Electronic Resources

Library and Media Services collects electronic resources to support the educational and instructional needs of Western Oregon University students, faculty, and staff. For the purpose of library collection development, "electronic resources" are defined as resources that require computer access. Examples include, but are not limited to: Periodical indexes, reference databases, Adobe Acrobat PDF documents, and multimedia files. Data may be accessible via the Internet, particularly the World Wide Web, online services, CD-ROM or diskette. Materials available via the World Wide Web are given strong preference over other formats for electronic resources.

Selection of materials for the library in electronic formats follows many of the guidelines utilized for selection of other library materials, though there are some special considerations for collecting electronic resources. It must be recognized that electronic resources present the library with an opportunity to redefine its collection, expanding from the physical presence of books and serial publications to encompass materials that are not physically located in the library but that have been evaluated and selected for use by the library. These include subscription services, such as databases and online reference sources, as well as materials freely available on the Internet, such as web pages, graphics and audio files and other formats.

Considerations for selecting electronic resources:

  1. The intellectual content of the electronic resource, whether purchased or free, must fit within the established parameters of the library's collection development policies, the judgment of the relevant subject selector and the curriculum at Western Oregon University.
  2. When adding electronic resources to the collection, priority will be given to:
    1. Reference and bibliographic resources that support the overall university curriculum.
    2. Resources that directly support the instructional objectives of a specific discipline.
  3. Evaluation of these resources should be similar to the evaluation methods used for other library materials, including:
    • authority of authors/contributors
    • timeliness and accuracy
    • quality and uniqueness of information
    • target audience
    • depth of coverage
    • powerful, flexible, user-friendly, and well-indexed interface with numerous points of access
    • price
    • interlibrary loan and electronic reserve rights
    • remote user access/ authorization
    • license restrictions that would adversely impact the user
    • technology requirements
    • vendor/producer reputation
    • customer support
    • advantage of electronic product over comparable print resource
    Requestors should work with the librarian who is liaison to their discipline in order to evaluate the appropriateness of an item for the collection.
  4. Whenever possible, access to electronic resources must meet these goals:
    • Support remote users of library and information resources
    • Deliver reliable remote access
    • Be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • Utilize a unified and intuitive interface
  5. The cost of the resource must be sustainable by the electronic resources budget for the foreseeable future.
  6. The technology and staff to deliver and support the resource is available at Western Oregon University or through the Orbis Cascade Alliance.
  7. The library will participate in a consortial purchase of electronic resources, when the resource offered is desired by the library, will not have significant overlap with (or will replace) an existing resource and is offered at a cost deemed acceptable by the library director and librarians.
  8. The library should make an effort to purchase available back files of an electronic resource if affordable and deemed bibliographically essential for the collection.
  9. The library will seek to maintain the stability and consistency of electronic resources offered whenever possible.

Review of Electronic Resources

  1. Subscription electronic resources should be reviewed annually using the following criteria:
    1. Use statistics provided by the vendor and/or other collection techniques
    2. Price per use
    3. Overlap with other products in the collection
    4. Availability quality and cost of comparable products
    5. Overall satisfaction with the product
  2. Free resources should be regularly evaluated to establish reliability and consistency of information as well as the continued existence of the resource.

Patron Access and Use

Electronic resources that are cataloged as part of the library collection and may either circulate or be used in the library, as appropriate. The library will not purchase tangible electronic materials for permanent location in academic departments. The library will comply with the provisions of the copyright law governing electronic resources.

For resources not requiring checkout (i.e. online indexes and other databases) resources offering IP recognition over a range of IPs will be preferred to resources requiring a username and password or which limit access to specific terminals.

Consortium Purchase

Some electronic resources may be purchased at a discounted rate through the consortiums that Western Oregon University belongs to. When these opportunities arise, consideration of currently subscribed to resources in that area, savings offered, uniqueness of the resource and potential for future participation will be considered.