Subscription Databases & Electronic Resources

Discussed/passed Winter 2011
Edited and updated October 2017


At the beginning of each Fall term, the Collection Development & Acquisitions Librarian and the Library Director will review funds and budget lines available for subscription databases/online reference platforms for that fiscal year.

What’s Covered Elsewhere

Generally, electronic journal packages, streaming video collections, electronic book collections, and online reference resources will be funded from their respective budget lines and follow different (although similar) decision making processes guided by the Collection Development & Acquisitions Librarian.

Trials and subscriptions to web based information management systems and services that are not content oriented are managed by the Systems & Discovery Librarian.

Database/Online Reference Platforms—Trials and Selection

Librarian staff will recommend subscription databases and online reference platforms (past examples include CREDO, Oxford Reference, CQ Researcher) for review, trial, and possible subscription. The Collection Development & Acquisitions Librarian will perform a preliminary assessment consisting of:

  • Basic cost and pricing models for the database
  • Relevance to COCC curriculum and programs
  • Brief analysis of database compared to current COCC database holdings esp. regarding platform, duplication of key titles, and comparative full text holdings.
  • Brief search of other consortial libraries—especially community college libraries—subscribing to the database.
  • User interface

Preliminary assessment information on each proposed database/online reference platform will be shared in library management meetings. The Collection Development & Acquisitions Librarian will follow up with database vendors and establish pricing and licensing requirements, possible existing Orbis-Cascades consortial pricing, and set up a trial. College and library staff will have the opportunity to experiment with and comment on trial versions of databases/online reference collections under consideration for purchase. User comments and use statistics will be recorded for trial databases.

Based on user feedback, user comments (with weight given particularly to teaching faculty comments), use stats, and available funds, the Collection Development & Acquisitions Librarian will bring potential database purchases to library management for final decisions. Database purchase decisions can be made at any time during the academic year (particularly if the decision timeline is influenced by Orbis Cascades renewal dates) but need to be completed by mid-Spring term of each academic year. Database purchase decisions are made depending on applicability to COCC programs and curriculum, full-text vs. citation access, review sources, pricing, indexing and searching viability, pricing, and consortial purchasing participation and pricing agreements.

Annual Review and Renewals

Subscription databases and online reference collections will be reviewed annually for use statistics and continued relevance to COCC curriculum. Database renewal dates often depend on the Orbis-Cascades renewal calendar. Subscription renewals approved by the Collection Development & Acquisitions Librarian are processed by the Technical Services Coordinator.

Record Keeping and Accounts

Regularly updated spreadsheets of database/reference items purchased from Outside Services and Captal are maintained by the Technical Services Coordinator.