Skip Menu

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

E-preferred monograph acquisitions (ebook) policy

"Our collection needs to be as electronic as possible." -- Dean Tyler Walters, July 20, 2012.

In the mid-2000s, the University Libraries began to acquire electronic books through individual and subject-specific collections as well as accessing the critical mass of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) ebook collections.

Mirroring the progression of the University Libraries' print journal collection practices into an epreferred journal collection policy, monograph acquisitions will be guided by epreferred principles stated in the aforementioned policy and supported by e-preferred procedures already established in the serials workflow.

Ebooks provide these organizational benefits:

  • Administrative savings: There is no processing, shelving, damage, loss, or physical handling; ease of withdrawal
  • Collection analytics: Ebook usage statistics can be measured in detail to assist in collection management decisions
  • Ownership flexibility: Ebooks may be rented, loaned, owned, or accessible via subscription package

E-preferred collection and access strategies complement the global interconnectivity theme in the New Horizon plan, particularly the E-learning and distance learning initiatives described on p.14-15.

Ebooks will reinforce the e-learning and distance learning measures through:

  • Accessibility: Ebooks are available 24/7 and are accessible from on campus as well as from remote locations
  • Availability: Ebooks significantly increase the size of the collection
  • Functionality: Ebooks can be interactive, can be searched at various content levels, and cross-linked through OpenURL

All monographic content acquired by the University Libraries will pass through the same set of curriculum-based selection criteria currently in practice. From July 2012 forward, this monographic content will be enhanced by the e-preferred monograph acquisitions (ebook) policy.

In the current marketplace, ebook publishers, suppliers, platforms, access methods, and functionalities differ widely. The University Libraries will collect ebooks based on the following conditions that exist at the time of selection and in the following order:

  • Concurrent users: We will prefer providers who allow multi-users as part of their standard terms of access. Multi-use is a primary foundation of this policy and outweighs the presence of conventional DRM restrictions, the ownership vs. subscription issue, and reasonable cost factors.
  • Digital Rights Management (DRM): We will prefer providers with the least-restrictive DRM. Users should have a seamless ability to copy, forward, download, print or otherwise manipulate content.
  • Ownership options: We will look to purchase monographs in lieu of subscription access; we will address perpetual access by placing purchased content in a preservation / archiving program such as PORTICO, LOCKSS, or CLOCKSS
  • Cost: We will minimize platform or access fee outlays.
  • Administrative permissions: We will prefer providers who are COUNTER compliant and provide access to a well-designed and serviceable administrative module.
  • Indexing: How well the full-text of the book is indexed in major databases, including discovery services such as Summon, will be a consideration.

In 2012, the publishing industry estimates that about one-third of all monographic titles are available as ebooks. As more titles become available electronically and as the University Libraries move towards a more accessible e-collection, we will continue to acquire print monographs based on these exceptions:

  • Unavailability in e-format: the title is a core title and is not published in dual format or not yet available in e-format; publisher is primarily print-only
  • Request: print format has been specifically requested; decision to purchase the print version will be based on collection appropriateness and curriculum relevance

Contact us

Leslie O'Brien
Director of Collection Management
(540) 231-4945

Edward Lener
Associate Director of Collection Management 
(540) 231-9249

Tracy Gilmore
Collection Assessment Librarian
(540) 231-4956

Suggest an item for purchase

Collection Management mission

The mission of the Collection Management Department is to build and manage a collection offering the breadth and depth of subjects, formats, and languages necessary to support diverse fields of scholarly endeavor and to advance Virginia Tech's efforts to achieve excellence as a comprehensive land-grant university.