Collection Development Policy Statement: Electronic Resources
Electronic resources are of increasing importance to faculty and students.
With the rapidly growing body of electronic information, what is universally
available must be considered in relation to what should be available on the
University of Maryland campus. It is therefore clear that successful collection
development, regardless of media, will reflect academic priorities already
established at the campus level. The Libraries are committed to taking a
leadership role in collaborating with academic departments in providing
electronic resources to support instruction and research.
The University of Maryland Libraries are also part of the University System
of Maryland (USM) library consortium. As part of USM, the Libraries cooperate in
the provision of electronic resources to the USM community. As the Libraries and
USM continue to explore collaborative efforts, selection criteria should
continue to reflect the academic priorities for the campus. Electronic resources
cooperatively provided to the USM user community are currently selected by the
USM Council of Library Directors and the USM Electronic Resources Committee.
This document provides guidelines for selection and deselection, review and
approval, acquisition, cataloging, and preservation of electronic resources. The
selection, review and approval process addresses issues concerned with
licensing, access vs. ownership, developing industry standards, and physical
location of resources. Currently known material types are: CD-ROM, interactive
multi-media, machine readable bibliographic, non-bibliographic and full text
databases, software, E-journals, and other materials accessible on the Internet
General Selection Criteria
Selection criteria need to be consistent with the UM Libraries' plans for
establishing an electronic information environment.
- Electronic resources considered for acquisition should fall within current
collecting guidelines as described in the subject collection development
policies and other appropriate guidelines.
- All electronic materials should be relevant and appropriate to a significant
segment of the Libraries' user community and reflect current academic needs and
the University's mission. Special attention should be given to electronic
resources that provide coverage of underrepresented or high-priority subject
- In the selection of electronic materials, the availability of appropriate
hardware and software should be considered. For CD-ROM products, consideration
also needs to be given as to whether the product is networkable. If additional
software needs to be acquired to run the product, this factor should be noted.
- If the electronic resource duplicates another resource already available in
the Libraries, the proposed electronic resource should offer some value-added
enhancement; for example, wider access or greater flexibility in searching. If a
product changes format, it should be reevaluated and a selection/retention
decision made in the appropriate manner.
- In addition to the cost of the product, if any, the following hidden costs
need to be considered: licensing fees, hardware, software, staff training and
continuing education, cataloging, duplicating support materials, updates,
maintenance, and any other costs.
- The product should be user-friendly, that is, provide ease of use and
guidance for the user via appropriate menus, help screens, or tutorials.
- The product should reflect the quality expected of similar materials in
- Additional selection guidelines are available for
free web-based resources and
Primary responsibility for the selection of all electronic materials
(including trial offers) for public use rests with the assigned subject selector
using the above selection criteria. For electronic resources that are intended
primarily for reference use, i.e., indexes, directories, the subject selector
will coordinate selection with the Service Plus Coordinator. Requests from other
librarians, library staff, faculty or other users should be directed to the
relevant subject selector. The subject selector will work in close cooperation
with the designated Electronic Information Services staff. If needed the
selector will consult as well with the Technical Services division, Information
Technology division, Academic Information Technology Services, and with relevant
faculty. Issues affecting broader disciplines will be coordinated by the
appropriate subject team or teams.
The selector will contact EIS to ask the vendor to determine minimum software
and hardware specifications and to arrange for testing of the product (unless
the product is under $100). The selector will work with the EIS manager to
arrange testing of the product using the electronic resources guidelines for
guidance and involving others with relevant subject responsibilities. In
addition, EIS will check licensing requirements and estimated costs with the
vendor. In any discussions with vendors, selectors need to communicate that they
are only requesting information and that final purchase authority rests with
Acquisitions. Once an order has been placed, any questions about the status of
the order should be directed to Acquisitions.
When the forms have been completed, the selector will send requests to their
Team Manager. If the forms are incomplete, they will be returned to the
The Electronic Resources Committee (ERC) develops and reviews policies
related to the development of electronic resources. The Committee reviews
requests as needed. The Electronic Information Services Manager will determine
when ERC review is necessary. The ERC reviews all networked products and is
responsible for reviewing products for transfer to other locations (i.e, the
Electronic Information Center).
Selectors are responsible for reviewing ongoing products (before renewal) to
re-assess for relevance to the collections, currency, ease of use, and cost.
When a product no longer has value as part of the collections, it should be
reviewed by the selector for deselection. Deselection for serial titles (most
databases are treated as serials) must be made on the Serials Cancellation Form
or for single-purchase items, the Monograph Transfer/Withdrawal Form. If a
selector initiates deselection, notification, including relevant paperwork, must
be made to the Electronic Information Services Manager. Any deselection
decisions must consider collaborative acquisition and provision of electronic
resources. In most instances, the costs of providing the resources are shared
among institutions on a usage basis. A deselection decision by the USM Libraries
which involves a resource provided in cooperation with USM or other institutions
must include substantial justification and sufficient notification to
Once a new electronic resource has been cataloged and is available to the
public, the selector will assist in promoting the resource to relevant faculty,
students, and library staff. If staff training is needed, the subject selector
will coordinate the training with the Electronic Information Services Manager.
The Electronic Information Services Manager will coordinate overall publicity
and training for new electronic resources. As needed announcements are submitted
to FYI for campus distribution.
A copy of the Electronic Resources Selection Form and the
Guidelines for Using the Electronic Resources Selection Form are included
in Appendix A.