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last updated: 4/19/2012

Collection Development Policies - Astronomy


  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      The purpose of this policy statement is to provide an overview of the collection development plan and offer guidance about which print and electronic materials best support astronomy research and teaching at Indiana University.

    2. Audience
      This policy is intended to inform the librarian, faculty advisors to the library, university administrators, and prospective or new faculty and graduate students in the astronomy department, and faculty in related departments including physics.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The IU Astronomy Department is the primary user of astronomy materials collected in the Swain Hall Library. There are a small number of Indiana residents, amateur astronomers that occasionally use materials in astronomy. Currently the department has eight full-time faculty members, one adjunct faculty, and 15 graduate students.

    4. Brief overview of the collection

      1. History of the collection
        There is little information about the Astronomy collection prior to 1940. In 1940, Swain Hall was completed, and became the home of three departments: Physics, Astronomy, and Mathematics, and at that time, those departmental collections were merged into one. It was also around this time that keys to the library were issued to some graduate students and faculty from the departments, a tradition that remains today. In 1943 the library had a total of 8,000 volumes in the collection. The doctoral program in Astronomy started in1950.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        The collection consists of materials presenting fundamental data on astronomical instrumentation and facilities, novel approaches to data analysis and statistical treatment of astronomical data, theoretical and observational astrophysics, solar system and extrasolar system studies, planetary studies, cosmology, exobiology, celestial mechanics, and neutrino and gamma-ray astronomy.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        The Astronomy department is active in both theoretical and observational aspects of research, and subjects presently emphasized include stellar atmospheres, binary and variable stars, galaxy formation, globular clusters, and high-energy astronomy. Computing techniques related to astronomy are also a collection strength, and astrobiology is a fledgling subject area that may affect the collection over time, though the Geology collection may collect more in that area. There is not much depth of information or current information on topics such as aeronautics, space flight, geodesy, and optical imaging systems in astronomy.

      4. Collection locations
        The astronomy collection is located on both levels of the Swain Hall Library, and less frequently used books, and journals that are available electronically are located in the Auxiliary Library Facility.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Currently there is no formal or systematic collecting of astronomy materials in non-English languages; the majority of the collection is in English, with a small number of older materials in French, German, and Russian.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      There are no chronological periods not covered, and while the retrospective serials collection in astronomy is important to research, much of that information is now available electronically.

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      In general, the focus of the astronomy collection is current research, where the goal is to maintain a good working collection of astronomy materials to support research and instruction through the Ph.D.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Journals, monographs, and conference proceedings are the primary formats of material collected. Introductory lower-level textbooks, popular works on astronomy, and reprints of journal articles in monograph form are not collected.
  3. Collecting responsibility
    It is the responsibility of the Swain Hall Librarian to make collection decisions about the astronomy collection, often in consultation with the Swain Hall Library committee.

  4. Related collections
    The Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Computer Science, and History and Philosophy of Science are related collections on the IUB campus.

  5. Principal sources of supply and major selection tools
    The major source of supply and the primary selection tool is the Academic Book Center/ Blackwell Book Services science approval plan and approval forms.

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
  7. Selection criteria for ALF
    Criteria include: currency of the material, language, availability of the journal run online. The recently acquired backfiles of Elsevier and Academic Press astronomy journals opens the door to begin selecting some or many of those print volumes for ALF.

  8. Digital projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
  9. Other resources and libraries
    The NASA ADS System (Astrophysics Data System ), where astronomers can retrieve the full-text of journal publications related to physics, astrophysics, and instrumentation, has revolutionized the use of astronomical literature, and is a major research tool for the department. The SIMBAD ( astronomical database provides basic data, cross-identifications and bibliography for astronomical objects outside the solar system and is heavily used for research by astronomers. It currently has over three million objects, over eight million identifiers, over 140,000 bibliographic references, and over four million citations of objects in papers. In addition, the HEP literature database contains more than 500,000 high-energy physics related articles indexed by the SLAC and DESY Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron libraries since 1974.

  10. Consortial agreements
    In 2001, the astronomy collection was enhanced by a three year consortium agreement through the CIC for access to the comprehensive and retrospective Institute of Physics (IOP) journal publications online, some relating to astronomy.

Astronomy Home Page

Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/19/2012