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Criteria for Selecting Electronic Resources

Last revised May 15, 2001

Basic Guidelines

  1. The intellectual content of the electronic resource, whether purchased or free, must fit within the established parameters of the Brandeis Library & Technology Services (LTS), the judgment of the relevant subject bibliographers, and the Brandeis University curriculum.
  2. The electronic resource must provide sufficient added value over other formats.
  3. The search interface must be powerful, flexible, user-friendly, and well-indexed, with numerous points of access.
  4. Whenever possible, access to the electronic resource must:
    • Support remote users of library and information resources
    • Deliver reliable remote access
    • Be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
    • Use a unified and intuitive interface
  5. The cost of the resource must be sustainable by the electronic resources budget for the foreseeable future.
  6. The technology and staff to deliver and support the resource must be available at Brandeis Library & Technology Services.
  7. Library & Technology Services must participate in a consortial purchase for a desired resource when the agreement provides a significant price advantage over the cost as an individual institution.
  8. Library & Technology Services must purchase available backfiles of an electronic resource if affordable and deemed bibliographically essential for the collection.
  9. Ideally the vendor (or some other reliable source) must provide for archival access to the data.
  10. Library & Technology Services must maintain the stability and consistency of electronic titles offered to the Brandeis community whenever possible.


  1. Library & Technology Services prefers Web delivery unless the Web version fails to meet the basic criteria for a search interface (see point 3) or the cost differential between the formats is significant enough to be a factor.
  2. The resource must employ (whenever possible) a user interface already familiar to the Brandeis community.
  3. Ideally the format should provide a single-search access to the entire electronic resource.
  4. The resource must be compatible across a wide variety of platforms (PC, Mac, etc.); Library & Technology Services will only consider platform-dependent products if no other viable option is available and the resource is considered essential.
  5. Library & Technology Services will not support more than one version of an electronic resource (such as electronic and print) unless there are overriding and compelling reasons for maintaining multiple electronic formats.
  6. When moving an electronic resource from one format to another, there must be compelling reasons to make the change; and the content of the new resource should be comparable to or better than that of the existing format, unless others factors prevail.

Vendor and Licensing

  1. The license must accord with the Brandeis Library & Technology Services' established electronic resource licensing policy.
  2. The vendor should be stable and reliable, and offer technical support.
  3. A change of vendors will occur only when a new vendor can deliver a superior search interface, enable greater and more reliable remote access at a reasonable cost, or provide other key factors, such as archival