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DeVry University Library Acquisition Policy: E-Collections Policy Best Practices

Acquisition Policy

E-COLLECTIONS Acquisitions Policy



In the spirit of the mission of DeVry University, the Library recognizes its responsibility to primarily support the University’s curricular and instructional programs.  The Library also seeks to meet the lifelong learning of students, alumni, and colleagues.   This document reflects the best practices of collection management for eCollections that pertain to DVU.  To provide order, consistency, and transparency, the Librarians should base their decisions on the principles and guidelines outlined in this document.

The DVU Virtual Library eCollections are electronic resources requiring computer access and are accessible across the University regardless of location or time. These include, but are not limited to, stand-alone aggregated packages, electronic reference materials, vendor-produced full-text resources, electronic monographs or collections of monographs, images, or streaming media.  These resources present their own particular challenges such as:  IT support, cost, and access over ownership among others. 

DVU-produced and archived materials are outside the scope of these best practices.


Provide access to all resources through the Library’s web page.

While ownership is preferred to access, subscription access is acceptable.

The Library solicits recommendations from faculty, students, colleagues, and other stakeholders. The Library will review all recommendations based on these best practices.

The Librarians, in consultation with appropriate stakeholders and administrators, will make cost-effective and balanced purchase recommendations and decisions reflecting institutional needs.

The Library’s eCollections will support the regional, secondary, and professional accreditations of the University and its programs as well state and other licensures.  The Library will also comport with professional criteria such as the ACRL’s Standards for Distance Learning Library Services.

Usage statistics, access data, and other pertinent information will be considered in the deliberations to renew and/or cancel certain electronic resources.

Priority of service is given to students; faculty; departments, including the library; and other colleagues, in that order of priority.

E-resources that do not require subscriptions and licensing agreements may be added to the collection provided they support the curriculum and research needs of our users and are thoroughly vetted by the Librarians.  Such sources must meet the same standards as applied to other resources.

Consideration of new sources will be done annually.



  • Perpetual access (ownership) is preferred.

  • Does the vendor/publisher permit the Library to distribute copies according to the normal and proper procedures of interlibrary loan?

  • The library will acquire electronic resources that will be made available on its website using the standard access methods supported by DVU IT.

  • Resources should be accessible via the use of standard web browsers (e.g., Chrome, Firefox, MS Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari) and with capabilities for standard document formats such as HTML or PDF.

  • Unlimited simultaneous users at no extra cost is the optimal method of access. 


  • Follow the Library’s Assessment plan.

Consortial agreements

  • Consortial agreements should be thoroughly investigated in the unlikely event they become available.


  • The degree to which a particular resource supports specific areas of the educational mission or other objectives of DVU will be primarily considered.
  • If a potential resource is not congruent with these criteria, the Librarians will use their professional judgment to determine if the resource possesses other unique qualities that warrant inclusion in the Library’s electronic collections.
  • Does the resource complement or enhance the depth or breadth of existing collections or is it redundant with other resources?
  • What is the current and anticipated level of need/demand for the resource?
  • Is there sufficient availability of full-text/images in the resource?
  • Are there unique and desirable features present?


  • Cost is a significant variable when deciding to acquire or continue a resource, particularly as subscriptions are a continuing cost.  The cost and benefit of acquiring a resource are an integral part of the process.  The price of a no-to-low-cost resource is not sufficient reason to acquire it. Conversely, a highly-priced resource should not be rejected out of hand if it provides exceptionally distinctive benefits such as ensuring accreditation.
  • The Library is willing to work with other departments to acquire resources using that department’s funds (non-library funds).


  • What is the timeliness of updates?
  • Is there consistent lag time and/or embargo?

