Posted by: Steven Harris | September 25, 2008


Question du jour:

Do you consider electronic reference products like Gale’s Encyclopedia of Associations or even the OED online serials, e-books, or databases?  Does it really matter?  Well, when a library has budgets and procedures that revolve around these different classes of materials, someone will eventually ask the question.  Who should handle the ordering and processing?  The serials people, the e-book people, or the database people?  This is where working in a smaller place would be a benefit: one person doing all those jobs!  🙂 Maybe we need to throw out those categories of budget and process.  Eventually, we will have lots of products that are licensed annually, are updated constantly, and used to be books.  Have deal with them differently that we did in the past though.



  1. We have had similar conversations at my new job and my old job centering mostly around the question of putting them on the Database page.

    However, I do not consider online Encyclopedias or individual titles a database. I don’t really make a distinction between serials and e-books. However, I do tend to treat collections of subscriptions, i.e. Elsevier journal titles, as a database, and certain collections of e-books, Gale Virtual Reference Library, as a database. However, I think that has more to do with how they are made available and that the “collection” can be searched as whole. Also, in the case of Gale, collections can be purchased as well as individual titles.

    As for the acquisitions piece of it… all of the places I’ve worked so far (a whole three), one person (or dept) has done the ordering. There might have been a different fund code, but the ordering and payment was not done by different departments.

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