Electronic Resources Best Practices Guide


NC LIVE serves all North Carolina Public, Community College, Independent College & University, and UNC System libraries with equitable access to a core selection of digital content and services. Libraries use and promote these resources and services differently based on the needs of their local service populations. The commonalities among resources and services available to North Carolina libraries creates a unique opportunity to provide best practices for implementing, using and promoting the resources and services offered by NC LIVE. Guidance on how libraries can best manage NC LIVE and locally subscribed resources is covered with a range of topics. Check out the full guide in Google Docs »

Setup Resources

Correctly setting up subscribed resources and adding institutional branding ensures resources are structured in the most effective way for local users. Users can easily identify the library as the provider of the content, and seamlessly link back to the library’s website for further research or assistance.

Implement a Discovery Layer

Discovery layers provide a Google-like search experience for users with the benefit of only searching accessible library content. Discovery layers allow users to uncover content they would not discover through searching individual resources or a traditional library catalog alone.

Create an A-Z Database List

An A-Z database list allows users to easily browse databases and see a brief description of what the database provides. Creating and maintaining an A-Z list will allow users to quickly and easily identify individual library resources relevant to their current information needs.

Promote Resources

Creating an easy to navigate website with identifiable pathways to information along with promoting resources through a variety of avenues will ensure current, and new users, will be aware of what is available.

Make Offsite Access Easy with EZproxy

With many users only interacting with libraries remotely, providing stress-free access to online resources from outside the library is vital. This allows registered users to authenticate and access library resources from any location, and this allows libraries to comply with license terms by ensuring only registered users are able to access subscribed resources.

Manage MARC Records

MARC records increase discoverability of item level resources, such as ebooks and videos by providing comprehensive information about the item, and for electronic resources, a direct item level link. Additionally, MARC records allow libraries to accurately analyze and manage their holdings using complete item level holdings in their library management system.

Interpret Usage Statistics

Usage statistics enable libraries to identify what resources users are accessing and they can contribute to the decision-making process for everything from collection development and budgeting to marketing and outreach. Understanding what data is reported, and how it relates to user behavior is essential to properly utilize statistics in decision-making.