Evaluating Electronic Resources


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Presentation to a SLIS class at IUPUI – April 24, 2004.

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Evaluating Electronic Resources

  1. 1. Evaluating Electronic Resources Richard Bernier Reference & Electronic Services Librarian Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Presentation to SLIS at IUPUI – April 24, 2004
  2. 2. Talk Outline <ul><li>Know your curriculum or user population. </li></ul><ul><li>Develop long and short term goals: Collection Development principles apply to electronic resources. </li></ul><ul><li>How to discover resources and evaluate them. </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluating resources </li></ul><ul><li>Integrating new technology into your library </li></ul>
  3. 3. A) Know Your curriculum or user population <ul><li>Is your collection balanced? Are you neglecting certain subject areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Reference staff should be a part of the electronic resource selection process. </li></ul><ul><li>ILL staff should be a part. Know what people are requesting through ILL. </li></ul><ul><li>Study usage statistics for resources you already have. </li></ul><ul><li>Web site usage statistics. Know where users are going for information. Maybe better organization would help. </li></ul>
  4. 4. A) Know Your curriculum or user population <ul><li>Communication with faculty is absolutely crucial. Know what research projects they are having their students doing and what types of resources they will need. Ask for the syllabus of various classes or even be proactive in looking them up </li></ul><ul><li>New faculty are a good resource to tap. Being from grad school or a larger institution, they will have resources that they are attached to and think would be good for their students or their research. </li></ul>
  5. 5. A) Know Your curriculum or user population <ul><li>How important is research to your faculty? Are the students more important than faculty in the overall picture? What is the balance? </li></ul><ul><li>At academic institutions, are some of your major’s more reliant on research resources than others? What types of resources are needed for each major? (e.g. books vs. journals, journals vs. reference materials. </li></ul><ul><li>Money is always a factor. The more money you have, the more options you have. You also have more opportunity for spending money unwisely </li></ul>
  6. 6. A) Know Your curriculum or user population <ul><li>Just in time vs. just in case! Know the proper balance for your institution. </li></ul><ul><li>What is available in nearby libraries? Don’t waste money duplicating what is nearby at another library. This can cut down on ILL costs. </li></ul>
  7. 7. B) Develop long and short term goals: Collection Development principles apply to electronic resources. <ul><li>Know your strengths & weaknesses – Journals (paper & electronic), full text databases, A&I databases, reference works, online books. </li></ul><ul><li>Devise a goal. What areas need to be developed first, second? </li></ul><ul><li>Learn what resources are available in that area. </li></ul><ul><li>What will it cost? Where will this money come from? Be ready to spend if money suddenly comes available. Have a plan and know how you want to spend it, or watch it being spent somewhere else. </li></ul>
  8. 8. B) Develop long and short term goals: Collection Development principles apply to electronic resources. <ul><li>Have a good idea how valuable the resources that you have already are. Can some things be dropped? Study usage statistics and consult with reference and ILL librarians. </li></ul><ul><li>Seek funds to fund your strategic plan. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Dropping: ProQuest Research Library and General Science cost: $16,020 MLA International Bibliography $2,412 CAS Biological Science Database (Maybe) $7,500 ---------- $25,932 Adding: Upgrade to Academic Source Premier $5,174 Science Direct $12,000 Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology Engineering & Technology New York Times Archive (1851-1999) $3,150 New York Times Current (1999-present) $2,120 ---------- $22,444 Left over: $3,488
  10. 10. C) How to discover resources and evaluate them. <ul><li>Publisher mailings. </li></ul><ul><li>Library List-serves. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at web sites of other libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>Looking at resource descriptions from larger vendors web sites. </li></ul><ul><li>Library magazines – Library Journal, American Libraries. </li></ul><ul><li>Conferences, librarian networking. </li></ul><ul><li>Developing working relationships with vendors, even those with whom you don’t subscribe to their products. </li></ul>
  11. 11. D) Evaluating resources <ul><li>Read literature by the vendor </li></ul><ul><li>Request a free trial of the database. Get the most out of the free trial. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If your users can use it too, make it for a time for when they will use it. (e.g. during a busy time of a semester). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask other users such as faculty to evaluate the resource and provide input. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ask various other librarians to evaluate it when they have time. Show patrons at the reference desk and see what they say. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. D) Evaluating resources <ul><li>Request a free trial of the database. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try to get usage statistics of your trial if that is possible. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluate the administrator end if that is available during a trial. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make a list of what you want to evaluate put it in a calendar. Starting a trial when you don’t have time to evaluate it is a waste. Do it on your time, not the vendors. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Content <ul><li>Know exactly what you are getting. ASSUME NOTHING!!!!!!!! Get it in writing and scour the resource during your trial. </li></ul><ul><li>Watch for duplication of resources already held. </li></ul><ul><li>For a large database package like an EBSCO database, do a title by title comparison of a sample of the titles. </li></ul>The Evaluation
