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Library Collection Development Policy - Appendices

Appendix H: Selection Criteria for Freely Accessible Web Resources

The primary consideration for selecting freely accessible websites is the appropriateness of the resource for the academic curricula of the university.

Departmental faculty and library faculty may recommend freely accessible web resources for inclusion in the library catalog, if the recommended website meets these selection criteria.

  • Content of the website should be authoritative in the subject area, as would be expected of books, reference resources, etc.
  • Content should be attributable to an author, editor, editorial board, or publisher with credibility in the subject area presented. Anonymous or non-attributable information should not be considered.
  • The website should reflect accurate and updated content appropriate to the subject area.
  • The primary language of search interfaces (and help screens, navigational information) should be English.
  • The website should reflect some stability in availability (i.e. server uptime, persistency of URLs).
  • Access to bibliographic information should be free, without advertisements, pop-ups, or registration requirements that may result in unsolicited marketing contacts.
  • Information should be accessible with commonly available software and equipment, as supported by the University's Information Technology Services.

Several sources are available for consultation in locating reviews of websites that would typically meet these criteria: Choice, Reference Reviews, The Charleston Advisor and The Scout Report.

Freely accessible websites meeting the above criteria will be cataloged under these provisos:

  • Cataloging of new library materials, whether in print or electronic formats, will always take priority over cataloging free websites.
  • Free websites with MARC records available for download from OCLC will be given priority over free websites requiring original cataloging. An LC call number and subject headings are essential for these electronic resources to be searchable and included in RSS feeds.

In lieu of MARC cataloging, freely accessible websites may be added to ERM, at the decision of a majority of library faculty, based upon the perceived value and usage of that free website in relation to the curricula of the university, and not just to a single course.