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last updated: 9/5/2012

Collection Development Policies - Psychology


  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This policy provides guidelines which define and clarify the full scope of the collection development activities of the Psychology Librarian, assigns responsibility for the development of the collection, and informs library users about the principles upon which the selection of materials is made.

    2. Audience
      The potential audience for this document consists of the following: the Librarian for Psychology; psychology students, faculty and staff; and IU Library administration.

      The Psychology Collection Development Policy will be reviewed and revised periodically by the Psychology Librarian.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      Indiana University is the location of the oldest continuing psychology laboratory in America. William Lowe Bryan, a future president of the American Psychological Association (1903) and Indiana University (1902-1937), opened the laboratory in January of 1888. Bryan's studies were the impetus for the strong experimental emphasis that has characterized psychology at Indiana up to the present day. The reputation of the department is based more on traditions of broad empirical investigation than sponsorship of any definite school of psychological thought-even though leading thinkers like B.F. Skinner, W.K. Estes and J.R. Kantor have been among the members of the faculty.

      The Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate psychology program was ranked 13th in the nation in Princeton Review's 1997 "Gourman Report of Undergraduate Programs." The IUB program focuses on exposure to research methodology and statistical analysis to develop the broad problem-solving skills necessary in psychology. The Department has been ranked consistently among the top psychology departments in the country. The Psychology program at IU is research-oriented, preparing students for careers in research and academia; graduate students may specialize in any of the following areas:
      • Biology and Behavior
      • Clinical Science
      • Cognitive Psychology
      • Developmental Psychology
      • Social Psychology
      In addition to the Ph.D. program in psychology, Indiana University offers the following interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs:
      • Cognitive Science Program
      • Program in Neural Science
      • Program in Animal Behavior
      There are approximately 40 full-time faculty members and 70 full-time graduate students in the department. Over 1000 students are undergraduate psychology majors, making psychology the second most popular major in the College or Arts and Sciences, just behind Biology (source: 2002-2003 Fall Enrollment Report).

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        The history of psychology at Indiana University dates back to the earliest years of the discipline. We know, for example, that, of the 82 periodicals in the University Library in 1888, eight of them were in psychology-and that this fairly well reflects the weight given to the discipline in the curriculum at that time (from, p. 105 of Lowell's 1957 dissertation, Indiana University Libraries, 1829 - 1942). Today, the size and strength of the collection underscore the importance of the discipline to the university.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        Emphasis is on the department's current teaching and research missions. In general, the collection is strong in areas of emphasis and less strong in areas not emphasized (see iii. below).

        The collection is quite strong in online full text journal access. Notwithstanding, there are, at this writing, a number of major online collections to which we do not provide access, including the complete Elsevier/ScienceDirect set, MIT CogNet, OCLC ECO (Electronic Collections Online), and the Sage Psychology Collection.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        • The following subject areas are emphasized
          • Animal Behavior
          • Biology and Behavior
          • Clinical Science
          • Cognitive Psychology
          • Developmental Psychology
          • Mathematical Psychology
          • Neural Science
          • Social Psychology
        • The following subject areas are deemphasized:
          • Parapsychology
          • Psychiatry (well-collected at IUPUI Medical Library)
          • Psychoanalysis (especially where it overlaps with literary criticism)
      4. Collection locations
        The heart of the psychology collection is in the Main Library Research Collections, with selected materials in the Information Commons Core Collection and other materials in relevant campus libraries (see IV. below).
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Primary emphasis is on English language materials. Major western European language materials are limited to a few important monographs, some serials, and dictionaries. A few foreign language psychology journals are collected.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      Psychology does not limit itself to any one geographic locality. While the collection is designed to support research on the United States, studies of other areas of the World are also important.

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      Collection emphasis is on contemporary publications, but major works in psychology from all time periods are considered.

    4. Formats collected and excluded
      Collected: relevant print and electronic materials (serials and monographs), electronic databases, selected video formats (note: the Psychology Department maintains its own collection of instructional videos), microforms

      Excluded: archival materials, textbooks, audio recordings, Braille materials, large print materials, most popular and pre-college level monographs and journals
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The Librarian for Psychology is responsible for the collection. There is occasional need for collaboration with the Heads of the Life Sciences and Swain Hall Libraries, as well as with the librarian selectors responsible for anthropology, communication and culture, folklore, and gender studies.

  4. Related Collections
    Materials in the Life Sciences Library on neural science, animal behavior, and evolutionary psychology are related to this collection. Many of the materials of interest to scholars affiliated with the Program in Neural Science are kept in the Life Sciences Library. Resources on cognitive science related to cognitive psychology and neural science can also be found in both the Swain Hall and SLIS Libraries. The Education Library is another important collection, with materials on developmental psychology, child psychology, and counseling.

    Other campus collections with psychology-related materials include: Business/SPEA (management psychology), Public Health (sports psychology), Fine Arts (art therapy), Chemistry (biochemistry related to neural science), and Law (psychology of juries, ethical issues).

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    The primary selection tools for monographs include: the APA professional journal, American Psychologist, requests from patrons, publishers' catalogues, and the Humanities & Social Sciences Approval Plan. The primary selection tool for serials and online resources is faculty and student requests.

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      No deacidification activities are necessary or contemplated. Preservation activities are limited to materials that are damaged in circulation.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      No areas of the psychology collection have as yet been identified as high-priority areas for preservation activity.
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    Ceased serials were pre-selected for transfer to the Auxiliary Library Facility. These were further reviewed and verified by the collection manager and transferred based on perceived interest, degree of indexing, and language (non-English language serials were rated higher priority for transfer).

    For monographs, titles published before 1970 were pre-selected. Non-English language titles, duplicates and titles perceived by the selector to be of lower interest and to have less indexing were chosen for ALF transfer (note: 2168 psychology monographs were submitted for ALF transfer on January 14, 2004).

  8. Digital Projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization
      In the absence of materials that require digitization for preservation, the primary criterion for digitization is demand by psychology faculty and students.

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
      Priority for digitization should be given to fragile materials, with special emphasis on those pertaining to the state of Indiana or produced by Indiana University.

  9. Other Resources and Libraries
    Other major collections of psychology materials are at Stanford, the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

    Other collections of note are at Columbia University, Harvard University, Ohio State University (Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Experimental Psychology), Princeton University, Purdue University (Industrial/Organizational Psychology), University of California - Los Angeles, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and University of Minnesota.

      Psychology Home Page

      Revised April 2012

    last updated: 9/5/2012