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Reference Collection, Dewey Library for Public Affairs and Policy

Deborah Bernnard, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The Reference collection of the Dewey Graduate Library consists of materials needed to provide support for the schools on the downtown campus including, the School of Criminal Justice, the School of Information Science & Policy, the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, and the School of Social Welfare, as well as the research centers and offices located there. This collection is a continuously updated collection, in a variety of formats, designed to provide factual information and to serve as finding tools for other resources that may be housed in other locations. This policy offers guidelines for the acquisition, retention, and scope of the materials housed in the collection.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: The primary language of the Dewey Reference Collection is English. Materials in other major languages, other than foreign language dictionaries, are rarely acquired.

Geographical Areas: Due to curricular emphases, the majority of reference materials focus on the United States and Europe. Reference materials treating other areas of the world are acquired selectively as needed.

Chronological Periods: Primarily the twentieth century.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Materials for the Dewey Reference collection are selected for purchase by the Dewey Reference Subject Librarian and ordered from an annual budget allocation. The Reference Subject Librarian makes decisions about selection, retention, and location, consulting with other subject librarians as appropriate.

The Dewey Reference Subject Librarian consults with her counterpart at the University Library concerning the purchase of expensive resources. Web- accessible databases are ordered from separate funds. Dewey Library Subject Librarians consult with the Assistant Director for Collections and the other University Libraries' subject librarians regarding requests for database purchases.

Types of Materials Collected:

A. Almanacs, Directories, Handbooks, Statistical Sources, and Yearbooks. Curricular specific and selected social sciences and general almanacs, directories, handbooks, statistical sources and yearbooks are housed in the Reference collection.

B. Bibliographies. Bibliographies that are either curricular-specific or part of the working collection are housed in Reference. Some bibliographies, such as single-author bibliographies and others that are narrow in scope, may be selected for the circulating collections.

C. Biographical Sources. Works dealing with professional, New York State, United States and international biography, both current and retrospective, are housed in Reference. These include both selected social sciences and general sources as well as sources specific to the program needs of the downtown campus community.

D. Dictionaries. Dictionaries for major world languages are housed in Reference. Specialized dictionaries relevant to the curricular needs of the Schools and programs as well as other subject specific dictionaries, e.g., dictionaries of slang, historical dictionaries, etc. are also included in the collection. Emphasis is on curricular-specific items rather than general interest materials.

E. Encyclopedias. Selected editions of English language encyclopedias, both single-volume and multi-volume, are housed in Reference. General encyclopedias are updated on a rotating basis. Specialized subject encyclopedias are also maintained in Reference until outdated or superseded. Selected older editions of significant value may be retained in Reference.

F. Indexes and Abstracts. Print indexes and abstracts are only selected if there is no online equivalent. Whether online or in print, indexes and abstracts are selected if they support the research and teaching needs of the downtown campus schools, within budgetary limits.

G. Miscellaneous. Selected current atlases, gazetteers and style manuals are also selected for the Dewey Reference collection.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

Reference materials, whether in print format or online are collected on a research level for the following subject areas: library and information science, public administration and policy, social welfare and criminal justice.

Broader social sciences reference materials are collected at the Intermediate Study or Instructional Support Level. General reference tools and non-social sciences materials are collected selectively.

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

There is some duplication of reference materials among the three University Libraries' collections. This duplication occurs mainly in the social sciences and general reference tools. With very expensive reference works, the Dewey Reference Subject Librarian takes into consideration their availability at The University Library, the New Library, and other Capital District libraries.

VI. Internal Notes

Most purchases for the Dewey Reference collection are firm orders or standing orders. Rarely, books arrive on an approval plan or through the Government Publications unit. The Reference Subject Librarian determines whether to accept Approval items for the collection.

All items firm ordered are subject to periodic review and will not automatically be moved to standing order.

Increasingly, widely used reference sources are available online, from reliable publishers. These resources are usually easily accessible both on and off-campus. The ease of access for online reference sources often results in less reliance on standard print sources.

October 2003

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