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Collection Development Policy: Non-Paper Materials

Scope of Policy | Historical Background
Role of Non-Paper Materials | Definition of Non-Paper Materials
Collection Development - Scope, Restrictions, Conditions | Selection
Conditions of Public Access to Non-Paper Informational Materials
(Appendix A Guidelines for Selection of Minor Electronic Materials Which are One-Time Purchases.
Appendix B Guidelines for Selection of Major Electronic Resources, Including Electronic Journals.)

I. Scope of Policy

This document addresses various aspects of Library policy regarding the acquisition and use of non-paper informational materials and of the paper materials which may accompany them. For the present, only purchased non-paper materials, or non-paper materials received with purchased materials, are to be considered. The selection and "acquisition" of electronic information accessible without charge, e.g. web documents, will be dealt with in a separate collection development policy, at a future date.

II. Historical Background

Prior to 1987, the Oboler Library administered a media center as one of its departments. The Media Center had responsibility for the acquisition of media materials, as well as the provision of access to those materials for faculty, students and staff. In the summer of 1987, the Media Center was placed under the control of the ISU Computer Center. Funding was transferred from the Oboler Library to the Computer Center to provide for continued acquisition of media materials, and for staffing, equipment, etc. Approximately $20,000 was transferred for acquisition purposes.

As a consequence of the loss of the Media Center, the Library stopped purchasing media materials, except under certain circumstances, but this policy was never spelled out in any detail in a document nor formally approved by the Library Administration.

With continued, rapid growth in media publishing, and the advent of new types of non-print materials, it seems not only advisable, but necessary, to formulate a policy which clearly delineates the Library's collection commitments in this area.

An important assumption of the Library's policy, in light of the developments described above, is that primary responsibility for the collection of audio-visual materials, (as defined below in IV, A), remains with the Media Center.

III. Role of Non-Paper Materials

The universe of non-paper information resources is growing at an astonishing rate, particularly that portion comprised of information stored in digital form. It is apparent that libraries, in pursuit of their traditional collection development goals, must not neglect these resources, but, instead, must examine, assess, and acquire them, to serve the interests of their users. Digital/electronic resources are especially noteworthy for the manifold advantages which they often offer both to patrons and libraries. At the same time, there are special problems which surround the selection and use of these resources, and Library staff involved in selection must learn new approaches to weighing their value and utility. In what follows, some attempt is made to suggest such approaches and provide assistance to those responsible for building collections incorporating non-paper materials.

IV. Definition of Non-Paper materials

Non-paper materials, for the purposes of this document, include:

  1. traditional audio-visual media (film; vinyl phono discs; reel-to-reel or cassette audiotapes; music compact discs; videotapes; slides)
  2. microform materials (microfilm; microfiche; microcards)
  3. computer-accessed materials (computer programs and other textual and non-textual information available online or on floppy discs, magnetic tape and compact discs - including multi-media CD-ROMs).

V. Collection Development - Scope, Restrictions, Conditions

  1. Acquisition of Traditional Audio-Visual Materials: With the exception noted below, in V, D, the Library will acquire audio-visual materials of the kinds specified in IV, A, above, only when those materials are accompanied by paper text materials that have significant and independent informational content.

    In other words, the Library will purchase a foreign language instruction book with accompanying cassette tapes, or a book on the history of romantic music that has an accompanying audio CD, or a history of Florentine painting with an attached set of 35-millimeter slides, but will not buy an audio CD of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, or Citizen Kane in videotape, or a 16-millimeter film of the Grand Canyon.

  2. Acquisition of Microform materials: With regard to materials of the kinds specified in IV, B, above, the Library may acquire any items which it deems appropriate in pursuit of its general goal of meeting the informational needs of the university community. There are no restrictions with regard to subject matter or cost. The Library should possess the facilities to enable users to access any item which is purchased.
  3. Acquisition of Computer-accessed Materials: As with microforms, any materials in this category may be acquired which fulfill the general collection development goals of assisting faculty and students in research, supporting the curriculum, and providing recreational reading/viewing. The Library need not be able to provide local access to such materials as a prerequisite to their purchase, unless they will be non-circulating items. (See VII, D).
  4. C1: CD-ROM formats: Though the Library does not, at present, promise to provide users with access to all of its CD-ROM holdings, selectors should regard the default format for CD-ROM products to be that which specifies access via windows-based software. However, if a departmental request specifies a different format, such as that suited to the Macintosh PC, that request should be honored.

