University Libraries: Collection Policies

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University Libraries Collection Development Policy

   Policy adopted August 1996

   Selection Guidelines for Electronic Resources, Audio-Visual, & Multimedia Materials



The University Libraries provide access to electronic and audio-visual resources through appropriate technology. Many of the electronic resources available to the BGSU community are provided cooperatively through OhioLINK.

  Electronic Databases

Any Web-based, electronic, audio-visual, or multimedia resource format may be considered for inclusion in the general collection; these may be indexing and abstracting resources, reference materials, or fulltext or numeric databases. New products which enhance awareness of or accessibility to the University Libraries' current holdings of journals, books, and other resources are given priority. The University Libraries do not duplicate access locally in any format to databases that are identical, similar, or equivalent to OhioLINK databases.

Selection Criteria for Electronic Resources

In addition to the core selection factors, the following criteria should be considered in reviewing a new electronic database:

  • Comprehensiveness: scope, subject coverage, time span, frequency of updates.
  • Functionality: Ease of use, quick load time; if Web site, well maintained.
  • Type of access, e.g. World Wide Web, local network, standalone workstation, circulation from general stacks, circulation from reserve room, etc. or other readily available means of access.
  • Quality of indexing, search engine.
  • Preservation, storage, and archiving of data; stability of Web-based resource.
  • Anticipated number of users, based upon the specific courses that will be served.
  • Special attention should be given to authority and currency.

  Electronic Journals

Subscriptions to electronic journals should receive the same scrutiny as subscriptions to print journals, even if they are free of charge. Subscriptions to print and electronic versions of the same title may be held; however, the print subscription should be cancelled when its use becomes low.

The University Libraries do not at this time attempt to archive electronic journals for future access, but rely upon the producers of journals or other sites to provide access to journal archives. Access to archives of back issues should be negotiated and maintained, especially for electronic journals available by subscription.

Selection Criteria for Electronic Journals

In addition to the core selection factors, the following criteria should be considered in reviewing a new electronic journal subscription:

  • Journal available via a World Wide Web site.
  • Search engine available on the Web site and/or electronic or print indexing available at Bowling Green State University.
  • Fulltext of the journal available directly from the Web site.
  • Back issues available to subscribers, preferably from the Web site.
  • Articles available in HTML.
  • Reasonable cost; subscription price should be comparable to that of the print version, if one exists, unless the two publications differ considerably in scope or coverage.

  Audio-visual Materials

The general collection does not include an audio-visual collection per se, and audio-visual materials are not actively collected. Faculty members and subject librarians may request purchases which meet the core selection criteria. The general collection does not include audio-visual materials solely for use in instruction.


Ideally, the University Libraries should provide hardware to run any electronic or audio-visual item, including disks or cassettes that accompany books. However, the University Libraries may not be able to do this, given the rapid changes in computer hardware and software. Many library patrons do have access to personal computers or audio-visual equipment either on campus or at home. Therefore, assuming that equipment is available elsewhere on campus, the University Libraries will acquire electronic or audio-visual materials even if the necessary hardware cannot be provided in the Library.

Means of access, however, may still be a criterion for selection in a more general context. Subject librarians may consult the Library Information Technology Systems (LITS) staff or Classroom Technology Services (CTS) concerning equipment compatibility when appropriate.

  Microcomputer Applications

The Bowling Green State University Libraries do not purchase or maintain a collection of standard microcomputer applications such as word processing, database applications, or spreadsheets, etc. However, they may acquire college level computer-assisted instruction packages that support the university curriculum. These could include, but are not limited to, tutorials, simulations, drill and practice exercises.

  Books with appended computer disks or audio recordings

The University Libraries purchase books with accompanying material on machine-readable disk, audio cassette, or compact disk, where items fall within subject area collection development policies, regardless of the availability on campus of hardware for accessing them.

Books with accompanying disks or cassettes should be located in the collection appropriate to the subject content of the item and may be circulated based on regular loan policies for that collection. These items need not be placed on reserve, unless specifically requested by a professor for class use.

  Mediated Online Searching

This policy does not cover librarian-mediated online searching, whether conducted at the reference desk in answer to a reference query or as a fee-based search.