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 Alabama 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.


  1. Selection criteria need to be consistent with the University Libraries' plans for establishing an electronic information environment.
  2. Electronic resources should fall within current collecting guidelines as described in the collection development policy as well as other appropriate guidelines. Selectors should also rely on their own expertise in making decisions.
  3. All electronic resources should be relevant and appropriate to the Libraries' user community and reflect current academic needs and the University's mission. Consideration should be given to electronic resources that provide coverage of underrepresented or high-priority subject areas.
  4. In the selection of electronic resources, 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 can be networked. If additional software needs to be acquired to run the product, this factor should be noted.
  5. 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, the selector/service unit should reevaluate and make a selection/retention decision.
  6. 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, duplicating support materials, updates, maintenance, cost of additional simultaneous users, and any other costs.
  7. Due to the volatile environment of electronic resources, each electronic resource will be reviewed annually by the selector/service unit.
  8. The product should be "user-friendly," that is, provide ease of use and guidance for the user via appropriate menus, help screens, or tutorials.
  9. The product should equal or improve the quality of library resources.
  10. The Libraries' cooperative/consortial arrangements may influence the outcome of the criteria.
  11. Additional selection guidelines are available for free, Web-based resources (see "Guidelines for Selection of Free, Web-based Resources") and for electronic journals (see "Guidelines for Selection of Electronic Journals").


The Library will negotiate and comply with vendor licensing agreements. The Electronic Resource Acquisition Packet includes the necessary details for this negotiation and compliance.


Refer to the Electronic Resource Acquisitions Packet for the steps in acquiring a product .


The Libraries will comply with the existing copyright laws and guidelines.

drafted: 7/23/99
adopted: 6/15/00