64 · Survey Results: Survey Questions And Responses
Additional Comments
34. Please enter any additional information about the identification, evaluation, and acquisition of
e-resources for your library that may assist the authors in accurately analyzing the results of this
survey. N=14
Again, the evolving ubiquity of e-resources has changed our methods of selection and evaluation. However, the
significant cost of some of them, coupled with the ability to monitor usage, allows and encourages us to continue to
evaluate their value as ongoing subscriptions.
As the size of e-resource packages increases, along with their price and the benefits of purchase “in bulk” from any
one vendor, there is a tendency for decision making to become more concentrated higher up the administrative chain,
or even at the consortial level. While individual subject specialists remain most familiar with the needs of campus library
users, they are less often in a position to decide to acquire a product on their own, and instead need to take part in
discussion and priority setting with other subject specialists, supervisors, and administrators.
Consortial relations are very important.
E-resources are now the norm, so few groups or policies are dedicated specifically to e-resources—they are integral to
all aspects of the collection management process.
Library of Congress’ answers may not conform with typical responses from other institutions due to our mission to serve
Congress and the American people.
Our decisions are all made locally, with the exception of the state consortium which provides a limited number of
resources to all (e.g., Ebsco, Worldcat). In general our decision practices are identical for local or consortium decision
making due to their opt-in nature. Because individual subject selectors have dedicated funds, they play the most
important role in decision-making. The AD for Collections has veto power, or the power to ‘make it so.’ We do not take
much advantage of decision groups for e-resources.
Overall budget constraints limit our ability to acquire new products or at a minimum force us to cancel another resource
of equal cost.
Regarding policies, we maintain a checklist for technical staff and a list of guidelines for public services staff in
connection with evaluating e-resources. In general, we expect that any resource will undergo a trial before a purchase
decision is made. We have a form that staff can fill out to request a trial. Every trial has a subject librarian sponsor who
is responsible for writing the database description for the library Web page, marketing the trial and gathering staff and
user feedback. Librarians collect and save comments or evaluations of e-resources that they receive from students or
staff (usually via email) and attach that information in their request to subscribe to a new e-resource. We experimented
with gathering librarian evaluation through a form and on a blog, but we decided that it wasn’t worth the time work
involved reminding people to fill out the form or comment on the blog. We maintain minimal details about trials that
we have run, but this doesn’t include evaluative information. It is accomplished by hiding the record of the trial in the
databases system from public view when the trial is over. It only acts as a reminder that we have trialed the resource on
a certain date in the past.
Routine evaluation and consistent assessment of data remain a weakness. Increased multi-disciplinarity of e-resources
makes determining responsibilities increasingly difficult.
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