E-books and Media

Reviewed and Revised by ERM CommitteeAugust 15, 2019

Table of ContentsIn-Depth Articles


N.B. THIS DOCUMENT DOES NOT APPLY TO MARCIVE RECORDS; any policy regarding Marcive will be decided separately.

The CSU libraries provide a wide range of ebooks and other non-serial electronic resources, such as streaming video and audio. These resources may be paid for centrally or locally, shared widely or not at all. This document attempts to balance central needs for efficiency and coordination with unique local circumstances. The guiding principles in any decision regarding non-serial electronic resources should be the avoidance of duplicated records in the NZ and avoidance of duplicated effort by individual campuses. 

Access and payment models


Individual (one-by-one)

Purchased (perpetual access; collection content is fixed)

Purchased (perpetual access; title content is fixed)

Subscription (access only during active subscription; collection content is changeable)

Subscription (access only during active subscription; ebooks may be subject to updates)

Leased (access for a fixed period, such as 3 years; collection content may or may not be fixed)

Leased (access for a fixed period, such as 3 years; content may or may not be fixed)

Evidence-based Acquisitions (some similarities in management to DDA/PDA)

Evidence-based Acquisitions (some similarities in management to DDA/PDA)

Open Access collections

Open Access titles

In the CSU system, these packages may be:

  • Institution Zone (IZ): Locally purchased or subscribed (by each campus, outside SDLC, local access only)
  • Network Zone (NZ): ECC (negotiated centrally, paid for centrally, systemwide access)
    • Examples, purchased centrally:
      • The former “NetLibrary” package, now hosted in EBSCO ebooks.
      • The more recent systemwide DDA-triggered purchases, hosted on ebrary, myiLibrary, and EBL
        • Use MARC records for JSTOR DDA (June 2019)
    • Examples, subscribed centrally:
      • Safari Tech Books (now use MARC records for Safari O'Reilly in the NZ -January 2019)
      • Ebrary Academic Complete
      • ACLS Humanities Ebooks
  • Network Zone (NZ): Opt-ins offered via SDLC (negotiated centrally, but paid for by each campus, local access only)
    • Examples, opt-ins:
      • Oxford Scholarship Online

Policy Statement

CSU Libraries should manage e-collections via CZ, if available, irrespective of fullness of records (i.e., quality of the metadata) in lieu of loading vendor records in NZ.  (See more details in Managing E-Collections in Alma: CZ vs Vendor Records policy)

Collections outside SDLC, locally subscribed or purchased (Institution Zone)

Locally subscribed e-book collections will be managed in the IZ and linked to the CZ collection.

Collections subscribed or purchased centrally (Network Zone - ECC)

All NZ ECC ebook or media collections will be managed in the NZ by the Electronic Resources NZ administrator.

Collections negotiated centrally but opt-in at the campus level (Network Zone - Opt-in)

The Opt-in e-book collections will be managed in the NZ by the Electronic Resources NZ administrator.

Best practice recommendations

Avoid duplication!

Do not turn on the same collection in the CZ if it is already in the NZ; do not turn on a collection in the CZ if you have already created it as a local electronic collection; and so on. Choose only one option for any given collection. 

If you choose not to use a CZ collection, create a Local Electronic Collection

Whenever possible, portfolios should be added to Local Electronic Collections. Even e-resources that are not sold as collections (such as e-books or streaming video titles purchased title-by-title) can be maintained more easily if they are in a Local Electronic Collection, as long as they are from the same provider, have the same license conditions, and share the same base url.  These records will be loaded into the IZ and not shared in the NZ.  (See single purchase e-book policy)

Link your IZ collection to the CZ for improved maintenance

You can create local collections and then link them to a CZ collection for the portfolios.

  • Pros: You can choose records from whatever source you want, but keep their linking info updated via the CZ.
  • Cons: Linking is by ISBN, so this method works only where ISBNs are available and consistent.

Activation in Primo Central Index

While campuses may also wish to activate their purchased or subscribed collections in Primo Central Index in order to increase discoverability, activation solely in PCI is not adequate. PCI does NOT provide catalog records, nor is it possible to examine PC metadata without pulling it up in a Primo search. This short article explains how PCI records work and their relationship to Alma. 

  • If you want to offer a catalog scope that includes all your ebooks in one search, you must have catalog records.
  • Catalog records are also important for doing collection analysis.
  • If linking from PCI is OpenURL, then you must have something active in Alma.

If activating a collection in PCI for which you have an Alma e-collection, watch for possible issues that may appear in Primo, such as duplication of search results or unusual skewing of results ranking (because the entire full text is open to searching). 

Managing PDA/DDA pool records

  • For local, campus-level PDA/DDA projects, use Alma's PDA management function at the IZ level. PDA pools represent only the potential for access, and when triggered, will be purchased only for use by your individual campus. For this reason, do not load local PDA pool records in the NZ. 
  • After a title in your campus PDA pool has been triggered for purchase, do check the title against the NZ as per usual cataloging workflow for new acquisitions.
  • NZ-level PDA management is reserved for systemwide PDA projects, in which all campuses share the same pool and triggered titles will be purchased for the entire CSU.

Alma documentation & training resources:



Follow the procedures for e-journal collections.  See procedures for the IZ and the NZ.


Policy: Activation of Community Zone Collection for Alliance Ebrary Academic Complete Subscription

Best Practice: Non-Serial Electronic Resources in Alma

Traill, Stacie (2016) Options for ebook management in Alma and Primo Central. In: ELUNA 2016 Annual Meeting, May 1-6, 2016, Oklahoma City, OK USA. Requires login.

Action log

 Action Log


Expected Completion Date

Last action takenNext action required

Articulate the need for the policy (background)


8/23/2016- ERM Task Force discussed the ERM policy and procedures outline and assign a policy to a task force member. Jessica assigned the policy and procedures for shared resources in Alma.

Draft for Shared Resources due September 30th. Send draft to Tech Service Working Group Leads

Discussion paper for e-books


Discussion paper sent to Tech Services list serv for Tech Services Open Forum

Rough Draft for Shared Resource policies and procedures


 Sent Drafts to Tech Services Working Group Leads

ERM Task Force meet to discuss rough draft of policies and see if there is any feedback from the Working Group Leads


 ERM Task Force met to discuss policies and procedures

Send rough drafts of policies to Tech Services-discuss policies in Open Forum. Ask for feedback from working group.


 Link to Drafts were sent out to the Tech Services Working Group

ERM Task Force will go over the feedback received from the ULMS Team and the Tech Services Working Group. Meet with other TS Working Groups to discuss overlap of policies and procedures. ERM Task Force will meet  

Final "live" Draft for Shared Resources is due


Final drafts for policies is December 9th. All policies for all task forces are due this date.