Evaluating E-Resources, SPEC Kit 316

ARL has released Evaluating E-Resources, SPEC Kit 316 .

Here's an excerpt from the announcement:

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) has published Evaluating E-resources, SPEC Kit 316, which re-examines the ways in which ARL member libraries have (re)structured themselves to identify the availability of new e-resources in the market; evaluate them as candidates for acquisition; decide to acquire/purchase the e-resources; evaluate them prior to their renewal to determine their continued utility; and publicize or market the new e-resources. Nearly identical questions were posed regarding purchases/licensing by consortia and by individual libraries, enabling comparisons in process to be made.

By the March deadline, responses had been submitted by 73 of the 124 ARL member libraries for a response rate of 59%. The survey results indicated that both consortia and libraries deploy large amounts of staff resources to build e-resource collections and that identification and assessment activities are conducted as communal activities among consortia staff and librarians from across the organization.

There is a strong and somewhat surprising correlation between the ways in which research libraries use consortia to acquire and evaluate e-resources and the ways in which they directly acquire and evaluate e-resources. There is also a strong correlation in the ways in which these libraries are acquiring and evaluating highly specialized and multidisciplinary e-resources. Yet, despite considerable and widespread involvement of staff, the survey uncovered weaknesses in the procurement processes, policies, and procedures. These shortcomings not only open the potential for wasted staff time and poor decision making, they also carry potential legal ramifications, due to the nature of contractual licensing. The findings of the survey should be considered a call for concerted communication, organization, and action among those responsible for the acquisition and assessment of e-resources in ARL libraries.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of e-resource selection policies, e-resource request and evaluation procedures, descriptions of library and consortia e-resource selectors, job descriptions, and promotional methods.

The table of contents and executive summary from this SPEC Kit are available online at http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/spec-316-web.pdf.