Interface and Navigation:

  • Is the interface user-friendly, easy to navigate, and intuitive with a clear layout and design?
  • User-friendly resources often include:
    • tutorials, help screens, and navigation aids, prompts, menus, helpful error messages
    • basic and advanced search levels
    • personalization options such as current awareness alerts  
    • easy to read and follow screen design
    • an interface consistent with other resources
    • allowing users to refine searches and retrieve relevant results
    • compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act regulations
    • robust search features including:  controlled language, keyword, and Boolean searching; full-text searching, truncation, and wildcards; browsing (index and title); relevancy ranking; thesaurus; search history; etc.
    • ease of printing or downloading
    • speed with which the retrieval system processes commands
    • ability to print, download to disk, store in the cloud, and/or e-mail results
    • easily viewed images, photographs, or visual displays  


  • Invoicing for DeVry University should be available
  • Pricing should be transparent


  • The main language of the collection is English.
  • Criteria considered for the acquisition of foreign language materials are their usefulness to the University curriculum and cost.

Licensing and Compliance:

  • Licensing and contract negotiation will be completed by DeVry University Regulatory Affairs.

New Programs and Course Redesign:

  • The Library will partner with the Colleges to ensure adequate support for new programs (See Appendix C)


  • Are COUNTER (Counting Online Usage of Networked Electronic Resources) usage statistics provided by the publisher?
  • Preference will be given to those e-journals that provide the Library with usage statistics on which to base decisions about the relative usefulness of the e-journal to Library users.


  • Librarians will consult available and appropriate reviews of off-line electronic resources prior to recommending acquisition.
  • Faculty and students will be strongly encouraged to provide feedback on resources available on a trial basis.

Simultaneous Users:

  • What is the number of simultaneous users allowed?
  • Sources without such restrictions for an additional cost are preferred.


  • Is there assurance of 24/7 access to content?
  • Is the vendor reliable and is their site stable? 
  • Does the publisher provide advanced notice of maintenance or other downtime?
  • Does the publisher provide adequate technical support for their site?


  • The Librarians will consider the range of purchase/pricing models available and determine which one best meets the needs of the library in terms of access and archival rights and return on investment.


  • For single subscriptions and “free” materials, preference will be given to those which can be searched via the Library’s Discovery Service.

  • Certain materials, such as government publications, may be assigned to a LibGuide as the principal point of access.

Vendor Support:

  • Preference is given to reputable, reliable, customer-centric vendors with long-term viability.
  • The vendor should:
    • provide a resource demonstration and/or trial of the product prior to selection
    • allow faculty and students to participate in the trial
    • provide librarian and stakeholder training, upon request
    • provide timely and effective customer and technical support
    • provide timely notification of product changes and scheduled down-time
    • inform the library how the resource can be searched through the Library’s primary search interface
    • evaluate and upgrade the platform as necessary to reflect the current and anticipated state of the Internet
    • provide access to documentation materials


It is essential that libraries review their electronic resources prior to renewal to determine if they continue to be relevant and provide a satisfactory return on investment.  The resource should be considered in light of the preceding General Selection Criteria.  Additional questions to consider as part of the renewal process include the following:

Review of Usage Data:

The Librarians will review available usage statistics to determine usage in conjunction with associated costs.  Such data are useful in making retention and renewal decisions based on:

  • Resource relevancy—does it still support the needs of the University?
  • Does the resource represent value for money?
  • What are the usage trends?
  • How does cost per use compare to other resources?
  • Are there other more cost-effective options?

At the same time other factors should be considered including:

  • How effectively has the resource was marketed
  • How well the resource was demonstrated in information literacy sessions
  • How reliable has access been
  • Input from appropriate stakeholders

Acceptable resources may still be not renewed due to budgetary exigency.


The Library complies with the current copyright laws.


The Library may accept gifts of electronic resources and/or specified or unspecified donations of monies on a case-by-case basis


The Library supports the American Library Association's Bill of Rights, the Freedom to Read Statement, and the “Intellectual Freedom Principles for Academic Libraries.”  


Because of the changing and dynamic nature of e-resources, these guidelines will be reviewed every year.


Updated 8/4/2022

Library Team

ALA Best Practices