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Department of Biological Sciences

S. Kaczor, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The University Libraries' collection of materials for the biological sciences is intended to support the Department of Biological Sciences, as well as the Neurobiology Research Center, the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics, and the Center for Molecular Genetics. Materials are collected to support departmental teaching, research to the Ph.D. level and individual faculty research efforts within the department, as well as the three research facilities. Major areas of research emphasis include cellular and developmental biology, ecology and animal behavior, molecular biology and genetics, cellular differentiation, neurobiology and physiology, mathematical modeling and computer applications in biological research. A new M.S. in Forensic Molecular Biology is also supported.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: Primary emphasis is placed on acquiring English language materials. Materials in other languages, such as German, French and Russian, are acquired by request.

Geographical Areas: All geographical regions are covered, with particular emphasis on North America and Central America for materials supporting the ecology program.

Chronological Periods: Priority is given to current materials published recently. Older materials are purchased selectively to fill specific needs.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: The discipline of biology relies heavily on primary materials which report current research efforts in a rapidly evolving field of endeavor. The major types of publications collected are serials (including journals, monographic series and reviews), monographs, treatises, proceedings, transactions, conference publications and government documents. Reference materials such as indexing and abstracting tools in electronic format, bibliographies, handbooks, directories, dictionaries and encyclopedias, are also acquired.

Translations, newsletters, dissertations, technical reports, field guides, methodological treatments and upper division or graduate texts are purchased selectively at the discretion of the subject librarian.

Materials are acquired in a variety of formats depending on their availability and suitability.

Types of Materials Excluded: Undergraduate texts and laboratory manuals are not collected except for course reserve purposes.

Interdisciplinary Factors: Most biological research does not lend itself to classification under a single subject within the discipline, but, instead, draws on a number of sub-disciplines. The fields of biophysics, biochemistry, biostatistics, neurophysiology and animal behavior overlap into areas covered by the collections in physics, chemistry, mathematics and statistics, psychology and anthropology. The respective collection statements should be referred to when appropriate in the subject areas listed in the internal notes.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

At the current time, foci are developing in plant ecology, genomics, bioinformatics and bioethics.

The following is a guide to the general subject areas collected in biology:

These subjects are collected at the Advanced Study or Instructional Support Levels:

Animal Behavior: Includes migration, biological rhythmicity, social biology, predation, behavioral ecology, optimal foraging. For primate studies see also anthropology and psychology.

Biochemistry: Includes nucleic acid, protein, hormone, enzyme, and ionic studies, with significant overlap into most other subject areas within the department. See also chemistry and physics.

Biophysics: Includes cell surface studies, macromolecules, enzymology, physiological physics. See also physics and chemistry.

Cellular Biology and Cytology: Includes biochemical and biophysical studies, cellular motility, cell surface recognition, receptor regulation, cytoskeletal assembly, cell surface processes and the basal lamina proteins and interactions with cells. Also includes monoclonal antibodies.

Developmental Biology: Includes experimental embryology, neurobiological studies and studies of synapse formation. For humans, see also anthropology.

Ecology: Includes population ecology and moldeling, and evolutionary ecology, with overlap into behavioral and genetic studies. Biodiversity is broadly covered. For humans, see also sociology.

Genetics: Includes regulation, expression and control mechanisms, sequence analysis and structural studies of genomic material and proteins, developmental genetics, recombination, population genetics. For human population genetics, see also anthropology.

Microbiology: Includes physiological, developmental, genetic, and biochemical studies in viruses, plants, and eukaryotes. Clinical microbiology is collected very selectively.

Molecular Biology: Includes ionic, protein, enzyme, and macromolecular studies, recombinant DNA, in situ hybridization, with overlap into the areas of neurobiology, cell biology, biochemistry, developmental biology, and physiology. See also chemistry and physics.

Neurobiology: Developmental neurobiology is of primary interest. Also includes neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neuroanatomy, behavioral and developmental studies. See also psychology.

Physiology: Includes insect physiology, plant-growth processes, osmotic and ionic regulation, sensory physiology, biological rhythmicity and comparative physiology. Human clinical physiology is collected very selectively.

This subject area is collected at the Basic Study or Instructional Support Level:

Parasitology: Includes host-parasite relationships, life cycles, ecology, zoogeography, evolution, and systematics, primarily of helminths. Clinical parasitology is collected very selectively.

Materials are collected more selectively for the following subject areas: natural history, biogeography and immunology.

Materials are collected at the Basic Information Level for the following subject areas: anatomy, history of biology, nutrition (for human nutrition see also anthropology), systematic biology and taxonomy, and biological oceanography and limnology (see also atmospheric sciences).

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

Two significant sources for biological materials, including journals, in the Capital District are the New York State Library and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

VI. Internal Notes

Journal literature is very important in biology, and subsequently, biology has an extensive list of periodical titles. Standing orders are also rather extensive. NYS Coordinated Collection Development (CCD) Grant money has been a valuable supplement for acquisitions for several years. Approval plans provide a selection of new biology books in the areas covered by our profile.

November 2003

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