SPEC Kit 316: Evaluating E-resources · 15
completeness of content, relevance to faculty research,
anticipated usage rate, and user-friendly interface. The
least important criterion was the e-resource’s potential
accessibility through mobile devices.
Individual institutions are somewhat less likely
than consortia to use standard licensing terms or
model licenses for e-resources (68% vs. 83%). They
are more likely than consortia to be willing to use the
NISO SERU agreement (37% vs. 22%), but comment
that too few publishers and/or vendors are interested.
The important licensing terms for directly pur-
chased/licensed and consortial e-resources are the
same. Applicable law and walk-in users are the top
two deal breakers. The next most important licensing
issues are electronic reserves, interlibrary loan, level
of support, and cancellation restrictions. Seventy-
five percent of respondents rated consequences of
unauthorized access to the database or use of the
database content and consequences of withdrawal
of content as important, very important, or a deal
breaker. Respondents’ comments reiterated that any
requirement for the library to indemnify the licensor
is a deal breaker. Other very important license terms
include archival and perpetual access rights, access
by IP, author rights for e-journals, 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 top five activities that are performed most fre-
quently as part of the assessment process for new e-re-
sources are the same for both libraries and consortia,
though their order is somewhat different. Comparing
the title or other content to e-resource products al-
ready held by the library is the most common activity
for both. Libraries then check the e-resource’s com-
patibility with library systems, review the product
license against pre-existing organizational criteria,
and conduct a trial use of the e-resource. Reviewing
vendor/publisher preservation arrangements is less
important for libraries than consortia. As with consor-
tia, the least frequent activity for libraries is contacting
existing subscribing institutions for evaluations.
Direct Purchasing/Licensing: Acquisition Decision
Though there are some differences in the responses
by each institution, the pattern for who makes the
final acquisition decision for consortial and directly
purchased/licensed e-resources is the same: The chief
collection development officer is the primary final
decision maker in consultation with selectors, an e-
resources group, and others, including committees
and senior library administrators.
Direct Purchasing/Licensing: Evaluating
E-resources for Renewal
Fifty of the 73 respondents (68%) report a routine re-
view cycle for both consortial and directly purchased/
licensed e-resources the review frequency is the same
regardless of the acquisition channel typically annu-
ally. Seven institutions report there is a routine cycle
for consortial products but not for directly purchased
ones five report the opposite.
A variety of library staff with collection respon-
sibility review e-resources for renewal. With a few
exceptions, the same staff are responsible for evaluat-
ing discipline/subject-specific and multidisciplinary
e-resources. Reviewers are most often librarians with
mixed collections and/or teaching and/or reference
responsibilities (51 or 71%). Librarians dedicated to
collection development in all formats are slightly more
likely to review discipline/subject-specific e-resources
(61% vs. 51%), while a general collection development
group is more likely to review multidisciplinary e-
resources (58% vs. 46%). Roughly a third of the re-
spondents report that senior library administrators,
dedicated e-resources librarians, and an e-resources
group also review products for renewal. Other re-
viewers include the Head of Collection Development,
the library’s Business Services office, and faculty and
The renewal criteria rankings for directly pur-
chased/licensed e-resources were almost exactly the
same as for consortial products. The primary deal
breaker remained overall cost (55%), followed dis-
tantly by compatibility with library systems (17%).
Criteria most often rated very important or impor-
tant were uniqueness of content, relevance to current
curricula and faculty research, and inflation history.
Cancellation restrictions and preservation arrange-
ments are only somewhat important.
There were no surprises about the frequency of
activities used by the library to evaluate directly
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