Policy For Electronic Resources

I. Purpose

     The mission statement of the Emporia State University Libraries and Archives states that the William Allen White Library “supports the academic, research, and service programs of Emporia State University. To meet the individual and lifelong learning needs of university, community, and Kansas citizens, the library provides access to resources in print, multi-media, and electronic formats.”

     The faculty and staff of the University Libraries and Archives recognize that information is available in many formats. They also see a need for digital resources to be specifically selected and made available through both the Library’s web site and Kellogg Online Catalog. Making electronic resources available through the Library's web site and catalog will accomplish several objectives: 1) increase awareness and maximize use of significant sites; 2) provide value-added access to electronic resources often absent when using various search engines to locate resources; 3) enhance and expand collection of traditional formats; and 4) support distance learning programs and initiatives.

II. Scope

     In a digital world, electronic may refer to a variety of technologies. One important electronic resource, the Internet, is readily available to any library user with access to the World Wide Web. This policy goes beyond the Internet and encompasses not only the selection of Internet resources but also includes the selection and maintenance of online bibliographic databases, full text databases, electronic serials and E-books. This policy recognizes the important contributions of individual subject liaisons in the development of the collections of the University Libraries and Archives and extends that expertise into the selection of electronic resources in multiple digital formats.

III. Access and Location

     Records and links to selected electronic resources will appear on either Kellogg Catalog or through the web site of the University Libraries and Archives. In Kellogg Catalog, the individual records will provide descriptive and subject cataloging along with the necessary URLs through a hyperlink located in the appropriate field of the MARC record.

     On the web site of the University Libraries and Archives, the links to selected resources will be present in subject-specific research guides and the E-Resources alphabetical and subject lists of databases. Some of the selected electronic resources may be housed on the library server, while other resources may be accessed remotely. Inclusion of a resource in the University Libraries and Archives holdings does not preclude it from being linked or located via a research guide.

IV. General Selection Principles

Selection Responsibility:

     Responsibility for selecting electronic materials falls to individual members of the Collection Development Committee and the Head of Collection Development as part of their regular selection responsibilities. Faculty, staff, students and other patrons may offer suggestions to appropriate collection development liaisons or to the Head of Collection Development.

    Because of the need for resources for distance learning communities, E-books and E-journals are purchased by the University Libraries and Archives. Individual titles and collections will be considered by the Collection Development Committee before purchase. Subject liaisons may bring information about suggested titles to Collection Development Committee meetings for purchase consideration. Some materials in electronic format may be purchased on a consortia level. Although the library may have a print copy of a particular title, it may be necessary to purchase an electronic copy of the same title for remote access to distance education students and faculty. The same decision may be made when the library has access to an electronic version of a title and would like to have a print copy of the same title.

     A form entitled “Request to Add an Electronic Resource to Kellogg Online Catalog and/or E-Resources Alphabetical and Subject Lists ” is to be used to submit an Internet site to the University Libraries and Archives’ Collection Development Committee for inclusion in Kellogg Catalog. This same form is used to submit a request for an Internet site to be included in the E-Resources alphabetical and subject lists of databases. The form is submitted to the Head of Collection Development, who will then present the requests at the regularly scheduled meetings of the Collection Development Committee. In turn, this committee will make final decisions regarding the inclusion of sites in the catalog and the E-Resources lists.

     Collection development liaisons are encouraged to create subject-specific research guides that include Internet and other electronic resources. Generally, Internet resources added to Kellogg Catalog will be “monographic” in nature. The majority of Internet-based resources will be made available through the subject-based research guides or other subject lists of databases.

     Due to their inherent nature and cost, subscription databases are selected by the Collection Development Committee. Prior to purchase, a trial of the resource will be requested from the vendor or database producer. Depending upon the resource and length of the trial, departments and specific faculty will be notified about trial periods of resources and asked for their feedback. Information about the resource and trial as well as a Web-based evaluation form for the resource will be posted on the University Libraries and Archives web site. Following the trial period, the Collection Development Committee will make a decision concerning the purchase of the resource.


    The Administrative Team of the University Libraries and Archives has set up a line item for database purchases. Money for this line item comes from student technology fees. Monies may also be transferred to this account when print resources are cancelled in favor of their electronic versions, especially from standing order or periodical subscription funds. Purchase of these items will be routed through the Collection Development Committee and the Acquisitions Department or Business Manager. E-books will either be purchased as a part of funds allocated for a specific subject area, through endowed funds, or through the database fund allocation. Some of the titles may be purchased through consortia agreements with the funds taken from the database allocations.