  5. Exception to the Above Guidelines: The Idaho Health Sciences Library may acquire any audio-visual materials that can be utilized in fulfilling its obligation to provide informational support to ISU's health-related academic programs, and to provide informational services to local hospitals and health professionals.

VI. Selection

  1. Computer-Accessed Information Sources: Overview Computer-accessed information sources, also called simply "electronic" or "digital" information sources, may be categorized as either Major or Minor.

    Major Sources: Large, expensive databases, including standard indexing and abstracting databases (e.g. Periodical Abstracts, Science Citation Index, etc.) as well as those containing substantial full-text information, usually packaged in large collections of titles (e.g. LexisNexis, ProQuest Direct, etc.). Most databases in this category are updated at least quarterly and this contributes to their high cost. Many, though not all, are most conveniently accessed online, either through a local network tapeload, or at a remote site, from multiple terminals.

    Minor Sources: Digital resources which, in terms of scope and content, resemble books and journals. Often, materials of this kind are made available in CD-ROM or diskette format and will be appropriate either for inclusion in the Reference Collection or for check-out to patrons. Electronic journals are usually accessed online, through Internet connections.
  2. Basic Selection and Request Procedure: The selection of non-paper informational materials shall be carried out by appropriate departmental faculty and Library bibliographers, in the same manner as it is for paper materials. Bibliographers should forward publication information concerning non-paper materials to department liaisons, and process requests for such materials in the normal fashion, delivering request forms to the Acquisitions Department. Exceptions to this procedure are noted immediately below.
  3. B1. Selection of Electronic Materials. Major electronic materials will be selected by Heads of Library Departments or Divisions, in consultation with the University Librarian and the Coordinator of Library Systems, and with teaching faculty, when appropriate. Minor electronic materials, at least those which are one-time purchases, may be selected by Bibliographers and academic department faculty, in accordance with usual procedures, but selectors should keep in mind the special guidelines that apply to this format. Selection of electronic journals presents a more complex picture, due to the ongoing commitment involved and the need to pay special heed to such factors as mode of access and archiving. Therefore, it is recommended that bibliographers wishing to request subscription to electronic journals consult with the Head of Collection Development, who will submit those requests to the Serials Acquisitions Department.

  4. Guidelines for Acquisition of Electronic Materials. Appendices A and B provide a detailed account of the special considerations in the selection of electronic materials.
  5. Review of License Agreements. Licenses for electronic materials must be reviewed, when possible, prior to selection. For major electronic materials, this review will be an important part of the selection process. For minor electronic materials, excluding journals, the license is usually not available for review prior to actual acquisition of the licensed product. Guidelines for license review are contained in Appendices A and B. All licenses must be approved by the License Manager before the items in question are processed for adding to the collection. The License Manager may choose to call together the License Advisory Committee (LAC) for consultation. The LAC is a standing committee consisting of: the Head of Access Services; the University Librarian; the Coordinator of Library Systems; and the Head of Collection Management. The License Manager will, if necessary, contact publishers of electronic materials and attempt to negotiate those license agreements which the Library finds unsatisfactory. If he/she determines that an item should be acquired or retained despite certain restrictions on use which do not accord with the guidelines in Appendix A, he/she is responsible for the implementation of whatever measures are necessary to provide for the Library's observance of those restrictions.
  6. Review of Technical Access Requirements. The Systems Department will review all electronic information products acquired on behalf of the Reference collection immediately upon their arrival at the Library, i.e. prior to acquisitions processing. Hardware/software requirements for the product will be evaluated in order to ensure that the Reference Department will be able to provide patron access.
  7. License File. All operative licenses for electronic resources shall be retained in a file. Backup copies, as described in VII, E, below, should also be kept in this file.
  8. Library Liaison Functions vis-a-vis Audio-Visual Materials: The Library and the Media Center have agreed that Library Bibliographers may serve as liaisons between departmental faculty and the Media Center to facilitate the purchase of audio-visual materials (i.e. materials defined in III, A, above) which are not appropriate for acquisition by the Library. Bibliographers will distribute to faculty publication notices for such audio-visual materials, and forward any requests which they receive from faculty for those materials to the Media Center. The Media Center will carry out all further steps in the acquisition process.

