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Library Collection Development Policy - Appendices

Appendix G: Selection Criteria for Purchased Electronic Resources

Faculty of the Calvin T. Ryan Library will consider the following criteria when evaluating the purchase, subscription, and subsequent renewal of electronic resources. The library has developed a process for requesting trials and subscriptions to electronic resources. Please contact your liaison for assistance.


  • What educational level is served (i.e. graduate, undergraduate, etc.)?
  • Which courses in UNK's curriculum might utilize this resource?
  • How many people might use this resource, and how often?
  • Is this resource intended to replace a print item?
  • Does this resource meet a critical information need among distance-education students?
  • Will this resource benefit the accreditation process for a particular department or program?
  • Is the library committing to subscribing to this resource in perpetuity? What happens if it's cancelled?


  • What is its cost?
  • Is it a one-time purchase or annual subscription?
  • If purchased, does any annual hosting or access fees apply? If purchased, are there additional costs for future content updates?
  • How is the cost figured: by FTE, flat rate, type of institution, number of simultaneous users?
  • Does this resource overlap other titles (online or print) which might be cancelled to provide cost savings?
  • Is the cost reasonable compared to competing online products or editions in fixed formats?
  • What is the likelihood and size of future price increases, if any?
  • Is there a stated cap on future price increases?
  • Will the publisher offer a multi-year contract with discount?
  • Is consortium pricing available?
  • Could invoicing be processed through EBSCO, Nebraska Library Commission, or some other third-party?
  • Are there potential hidden costs in supporting this product? (e.g. additional hardware, staff time, etc.)


  • Is off-campus access permitted to authenticated users?
  • Are "walk in" users permitted to use this resource within the library?
  • May the contents of this resource be used to fill interlibrary loan requests?
    • May content be sent electronically or by hard copy only?
  • How many simultaneous users are permitted?
  • May users print, download or reuse content for scholarly purposes?
  • May contents of this resource be duplicated for coursepacks without permission?
  • May contents of this resource be duplicated and placed on reserve?
    • In print or electronic, or both?
  • May contents of this resource be duplicated and loaded into a Blackboard course without permission?
  • Will we own the data in perpetuity (i.e. "perpetual access") even if the subscription is cancelled in the future?
  • How is perpetual access granted (i.e. secure hosting by the vendor for a fee, or secure hosting by UNK)?
  • Is the data archived in Portico or LOCKSS?
  • May the license's jurisdiction be changed to Nebraska?
  • What advanced notice is required, if any, before the renewal date to terminate the subscription and/or license?
  • Does the licensor hold UNK (the licensee) harmless, or indemnify UNK for errors or copyright infringement?
  • Do consortial agreements affect the licensure, and if so, how?

Administration, Statistics, and Support

  • Does this resource provide an administrative module for interface and configuration changes?
  • Does the interface allow for "branding" with customized images, icons, text and hyperlinks of our choosing?
  • What statistics can be generated or provided regarding the use of this resource?
  • Do the usage statistics conform to the COUNTER and SUSHI standards? If neither, how meaningful are the statistics?
  • What quality of service and support does the vendor/publisher provide? How easy is it to receive assistance?
  • What is the publisher's reputation for stability and reliability?


  • Does this resource utilize IP authentication, username/password, or both?
  • Does this resource require use of an HTTPS secure connection?
  • What peripherals or browser plug-ins does this resource require, if any?
  • What hardware requirements does this resource have, if any?
  • What level of Internet connectivity does this resource require?
  • Does this resource allow article-level linking via OpenURL as a source and a target?
  • Are MARC records of the contents available for download from OCLC or the vendor?
  • Will any of the contents need to be stored and securely distributed from UNK servers?
  • If this resource is software-based, how easy is it to install and maintain?


  • How easy is it to use? Is it significantly more challenging to navigate than a print counterpart (if one exists)?
  • Does this resource require users to create a personalized account?
  • Are search forms and results screens easy to understand and navigate?
  • Does it have both novice and expert search modes?
  • Are search results returned in a reasonable timeframe?
  • How are results sorted? Can users select a different sorting option?
  • Can users review and combine searches from a session history?
  • Are links to full-text articles or an OpenURL resolver easy to locate?
  • Are persistent URLs to journal titles or articles easy to locate?
  • How easy is it to print, save, and e-mail selected citations or articles?
  • Can search results be exported to various bibliographic management tools?
  • Is there good documentation - either via help pages or online tutorials?
  • Is the interface compatible with adaptive technology tools to support users with disabilities?
  • Does the interface support languages other than English?
  • Does the interface support mobile devices?


  • What is the scope of this resource (i.e. general or subject-specific)?
  • Is the resource authoritative?
  • How frequently is this resource updated?
  • Are there any embargoes on content? If so, how long is the embargo?
  • Is there a quality thesaurus and/or subject index?
  • What titles are indexed by this resource?
  • Are abstracts available?
  • Is full-text provided?
    • Which titles are available in full-text? How does this overlap with other resources in online or fixed formats?
    • How far back is full text available (i.e. coverage dates)?
    • What file formats are used to supply full text (e.g. PDF, HTML, both, other)?
  • Does this resource fill recognized gaps in the collection?
  • Could this resource be considered a primary source?
  • Is there any commercial content or advertising?
  • Can the same or similar data be reliably and accurately retrieved on the open Web?


  • Has the product been reviewed in professional or scholarly literature (e.g. Choice, Reference Reviews, The Charleston Advisor, The Scout Report)?
  • Have UNK library faculty and staff examined this resource? What is their collective assessment?
  • Have other UNK faculty recommended or examined this resource? What is their collective assessment?

*Appendix G adapted from the "Purchased Electronic Resources Selection/Deselection Guidelines," approved by the CTRL Professionals Group as a working guide on April 1, 2003.