Evaluation Criteria for the Selection of Electronic Resources

Evaluation Criteria for the Selection of Electronic Resources
Brooklyn Public Library
Reference Resources Advisory Committee
February 16, 2007
Prepared by Michael Santangelo
1. Reviews
2. Speak to other systems that use the product
3. Staff Evaluation
Administrative Criteria
o Does the vendor/producer have a good reputation?
o Is the authority clearly stated in product documentation?
o Who is the intended audience according to the vendor/producer?
o Who is the intended audience according to staff evaluation?
o Will it appeal to a range of users? By age? By proficiency?
o Is remote access available or feasible?
o Does the user need a password to gain access?
o How many users can have access simultaneously?
o Where is the database housed? Vendor’s server? Our server?
o What is the subject coverage?
o What titles are covered?
o Do covered titles represent the intended subject coverage?
Area and language coverage
o International or national?
o Is there adequate world language coverage? Which languages?
o Are there citations and headings in English for non-English articles?
Material Type
o What types of periodicals are included: magazines, newspapers,
conference proceedings, pamphlets, books, government
o How many publications are covered?
Record Format
o Are there abstracts for all records?
o Full text availability: all, most, some, none?
o Graphics availability: pictures, charts, multimedia, etc.?
o Is training available for staff?
o What type of tech support is available?
o What types of statistical reports are available? How often?
Local considerations
o Does this database overlap with existing databases subscriptions?
o How does it compare to currently held subscriptions? Unique or
o Is the information offered available for free through other resources?
o Are there any obvious maintenance issues?
o Is the cost proportional to possible usage, need, and funds
o Where will the database reside? Vendor server? BPL server?
User Criteria
o Do the indexing/abstracting appear to be accurate?
o Are the subject headings logical and useful?
o Is the bibliographic data correct?
o Are there unique access points?
o What is the extent of the database’s controlled vocabulary?
o Are the entire contents of a work or periodical indexed or only
selected parts?
o Does the database incorporate basic search features:
 Boolean searching
 Keyword searching
 Full text searching
 Weighted searching
 Truncation
 Proximity Searching
 Hyper linked searching
o What record fields are searchable?
o What are the search limits?
o List any unique search features.
o On first glance, does the interface appear user friendly?
o Is the layout aesthetically pleasing? Search page? Results page?
o Are online tutorials easily available to beginners?
o Are all the features easily accessible?
o Does the database meet federal web accessibility compliance
o Is all the text understandable on all screens (introductory, search)?
o Is it easy to navigate the search page? Between pages?
o Can the user tailor the search screen? The results display?
o Can the user save searches, results, preferences?
o Are results easy to download?
o Is it easy to print?
o Are there sufficient printing options?
o Can articles be emailed?
Works Consulted
Beck, Susan. Evaluation Criteria for Electronic Resources. Rutgers University
Libraries Staff Resources. Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. 13
November 2006
Boss, Richard W. Evaluating Electronic Products and Services. PLA Tech Notes.
Public Library Association. 13 November 2006.
Gregory, Vicki L. Selecting and Managing Electronic Resources: A How-To-Do-It
Manual for Librarians. New York: Neal-Schuman Publishers Inc., 2006.
Management Committee of the Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS).
Guidelines for the Introduction of Electronic Information Resources to Users.
RUSA Reference Guidelines. Reference and User Services Association (RUSA),
American Library Association. 13 November 2006.
Evaluation Form. UNSW Library. University of New South Wales, New South
Wales, Australia. 13 November 2006.