Off-line Electronic Resources

I. Purpose

The University of Oregon Libraries supports the instructional and research programs of the University. Toward this aim, the Library collects or provides access to materials in multiple formats, including electronic formats. The challenges to providing access to off-line electronic resources warrant a separate collection development policy focusing on these materials. This policy will provide guidelines for the selection and acquisition of off-line electronic resources as well as the provision of access. Related collection development documents will address procedural concerns in detail.

II. Scope

This policy seeks to address the selection and acquisition of off-line electronic resources, primarily those monographic titles available on CD-ROM or floppy disk. These resources may be:

  • numeric data files
  • textual files
  • bibliographic files
  • graphic and multimedia files
  • courseware/instructional files
  • software needed specifically to utilize resources listed above.

The Library will pursue the purchase of other types of resources as these develop in the future and meet the guidelines outlined herein. This policy also does not address the following electronic resources, which may fall into more than one of the following categories:

  • online bibliographic or full-text databases
  • Internet resources
  • electronic journals or serials

Collection development policies for online resources and electronic journals will address the selection, acquisition, and provision of access for these resources.

III. Location

The Knight Library Instructional Technology Center (ITC) will be the central location of most of these resources as well as the central access provider. Other libraries and collections, such as Science, Maps, AAA, Math, Music, Reference, Law, and Government Documents, also house and provide access to off-line electronic resources, appropriate for their individual missions.

IV. Electronic Resources Accompanying Other Formats

Floppy disks and CD-ROMs may accompany other formats--monographs, serials, films, videos, or audio recordings. When possible, the Library will purchase and provide access to these materials in compliance with this policy's guidelines. If off-line electronic resources accompany other primary formats, they will be shelved together in the appropriate location. Procedures for handling electronic resources that accompany print formats are provided in greater detail in a related document, Accompanying Off-line Electronic Resources.

V. General Selection Principles

Selection Responsibility: Responsibility for selecting these materials falls to individual subject specialists and the head of collection development as these materials fall into their regular selecting responsibility. The coordinator for the ITC as well as library users and other individuals will offer suggestions to appropriate subject specialists or the head of Collection Development.

Funding: Ordinarily, the subject content will determine the individual fund. Subject specialists and the head of collection development will determine the appropriate individual funds to use for purchasing off-line electronic resources. As with all other formats, the Library will consider other allocations for those titles deemed major purchases.

Adherence to Other Collection Development Guidelines: The purchase of off-line electronic resources should follow present collecting policies whether general or subject specific policies. Specifically their purchase should adhere to the chronological, geographical, language, and date of publication guidelines set forth in general or subject specific policies. As with other materials subject specialists should also 1) consider present curriculum and research needs, 2) select materials which meet the standards the Library expects of all materials in regard to excellence, comprehensiveness, and authoritativeness, and 3) weigh the purchase of a particular title against other possible acquisitions from material budgets.

Specific Format Criteria: In addition to content, subject specialists should closely consider the criteria listed below when considering the purchase of off-line electronic resources.


  • the necessary amount of staff time to provide access, training, and assistance
  • the improvement or enhancement that the resource will give to existing print materials
  • the long-term viability of resources for preservation purposes
  • the long-term usability of a resource's data (10 years or more)
  • the broad accessibility of the resource under present copyright laws and licensing agreements
  • the compatibility of the resource with existing hardware about to be purchased or already in
    the Library and hardware on the University of Oregon campus
  • the availability and adequacy of documentation
  • the currency of the resource's information, if deemed necessary for subject matter
  • the user-friendliness of the resource
  • the ability to network the resource if deemed appropriate
  • the replacement policy of the publisher in the event of damage or theft.

It is particularly important to consult available published reviews of off-line electronic resources before their acquisition. Reviews can outline how well a resource meets specific criteria and can provide further insight regarding the resource's overall quality. Subject specialists should not necessarily exclude a title because it does not meet every individual criterion. However, subject specialists should attempt to select resources that adequately meet as many of the selection criteria as is possible. Because this format increases the complexity of acquisition and access, subject specialists should include the detailed list of pre-order guidelines when ordering off-line electronic resources. A sample of this detailed list is appended to this policy.

Selection Tools: In addition to subject-oriented reviewing sources and Choice reviews, subject specialists may consult several sources for current reviews of off-line electronic resources and for general information about the technology. Titles held by the UO Libraries include:

  • CD-ROM News Extra
  • CD-ROM Professional
  • "CD-ROM Review, " a regular feature of Library Journal
  • Database
  • "Multimedia Reviews," a monthly feature of Publishers Weekly
  • Online and CD-ROM Review.

VI. Copyright

The Library will comply with the existing copyright laws. The Library will also promote copyright compliance among its users and among its staff.

VII. Licensing

The Library will negotiate and comply with vendor licensing agreements. An appended list of pre-order guidelines outline the necessary details for this negotiation and compliance. Because this format increases the complexity of licensing agreements, subject specialists should include the detailed list of pre-order guidelines and the necessary licensing agreement, when available, with any order for off-line electronic resources prior to ordering the title.

VIII. Provision of Access

The Library will maximize access to the Library's off-line electronic resources through several means:

  • cataloging of each resource
  • necessary storage
  • provision, maintenance, preparation, and loading of necessary software and hardware
  • appropriate staff and user support and training for in-building use
  • circulation of resources according to ITC circulation procedures.

IX. Gifts

The Library will evaluate and accept gifts of off-line resources that meet the specific format criteria identified herein and that adhere to other collection development guidelines, whether general or subject specific. Gifts of off-line electronic resources should also follow the Library's gifts policy.

X. Replacements

The Library will replace off-line electronic resources using the same criteria for other formats: demand for the resource, cost, and availability from publishers or vendors.

XI. Conversion of Outmoded Off-line Electronic Resources

Off-line electronic resources may operate on computer software and hardware that becomes outdated or obsolete while the resource's information remains valuable. In such cases, the Library will attempt to convert or update off-line electronic resources to a useable format. When conversion of outmoded electronic resources is possible, the Library may decide to convert after examining copyright and licensing of the product, demand for the resource, historical significance and uniqueness of the resource (including cost of the conversion), and availability of the information in another format.

XII. Duplicates

The Library will purchase duplicate copies of off-line electronic resources when demonstrated need and other restrictions indicate that networking or other options for providing access are not adequate or available. The Library also will purchase duplicates of electronic resources or purchase duplicates of print resources in electronic format when:

  • the resource has significant historical value
  • one format is unstable
  • a cost benefit for purchasing multiple formats exists
  • multiple formats meet the different needs of user groups
  • the archived format of a resource will not operate with current technology.

XIII. Policy Review

Because of the complex and dynamic nature of providing access to off-line resources, the head of Collection Development, the coordinator for the Instructional Technology Center, and other librarians will need to review this policy at least every two years.

For information, contact:
Dave Fowler
Head of Acquisitions
Knight Library
University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403