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Adding content to the TexShare Databases Core

2018 February 7
by Danielle Plumer

One of the questions we frequently get at TexShare is “How are electronic resources selected for the TexShare Databases Program?” This is the first post in a series discussing the ways TexShare works to meet the needs of its members.

The TexShare Databases Core is a group of electronic resources licensed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) for use by all TexShare member institutions and by state government agencies. Most of these electronic resources are collections of journal and magazine articles, with other types of print resources mixed in. Because the content is indexed at the article level, and all articles included in a resource can be searched from a single interface, librarians call these “databases.” In some cases, the state library has also licensed collections of primary source materials and interactive content that don’t fit the “databases” definition as nicely, but those resources are still part of the Databases Core.


Video courtesy Ronald Williams Library, Northeastern Illinois University


As a state agency, TSLAC must follow state purchasing rules established by the Legislature, the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts, and other agencies including the Department of Information Resources and the Office of the Attorney General. One of the rules is that we must license resources through an open solicitation process. Unlike many TexShare members, we can’t simply say “That looks like a great resource. Let’s license it!” Another rule is that we can only renew contracts for a limited number of years. That means that we need to post a new solicitation every four years or so. In December 2017, we posted a Request for Offers (RFO) for the TexShare Databases Core. Most of the resources we currently license will not be available after July 1, 2018 unless they qualify in our new solicitation.

Developing the solicitation is itself a time-consuming process. A team of TSLAC employees including Russlene Waukechon, Ann Griffith, Pam Rodriguez, Kate Reagor, and Danielle Plumer worked for six months to identify requirements for the solicitation that was posted in December 2017, including both state rules that apply to all solicitations and best practices developed by librarians and standards organizations.

Disability symbols

Wikimedia Commons

For example, the federal accessibility guidelines for online resources were recently updated. Resources that meet the new Section 508 guidelines will be easier to use for patrons with both physical and cognitive challenges, and TSLAC requires that all new or updated resources included in the TexShare Databases Core meet these standards at the WCAG 2.0 AA level.

The next step in developing the solicitation is to ask TexShare members what types of resources they want us to solicit. I’ll tell you about a poll of our members conducted in 2017 next week!

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