  14. 14. Content <ul><li>Look for quality, not just quantity. </li></ul><ul><li>A full text database may have thousands of full text journals, but if they only consist of 2 nd & 3 rd tier journals, your users may be disappointed if you don’t already have the core journals for that subject area. </li></ul>The Evaluation
  15. 15. Integrity / Quality <ul><li>Is the information similar to the paper format? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More or less info available? Is it just articles, or do they include other portions of the journal or book? (IEEE example). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If it’s a journal, is it put online earlier than the paper? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>When you perform a search, do you get what you expect? </li></ul>The Evaluation
  16. 16. Ease of use <ul><li>Is the interface easy to use? Does it require special searching skills such as complex Boolean expressions? </li></ul><ul><li>Does it offer different search options (Basic search vs. advanced search)? </li></ul><ul><li>Are there help screens? </li></ul><ul><li>Is there a help tutorial? </li></ul>The Evaluation
  17. 17. Navigation <ul><li>Are the buttons intuitive? Are they clearly explained? (EBSCO vs. ProQuest) </li></ul><ul><li>Are the instructions prominent or hidden? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it easy to navigate backwards and forwards? Does going back clear the search statement? </li></ul>The Evaluation
  18. 20. Currency <ul><li>What is the time coverage of the material? How far back does it go? </li></ul><ul><li>EXAMPLE: If it claims to provide journal coverage back to 1980, does it all go back that far? If not, just how much does? </li></ul><ul><li>How often is it updated? Quarterly, monthly, weekly, daily? </li></ul>The Evaluation
  19. 21. Access <ul><li>How is it accessed? Over the Internet? CD-ROM? Network installed? </li></ul><ul><li>INTERNET? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How many simultaneous users are allowed? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can it be accessed 24/7? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the bandwidth requirements? Is it adequate for dial-up? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there special browser requirements? (e.g. version, plug-ins)? </li></ul></ul>The Evaluation
  20. 22. Access <ul><li>How is it accessed? Over the Internet? CD-ROM? Network installed? </li></ul><ul><li>CD-ROM </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can it be networked via CD tower or direct network install? (Physically AND legally? If so, do you have the technical know how or support? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Are there simultaneous user restrictions if it can be networked? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Is it a single work station product. Do you have a designated computer(s) for such a product? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>If you receive this as a serial product, are you planning for space requirements for the future? </li></ul></ul>The Evaluation
  21. 23. Access <ul><li>Can it be accessed remotely? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IP Authentication? - Do you have a way to authenticate this way? -Dial up, VPN, proxy sever, password? </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Networked? Can users access it over the network in remote locations (off as well as on campus)? </li></ul></ul></ul>The Evaluation
  22. 24. Output <ul><li>Does it offer Email / print/ save options? </li></ul><ul><li>If so, can it be done easily? </li></ul>The Evaluation
  23. 25. Special Features <ul><li>Does it work with other standards (linking to an OPAC, open URL compatible for working with a link resolver, linking to other sources like Serials Solutions, automatic ILL request generation. </li></ul><ul><li>Personalized branding. </li></ul><ul><li>Customization of user interface and display results. </li></ul>The Evaluation
  24. 26. The Vendor <ul><li>Does the vendor have a good reputation? </li></ul><ul><li>Ask other librarians that subscribe to their products how their customer support and technical support is. Can help be obtained in a timely manner? </li></ul><ul><li>How are their price increases? Do they drastically increase them every year? Will you be able to afford it in a few years? </li></ul>The Evaluation
  25. 27. Evaluating Technology <ul><li>“ We want to incorporate all sorts of digital editing equipment and software into our library”!!! </li></ul><ul><li>First things first! Set goals and desired outputs/outcomes for the project and then let the goals determine the inputs. </li></ul>
  26. 28. The goal! <ul><li>What goal would you like to accomplish with this new technology? </li></ul><ul><li>Create a Digital Resource Center – place where students, staff and faculty can go to digitize content (e.g. – video, images, slides, web animation & flash, audio), and work with digital content (e.g. edit video). </li></ul>
  27. 29. The goal, with more detail <ul><li>Scan & edit images and text. </li></ul><ul><li>Digitize and edit video. </li></ul><ul><li>Create DVDs, (video and data). </li></ul><ul><li>Ability to burn multiple copies of a CD at once </li></ul><ul><li>Digitize slides for use in PowerPoint. </li></ul><ul><li>Create Flash animations </li></ul><ul><li>Print in color or b/w </li></ul><ul><li>Digitize & edit audio. </li></ul>
  28. 30. What resources will be needed? <ul><li>Computer Hardware </li></ul><ul><li>Software </li></ul><ul><li>Space </li></ul><ul><li>Furnishings </li></ul><ul><li>Digital storage space </li></ul><ul><li>Network access / bandwidth </li></ul><ul><li>Staffing – (e.g. full time staff member + 7 student workers, network & computer support staff) </li></ul><ul><li>Supplies – Blank CD’s & DVDs, blank VHS tapes, etc. </li></ul>
  29. 31. The Evaluation chain Goals Software Hardware Digital storage needs Network Needs Staffing Furnishings Space Supplies
  30. 32. Guess what? <ul><li>You’ve got some serious research to do!!! </li></ul>