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Collection Development Policy

Databases (RAS)


Materials published or produced and sold as a continuing resource and/or that have fees continuing beyond the initial purchase fee are identified and suggested by the subject librarian. The decision to purchase will be made by balancing the competing requests and the available budget for continuing resources.


Subject Selector :

  • Identifies resource by individual effort, or at the suggestion of an information seeker (faculty member, student, etc.).
  • Relays the name, publisher, and other pertinent information about the product to the Electronic Resources librarian.
  • Makes a request for a trial of resource, if deemed beneficial.

Electronic Resources librarian :

  • Contacts the resource publisher or appropriate vendor for pricing.
  • Requests a copy of the product license for vetting.
  • Initiates a trial and publicizes that trial. 
  • Notes the resource on the Resource Wish List

When it is apparent that funds are currently available and will be available in subsequent years to pay for continuing resources, an appropriate group of Subject Selectors and Library Administrators will be convened to choose which resources will be purchased. 

General Criteria 

  • Subject matter covered is relevant to the Sam Houston State University curriculum and needs of primary users (students, faculty, and staff)
  • Appropriate intellectual level, depth of coverage, and quality of information for user population
  • Reputable, reliable, and authoritative producer
  • Information updates are current, accurate, and complete
  • Electronic format provides greater accessibility to information over other formats (print, microfilm, etc.)
  • Uniqueness of information


  • Citation/abstract databases
  • Full text article databases
  • Full text reference sources online
  • Image and multimedia files
  • eBooks


Electronic Resources must meet the following criteria:

  • Delivery via the web
  • Authentication by IP address (rather than passwords or logins)
  • Compatibility with the Library's existing proxy server and software

User Friendliness

Electronic resources should adhere to general user expectations such as:

  • Availability of on-screen help and/or tutorials
  • Basic, guided, and advanced searching
  • Helpful error messages (i.e. error message indicates specific problem(s) and provided possible alternatives)
  • Ability to print, save, and email results and/or articles

Cost Considerations

  • Cost-Effectiveness (including the availability and cost of updates or backfiles when appropriate)
  • Ability to sustain cost for the foreseeable future
  • Potential usage and/or uniqueness of information justifies cost

Vendor Considerations

  • Provides responsive customer service and technical support that is available during regular library working hours
  • Availability and quality of training programs
  • Reputation and business record suggests there will be continued support for the product via updates or new versions
  • Documentation is thorough and clear

Technical Considerations

  • Meets usual and customary technical standards in the industry
  • Allows the library to make local customizations
  • Product is compatible with the Library's existing and/or future hardware
  • If accessible via the web, the product is compliant with standard web browsers 
  • Usage statistics are readily available in a user-friendly format (preferably COUNTER compliant)

License Agreements

The Sam Houston State University Newton Gresham Library purchases access to or data from publishers who require signed license agreements. When negotiating license agreements, the Library keeps the interests of the user in mind and refrains from purchasing products where use restrictions would seriously impede research or be impossible to enforce. The NGL Director coordinates the review of license agreements and submits the signed license agreement as part of the ordering procedure. The Library will consult with the General Counsel to amend vendor license agreements on a case-by-case basis to ensure use is granted to the fullest extent possible.



These materials, along with large eJournal packages, take the largest portion of the library’s materials budget. Deselection occurs after the consultation of many parties in the library.

A subscription to a product may be canceled if:

  • Usage statistics are consistently low over a significant period of time.
  • The product is no longer cost-effective
  • The content provided no longer meets the needs of Sam Houston State University users.
  • A competitive or better product becomes available.
  • The vendor fails to uphold their end of the agreement and/or provides poor service.
  • A product’s price inflates to a rate where it no longer is considered affordable.
  • The product’s content is found to duplicate content in another database.
  • A new vendor can deliver a superior product, including a more user-friendly search interface, providing greater and more reliable access at a reasonable cost, or meet other key criteria not being met by current database provider.


Deselection candidates are initially identified by an examination of usage statistics and the cost per use metric. If usage is low, the product will be brought before the body of the subject selectors for comment.

After this initial consultation, Subject Selectors whose subject areas are directly affected by the cancelation of the resource will be individually consulted to allow for communication with the faculty in this area and to give time to consider reasons for retaining a resource. Once consent is obtained from these subject selectors, a final email will allow all subject selectors to raise any final concerns. After this final communication, Acquisitions will proceed to cancel resource.

If budgetary distress forces the consideration of the cancelation of well used products, the Subject Selectors will be convened with Library Administration to examine usage statistics, department support levels, accreditation information, and other pertinent data to select candidates for deselection. 


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