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Collection Development Policy

Selection Policy for Electronic Resources

This policy guides the selection of electronic resources for the James M. Milne Library. Two fundamental principles form the basis of the policy: that the library will aim for the widest access available for any electronic resource and that the library will aim for perpetual ownership for any electronic resource. Access-only purchase agreements will be considered on a limited basis.   

The evaluation of electronic resources is a collaborative process. The Head of Bibliographic and Digital Services solicits purchase requests for evaluation that includes but is not limited to the librarian liaisons and convenes the same group periodically to review current electronic resource subscriptions for deselection. The Head of Bibliographic and Digital Services welcomes suggestions from academic departments.     

Electronic resources are distinct, sizable collections that directly support the educational and research programs of SUNY Oneonta. For the purposes of this policy, electronic resources include but are not limited to:   

  • Databases These resources include indexing and abstracting databases and full-text databases.   
  • Online Periodicals Individual, full-text periodicals that are obtained through subscription or that are freely accessible.   
  • E-booksDigitized versions of print books that are designed to be read on a computer or downloaded to an e-book reader. E-books may be individual titles or part of a larger subscription collection.   
  • Image Databases Large, searchable, electronic files of images and image data.   
  • Streaming VideosSearchable, compressed video recordings which can be viewed on-demand using computer software or web browsers.   
  • Open Access The free, immediate, online availability of research articles combined with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.   
  • Electronic Serials A publication issued in successive parts bearing numerical or chronological designation and intended to be continued indefinitely.  

In selecting electronic resources, the library broadly promotes accessibility, including internet accessibility, assistive technologies, and reference and instruction services for users with disabilities. The library conducts accessibility testing as a standard part of the acquisitions process and commits to informing vendors of the ongoing need to develop resources that are accessible to all users.   

General criteria for the selection of electronic resources as well as deselection and licensing criteria are outlined below.   

 General Criteria   

Coverage and Scope     

  • Does the resource support the curricular and scholarship needs of SUNY Oneonta students, faculty, and staff?   
  • Does this resource support the mission, values and vision of SUNY Oneonta and the James M. Milne Library?   
  • Does the resource support the equity, diversity, and inclusion endeavors of SUNY Oneonta?   
  • Does the resource provide coverage of high priority or under-represented areas?      
  • How many students and faculty are potentially served by the resource?   
  • Has the resource been reviewed? If so, what are the relevant strengths and weaknesses?  
  • Do we subscribe to other resources that adequately cover the same material?     
  • How much full-text information is available?   
  • Is there a content embargo?     

Stability of the Content and/or Vendor     

  • Is the resource provided by a reputable vendor?     
  • Is the resource available from more than one vendor?     
  • Is there a commitment from the vendor to maintain a back file?     
  • Is there a timely schedule of updates for the resource?   
  • Does the vendor provide perpetual access to purchased content?   
  • Is the vendor open to consortial agreements?  

User Interface     

  • Does the resource meet SUNY EIT accessibility standards?     
  • Do we have products from the same vendor that have similar interfaces?   
  • Are options to save content available? If so, are the instructions clear?    
  • Are options to print content available? If so, are the instructions clear? Are users provided with reformatting choices for printing?  
  • Are native tutorials/help screens available?   
  • What impact may be expected on demand for user assistance, such as the need for library instruction, and print/online guides?       

Relationship to the Print Collection    

  • Do we have similar information in print?If so, can the print be deselected?     
  • Is the online version archived?    
  • Will this resource replace an existing one?   


  • What has the percentage increase in price been over the past 5years, if available?     
  • What is the projected impact on the library budget?     
  • What are the costs related to startup, updates, upgrades, or maintenance?   
  • What is the availability of packages or credits for cancelled print subscriptions?   
  • \Is the publisher a non-profit?  

Technical Specifications   

  • What is the ease/difficulty of set-up and maintenance?    
  • What degree of technical support is required?   
  • Are the security features representative of current standards?   
  • Is the resource compatible with existing library systems?   
  • Are there any browser or software compatibility issues?     
  • What impact will it have on the college network?   

Deselection Criteria   

The Head of Bibliographic and Digital Services periodically initiates a review of current electronic resource subscriptions for deselection. This process includes but is not limited to the librarian liaisons. The criteria for deselection are:    

  • Significant price increases   
  • Availability of alternative resources   
  • The currency and reliability of the resource’s content in relation to its cost  
  • The design and usability of the resource   
  • Changes in format and/or content deemed unfavorable   
  • Is not of national/statewide/regional/local significance    
  • No longer supports the curricular and/or scholarship needs of the SUNY Oneonta community   
  • Loss of the resource isn’t going to impact under-represented areas or marginalized communities   

Licensing Criteria   

The library adheres to licensing criteria adopted by both the American Library Association and the Association of Research Libraries, found here: In general, the library prefers licenses that include but are not limited to the following:    

  • Unlimited simultaneous users  
  • Electronic reserve  
  • Interlibrary loan  
  • Walk-in patrons as authorized users  


Reviewed by Library Liaisons (September 16, 2020)

Approved by Darren Chase, Library Director (September 16, 2020)

Reviewed by Library Committee (April 19, 2021)