a. What are the author’s qualifications for the fulfillment of his/her purpose.b. The librarian must rely on the qualifications of the author given in the book.c. Librarians own undertanding and depth of knowledge of the subjectd. A check of the author in standard biographical works such as Who’s Who or American Men and Women.
e. Include the education and experience of the editors and contributors, as indicated by degrees earned and organizational affiliations.f. Reputation of the publisher or sponsoring agency.
If a cd-rom or online database has a print counterpart, authority can likewise be judged. When there is no print counterpart, it maybe necessary to judge authority from statements presented in the documentation describing the electronic source.
g. The imprint of the publisher may indicate the relative worth of a book.h. Objectivity and fairness of a work are important considerations.
Statement of purpose It is necessary to judge to what extent the statement of purpose is fulfilled in the text. Has the author or editor accomplished what was intended. Aspects of scope includes subject and geographical coverage. Time period coverage is also important for many reference works.
How current are the contents? For serial publication, how frequently is it updated. Electronic sources may have rely more on documentation, written descriptions that attempt to characterize the coverage of the source.
Peter Jacso provides a thorough review of approaches to assessing database scope.Factors to consider:a. Size of the databaseb. The number of sources and time period covered.c. Unique content when compared to other databases.d. Geographic language coverage.
The librarian must ask one major question:a. Is this work for the scholar or student of the subject, or is it for the layperson with little or no knowledge.b. For instance: In the field of organic chemistry, Beilstein’s Handbuch der Organischen Chemie is as well known to chemists as the top 10 tunes are to music fai It is decidedly for the student with some basic knowledge of chemistry.
Accuracy is important in a certain work. How reliable are the facts presented? How “dirty” is a database?Are there mispelled words, missing data elements or inconsistent formatting of parts of the record such as authors names? Objectivity can be assessed by examining the coverage of controversial issues and the balance in coverage given to various subjects.
A major factor of frustration in the evaluation and purchase of different sources is the expense involved. The costs of prints and sources in distributed electronics formats are similar in that a copy is acquired for in house use in the library and the purchase or subscription price buys unlimited access to the contents of the source.
Pricing of online databases follows a variety of models, from charge per use to subscription with unlimited access for authorized users. Pricing may depend on the ff:a. Size of potential user populationsb. Ownership of print equivalents.c. No. of simultaneous users of the resource.d. Whether the library is licensing the database as part of a consortium or individually.
costs include:a. Purchase and maintenance of equipment to make the contents accesible.b. May also consider the costs in terms of the staff support needed to allow users to make use of a non-print source.
When reviewing print sources one is concerned with the physical make up and features of the book. If it includes illustrations; one must judge their quality and relationship to the text.
Straightforward to use Predictable in cost Usable by more than person simultaneously if produce as a multivolume set.
Space required to house print sources Problem in maintaining their currency Limitations on search strategies.
Print and microform arrange entries in a particular sequence:a. Alphabeticalb. Chronologicalc. Classified
One will always be interested in identifying any special features that distiguish a given reference source from the others. Any new developments that make database searching easier and more accesible to users will affect the choice among products. In the case of electronic sources, one must consider the quality of available documents, training, and customer support. For web resources, effective use of hyperlinks may add to a source’s value.