Electronic Collection Policy
Increasingly a wide range of journal subscriptions are only available in electronic form. Since 1999, the University has had a policy that, where both electronic and print formats of journals are available, electronic access will be preferred, contingent upon acceptable licence and conditions which would ensure long-term access and preservation for the University.
Electronic journals, reference materials and, increasingly, electronic books (e-books) provide substantial advantages in terms of access, availability and their ability to be searched.The Library therefore makes a conscious effort to replace print serials with their electronic equivalents. As a result, print serials subscriptions are reducing in number as more serials become available in electronic format. Increasingly, electronic journals are available in large interdisciplinary electronic journal packages.
A similar trend is apparent with monographs which are increasingly offered in electronic as well as print format.. Where they are available the Library acquires e-books in preference to print.This preference for e-books is dependent on suitable purchasing or leasing models and print copies will continue to be acquired when requested by academics or Library staff. The preference for e-books is particularly important in those circumstances where the Library needs to provide access to texts that are in high demand and where the alternative would be to acquire large numbers of print copies.
At times, print materials may remain the preferred option, for example if:
- There is no electronic version available.
- The electronic journal archive is not owned by the University for use in perpetuity. (Cancellation of print subscriptions is contingent upon satisfactory archiving and ongoing access to purchased electronic information, including publisher commitment to technological migration.)
- The electronic journal back file is not equivalent in coverage or content to the print back issues, either because issues are missing, or content is selective rather than complete.
- The image quality of illustrative materials (tables, graphs, photos, illustrations, musical notation, scripts other than English, etc.) in books or journals is inferior and is not adequate for teaching, learning or research, or printing gives unacceptable results. In the case of journals, such instances are reviewed on an annual basis prior to renewal of the print subscription.
- The book is acquired as a preservation copy, for a special collection, or is significant in its own right in print format.
- A print copy of a book is needed to meet equity and accessibility requirements.
Archival Electronic Journal Collections
Increasingly, publishers are digitising back runs (archives) of print journals. These archival collections of journals are evaluated for completeness, quality, and publisher commitment to digital preservation and perpetual access before purchase. Examples of journals available in secure archival back sets include major publishers such as Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Nature Publishing Group, Springer and Taylor and Francis
The library has strengthened its commitment to the long-term preservation and access for resources such as these by participating in the Portico and CLOCKSS initiatives. These are services which provide long-term preservation for a wide range of the publishers whose content we acquire and provide access for us were we, for example, to cancel a subscription or were the publisher to go out of business.
Whenever possible, the Library will seek to purchase or license access to electronic copies of all texts deemed to be in high demand, including course-related material. It also acquires collections of mostly older out-of-print books which have been digitised, to support research by adding depth to the collection. When we are asked to acquire theses from other universities, PDF files can be purchased and placed on a local server for access through the catalogue.
Preference is given to purchase of perpetual access rather than to subscription to ebooks, except when the subscription model provides for the continuing updating of texts.
The Library catalogues and links to free ebooks on the web when their content is relevant to learning, teaching or research at the University of Melbourne.
The library favours ebook access models which overcome the limitations of print books and ebook platforms which are not overly restrictive in allowing printing or downloading. Preference is given to acquisition models which minimise the workload for library staff in placing orders and acquiring catalogue records.
Digital Collection Policy
This policy relates to content that is submitted in a digital format to the University's Digital Repository, and includes full text research outputs of University staff (UMER),content for the Library's electronic reserve collection (Readings Online), past exam papers as well as material that is digitised. Our aim is to make as much of this material openly accessible for the purposes of research, learning and teaching.
Requests for new collections to be set up in the Library's Digital Repository must be approved by the Electronic Content Manager.
UMER (University of Melbourne E-prints Repository)
The UMER collection is restricted to deposits of full text electronic research output by academic staff, postgraduate students and (where appropriate) general professional staff of the University of Melbourne. External contributors may be included if they are co-authoring with University of Melbourne authors or are affiliated closely with the University, e.g. emeritus professors or holders of honorary appointments.
Formats will include the following:
- working papers
- published articles (post-prints)
- book chapters
- online journals
- inaugural lectures
- draft or final conference papers
any other form of research output which can be technically loaded to the repository. This would exclude software programs and websites, for example.
The preferred formats are pdf and html, but other formats will be accepted as required by the content, e.g. laTeX.
The Library makes available copies of journal articles and chapters of textbooks cited on reading lists through Readings Online which can also be linked through from the LMS. Access is limited to University of Melbourne staff and students.
The following guidelines apply:
- preference will be given to linking to existing licensed information resources rather than making a new electronic copy and storing locally
- all copying must comply with the educational copying provisions of the Australian Copyright Act and University policy.
The Library makes available end of semester examination papers, provided a department has given permission for the exam paper to be deposited in the Library's Digital repository.
Access is limited to University of Melbourne staff and students.
The Library holds many important, rare and fragile items in its collections. These items require careful treatment, storage and handling to ensure they are preserved for future generations. Access to many of these items is restricted, and their existence is not always known. The aim in digitising these items is to enable increased access as well as conserving the original artefacts.
Through its strategic digitisation program, the Library is converting many original and heritage items into digital objects to support research, learning and teaching that can be accessed by users at the Digital Collections website.
All digitising activities are undertaken in accordance with the Library's Digitisation Policy (PDF – 57.87KB)