VII. Conditions of Public Access to Non-Paper Informational Materials

  1. Location and Circulation: With the exception of major electronic resources, electronic journals, and non-paper information acquired by the Documents Department, non-paper informational materials purchased by the Library, or received as unrequested supplements with periodical subscriptions, will be treated, with regard to location and circulation, as though they were books or paper journals. However, it must be kept in mind that minor electronic resources are usually accompanied by licenses for use, which may place restrictions upon the conditions of that use and thereby affect location and circulation status. In the absence of conflicting conditions or obligations:
    1. Their location (Main Book Collection, Reference Collection, IHSL, Intermountain West, Reserve, etc.) will be determined by their content and the request of the ordering bibliographer.
    2. The conditions of their circulation will be determined by their location.
    3. Appropriate housing for the items (e.g. durable, plastic containers) will be provided by the Library, if those which come with the materials are not satisfactory, in order that the items will be visible on shelves and protected against mishandling.

  2. Exceptions:
    1. Documents: The Documents Department will locate and house non-paper materials according to its own policy. Essentially, non-paper items which accompany, or are supplementary to, paper documents, will be placed in the general documents collection with the paper documents. Other non-paper items, particularly CD-ROMs, will be kept at the Third Floor Reference Desk.
    2. Major electronic resources and electronic journals: In most cases these resources will only be available online. The data will be stored on local or remote computers and accessed through workstations. In the case of electronic journals, the Library may acquire CD-ROM archives in addition to online access. CD-ROM archives will be treated as described in section 1 immediately above.

  3. Cataloging. Cataloging of non-paper information items will, in the usual fashion, be consistent with decisions regarding location, circulation and other public-access options.
  4. Use of Computer Accessed Materials: The Library will seek to enable users to have access, by means of workstations in the Reference area, to all those CD-ROM items in the collection which belong to the Reference collection and hence do not circulate. It does not, however, assume the responsibility to provide a means of access for circulating, non-paper items. Patrons may also make use of equipment in the Media Center, as available, and in accordance with that department's rules.
  5. D1. Reference Non-Paper Materials: Access software for computer-accessed reference materials in CD-ROM format will be loaded on a workstation in the Reference area by Systems Department staff. A menu of all available titles will reside on that workstation, enabling users to select a given title and, by inserting the CD-ROM, utilize the product.

  6. Backup Copies of Non-Paper Materials: It is, according to many current interpretations of the copyright law, a violation of copyright to create, without the publisher's approval, backup copies of any non-licensed media materials except computer software. For licensed materials, most of which are in digital format, specific provisions concerning the making of backup copies are often included in the license. Therefore, in the absence of explicit permission to create backup copies, and in order to respect copyright, the Library will:
    1. Create copies of all computer software acquired on floppy discs or CD-ROMs, circulate the copies, and store the originals, preferably in the same file which contains licenses and contracts for non-paper materials.
    2. Circulate the original of all other non-paper materials, except in cases where the appropriate bibliographer regards it as either necessary or desirable to obtain the publisher's permission to create a circulating copy.

VIII. Weeding

  1. In weeding non-paper materials from the collection, the same guidelines will be followed that apply to paper materials.

Appendix A: Guidelines for Selection of Minor Electronic Materials which are One-time Purchases*

  1. General Collection Development Considerations

    1. Conventional collection development criteria should be paramount and should be applied consistently across formats, including electronic/digital resources.
    2. When the same item is available in both paper and electronic format, the selector's choice should be guided by a careful analysis of comparative advantages and disadvantages, including cost and accessibility of the material to expected users. Advantages possessed by electronic formats may include: more extensive content and greater functionality, such as the ability to invoke linkages to local and/or related resources, and manipulate data, images, etc.
    3. Consultation with the Systems department may be advisable when there is a question concerning the technical requirements, hardware or software, for user access to the product.

