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Reference Collection, Science Library

Y.Hollingsworth, Bibliographer

     I. General Purpose

The Reference Collection of the University at Albany, Science Library consists of materials that meet the research, teaching and information needs of the University at Albany community that are supported by the science academic programs. The Science Reference Collection includes sources that index,summarize, interpret,and report information contained in the science collection, and all fields of scientific endeavor. All formats and media will be considered for inclusion in the reference collection. Usefulness to Science Library reference staff and to members of the University community is the principal criteria for inclusion of materials in the reference collection. This policy offers guidelines for the acquisition, retention, and scope of the materials housed and made accessible in the collection.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: The primary language of the Science Library Reference Collection is English. Except for dictionaries, materials in other languages are acquired selectively.

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: Priority is given to current materials published within the most recent ten years. Older materials are purchased selectively to fill specific needs.

III. Description of Materials Collected

The bibliographer for the University Science Library's Reference Collections makes decisions concerning selection, retention, and location of materials in both hardcopy and electronic format, consulting with and upon recommendation of subject bibliographers as appropriate.

The Science Library's Reference Bibliographer consults regularly with counterparts at the University Library and Dewey Library especially concerning purchase of expensive and/or electronic resources.

Types of Materials Included in the Collection

  1. Almanacs, Directories, Handbooks, Statistical Sources, and Yearbooks. Curricular specific and selected scientific and general almanacs, directories, handbooks, statistical sources and yearbooks are housed or made available in the reference area. Where appropriate, these may be designated, "Latest or Latest 2 issues shelved in Reference" or "Retain Latest or Latest 2 issues."
  2. 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.
  3. Biographical Sources. Works dealing with professional, New York State, United States and international biography, both current and retrospective, are housed or made available in the reference area. These include both selected sciences and general sources as well as sources specific to the program needs of science departments at the University at Albany.
  4. Dictionaries. Specialized dictionaries relevant to the needs of the science departments as well as other subject specific dictionaries, or historical dictionaries, etc. are also included in the collection. Emphasis is on curricular-specific items rather than general interest materials.
  5. Encyclopedias. Encyclopedias are updated on a rotating basis. Specialized subject encyclopedias are maintained in Reference until outdated or superseded. Selected older editions of significant value may be retained in reference.
  6. Indexes and Abstracts. Indexes and abstracts in primarily electronic format that support the research and teaching needs of the science departments are purchased within budgetary limitations. These include indexes and abstracts specific to subjects of the science departments as well as broader science sources.
  7. Miscellaneous. Selected current atlases, gazetteers and style manuals are also selected for the Science Reference collection. Other items may be selected as needed.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

Reference materials in Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics and Nanotechnology, Mathematics, Computer Science, and Atmospheric Science are collected on a Research Level. Broader science reference materials are collected at the Instructional Support Level. General reference tools and non-science materials are collected selectively.

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

There is some duplication of reference materials between the Science Library, the Dewey Library Reference collection and the University Library Reference collection. This duplication occurs mainly in the science area and in basic general reference tools. With very expensive reference tools the Science Reference Bibliographer also takes into consideration their availability at other Capital District libraries.

VI. Internal Notes

Most purchases for the Science Reference collection are firm orders or standing orders. Very few sources for the Science Library Reference collection are purchased through an approval plan. Books that do arrive on an approval plan or through the Government Publications unit may be referred to the Science Reference Bibliographer. Many widely used reference sources are available from online services or through the Internet. In some cases, it is appropriate to rely on access to these materials rather than purchase these materials for the permanent collection.

January 2004

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