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Collection management policies and guidelines

E-Preferred Policy

The University Libraries supports online learning and global access to collections through the acquisition of electronic resources, including ebooks, electronic journals, and streaming video. We acquire individual ebooks, journals, and videos as well as collections of these resources, and we access materials provided through consortial partnerships, including the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA). E-preferred collection and access strategies complement the University’s initiatives to become a global leader in education and research.
This policy outlines the benefits of electronic resources, the conditions University Libraries prioritizes when acquiring electronic resources, and the exceptions considered.

Benefits

Compared to physical materials in the collection, electronic resources provide several benefits, including:

  • Accessibility: Electronic resource formats can improve usability for people with disabilities.
  • Availability: Electronic resources are available 24/7, from on-campus and remote locations. 
  • Breadth: Electronic resources significantly increase the size and availability of the collections. 
  • Functionality: Electronic resources can be interactive, can be searched at various content levels, and cross-linked through OpenURL. Electronic resources also provide greater potential for transformative uses. 
  • Operational efficiencies: Electronic resources free physical space and reduce the need for handling of materials.
  • Collection analytics: Electronic resource usage can be measured in detail to assist in collection management decisions.
  • Managerial flexibility: Electronic resources may be acquired through multiple models to address a variety of needs.

Conditions

For all our electronic resources, we will seek to develop our collections with the following conditions:

  • Accessibility: We will seek to acquire content that follows professional standards such as those established by the Library Accessibility Alliance.
  • Concurrent users: We will prefer providers whose standard terms allow multi-user simultaneous access.
  • Cost: We will minimize outlays for platform or access fees.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): We will prefer content with the least-restrictive DRM provisions. Users should have a seamless ability to copy, forward, download, print or otherwise manipulate content
  • Administrative functionality: We will prefer providers who offer a well-designed and serviceable administrative module, and who deliver COUNTER compliant usage statistics.
  • Indexing: We will prioritize content that is cataloged and indexed in major discovery services.
  • Ownership options: We will weigh the advantages of subscription vs outright purchase when both options are available.
  • Post-termination rights: We will prefer license agreements that provide post-termination access to resources. We will address perpetual access considerations through recognized preservation/archiving programs such as PORTICO, LOCKSS, and CLOCKSS.

Exceptions

There are occasions for which we will continue to acquire print books and serials, as well as videos, recordings, and other physical media. Similar considerations will apply to retention and weeding decisions in which physical materials might be replaced by digital versions. Exceptions may include:


Books:
  • The work is unavailable in e-format, or is unavailable with an institutional license.
  • If the quality of typography, images, graphs, charts, etc. in the electronic format is substantially inferior to the print version.
  • Requestor has asked for the work in print; the final decision on format will be based on collection appropriateness and curriculum relevance.
  • The demand for a work supports the acquisition of both print and e-format.
  • Physical copies of works by Virginia Tech authors will be acquired for Special Collections and University Archives as they become available. Additional copies of those works may be acquired in print or digital format.   
  • As a public, land-grant university library we will selectively acquire print materials of interest to the public, for whom online access may be burdensome.
  • If we have long-term retention commitments and the original item has gone missing.
Serials:
  • The work is unavailable in e-format, or is unavailable with acceptable institutional license terms.
  • If the content of the print differs from that of the electronic.
  • If the quality of images, graphs, charts, etc. in the electronic format is substantially inferior to the print version.
  • If we have long-term retention commitments and the item fills a gap.
Videos and Recordings:
  • Unavailability in a streaming format licensed for institutional use. (This will be true for many popular movies, television programs, and productions distributed by consumer-oriented streaming services)
  • If the quality of the images or the audio in the electronic format is substantially inferior to the physical version.
  • If the content of the physical version differs from what is available through streaming services.
  • Requestor has asked for the work in a physical format; the final decision on format will be based on collection appropriateness and curriculum relevance.
  • If video content drops out of a subscribed collection.
     

Approved October 11, 2022.