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Collection Level Descriptions

The following designations are used to describe the levels at which the University Libraries collect materials in subjects related to the programs that comprise the University at Albany's curriculum.

OUT OF SCOPE
MINIMAL LEVEL
MINIMAL LEVEL, UNEVEN COVERAGE
MINIMAL LEVEL, EVEN COVERAGE
BASIC INFORMATION LEVEL
BASIC INFORMATION LEVEL, INTRODUCTORY
BASIC INFORMATION LEVEL, ADVANCED
STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL
BASIC STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL
INTERMEDIATE STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL
ADVANCED STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL
RESEARCH LEVEL
COMPREHENSIVE LEVEL

OUT OF SCOPE (0): The library does not intentionally collect in this subject.

MINIMAL LEVEL (1 ): A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works. A very limited collection of materials, including monographs and reference works. Periodicals directly dealing with this topic and in-depth electronic information resources are not collected. A collection at this level should be frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information are withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained.

MINIMAL LEVEL, UNEVEN COVERAGE (1a): Few selections are made; there is unsystematic representation of the subject.
MINIMAL LEVEL, EVEN COVERAGE (1b): Few selections are made; basic authors, some core works, and a spectrum of ideological views are represented. Can support fundamental inquiries.

BASIC INFORMATION LEVEL (2): A selective collection of materials that serves to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes a limited collection of monographs and reference works. It may include dictionaries, encyclopedias, access to appropriate bibliographic databases, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, bibliographies, handbooks, and a few major or representative general periodicals. It includes defined access* to a limited collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc. The collection is frequently and systematically reviewed for currency of information. Superseded editions and titles containing outdated information should be withdrawn. Classic or standard retrospective materials may be retained. Supports the needs of general library users through the first two years of college instruction.

BASIC INFORMATION LEVEL, INTRODUCTORY (2a): The emphasis at this level is on providing resources that introduce and define a subject. A collection at this level includes basic reference tools and explanatory works, such as textbooks; historical descriptions of the subject's development; general works devoted to major topics and figures in the field; and selective major periodicals. The introductory level of a basic information collection is only sufficient to support patrons attempting to locate general information about a subject or students enrolled in introductory level courses.
BASIC INFORMATION LEVEL, ADVANCED (2b): At the advanced level, basic information about a subject is provided on a wider range of topics and with more depth. There is a broader selecting of basic explanatory works, historical descriptions, reference tools, and periodicals and indexes that serve to introduce and define a subject. Access to appropriate bibliographic databases (online or CD-ROM), a selection of editions of important works and a greater quantity and variety of materials is typical. This level is sufficient to support the basic informational and recreational reading needs of a highly educated general public or community college students.

STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL (3): A collection that is adequate to impart and maintain knowledge about a subject in a systematic way but at a level of less than research intensity. The collection includes an extensive collection of general monographs and reference works and selected specialized general monographs and reference work; an extensive collection of general periodicals and a representative collection of specialized periodicals; limited collections of appropriate foreign language materials--e.g., foreign language learning materials for non-native speakers or foreign language materials about a topic such as German history in German; extensive collections of the works of better-known authors and selections from the works of lesser-known authors; and defined access* to an extensive collection of owned or remotely-accessed electronic resources, including bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc. The collection includes a wide range of basic works in appropriate formats, a significant number of classic retrospective materials, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, access to appropriate machine-readable data files, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. At the study or instructional support level, a collection is adequate to support independent study and most learning needs of the clientele of public and special libraries, as well as undergraduate and some graduate instruction. The collection is systematically reviewed for currency of information and to assure that essential and significant information is retained, including significant numbers of classic retrospective materials.

BASIC STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL (3a): The basic subdivision of a level 3 collection provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the basic or primary topics of a subject area. The collection includes the most important primary and secondary literature, a selection of basic representative journals/periodicals, and subject-based indexes, the fundamental reference and bibliographical tools pertaining to the subject. This subdivision of level 3 supports lower division undergraduate courses, as well as some of the basic independent study needs of the lifelong learner.
INTERMEDIATE STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL (3b): The intermediate subdivision of a level 3 collection provi de s resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the basic or p rimary topics of a subject area. The collection includes a broad range of basic works in appropriate formats, classic retrospective materials, all key journals on primary topics, selected journals and seminal works on secondary topics, access to appropriate machine-readable data files, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. These materials are adequate to support advanced undergraduate course work. It is not adequate to support master's degree programs.
ADVANCED STUDY OR INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT LEVEL (3c): The advanced subdivision of level 3 provides resources adequate for imparting and maintaining knowledge about the primary and secondary topics of a subject area. The collection includes a significant number of seminal works and journals on the primary and secondary topics in the field; a significant number of retrospective materials; a substantial collection of works by secondary figures; works that provide more in-depth discussions of research, techniques, and evaluation. This level collection can support master's degree level programs as well as other specialized inquiries such as those of subject professionals within special libraries.

RESEARCH LEVEL (4): A collection that includes a very extensive collection of general and specialized monographs and reference works; a very extensive collection of general and specialized periodicals; extensive collections of appropriate foreign langua ge materials; extensive collections of the works of well-known authors as well as other important but lesser-known authors; defined access* to a very extensive collection of owned or remotely accessed electronic resources, including bibliographic tools, texts, data sets, journals, etc. A collection that includes the major published source materials required for dissertation and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It is intended to include all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Pertinent foreign language materials are included. Older material is usually retained for historical research and actively preserved. A collection at this level supports doctoral and other original research.

COMPREHENSIVE LEVEL (5): A collection in which a library endeavors, so far as is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms), in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collection intensity is one that maintains a "special collection"; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness. A comprehensive level collection may serve as a national or international resource. Older material is retained for historical research with active preservation efforts.

*Defined access means more than simply providing patrons with access to the Internet and one or more Internet browsers. Defined access refers to menu options on the library or institution's home page, etc., which link the user to owned or remotely accessed electronic resources selected by the library with the needs of its patrons in mind. The level of defined access changes according to the level of the collection, e.g., from limited to extensive to very extensive access to collections of electronic information.

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