  2. Cost

    1. Electronic content should cost less than its print analog, unless there is substantial added value.

  3. Licensing

    1. Information providers should employ a standard agreement that describes the rights of libraries and their authorized users in terms that are readable and explicit, and they should reflect realistic expectations concerning the Library's ability to monitor use and discover abuse. Agreements should contain consistent business and legal provisions, including, for example, indemnification against third-party copyright infringement liability and permission to use records in personal bibliographic systems.
    2. The "authorized users" recognized by the Library include all faculty, staff, students and all on-site users of the ISU Library, and the "site" includes every campus location, including extension facilities.
    3. Licenses should permit fair use of all information for non-commercial education, instructional and research purposes by authorized users, including unlimited viewing, downloading and printing. If fair use is not allowed, the Library must carefully weigh the value of the product against the restrictions on its use required by the producer and consider, also, the desirability of attempting to alter the license, with the agreement of the producer, to better conform to fair use practice.
    4. Licenses should not limit ISU's rights to enhance or reformat data (if content integrity is preserved) to make it more visible or convenient for ISU users.

  4. Functionality

    1. Data formats should follow industry standards and must be fully documented. Data should be platform-independent and available in a multiplicity of formats.
    2. Interfaces should be easy to master by ordinary users.

*Many of these guidelines are drawn from the University of California Libraries "Principles for Acquiring and Licensing Information in Digital Formats", May 22, 1966.

Appendix B: Guidelines for Selection of Major Electronic Resources, Including Electronic Journals*

  1. General Collection Development Considerations

    1. Major electronic resources and electronic journals present to the selector a substantially more complex set of questions to be answered than do minor electronic products. In addition to the usual criteria for selection, e.g. curricular and research relevance, source authority, expected utility over time, etc., the selector must consider such factors as: the breadth of access desired and the technical and systems requirements for acquiring that breadth; the degree of overlap with existing, paper resources and desirability of removing paper items from the collection; the possible need for archiving to insure future availability, and many other difficult matters.
    2. A few of the factors which may suggest the superiority of an electronic source to a paper source are:
      • more timely availability, both in initial appearance of information and rate of updating; improved access, due to both rapid delivery, remote and campus-wide access;
      • improved resource sharing, through consortia, and potential for negotiated, consortium pricing;
      • greater ease of storage, archiving, replacing, preserving.
    3. Pay particular attention to:
      • availability of backfiles and temporal extent of backfiles.
      • exact content of files: are they full-text?; text but not graphics?; full-image?; selected text which excludes some portions of the journal content?; etc.
      • method of calculating cost of the service.
      • access points permitted (i.e. definitions of "user", "site", "remote access")
      • number of simultaneous users required.
      • the stability of the vendor, i.e. continued, future availability of the service/materials.

  2. Costs

    1. In calculating costs for electronic resources, especially those major ones involving full text periodical content, the Library must take into consideration the effects of substitution of electronic for paper items, i.e. savings achieved through cancellation of existing, paper resource subscriptions.

  3. Licensing

  4. In addition to the licensing considerations described in Appendix A, the following should be kept in mind:

    1. The license should include permanent rights to information that has been paid for, in the event that a licensed database is subsequently canceled or becomes unavailable.
    2. The licensed content, plus any associated features and capabilities, should be accessible from all library-supported computing platforms and networked environments.
    3. Information providers must keep the ISU Library informed of format and content changes and coordinate their implementation with the Library.
    4. Information providers should be able to link their access control mechanisms to ISU's authentication infrastructure; access to their products should not require individual passwords and/or user Ids.

  5. Functionality

    1. Data formats should follow industry standards and must be fully documented. Data should be platform-independent and available in a multiplicity of formats
    2. The Library must be able to provide access from convenient workstations which are either stand alone or connected to a network infrastructure, and with reasonably fast response times.

  6. Archiving

    1. Licensing agreements should clearly state archival responsibility.
    2. If guaranteed access to archival files housed at the vendor/publisher is not possible, the Library should be permitted to make/obtain digital and/or printed copies of content for archiving and use in perpetuity.

*Many of these guidelines are drawn from the University of California Libraries "Principles for Acquiring and Licensing Information in Digital Formats", May 22, 1966.


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