Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Association of Research Libraries Kit on Evaluating E-Resources

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published a SPEC Kit on Evaluating E-resources [links to executive summary with survey results].

As the document explains:
"SPEC Kits contain the most valuable, up-to-date information on the latest issues of concern to libraries and librarians today. They are the result of a systematic survey of ARL member libraries on a particular topic related to current practice in the field. Each SPEC Kit contains an executive summary of the survey results; survey questions with tallies and selected comments; the best representative documents from survey participants, such as policies, procedures, handbooks, guidelines, Web sites, records, brochures, and statements; and a selected reading list—both print and online sources—containing the most current literature available on the topic for further study."
This kit looked at the practices of major research libraries in North America: the existence of policies on e-resources, the use of electronic resource management systems, purchasing and licensing practices, criteria for evaluating e-resources.

From the conclusion:
"Both consortia and libraries deploy large amounts of staff resources to build e-resource collections. Identification and assessment activities are not partitioned, rather they are conducted as communal activities. Consortial staff work in concert with member libraries. Librarians with collections, teaching, and reference responsibilities share duties with collection development groups, librarians dedicated to e-resource management, and/or library senior administrators (...)"

"Yet, despite considerable and widespread involvement of staff, the survey uncovered weaknesses in the procurement processes, policies, and procedures. Consortial and library staff conduct a slate of activities and consider numerous criteria when examining resources, yet many libraries do not have collection development policies specifically addressing e-resources to guide their decisions. Evaluations, once complete, are often not recorded by either libraries or consortia for future reference. Further, about one-fifth of consortia and libraries do not have routine review cycles for resources once they are purchased."

"Various licensing terms are considered important to libraries; however, seventeen percent of consortia and thirty-one percent of individual libraries do not use any standard licensing terms or model licenses for e-resources. Also, despite various legal and other considerations in licensing, cost was the only criterion considered a deal breaker by a significant percentage of survey respondents (...) These shortcomings not only open the potential for wasted staff time and poor decision making, they also carry potential legal ramifications, due to the nature of contractual licensing."
The full report (178 pages) can be purchased from the ARL.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 6:41 pm


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