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  • 1. Running Head: Electronic Resources and Collection Development Electronic Resources and Collection Development Stephenie Heinz LI 855 Emporia State University
  • 2. Electronic Resources and Collection Development Abstract Collection development policies have gone through significant transitions throughout the yearsand transformed from strictly ordering the classic library collection to the concept of specializing acollection to meet the needs of the patrons. This paper discusses the challenges that librarys collectiondevelopment personnel face with the introduction and integration of electronic resources into thelibrary catalog. Issues stemming from high cost, budget cuts, access vs. ownership, and licensing issuesall bring a librarys collection development policy under tough scrutiny. 2
  • 3. Electronic Resources and Collection Development In the last twenty years, much has changed for the collection development librarians across theglobe. Technological advances and an increased demand for electronic resources have greatly changedthe way that collection development personnel order, maintain and preserve library collections. Thechallenges faced by collection development librarians to maintain a balance between print andelectronic resources is of great importance in the future of the field. In Electronic Resources andAcademic Libraries, 1980-2000: A Historical Perspective, Ruth Miller overviews the topic of collectionmanagement during the aforementioned twenty years of great transformation for not only the librarycommunity but also the rest of the world. She writes of the transition towards electronic resources,from attempting to balance funds between serials and monographs, the need has expanded tobalancing paper resources with electronic resources (Miller, 2000). The author includes the rise of theInternet, and subsequently electronic resources such as online public access catalogs and scholarlyjournals as being essential to the foundations of our modern library system. Miller discusses variouschallenges of introducing electronic resources to the library community including cost, access versusownership of content, organizational restructuring, preservation. This paper will discuss some of theseideas and challenges about collection development decisions in the electronic era, and will also lookahead to envision the future of libraries with the added content of electronic resources that are here tostay. The globalization and mass culture of our time has made the public so much more concernedwith quickly gaining access to the information they need that it becomes necessary for librarians tochoose their content wisely in order to remain relevant as information providers. Much of the debate iswhether to acquire print resources or electronic resources. Those in our profession constantly deal withbudget cuts and lack of funding so as to have to decide between the acquisition of one type of resourceat the expense of the other. Both print and electronic resources have advantages and disadvantagesthat librarians must consider before using limited funds to purchase either type. 3
  • 4. Electronic Resources and Collection Development Other aspects of collection development with regards to electronic resources are the modelsand selection policies that influence the decision making process for libraries. Librarians actively engagein the making of a collection policy for their libraries and selection of materials, including electronicresources, must remain within the policy guidelines. Cynthia Kellers Collection Development: Electronicor Print Subscription Resources article is an informative source for librarians when considering electronicresources for their collection. Keller writes of the importance in clarifying the criteria for acquisitions,and matching the resources to the needs of the community. She also considers a number of factors tobe important in the budget dilemma between print and electronic resources including but not limitedto: value, quality, patron needs, relevance, depth and coverage, initial and ongoing costs, and physicalspace requirements (Keller, 2006). She argues that by following a clear acquisitions policy thatestablishes a controlled method of selection, and by also evaluating the advantages and disadvantagesof both print and electronic resource types, librarians can select a collection that will satisfy both theneeds of their community and of their budget. Sam Brooks presents another strategy for integratingelectronic resources into a librarys collection in Integration of Information Resources and CollectionDevelopment Strategy. He writes the process of selecting quality, appropriate materials demandsthorough investigation and attention to detail and exercising caution in choosing which materials toinclude in each database is a critical element in the process of developing proper information resources(Brooks, 2001). Bradley Schaffner also recommends using this cautious approach when selecting librarymaterials for purchase with limited funds. In Electronic Resources: A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing he arguesthat, focusing all collection development funds on electronic resources will privilege some disciplines ina librarys collections at the expense of others that do not extensively use digitization as a scholarlycommunication format (Schaffner, 2001). The question of providing a balanced collection using bothprint and electronic resources is one that collection development librarians must continue to consider inthe future. 4
  • 5. Electronic Resources and Collection Development The publication of printed books has been made into a cost-effective industry in recent years.Arguments can be made for the continuation of using printed resources because paper is a renewablesource and the rate of replacement of the trees is almost double the rate at which they are used(Connell 2010). Also the cost per use of print resources is a cheaper alternative to electronic resourceswith their reliance on computers and the electricity required for use. Students and teachers who largelyprint out electronic articles onto paper are thus negating the effects of the electronic resource. Booksare often considered more feasible for long-term discussion purposes and there will always be thosewho prefer reading the pages of a book in hand to staring at a computer screen for hours on end. Also,the content of books may last longer than that of electronic resources because technology and itsformats evolve so quickly that libraries may not be able to continuously purchase new formats withlimited funds. The obvious advantages of electronic resources such as instant and widespread access,improved searchability and reference resources prove that they are a viable and adaptable addition tothe modern library. Another advantage is that as print material becomes outdated, electronic resourcescan be updated instantly. Electronic resources are becoming so popular and easy to use, that it ispossible to believe that they will replace print resources in the future. However, Doug Johnson, in Print& Electronic Library Resources: a Match Made in Heaven, strives to prove that instead of usingelectronic resources to replace print or vice versa, these resources can actually complement each other.He writes experienced teacher-librarians know that it takes newer technologies and print together tocreate meaningful learning experiences and predicts that Google will not replace the knowledgeableteacher-librarian. (Johnson 2002). Johnsons example in a school library proves that there is a need tocombine print resources with electronic in order to gain the best possible learning experiences forpatrons. 5
  • 6. Electronic Resources and Collection Development Collection development personnel must consider all of these aspects of both print andelectronic resources to best determine which will be of most use to their patrons. Because electronicresources and providing access to them is relatively expensive when compared to print resources, it isnot yet the case that libraries can rely solely on e-resources as a replacement for print materials. Indeedmany patrons still prefer the written word and so a compromise between the costs and benefits of thetwo resources is an important aspect to consider. Another challenge for collection development librarians is the rising cost of reference materialswhether print or electronic. Miller discusses the serials crises of the last two decades as being a catalystfor th