Keyword Search About the Collection Contents by LC Class 20 most recent titles added
History Classification Collection Development Policy Collection Development Tools Other Collections
In the late-1990s, as the Internet became the home for a rapidly growing number of free reference sources, the Library’s Webmaster, William J. Frost, presented the idea of creating a searchable collection from those sources that would be appropriate for the undergraduate student. During the summer of 2000, the collection was given the name “Internet Collegiate Reference Collection” or “ICRC”. By the start of the 2000 Fall semester, the collection consisted of approximately 400 links to electronic almanacs, dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories, and other standard reference tools. The collection could be searched by keyword or could be displayed in Library of Congress Classification order by sub-class. Criteria were established for selection for inclusion and procedures were developed to identify and correct broken links.
By the end of the 2003/2004 academic year, the collection consisted of over 1,100 sites. With the retirement of its originator, responsibility for this collection was transferred to the Coordinator of Reference Services. After extensive discussions, the decision was made to apply the same criteria for collaborative collection development (both selection and de-selection) as are used for its paper counterpart. The expertise of the five subject specialists are employed to identify sites to be added and sites to be weeded with over-all coordination of the content resting with the Coordinator of Reference Services. It was also decided to rename the collection “Electronic Reference Collection” or “E-Ref” for short to make its content and function more readily discernable by the students who use it. The collection still can be searched by keyword or displayed in Library of Congress Classification order by sub-class.
ClassificationThe standard system for American academic libraries, the Library of Congress Classification System, is adapted for the Electronic Reference Collection. Some changes have been made to adapt to a collection considerably smaller than the Library of Congress. Library of Congress Subject Headings are found in the LC authority files.
- Classification were originally taken only to the subclass level, which is the second letter, e.g. "HG." Classifying beyond that point occurs only when the number of sites are too many to make retrieval easy.
- Subject bibliographies are placed with the subject subclass, omitting subclass Z5051-7999.
- The online catalogs of the Harvey A. Andruss Library and the Library of Congress are used as a reference when classification or subject headings are not obvious.
Collection Development Guidelines
- Roughly the same criteria for book selection apply to Web resources, e.g. relevance to the University’s curriculum, author's credentials, publisher/supplier's reputation, inclusion of sources where applicable, currency of data.
- Selection is based upon the contribution of the site to general undergraduate learning for English-speaking students. Although most sources are from the United States, they are not aimed at the needs of any particular institution or geographic location.
- Sites are selected for their contribution to undergraduate research and writing, but a few are chosen for students' personal needs.
- Most sites in this collection are specific databases of articles, graphics, statistics, texts, etc. where items may be retrieved directly, rather than sites that are portals or menu pages of several sources.
- Sites that have data on their servers are preferred to those that link to other sites. Subject lists of Web sites (excepting selected bibliographies or directories) are too numerous and the sites too varied in content to be listed here.
- Content is free, or largely free, and there is no obligation to purchase items when free information is obtained; advertising is not overly intrusive.
- No registration or passwords are required.
- Except for Adobe's Acrobat Reader and its like, special software is not required to be downloaded.
- Digital counterparts of print titles should be accompanied by full citations.
- Links are selective rather than comprehensive. If a title would not be considered for addition to a conventional reference collection, it probably should not be added.
- All sites are visited and searched before being included.
- Links are checked regularly (at least monthly) for changes.
Collection Development ToolsSites are identified through a variety of sources, including other virtual collections, email discussion lists, electronic newsletters, and periodicals such as
- Best Free Reference Web Sites from RUSA Machine-Assisted Reference Section (MARS)
- CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries
- Internet Scout Report
- Librarians' Index to the Internet (LII)
- ResearchBuzz News
- Virtual Acquisition Shelf & News Desk from Gary Price
Recommendations for additions or corrections to this collection may be sent to its editor, Nancy Weyant.