University of Texas at Arlington

Collection Development Policy - Electronic/Digital Resources


The Libraries' goal is to provide a rich array of electronic resources that are accessible through the UT Arlington Libraries via the web page, at times and locations convenient to the users. Management of electronic resources is more complex than traditional print resources and involves analyzing a variety of issues that are cross-jurisdictional in nature. Issues concerning technology, access, maintenance, vendor support as well as licensing terms must be considered. The library staff should base their decisions on the principles outlined in this policy. Traditional fixed medium resources will be converted to digital format as they become available, provided they meet the selection principles listed below.

Definition and Scope

Electronic resources refer to those materials or services that require a computer for access, manipulation, or reproduction including, but not limited to, numerical, graphical and textual files, electronic journals, bibliographic or full-text databases and Internet resources. This policy addresses guidelines for selection, licensing, review and provision of access to electronic resources. It does not address procedures or funding methods. This document is to be used in conjunction with other collecting policies of a more general or subject-specific nature. Resources purchased for library staff use are not covered here.

General Selection Principles

  • Digital products must contribute to the Libraries' mission of providing support for instruction and research. They must support an identifiable current or future need of the university community.
  • Electronic or digital formats are considered in context with the needs of appropriate disciplines.
  • Electronic formats are preferable to fixed media when the content and coverage is equivalent or when the digital format offers value-added enhancements over the print.
  • Service implications, technical support and licensing requirements must be given careful consideration prior to commitment and may determine the feasibility of acquiring a new electronic resource.
  • A minimum of duplication between formats will be allowed.   Resources housed on remote servers are preferable to locally mounted products.   Electronic products should have the ability to be archived, if necessary.

Evaluation Criteria

  • The resources are easy to use and include such features as tutorials, more than one search level, context-specific help screens, index browsing, etc.  The product's coverage must be stable--older information doesn't drop off when updates occur.
  • If currency is important, the content should be updated regularly without significant lag time that would limit the product's usefulness.
  • Data should be platform-independent and available in a variety of formats.
  • Licensing terms are adequate for the Libraries' needs or vendor is willing to negotiate for terms favorable to UT Arlington Library.
  • The vendor/producer is reliable and offers customer support and training. The documentation is clear and complete.
  • Information providers control access by Internet protocol addresses.
  • Providers make products available on a trial basis, at no cost to the Libraries.


The library provides orderly access through a number of information gathering tools. In order to facilitate user retrieval, digital resources will be included in the UT Arlington Library Catalog and UT Arlington Library unless otherwise stated in this document. The specificity of access (collection level, individual title, etc.) will vary depending upon the provider's level of service and means of access, i.e. search engine or listing of individual titles.

Retention and Review Criteria

Periodically, databases and serials are reviewed by the subject librarians and Access & Discovery staff.  Both qualitative and quantitative data are used to evaluate current content and new requests.  In consultation with A&D staff, subject librarians decide on retention.