16 · Survey Results: Executive Summary
licensed e-resources for renewal. The most frequent
activities were the same as for consortial products:
evaluate cost increase over previous year, review past
usage statistics, evaluate inflation history, and com-
pare title (or other content) to e-resource products
already held by the library. Least frequent was to col-
lect opinions of users.
Just over half of the respondents indicated that
evaluations were recorded and maintained. With
only six exceptions, respondents had the same an-
swer about whether an evaluation might be revisited
by either the consortium or the library. Thirty-four
reported that there were such circumstances (47%);
thirty-three that there weren’t (45%). The comments
indicated that reevaluations would be necessary if
funds, pricing, or budgets change.
Publicizing New E-resources
The last section of the survey asked about the methods
libraries use to publicize new e-resources and which
are most effective. All of the respondents have used a
multitude of methods. The two most frequently used
and deemed most effective are having e-resources
records in the library’s catalog and liaison meetings,
consultations, or individual contacts with faculty and/
or graduate students (99% used and 64% effective).
Announcements on the library’s Web site are used as
often but were rated less effective (36%). Also frequent-
ly used and highly effective are targeted communica-
tions sent to relevant schools, department, faculty, and
graduate students. Least used and rated least effective
are announcements or links in social networking and
Second Life sites. Several respondents indicated that
Twitter and blogs are used to publicize and announce
e-resources, and others use press releases, articles in
campus newspapers, and RSS feeds. Several made use
of video and flat screen television displays. One has
used “door hangers, coasters/beer mats, book marks,
handouts, [and] brochures.” Nevertheless, a signifi-
cant number of these comments indicated that suc-
cessful publicizing of e-resources was a concern and
remained an ongoing issue, one respondent going so
far as to state, “Very difficult to reach users. Biggest
challenge. We spend 10M a year and most do not know
what we have.”
Several respondents indicated that the ubiquity of
e-resources had changed the acquisitions process.
A number indicated a desire to find better methods
or processes to acquire and publicize e-resources.
Several made reference to the present economic cli-
mate, indicating that while identifying and evaluating
e-resources for acquisition was relatively easy, identi-
fying and evaluating e-resources for cancellation was
not so simple.
Both consortia and libraries deploy large amounts
of staff resources to build e-resource collections.
Identification and assessment activities are not par-
titioned, rather they are conducted as communal ac-
tivities. Consortial staff work in concert with member
libraries. Librarians with collections, teaching, and ref-
erence responsibilities share duties with collection de-
velopment groups, librarians dedicated to e-resource
management, and/or library senior administrators.
Final decisions about the acquisition of purchased or
licensed e-resources, while most often performed by
chief collection developers, are also the duty of indi-
vidual selectors and teams.
There is a strong and somewhat surprising corre-
lation between the ways in which research libraries
use consortia to acquire and evaluate e-resources and
the ways in which they directly acquire and evalu-
ate e-resources. There is also a strong correlation in
the ways in which these libraries are acquiring and
evaluating highly specialized and multidisciplinary
Yet, despite considerable and widespread involve-
ment of staff, the survey uncovered weaknesses in
the procurement processes, policies, and procedures.
Consortial and library staff conduct a slate of activities
and consider numerous criteria when examining re-
sources, yet many libraries do not have collection de-
velopment policies specifically addressing e-resources
to guide their decisions. Evaluations, once complete,
are often not recorded by either libraries or consortia
for future reference. Further, about one-fifth of con-
sortia and libraries do not have routine review cycles
for resources once they are purchased.