Guidelines for Selection of Electronic Publications: Duplication and Substitution
Sometimes it may be appropriate for the selector to replace (substitution) or
duplicate a print publication with an electronic one. In such a situation, the
selector should take the following factors into account.
Many publishers continue to require the joint purchase of electronic and
print subscriptions. Selectors therefore often have no choice but to duplicate a
print publication in order to obtain the electronic version. Where a publisher
does offer separate electronic purchase, the selector may also elect to provide
a publication in both print and electronic formats. A selector may find this
appropriate if, for example, the electronic version is not archived, there is a
need for different formats to meet the differing needs of user groups, the
electronic format offers content not found in print, or there is a cost benefit
to providing both formats. Selectors should note, however, that unnecessary
duplication of content restricts the Libraries' ability to provide a broad range
of information resources. Selectors should weigh carefully the value added by
duplication against the cost of lost access to other needed content.
To substitute an electronic publication for its print counterpart, the
selector should consider the following:
- whether there is a need for a permanent format
- whether the publisher has committed to maintaining the material on a
permanent basis, including the Libraries' rights to access any archive upon
cancellation of the subscription
- whether the publisher can ensure uninterrupted access to the publication
- the reliability of the hardware or software for the electronic format
- the cost of the respective versions
- the needs of different groups that access the resource
The selector should also carefully compare the print and electronic versions
to ensure that substitution does not compromise content, currency or access.
Part of this evaluation should involve an assessment of the quality of the
images and graphics in the electronic version.