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Nursing collection development policy

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Program information

Nursing programs at Penn enroll over 800 students in the graduate, undergraduate and accelerated programs. 
In addition to basic nursing education, areas of study include, but are not restricted to, topics emphasized 
in the following Research Centers at the School of Nursing:

Center for Bio-behavioral Studies (CBBS)

Center for Gerontologic Nursing Science

Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research

Center for the Study of the History of Nursing

Center for Urban Health Research

Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence

International Center of Research for Women, Children and Families

Office of Nursing Research

Much of the research and education coordinated through these Centers and throughout the School rely on 
social science as well as biomedical literature. In addition to supporting the academic activities of the School of Nursing, 
the collections of the Libraries, particularly that of the Biomedical Library, also support several thousand professional nurses
employed in patient care, educational, and administrative positions throughout the University of Pennsylvania Health System. 
Although the Library supports the clinical practice of licensed vocational/practical nurses employed by UPHS, it does not support 
the educational endeavors of programs for vocational or practical nursing in the community.

Collection description

The University's nursing collection is housed in the Biomedical Library, which serves the research, education, and clinical 
practice needs of the faculty, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students of the Nursing and Medical Schools, 
Biomedical Graduate Studies, and employees of the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

This document focuses on the ways in which the nursing collection at the Biomedical Library supports the academic programs 
of the School of Nursing as well as the professional practices of the nursing staff of the University of Pennsylvania Health Systems.

Nursing students are well served by access to the entire Library system where they can become familiar with and utilize the 
collections of Van Pelt, Lippincott, and other of the 15 libraries on campus whenever appropriate. The Biomedical Library collects 
scientific materials in nursing and related health-care disciplines while materials in the social sciences and 
other fields used by Nursing School faculty and students are located throughout the Library system.

Collection development for nursing is undertaken dynamically in order to support evolving clinical practice and academic issues 
relevant to nurses across the University system. The entire spectrum of nursing activities is supported within the university collections: 
electronic and print textbooks and journals on nursing practice, research and education; advanced practice and research information 
in journal article citations from the CINAHL/Nursing database and Medline database; social sciences databases that offer information
to support the psychosocial aspects of nursing research and practice. These are only a few of the many resources of interest 
to nursing that may be accessed both on campus and remotely by current students, faculty, and staff of the University and UPHS 
via the Health Sciences Libraries Home Page.

In addition to the Library collection, The School of Nursing Center for The Study of The History of Nursing has approximately 
1,500 book titles that comprise half of the history of nursing records listed in the Franklin Online Catalog. The remaining titles are 
at the Biomedical and Van Pelt Libraries. This Center is a resource for research to improve the quality and scope of historical scholarship
on nursing and to disseminate new knowledge on nursing history through education, conferences, publications, and inter-disciplinary 
collaboration. The Center collects, processes, and catalogues a collection of primary historical materials and encourages and facilitates
historical scholarship on health care history and nursing in the United States. In addition to its books, the Center holds manuscripts 
of hospitals, schools of nursing and nursing alumni associations, voluntary non-profit associations, professional and 
military associations, as well as of other groups and of individuals.

Guidelines for Collection Development

1. Chronological

Current publications in support of current research.

2. Formats

The core collection is in both electronic and print formats, including books and periodicals, with special consideration given to those electronic resources that can be accessed through the university computer network. They include comprehensive databases, full-text book and journal resources and links to useful Penn and non-Penn web sites organized by broad subject areas. All networked resources are accessible from the Health Sciences Libraries website. Electronic publications on CD-ROM or requiring site-specific web access are not normally purchased. Audio-visual material, examination reviews, handbooks, laboratory manuals, loose-leaf services, programmed texts, and workbooks are purchased selectively. Microforms are excluded.

3. Geographical

Most materials collected relate to nursing issues in the developed world, particularly the urban United States, with selected materials on the less developed world chosen in relation to specific faculty activities.

4. Language


5. Publication dates

Publications issued within the previous three years. Older materials are purchased to fill in gaps due to lost copies, in support of new educational, research, or clinical programs, or the specific request of faculty members or advanced clinical practitioners.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools

Monographs are purchased for the Biomedical Library through Rittenhouse and EBSCO, with preference for the ebook format where available. Serials and periodicals are purchased through Majors, Rittenhouse and EBSCO. All publications of the American Nurses Association and the National League for Nursing are collected. Librarians scan book reviews, publication lists and other sources to identify new materials for the collection. In addition, the following criteria are often helpful in making collection decisions:

Tools for Selection:

Serials and Periodicals
Inclusion in a major indexing source: the CINAHL/ Nursing or MEDLINE databases
Faculty Requests
Interlibrary Loan Activity
Cost/Potential audience
Monographs (including e-books)
Inclusion in American Journal of Nursing Books of the Year
Selection and approval lists from distributors
User requests, including Interlibrary Loans
  • Subjects collected and levels of collecting

    Subject areas housed at the Biomedical Library reflect the interests of the major research centers of the School of Nursing. Some subject areas are collected selectively, or in a limited manner. For example, handbooks and manuals are very selectively considered for addition to the collection as are review texts for the state board examination.

Subjects excluded

Vocational/Practical Nursing
Manuals or Handbooks intended for the clinical setting
Programmed texts

Cooperative arrangements

The Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the School of Nursing collects history of nursing texts, texts of historical significance to the discipline of nursing, and other related media. The Van Pelt Library collects in the areas of health policy as well as social sciences theory and practice significant to the disciplines of nursing and social work. Annenberg Library collects in the area of communication in health care. The Museum Library collects in the areas of transcultural and anthropological aspects of health. The Lippincott Library collects in the areas of nursing and health care administration.

Related subject collections