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Medicine collection development policy

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Program information

This policy governs the collecting activity in Medicine. The Medicine collection primarily supports the teaching, research and clinical needs of the Perelman School of Medicine (PSOM), the Biomedical Graduate Groups, and certain hospitals that are part of UPHS. The clinical collection also supports the educational and research needs of the Nursing program. The basic science material supports the programs in Veterinary and Dental Medicine. For a more complete review of the Nursing, Dental, and Veterinary Medicine collections, see their individual collection policies.

Established in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school, the Perelman School of Medicine is now over 250 years old and is consistently ranked as one the the nations top medical schools.There are 45 departments, divisions and centers in the Perelman School of Medicine. The School has a full-time faculty of 2,363; over 700 medical students; 1,300 residents and fellows and 650 postdoctoral fellows.  

The Library serves the following hospitals owned by the University of Pennsylvania Health System: Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP), Penn-Presbyterian Medical Center (PPMC), and Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH). 

Guidelines for Collection Development

1. Chronological

Current publications in support of medical education, biomedical research, and patient care.

2. Formats

The preferred format is electronic with access via IP authentication. Single site access is not acceptable. When there is an option, access via the publisher's website is preferred to access through an aggregator database. Handbooks, laboratory manuals and loose-leaf services are rarely purchased in print. They are given greater consideration when available online. Programmed texts, workbooks and examination reviews are purchased selectively. Microforms are excluded. Video and streaming media are also selectively purchased.

3. Geographical

Clinical materials are predominately from the United States. Research material may be from anywhere in the world, if written in English.

4. Language


5. Publication dates

Publications issued within the previous three years. Older materials are purchased in support of new programs, or at the specific request of faculty members. Missing volumes are selectively replaced. Digital archives are being added as finances permit. Backfiles do not take precedence over currently published material.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools

Serials are purchased through EBSCO Subscription Services, Rittenhouse Books, journal aggregators, individual publishers, and through consortial agreements. The Biomedical Library maintains an approval plan with Rittenhouse Books and uses GOBI for supplemental collecting. In addition, the following criteria are often helpful in making collection decisions:

Serials and Periodicals
Inclusion in a major indexing source such as Medline
Interlibrary Loan activity
ISI impact factor
Potential audience
User requests
Ease of use
Interlibrary Loan activity
User requests
Clinical Practice Resources
Ease of use
Quality and depth of material

Subjects excluded

Aerospace medicine
Consumer Health
Medical Photography
Military Medicine
Undergraduate Allied Health


Cooperative arrangements

Purchases for the Biomed Library collection are coordinated with the purchases for the Dental and Veterinary Libraries. Duplication of resources is kept to a minimum.

University of Pennsylvania:

  • The Biddle Law Library collects in medical jurisprudence.
  • The Chemistry Library collects in all areas of chemistry
  • The C.J. Marshall Memorial Library collects in parasitology.
  • The Lippincott Library collects in health care economics, health care management, and medical practice management.
  • The Pennsylvania Hospital Library has a substantial print collection in psychiatry.
  • The Van Pelt /Dietrich Library collects in the history of science and medicine, social, environmental, ethical, legal, philosophical, political, public policy and religious issues related to medicine and health care. The Bioengineering collection is also held at Van Pelt. 


Related subject collections