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last updated: 4/19/2012

Collection Development Policies


  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This Collection Development Policy is a general statement of goals for development of the collection. It should serve as a guide for library staff involved in collection development decisions and also informs library users at the University and elsewhere about the Library's selection principles.

    2. Audience
      The main audience members are the primary users of the biology collection in the Life Sciences Library and librarians at IUB. Many of our users are located in Jordan Hall. Since 2001 many of our users are located in Myers Hall when the Indiana Molecular Biology Institute relocated from Jordan Hall.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The biology collection in the Life Sciences Library supports undergraduate and graduate instruction through the Ph.D., as well as University-sponsored research by faculty and other researchers. Research and degrees cover the areas of biochemistry, evolution, ecology & behavior, genetics, microbiology, molecular, cellular & developmental biology, and plant sciences. As of November, 2004 there are 60 faculty members, 7 research scientist, 109 research associates, 12 lecturers, 149 graduate students, and 1,100 undergraduate majors in the Biology Department. The Biology Department participates in the Biochemistry Program. This interdisciplinary program involves the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, as well as the Medical Sciences Program and School of Optometry. In the fall 2004 semester there are 16 Ph.D. students in this program. Members of the general public also use the collections.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        A departmental library for the collections of zoology and botany was in existence in 1891/92. At one time the Biology Library, with the botany and zoology collections, was located in Swain Hall East. It was moved to Jordan Hall in 1954. The microbiology collection was located in the Chemistry Library until it was transferred to the Biology Library in 1954. The Biology Library and the Medical Sciences Library were combined to from the Life Sciences Library on January 2, 1998 in the space occupied by the former Biology Library.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        The collection is strong in electronic journals and electronic reference tools, including Biological Abstracts, Zoological Record, and SciFinder Scholar for access to databases provided by Chemical Abstracts Service. Like other science libraries, our current journal collection is much smaller now than it used to be. This is due to several factors such as journal prices outpacing allocations, changes in faculty research areas, and improved document delivery. Historically the scope was all aspects of the biological sciences and included many languages.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        Currently the library's collection covers the biological sciences broadly at a basic level with in-depth coverage in animal behavior, biochemistry, cellular biology, developmental biology, ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, and plant sciences. Recent additions include genomics and bioinformatics.

      4. Collection locations
        The majority of the collection is located in the Life Sciences Library in Jordan Hall. There is a secure storage area of approximately five shelving sections in the Life Sciences Library. Journals and books related to taxonomy of plants, approximately 20 shelving sections, are shelved in the IU Herbarium located in the Smith Research Building. Approximately one-quarter of the collection is shelved in ALF.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Currently almost all of the collection is English. A very small numbers of titles covering the flora of Latin America in Spanish are acquired. Older materials are mostly in French, German, and Russian with a few titles in Latin and other scattered languages.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      The current focus is to only acquire current material.

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Current material only is actively acquired.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Print and electronic are the predominate formats. A few CD ROMs are occasionally purchased or come with books. Selected textbook-type material needed for reserves or useful for background information is collected. Microform material is no longer acquired and all microforms were moved to the Chemistry Library a few years ago. Those microforms are now shelved in the Main Library in Government Information, Microforms & Statistical Services (GIMSS).
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    Roger Beckman, Head Life Sciences and Chemistry Library. There is some collaboration with the librarians at the Ruth Lilly Medical Library and the Kinsey Institute and collection managers for history and philosophy of science, applied ecology, and anthropology.

  4. Related Collections
    Government Information, Microforms & Statistical Services (GIMSS) has government documents related to biology. There is overlap with the Chemistry, Geology, Medical Sciences and Business/SPEA libraries. Historical treatments are mainly covered by the history and philosophy of science collection in the Main Library and the Lilly Library.

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    The principal source of information on new books and other resources is from the approval plan vendor, Blackwell, publisher's blurbs in print and electronic form, and librarian listservs, e.g., STS-L (Science and Technology Section, ACRL) [STS-L@LISTSERV.UTK.EDU] and

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      The majority of materials selected for preservation or conservation action are circulation driven, i.e., high use. Some material is selected for preservation because of its importance as a physical artifact.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      Much of the collection needs review and treatment. Before the Libraries had a Preservation unit book tape was used in an attempt to repair items. Many of these items will be identified as they are moved to ALF. Some items in our locked case area date from the 18th century and should be reviewed for treatment.
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    Materials selected for ALF include books that are dated and have no or little indication of recent usage, periodicals that are not heavily used, and journals, abstracts, and indexes that are available electronically in full-text. At the time of the merger of the Biology Library and the Medical Sciences Library in 1998 many journals published before 1980 that had records in IUCAT were selected for ALF. These were housed in one of the Showers Buildings before they were moved to ALF.

  8. Digital Projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization
      Books that are rare or too fragile for heavy use, materials related to Indiana flora and fauna, and materials related to the strengths of the collection such as genetics should be explored. There could be a few books with hand-colored plates that would be interesting to have in digital form.

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
  9. Other Resources and Libraries
    The Ruth Lilly Medical Library (RLML) is an important resource to some members of the Biology Department. Purdue would be a source for patrons with an interest in agriculture.

  10. Consortial Agreements
    None, although the Libraries do participate with the Ruth Lilly Medical Library on individual resources, e.g., Oncogene and EMBO Journal.

    Biology Home Page

    Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/19/2012