14 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
Consortia Purchasing/Licensing: Evaluating
E-resources for Renewal
Fifty-eight respondents (82%) reported that there is a
routine review cycle for consortial e-resources. The
comments generally stated that reviews occurred at
renewal time. Depending on the length of the contract,
that could be annually or every few years. In all but a
few cases, consortium members—either individually
or in a dedicated renewal evaluation group—have
primary responsibility for evaluating consortial e-
resources for renewal in conjunction with consortium
staff. In seven cases, consortium staff and/or a renewal
group have this responsibility. Other renewal evalu-
ators include bibliographer groups, system-wide col-
lection officers, and library directors.
Respondents were asked to rate the importance of
10 renewal criteria on a five-point scale. Overall cost
was again the reigning issue a deal breaker for more
than half of the respondents and very important for
the rest. A significant majority of the respondents
rated each of the criteria very important or important.
The highest rated were uniqueness of content, cost
per use, relevance to current curricula and faculty
research, and inflation history. Less important was
the effect of institutional withdrawal on the consortial
The survey asked respondents to indicate how
frequently specific activities were performed as part
of the renewal evaluation process for consortial e-
resources. The activities that most respondents re-
port are always or usually part of the process include
evaluating the cost increase over the previous year, a
review of past usage statistics, evaluating the infla-
tion history, and comparing titles (or other content) to
e-resource products already held. Least frequent was
collecting opinions of users.
Half of the respondents indicated they record and
maintain e-resource evaluations. Of these, all but one
indicated there were circumstances under which an
evaluation might be revisited. The comments about
such circumstances primarily concerned price in-
creases but also included changes in research pat-
terns, previously undetected usage, and platform and
curricular changes.
Library Direct Purchasing/Licensing:
Identifying and Evaluating New E-resources
This section of the survey repeated many of the ques-
tions about e-resources acquired through consortia,
but asked about the ways in which research libraries,
using their own resources and staff, identify and eval-
uate new e-resources for direct purchase or licensing.
The survey distinguished between multi-dis-
ciplinary vs. discipline/subject-specific purchases
however, with a few exceptions, the library staff re-
sponsible for identifying new e-resources for direct
purchasing/licensing is the same for both categories.
Librarians with mixed collections, teaching, and/or
reference responsibilities topped the list (93%), fol-
lowed by those dedicated to collection development
in all formats (66%), and a general collection develop-
ment group (63%). Only 19 respondents (26%) reported
having an e-resource group to identify new products.
Other individual(s) or group(s) that identify new e-
resources include faculty, students, staff, and other
users, and the Head of Collection Development. The
responses for who evaluates new e-resources were
nearly identical. Library senior administrators are
slightly less likely to evaluate than to identify new e-
resources. An e-resource group is slightly more likely
to evaluate than identify, particularly to determine
“technical compatibility with the libraries’ network.”
The most frequently used method of identifying
new e-resources is through requests from faculty (43
responses or 60% of usually or always). A distant sec-
ond method is by requests from other library users
(29 or 40%). Slightly more than a third of respondents
usually or always identify new products through
vendor visits to the library or at vendor exhibits at
library conferences. The least used method is visiting
other research libraries and discussing networked
Direct Purchasing/Licensing: Selection Criteria
The most important criteria for directly purchased/
licensed e-resources mirror those for consortial pur-
chases. Thirty-eight respondents (52%) indicated that
cost was a deal breaker and an additional 33 rated it
as very important (45%). Compatibility with library
systems was again a distant second deal breaker.
The next most highly rated criteria were uniqueness/
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