Collection Policy: Choice of Format
The library has an increasing preference for online resources that provide enhanced searchability (e.g., some looseleaf services) or currency (e.g., court decisions) over their counterparts in other formats. The library also relies on online formats for infrequently used legal or non-legal titles (e.g., political science or social science journals), general newspapers, non-scholarly titles (e.g., newsletters), and when resources are only available online.
We collect electronic resources of all material types.
Materials selected for inclusion in the law library collection as electronic resources must meet the following criteria:
- adhere to the jurisdictional, substantive and other criteria of this Collection Development Policy;
- originate from an identifiable, official, and authentic issuing agency, commission, publisher, organization, etc.;
- the publishing organization’s website should be stable (URLs should be stable and consistent);
- currency or periodicity of materials must be identifiable;
- electronic holdings and retention must be identifiable and predictable;
- format for bibliographic documents must be acceptable;
- materials must be easy to navigate and use in electronic format. Ease of navigation factors include:
- organization, ease of searching and general use, including how the information appears on the screen,
- quality and number of finding aids,
- printing quality and capability,
- quality and placement of user guides, and
- ability to access title pages and tables of contents;
- an acceptable site license must be available;
- the search results must be reliable;
- vendor technical support should be available; and
- must have well developed linking capability.
We will consider electronic-only holdings for:
- current awareness titles,
- materials where electronic format is superior to the print equivalent,
- serials of faculty interest that are marginal for the collection, not routed, and held elsewhere on campus,
- resources where ownership of superseded print volumes is not necessary, e.g. Shepard’s citators, and
- print copies for which cancellation and withdrawal may be appropriate.
When an owned resource migrates from paper to electronic format, it is reviewed the same way as other format changes in terms of addressing retention, number of copies, and other issues.
Access preferences for electronic resources selected for the collection are as follows, in descending order of preference:
- campus-wide IP authenticated access or resources that are free on the Internet,
- campus-wide IP authentication/scripted URL with password access,
- law school wide IP authenticated access,
- law school wide authentication/scripted URL with password access,
- law library only IP authenticated access,
- law library only IP authentication/scripted URL with password access, or
- individual passwords requiring mediation.
Electronic materials and titles in multiple formats pose new challenges for researchers both in identifying sources of information and accessing them. The library strives to facilitate value-added access to electronic materials selected for the collection through the online catalog, its various electronic A-Z lists, its open URL link resolver, research web pages and portals.