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Electronic Resources

The primary purpose of the electronic resources collection is to support the mission of Pepperdine University. The collection should support the general research needs of the students in all areas of the curriculum.

In selecting electronic resources, librarians favor full-text resources and established standard indexes in electronic format that strongly support our curriculum. After a suitable trial, the Libraries may deaccession one electronic resource in favor of another superior resource in the same subject area. Additionally, an annual evaluation of usage is conducted to identify electronic resources no longer relevant to the curriculum or research needs of the students and faculty.

Ongoing Acquisitions

Electronic resources covered by this policy are of two types:

  1. Bibliographic files: electronic resources, usually online abstracting and indexing services, containing information that leads users to additional material, rather than being an end in themselves. Some also contain full text or selected full text.
  2. Textual/numeric/graphic/multimedia or non-bibliographic files: electronic resources that are analogous to conventional library materials such as books, journals, videos, compact discs, and image or statistical collections.

Selection Considerations

In addition to the general criteria for selection and deselection of all library materials, the following criteria are considered in making decisions concerning electronic resources:

    • The resource is appropriate to the collection, reflecting the programs and curriculum of the University
    • The resource is anticipated to be of significant use to students and faculty; points to consider include:
      • Provision of unique materials
      • Expected number of users
      • Wider accessibility and/or added-value/advantages over other formats
      • Value for student research and teaching, including specific class needs
      • Currency of information
      • Quality of information, including intellectual level and completeness
    • Costs, whether subscription or purchase, plus needed back files for subscription and access fees for purchases; comparison of cost of electronic version vs. multiple print copies
    • Technical considerations such as compatibility with existing hardware and software
    • Impact on library services, including staffing considerations and training needed for effective use
    • Reputation of provider, including confidence in producer's commitment to maintenance and archiving
    • Occasionally, the Libraries receive requests to fund individual access to an electronic resource for research purposes. In addition to evaluating these types of requests based on the Libraries' electronic resources selection considerations, the Libraries will consider the duration that such access is needed.

Responsibility for Selection

Subject liaison librarians will continue to have the primary responsibility for identifying electronic resources in their respective subject areas. Faculty should refer their requests to their subject liaison librarian or submit an online request form. Trial access should be arranged whenever possible and appropriate faculty should be contacted for input.

Special Considerations

To conserve University resources, Pepperdine Libraries will participate in consortial agreements for access to electronic resources. Currently the Libraries belong to the Statewide California Electronic Library Consortium (SCELC) and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL).

In general, Pepperdine Libraries will acquire any given serials information source in one format only. However, subscriptions to the original print version of electronic resources may be continued as deemed appropriate, on a title by title basis. In the case of journals and standing orders, it is the responsibility of the Scholarly Resources Librarian in consultation with the appropriate library liaisons and faculty to determine whether duplication of format is necessary or desirable.

Given the dynamic nature of electronic resources, the constant introduction of new resources, changes in curriculum, and the changing needs of faculty for resources to support their teaching and research, as well as budget limitations, it is essential that Pepperdine Libraries subject liaison librarians periodically review the products that the Libraries have already selected.

Open Access

Pepperdine Libraries support the provision of open access electronic resources, pursuant to the University's mission of academic excellence and the Libraries' mission of providing a global gateway to knowledge.

The libraries do so by making open access resources accessible and discoverable in the library catalog, databases and electronic resources lists, and InfoGuides. Librarians identify these resources by consulting standard directories , such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB), the OCLC knowledgebase, professional listservs, and professional publications. Titles are evaluated for quality based on several criteria, including a journal's peer-review process and editorial body, and the Libraries strive to avoid illegitimate or low-quality journals. Such evaluation considerations are described in more detail in the Faculty Publishing Resources Guide and Open Access Guide. Access is implemented in accordance with the Electronic Resources Collection Policies, described on this page.

Pepperdine Libraries also provide open access to research and scholarship via Pepperdine Digital Commons with the online publication of journals, faculty-authored publications, and undergraduate student research.

Ongoing Evaluation and Deaccessioning

The changing environment of scholarly journals and scholarship requires the Libraries to continuously assess the collection in terms of the balance between electronic and print formats, the physical condition of the collection, and the space needs at Payson Library and the campus libraries. We also monitor and evaluate the utility of electronic resources based on usage patterns.

To address these challenges, Pepperdine University Libraries are implementing a plan to transition most scholarly journals and many regularly published reference works to electronic-only access. See Periodicals for details. Criteria for switching to electronic-only access include:

  • The electronic item is equivalent to the print item, including availability of all back issues
  • The title is not embargoed for any time period; e.g., there is no significant delay between print publication and the appearance of content online
  • There is a reasonable certainty that the publisher will continue to be in business for the foreseeable future
  • There are not constant or serious service interruptions
  • The product works reasonably well with proxy servers
  • The electronic journal supports printer friendly formats (PDF or other)
  • Journals and books printed in color should provide high quality images for the electronic version
  • Online content is available before or at the same time as the print for journals, or within a reasonable time frame for books
  • Publisher holds appropriate rights for permanent online display
  • License provides permanent access to the content purchased
  • Institutional site license by IP authentication
  • Durable URLs are used for individual titles
  • Publisher provides COUNTER compliant or equivalent use statistics

Policies for Electronic Resource Retention

  1. Digital formats are owned rather than leased. This includes collections that Pepperdine Libraries may elect to digitize for inclusion in a digital repository.
  2. If digital files are stored onsite, appropriate measures are in place for backup and recovery, and for ongoing digital preservation.
  3. If digital files are externally hosted, the hosting vendor is a participant in Portico, JSTOR, or a comparable escrow or archival system that ensures long-term access and preservation. This is the preferred option. As a secondary alternative, the vendor agreement must specify that they provide us with electronic media copies of our content in the event that we terminate our agreement with them or they cease publication.

Exceptions to the above policy

Electronic resources may be deaccessioned if one of the following criteria is met. Library liaisons are responsible for determining the usefulness of materials in their subject area of responsibility.

  1. The content in the collection is deemed out of date and no longer academically useful.
  2. Content in the collection is made available electronically for public access from another authoritative, reliable source (e.g., the Library of Congress).
  3. Monitoring of usage shows low use of the materials by Pepperdine students and faculty.
  4. An alternative, superior electronic resource is available as a substitute.