consortia Purchasing/Licensing: Acquisition
In all but a few cases, the decision to enter into a
contract with a vendor is made by consortium staff
or committee based on feedback from members.
Feedback may be in the form of a vote or it may simply
be a decision to opt in or out of the deal.
Within the library, responsibility for the final
acquisition decision is somewhat different than the
responsibility for e-resource evaluation. While the
chief collection development officer and selectors have
equal responsibility for evaluating multidisciplinary
e-resources, the chief collection development officer
is twice as likely to make the final acquisition deci-
sion in consultation with selectors and an e-resources
working group/team/committee. Subject selectors
have primary responsibility for evaluating discipline/
subject-specific resources, but the chief collection de-
velopment officer is the primary final decision maker
in consultation with selectors and others. Other indi-
viduals or groups who make or contribute to the final
acquisition decision include the University Librarian/
Dean/Director, AUL, Acquisitions Team Leader,
Collection Development Council, Administrative
Council, Licensing and Negotiation Librarian, con-
sortial staff, and Provost.