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Science - Van Pelt Library collection development policy

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Program information

The aim of the Science collection at the Van Pelt Library is to bring the results of scientific inquiry to non-specialist readers. Many of the works may touch upon broad social, ethical, etc. implications that may not be developed in specialist works. Science literacy is increasingly important in our technology-driven world, and every student/citizen should have some general information about scientific developments. The collection therefore does not support one particular program, but rather complements other science and technology related collections in the Penn Library system. It fills in some collection gaps not covered by other collection development policies, as well as some multidisciplinary works.

Guidelines for Collection Development

1. Chronological

Emphasis is on the role of science in contemporary society.

2. Formats

Primarily, monographs, journals, and monographic series in print and electronic formats are collected; some DVD films/television programs.

3. Geographical


4. Language

The preferred language is English.

5. Publication dates

Primarily current materials are purchased.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools

Approval plans and standing orders for monographic series are used for acquisitions. Publishers' advertisements and catalogs are also consulted. Book and journal reviews are useful, as are faculty, staff, and student recommendations. Monographs with a content level description of "General Academic" are preferred to those with "Advanced Academic" descriptions. 

Subjects excluded

Travel & tourism literature, including ecotourism.

Cooperative arrangements

Collaboration with other Penn science and technology collections and libraries is common. Consultation is done with the Biomedical Library, which is the primary collector of works in biology and ecology; the MPA Library for introductory physics and other STEM related material and also with the Veterinary Medicine Library regarding animal-related collections.

Related subject collections