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Evaluating Resources

 BC ELN relies upon the expertise of partner libraries in the evaluation of electronic resources. Partner libraries conduct independent product evaluations in advance of joining a licence and re-evaluate existing products in advance of annual licence renewals. BC ELN facilitates the evaluation process by arranging product trials and providing documentation including product descriptions, licensing terms and conditions, pricing, and other relevant background information.

The selection of a digital resource requires the careful weighing of a number of factors including content, functionality, technical requirements, cost, and management. Criteria guiding selection decisions include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following items:


Content should be:

  • Suitable to the library's current collection development policy with respect to subject scope and depth
  • Important for the discipline
  • Appropriate for expected level of use
  • Comprehensive, durable, and accurate. Broader coverage is preferred both chronologically and in completeness (e.g., appropriate level of subject indexing, inclusion of all materials in full text journals)
  • Sufficiently distinctive in the library environment, considering the extent of overlap (if any) with other databases available at the library, and the relationship of the database to the library's print and other holdings
  • Current and updated with appropriate frequency


The following functionality is generally desirable:

  • Novice and advanced search modes.
  • Text mode for visually impaired access.
  • OpenURL linking.

Technical requirements

The resource should:

  • Support authentication methods facilitating access by all authorized users, including off-site (remote) users.
  • Support a variety of web browsers and versions, and be aligned with industry standards of interoperability.
  • Work with discovery systems prevelent in British Columbia (when applicable).
  • Be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Provide adequate on-line help and documentation.


  • Consortium pricing should make access to electronic resources more affordable for all participating sites. No BC ELN partner library should pay more than the price of an individual subscription; all partner libraries should realize savings.
  • Information providers should offer a variety of pricing models that can be adapted to need.
  • Pricing should be flexible and scaleable (i.e., adjustable with changes in participation levels) and provide year-to-year price stability for participating libraries.
  • Unit cost should decline as the number of users increases. Information providers should specify volume thresholds or breakpoints at which the overall unit cost will decrease.


  • Site-specific customization, IP address updates, and usage reporting should be available via a well-designed administrative web interface.
  • Usage statistics should adhere to the COUNTER standard. COUNTER follows Codes of Practice that specify the content, format, delivery mechanisms and data processing rules for a set of core usage reports that are easily implemented by vendors and easily understood by librarians. You can find more information at

Terms and Conditions

BC ELN requests that vendors use the BC ELN Model License as the basis for the license agreement.