SPEC Kit 316: Evaluating E-resources  ·  19
Survey Questions and Responses
The SPEC survey on Evaluating E-resources was designed by Richard Bleiler, Humanities Librarian, and
Jill Livingston, Liaison to Allied Health, Kinesiology, and Physical Therapy, University of Connecticut.
These results are based on data submitted by 73 of the 124 ARL member libraries (59%) by the deadline of
March 8, 2010. The survey’s introductory text and questions are reproduced below, followed by the response
data and selected comments from the respondents.
This survey reexamines the issues recognized and assessed by SPEC Kit 253, Networked Information Resources (December,
1999). In order to permit a meaningful comparison of the 1999 and 2009 responses to this survey, the definition of “networked
information resources” first proposed in 1999 and the structure of the earlier SPEC KIT are partially reused. To reflect current reality
and situations, sections have been dropped, amended, and expanded.
The definition of 1999 stated that, “a networked information resource is defined as a commercially available, electronic information
resource (library database, full-text service, e-journal, etc.) funded or enabled by the library, which is made available to authorized
users through a network (LAN, WAN, dial-in, etc.).” As the events of the last decade have shown, this definition is dated in several
respects. Many research libraries:
developed their own networked electronic information resources rather than relied on or waited for the development of
commercial products;
routinely acquire e-resources that have no print equivalent;
offer e-resources via Web interfaces rather than loading vendor-supplied databases or offering LANS, WANS, and dial-in
would rather subscribe to the packaged content of a vendor or publisher than license a single e-journal or database;
will not consider subscribing to an e-resource unless the vendor or publisher can provide statistical data concerning its
and there are high quality, freely available online discovery resources (such as PubMed, ERIC, WorldCat, Google Scholar, etc.)
Nevertheless, for all that portions of the original definition have become dated, the core of the definition remains sound. For
the purposes of this survey, networked information resources are thus defined as “commercially available electronic information
resources (databases, e-texts, e-journals, datasets, and information resources) funded or enabled by the library, which are made
available to authorized users through a pre-existing network.”
This survey remains designed to re-examine the ways in which ARL member libraries have (re)structured themselves to:
identify the availability of new e-resources in the market;
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