     In the case of Internet resources, Collection Development Committee members are encouraged to select those which are free of charge. Selection of free Internet resources will bypass the usual routing of orders through the Acquisitions Department.
Adherence to Other Collection Development Guidelines: The selection of electronic resources should follow present collection statements and policies, both general and subject specific. Specifically their selection should adhere closely to the chronological, geographical, language, and date of publication guidelines set forth in general or subject specific policies. As with other materials, the liaisons should also 1) consider present curriculum and research needs, 2) select materials which meet the standards the Library expects of all materials in regard to excellence, comprehensiveness, and authority, and 3) weigh the selection of a particular fee-based title against other possible acquisitions from material budgets.

Specific Format Criteria:

     In addition to content, the liaisons should closely consider the criteria listed below when considering the purchase of Internet resources.

  • the improvement or enhancement that the resource will give to existing print materials
  • the broad accessibility of the resource under present copyright laws and licensing agreements
  • the compatibility of the resource with existing hardware about to be purchased or already in the Library and hardware on the Emporia State University campus
  • the currency and relevancy of the resource's information, if deemed necessary for subject matter
  • the user-friendliness of the resource

When possible, it is helpful to consult available reviews of electronic resources before their selection. Reviews can outline how well a resource meets specific criteria and can provide further insight regarding the resource's overall quality. Collection development liaisons should not necessarily exclude a title because it does not meet every individual criterion. However, the liaisons should attempt to select resources that adequately meet as many of the selection criteria as is possible.

Selection Tools:

     In addition to searching the Internet via various search engines, the liaisons may consult several sources for current reviews of electronic resources. These sources of selection, which do not constitute comprehensive coverage, include entries in CHOICE Magazine, CRL News' regular feature on Internet resources geared for specific subjects, the column "Net Sightings,” featured in Database and Online, respectively, and the column "Internet Librarian," in American Libraries.

Selection Guidelines:

     Types of resources that may be considered for inclusion in Kellogg Catalog include the following: electronic journals, electronic newspapers, electronic texts, sites and databases to which the University Libraries and Archives subscribe, reference titles, sites used in instructional sessions, government information sites, and other sites that support the curricular and research needs of the ESU community.

V. Copyright

      The University Libraries and Archives will comply with the existing copyright laws and will promote copyright compliance among its users and among its staff.

VI. Licensing

      When applicable to electronic resources, the University Libraries and Archives will negotiate and comply with vendor licensing agreements. Because this format increases the complexity of licensing agreements, subject liaisons should inform the Head of Collection Development about electronic resources requiring a licensing agreement prior to selecting that resource.

VII. Provision of Access

      The University Libraries and Archives will maximize access to electronic resources through several means:

  • cataloging or inclusion of each resource in Kellogg Catalog or research guides on the University Libraries and Archives web site;
  • listing of the resource in the E-Resources alphabetical and subject lists of databases;
  • regular updating of records when information, particularly the site's URL, changes;
    provision, maintenance, preparation, and loading of necessary software and hardware;
  • appropriate faculty, staff and user support and training 

VIII. Duplication

      Selecting an electronic resource that duplicates an existing print resource usually constitutes acceptable duplication because the site's selection provides greater access than the single use point that a print resource may provide. This consideration is especially important in providing resources for distance learning communities. Before a duplicate resource is purchased, especially in the case of ongoing expenses such as standing orders or databases, the Collection Development Committee will determine if the print resource may be cancelled in favor of the electronic resource. The University Libraries and Archives will duplicate print resources with fee-based electronic resources when:

  • the resource has significant historical value
  • one format is unstable
  • a cost benefit for purchasing multiple formats exists
  • multiple formats meet the different needs of user groups

IX. Deselection

      Different subject areas obviously require different applications of generally accepted deselection principles. Nevertheless, ongoing deselection of electronic resources is a necessity because of the dynamic nature of such resources. Some resources, such as databases, may be purchased on a consortia level and decisions will be made by the group as a whole.

      These guidelines should provide some suggestions for when to deselect a resource:

  • an electronic resource is no longer available or maintained;
  • use statistics indicate that the resource is not being used according to a cost analysis;
  • the currency and reliability of the resource's information has lost its value;
  • another Internet site or electronic resource offers more comprehensive coverage.

      The Innovative Interfaces system maintained by the University Libraries and Archives may be used to check the availability of resources cataloged in Kellogg Catalog and their URLs on a regular basis.

X. Policy Review

      Because of the complex and dynamic nature of providing access to electronic resources, the Head of Collection Development and the Collection Development Committee will review this policy on a biennial basis.