Electronic resources represent an increasingly important component of the collection building activities of libraries. “Electronic resources” refer to those materials that require computer access, whether through a personal computer, tablet, or handheld mobile device. They may either be accessed remotely via the Internet or locally.
Electronic resources present a number of hurdles not encountered with traditional library materials. Electronic publications raise complex issues around licensing, access, networking, pricing, ownership, and rapidly changing technology and standards. With electronic resources the selector cannot make a decision to acquire an electronic resource in isolation and must liaise closely with other departments in the library to evaluate the suitability of a resource prior to the decision to acquire. Typically this will involve consultation with staff responsible for technical systems and services, acquisitions, resource discovery (cataloguing and access), contracts and licensing, and service delivery.
Some of the most frequently encountered types of electronic resources are:
- Full-text (aggregated) databases
- Indexing and abstracting databases
- Reference databases (biographies, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, etc.)
- Numeric and statistical databases
- E-audio/visual resources