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Department of Physics

M. Knee, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The University Libraries' collection of materials in physics is intended to support the Department of Physics in teaching and research to the Ph.D. level, as well as the research activities of the Center for X-Ray Optics, the Center for Biochemistry and Biophysics, the Ion Beam Laboratory, the Center for Advanced Thin Film Technology, the Center of Excellence in Nanoelectronics, Focus Center New York, North Star, and the Institute for Materials. The Department of Physics offers B.S., combined B.S./M.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees; there is also an undergraduate honors program. In addition to the central areas of physics, the research interests of the Department's faculty are: condensed matter physics, solid state physics, semiconductor physics, materials physics and materials science, atomic physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, optics, biophysics, and chemical physics.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: Primary emphasis is placed on English language materials. Materials in other languages are rarely acquired.

Geographical Areas: This is not a consideration for physics.

Chronological Periods: Physics relies heavily on primary materials which report current research efforts. Priority is given to materials published within the most recent ten years.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: The major types of publications collected are monographs, serials, periodicals, indexes and abstracts, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, conference proceedings, directories, videotapes and videodiscs, electronic media, electronic databases, and Internet resources. Government publications, theses, dissertations, and technical reports are acquired very selectively.

Types of Materials Excluded: Reprints and preprints on paper, laboratory manuals, specifications and standards, and patents are not collected. Undergraduate textbooks are not usually acquired, except for course reserve purposes. Graduate-level textbooks are acquired selectively.

Interdisciplinary Factors: There is an interdisciplinary relationship between chemistry and physics for the study of subjects like materials science, nanosciences, macromolecular science, crystallography, and physical chemistry/chemical physics. Several faculty member have appointments in both the Department of Physics and the School of Nanosciences and Nanotechnology. A relationship between chemistry and biology exists in the study of the structure, function, and properties of biological substances. Therefore, the collection development statements for chemistry and biology are related to this policy.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

Most of the materials for physics are classified in the Library of Congress QCs (physics), QD 900s (crystallography), QBs (astronomy), T 174 (nanotechnology), TA 400s (materials science and technology), and TK 7800s (microelectronics and semiconductors). The overall collection level for physics is at the Advanced Instructional Support Level.

The following subjects are collected at or near the Research Level: atomic physics; biophysics; chemical physics; condensed matter physics; electronic structure; elementary particles; high energy physics; ion beams; materials analysis, characterization, and fabrication; nuclear physics; quantum theory; relativity; semiconductors; solid state physics, spectroscopy, statistical mechanics; surfaces; thin films; vapor phase processing; and x-ray optics.

The following subjects are collected at or near the Instructional Support Level: astrophysics, electricity, experimental mechanics, fluid mechanics, gravitation, heat and thermodynamics, magnetism, mathematical physics, plasma physics, radiation physics, statistical physics, and superconductivity.

The following subjects are collected at or near the Basic Information Level: acoustics, astronomy, biography, history, and philosophy.

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

The collections of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) and the New York State Library (NYSL) augment the University's collection in physics. The University Library depends on RPI and NYSL for approved standards, specifications, methods, and practice from organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). The University Library relies on NYSL for U.S. and foreign patents as well as National Technical Information Service (NTIS) reports. Since the University Libraries have only a modest number of journal subscriptions in physics, we must rely on interlibrary loan (ILL) and document delivery services to obtain requested articles. We also rely on ILL and direct borrowing to obtain books and other research materials. Locally, this includes RPI; in New York, the other SUNY University Centers; and nationally, other research libraries.

VI. Internal Notes

The journal is the most important type of publication that the Library receives for physics. E-prints (electronic preprints) have become essential for many physicists to keep current. E-print sources are generally free and are made available via the Internet Resources in Physics Web page. The BNA approval plan provides good coverage for physics. Standing orders are necessary to assure that the Library receives certain publications and to strengthen the monographic collection; the Library maintains approximately 60 standing orders for physics. Publications that are not covered by the approval plan or standing orders, are selected and purchased by the Physics Subject Librarian.

December 2003

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