Appendix: Special Considerations for Electronic Books
The selection of electronic books raises special issues not found in the
selection of print books or in the selection of other electronic publications.
Although these concerns are addressed as part of the
Collection Development Policy Statement:
Electronic Resources, this Appendix for convenience gathers together
e-book-specific issues. To ensure that an electronic book is suitable for
selection, a selector should always investigate the following areas:
The same selection criteria apply to electronic books as to paper books. They
must be appropriate to our collections, support the research and teaching
activity of the University of Maryland, and be of a scholarly nature or likely
to advance scholarly research or university education programs. Electronic
versions of paper books in the Libraries' collection are obvious candidates.
Content Consistency with Print Version.
The electronic version of a book can differ substantially from its print
counterpart; for example, an electronic book may omit illustrations, graphs,
tables of contents, or indices found in print. A selector should always compare
any print version with the electronic version to determine consistency. Online
access should include the complete text with accompanying graphics, tables, and
references, plus an official citation.
A selector evaluating an electronic book or collection of books should pay
particular attention to how users will access the book electronically. Access
models differ from vendor to vendor and change constantly. The central issues
concern limits on the number of simultaneous users of a particular book and how
the publisher enforces those limits. A selector should not assume full-text
Vendors of electronic books almost always limit the number of users who can
access a book simultaneously. A selector should clarify how many users can
access a given book, whether the Libraries can increase that number and how much
an increase in the number of users will cost.
By a variety of means, a vendor can limit the number of users who access a
particular book. Some vendors simply send a message to the user's browser that a
particular service or book is unavailable. Others have a more complicated method
that allows a user to check-out books for limited amounts of time.
Downloading and Printing
Electronic books usually have restrictions on downloading and printing, often
forbidding both. Selectors should understand what these limits are and whether
the limits are appropriate for the book's intended use.
Access v. Permanent Rights
Not all vendors sell permanent rights to electronic books. A selector should
determine whether the University of Maryland receives the right to permanent
access to the book, even in the event of cancellation, or purchases only access
rights for a defined period of time. If the vendor allows only a limited right
to access the book, the selector should pinpoint the duration of that access and
how Libraries can renew or cancel it.
IP Address Validation
Selectors should add only electronic books openly available to the campus
community through IP address validation. Registration requirements, passwords or
other methods of individual authentication or authorization should be avoided.
The pricing structures of electronic books vary significantly. Selectors
should not only be alert to variations among pricing structures but should also
be aware that these pricing structures change rapidly.
One-time Payments v. Ongoing Obligations
A pricing structure may include a one-time payment, an ongoing obligation
(for example, a yearly subscription or access fee), or both. Pricing models with
a one-time payment tend to require the payment of a substantial sum initially.
Pricing models with ongoing payments tend to require periodic payments, but
without the payment of a substantial sum initially. Some pricing models require
both. The one-time payment usually covers the content while any ongoing payments
cover access. Selectors should clarify which portion, if any, of a particular
payment represents a one-time fee and the amount of any expected future
Some license agreements have provisions that hold the library liable for
unauthorized use of the resource by its users. Acquisitions will examine any
such provision and renegotiate it, if appropriate.