Considerations of a Digital Age: The Hows and Whys of Electronic Resource Management from a Collection Development Perspective

Considerations of a Digital Age: The Hows and Whys of Electronic Resource Management from a Collection Development Perspective

Jennifer Wright (Western Kentucky University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4761-9.ch002
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Abstract

This chapter talks about electronic resources from a collection development perspective. Working from the assumption that most institutions will need some electronic resources to adequately serve their patron population, this chapter explains what issues collection development staff may need to address when electronic resources are being incorporated into the existing collection. These issues include costs and benefits of electronic resources, how the collection development policy will be affected by the inclusion of electronic resources, and faculty/staff reactions to the incorporation of new materials. This chapter also strongly advocates the addition of an electronic resource manager or multiple electronic resource staff members and their close cooperation with the collection development staff.
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Background

What do librarians mean when discussing electronic resources? Simply put, electronic resources, also sometimes referred to as “e-resources”, are those resources that are housed virtually and accessed through electronic means. Virtual movie and music collections could also be considered electronic resources. When electronic resource managers (ERMs) talk about electronic resources, they are typically talking about e-books and databases. ERMs are the people hired to work on the problems that electronic resources cause for libraries. These materials often have complicated agreements that librarians must keep track of, as well as technical problems that ERMs must solve on a daily basis.

While electronic resources have been around in some format since the 1980s, when the first electronic card catalogues were first introduced, some libraries are still fumbling their way around the use of electronic resources. While the public expectation of electronically available material continues to rise, many libraries are lucky if they can get a portion of their funding diverted to electronic resources. This is especially true of public libraries, which frequently have trouble with funding. There, print sources remain strong, with 72% of the reference budget for the average public library paying for print materials in 2003 (Roncevic, 2004 p.5). While trends in public and academic libraries indicate growth in electronic resources, this survey suggests that the growth is slower in public libraries.

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