This collection development policy states the principles and guidelines the John F. Kennedy University Libraries follow in the selection and acquisition of electronic resources. It specifically addresses electronic resources for which a cost is incurred. For free web/internet sources, see Policy on Adding Free Web/Internet Resources.

The JFKU Libraries collect electronic resources to support the instructional, research and service activities of John F. Kennedy University students, faculty and staff. Electronic resources are defined as resources that require computer access. These include, but are not limited to, electronic serials or collections of serials; online databases; electronic reference materials; electronic monographs or collections of monographs. Access formats include internet, online services, hard disks, compact disks and DVDs.The JFKU libraries participate in consortial purchases of electronic resources whenever possible.


Electronic resources should be relevant and appropriate to a significant segment of the Libraries’ users, meet current academic and research needs, and support the University mission. Electronic resources considered for addition to the collection should fall within current guidelines as reflected in the JFKU Libraries Collection Development Policy and other appropriate guidelines.

Duplication of the print and electronic versions of a resource are generally discouraged but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The Libraries acquire materials in electronic format if available and deemed appropriate to provide improved access to all campuses or to enhance the Libraries’ current collections. Electronic access is the preferred format for serials and reference materials when available.

Traditional selection criteria for library materials apply to electronic resources as well. However, due to their unique nature, special criteria need also be applied.


  • Cost, including any hidden costs, the possibility of consortial arrangements, and whether the cost is for a one-time purchase or a subscription.
  • Technical considerations:
  • Access by IP recognition, including remote access;
  • No requirements for additional or special hardware or software, other than what is freely available and widely used;
  • Compatibility across different platforms (PC, Mac, etc.).
  • Compatibility with open URL link resolvers and federated searching programs.
  • Full-text availability in PDF and/or HTML or SGML as appropriate.
  • Compatibility with course management software.
  • Trial period available for review of the resource prior to purchase decision.
  • Value added enhancements and/or improved access, such as:
    • Availability independent of time or location;
    • Greater functionality, including multiple search indexes;
    • More extensive content;
    • More up-to-date content.
  • Should be user-friendly and provide assistance to the user by prompts and menus, context or function- specific help screens, or tutorials.
  • Updated on a regular basis, if currency is a factor.
  • Vendor reliability as to content, business practices, customer and technical support, documentation and training, and notification of content and format changes.
  • Vendor's ability or commitment to provide long-term access and storage.
  • Should include printing, downloading and email capabilities.
  • Availability of Counting Electronic Usage of Networked Electronic Resources (COUNTER) compliant usage data.
  • Acceptable license terms.


Ultimate responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Libraries’ electronic collection rests with the University Librarian. All JFKU Librarians assist in the selection, deselection and acquisition of electronic resources. For purposes of evaluation, the Public Services and Electronic Resources Librarian is also responsible for requesting trial periods for resources under consideration and collecting usage statistics on current resources.

Faculty, students and staff may recommend particular electronic resources be added to the collection by submitting a request through the Libraries' website.


The JFKU Libraries will negotiate the best possible license with each vendor. Each resource may have differing terms and not all preferences may be met. In general, the vendor should provide a standard agreement that describes the terms of the license in easy-to-understand and explicit language. Licenses should include, but are not limited to:

      • Broad definitions of authorized users including faculty, students, staff, and walk-in users.
      • Broad definitions of authorized sites with permission to access from anywhere via the University's network, including remotely via EZproxy authentication.
      • Fair use permission of all information for non-commercial, educational, instructional, and research purposes by authorized users. Other uses permitted under fair use should include ILL, e-reserves, course packs, and virtual reference.
      • Pricing model, service fees, and any price caps applicable to multi-year licenses.
      • Realistic expectations concerning the Libraries' ability to monitor and detect abuse.
      • Provision of perpetual access to the subscribed years.
      • Provision for some type of archival copy of the material.
      • Warranties that the licensor has the right and authority to license the material.
      • Duration of the license and whether automatic renewal is assumed.
      • Termination terms. Preference is that termination not be required in writing or more than 30 days in advance of the renewal date.
      • A continuous service and scheduled down-time clause.
      • Guaranteed anonymity of the users and confidentiality of their information.
      • Dispute resolution arrangements.


Electronic resources are accessible through the Libraries’ website. Web-based resources are made available using links on the Libraries’ web pages and via electronic resource management services. Electronic resources are promoted to relevant faculty, students and staff as part of our regular library instruction, and additional training will be arranged, when necessary. Announcements and promotions of electronic resources may be submitted to appropriate departmental email lists and highlighted on the Libraries' website.

Review of Electronic Resources

Electronic resources are reviewed and reassessed before renewal. A resource may be withdrawn from the collection when:     

  • The resource no longer supports the curriculum and/or research needs of the University.
  • The resource is no longer available or maintained.
  • The resource is no longer reliable or relevant.
  • The resource overlaps or duplicates material in another resource which provides more comprehensive coverage of the subject.
  • The information is available in a more suitable format.
  • Usage or circulation statistics indicate a declining level of interest.
  • Cost is not commensurate with usage.
  • The current product becomes obsolete or damaged.
  • Budget reductions force cancellation of products.

Policy Review

This policy will be reviewed and revised as needed in order to address changes and reflect current practices in the continually evolving electronic information environment.

This policy is based in part on: Florida Atlantic University Libraries. (2004). FAU Libraries Collection Development Policy: Electronic Resources. Retrieved April 26, 2007, from Florida Atlantic University  



Policy for

Electronic Resources