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Department of Geography and Planning

M. Van Ullen, Bibliographer

I. General Purpose

The University Libraries collect resources in the areas of geography and planning in support of an undergraduate program, two Master's level graduate programs, and individual faculty and student research. The Geography graduate program offers specializations in human geography, physical geography, and geographic information systems and spatial analysis. The Planning graduate program offers specializations in urban planning, environmental planning, transportation planning, and urban and regional information systems. The department also offers certificate programs in geographic information systems and urban policy.

The Library acquires materials in support of these programs in the areas of physical geography, environmental and natural resources, urban geography, social geography, political geography, cultural geography, economic geography, migration, remote sensing and cartography, geographic information systems and spatial analysis, and urban and regional planning.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: English is the primary language of the collection. Significant works in other major languages are selected only when specifically requested.

Geographical Areas: The primary interests of the department are North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and East Asia. Other areas are acquired as requested. A special emphasis is made to acquire materials on urban areas throughout the world.

Chronological Periods: The focus of the collection is on contemporary issues, developments, and concerns. Historical materials are also selected as appropriate.

III. Description of Materials Selected

Types of Materials Collected: Materials in all formats are selected for the geography and planning collection. Monographs and serials comprise the majority of materials. Of special interest to the department are publications of state, regional, and local governments. This is particularly useful to the Planning program. Also of great interest are the publications of professional associations.

Indexes and abstracts are useful for researchers in identifying published and unpublished works of interest. The Libraries subscribe to the key indexes in the field, including Geographical Abstracts and Urban Affairs Abstracts. The Geobase Database, which is the electronic version of Geographical Abstracts, is an important resource for this field.

Maps and geographic databases are of interest to the department. Maps are received primarily through the U.S. government depository library program. The Library receives topographic maps of selected areas of the United States as well as general maps for other areas of the world.

With the emphasis on geographic information systems, data files have become an important feature of the collection. Datasets of geographic information, such as the Tiger files produced by the U.S. government, form the basis of geographic analysis. In addition, demographic, economic, and social data are important, including the census files and files available through ICPSR.

The Internet also offers a large amount of geographic information. Because much of the geographic information is produced by the government and not under copyright, there are many sites that provide maps and analysis of geographic data. In addition, most urban areas offer Internet sites that discuss issues of interest to urban planners.

Types of Materials Excluded: Textbooks and collections of reprints are excluded. Theses and dissertations are generally not selected, but may be acquired by special request.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

Urban Geography and Planning Research Level
Social Geography Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Cultural Geography Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Economic Geography Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Environmental Systems and Planning Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Geographic Information Systems Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Transportation Planning Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Urban Information Systems Instructional Support Level, Advanced

V. Other Factors

The New York State Library is a primary resource for state, local, and regional information in geography and urban planning.

Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the subject field, materials in this subject field overlap with those of economics, history, sociology, anthropology, public administration, business, and the area studies. Geography and Planning uses many of the resources selected by the bibliographers in those subject areas.

VI. Internal Notes

The urban planning division claims two-thirds of the graduate enrollment in the department and some of the most active faculty. However, the approval plan does not cover this area well, providing primarily the more traditional divisions of geography. Most of the urban planning materials need to be firm-ordered.

October 2003

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