Subject Librarian: Pam
Howard, Assistant Professor, Life & Health Sciences Librarian
A. Purpose of Collection
1. Program Information
The Department of Biological Sciences at WSU offers a broad curriculum leading to B.A. and B.S. degrees, a biochemistry field major with the Department of Chemistry and an M.S. degree at the graduate level. Special emphasis is placed in the areas of cellular/molecular biology and ecology/environmental biology. Research training is available in microbiology, cell, molecular, endocrine, organismal, reproductive, and environmental biology. The Department also participates in an interdisciplinary degree program leading to a Master of Environmental Science.
The Department of Biological Sciences
coordinates with other members of the Wichita biomedical and scientific
community to provide teaching, research and technical training to meet the
needs of the Wichita community and the State of Kansas. The department’s
strategic plan includes goals to strengthen its teaching and research
program in the area of cellular and molecular biology, and to respond to
the increased need and demand for training in the environmental sciences.
Faculty, of which there are currently 15, are actively involved in
teaching and research.
2. Collection Description
The collections supporting the Biological Sciences here at Wichita State University consist primarily of the Library of Congress call numbers QH – QR, though my analyses show that biologists also draw heavily from many other areas of the collection including medicine and chemistry. The journal, book, and electronic collections function mainly to support the undergraduate and graduate curricula and to provide a minimal collection for support of faculty research. Since our department has graduate-level programs and an active research program, our collection should be more at the research level. High materials costs and the library budget limit us to very selectively collecting research materials in narrow subject areas. We rely on online journal packages, full-text databases, interlibrary loan, and document delivery to supplement the collection.
3. Anticipated Trends
Some of the most interesting developments in science today are happening in the field of biological science. Many different research areas are of particular interest to biologists currently. Biologists question how evolution works and the beginnings of life including the interesting question of whether it originated independently on earth or whether it was brought here by meteorites. Also of interest are the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics - how life works at the molecular level, with important applications to many fields including medicine and agriculture. Research in neuroscience has applications in artificial intelligence, medicine, psychology, and other fields. Biotechnology, and cloning in particular, are of interest not only to scientists but to the commercial world, government, and the general public. Zoology and botany are of interest for their applications to medicine, agriculture and food production. Ecology and environmental science make important contributions to sustaining life on the planet.
Periodicals, due to their
timeliness, will continue to be the publishing vehicle of choice for
biologists. As has been happening over the past few years, electronic
books and journals and other electronic publications, such as online
genome libraries, will continue to gain in acceptance and popularity.
Journal publishers commonly having bundled electronic journals along with
paper subscriptions in the past are now increasingly trying to make
electronic journals the primary consideration. Although concerns continue
regarding archiving, and publishers changing or deleting original content,
many libraries are giving up hardcopy subscriptions in favor of electronic
B. Scope of Coverage
1. Chronological emphasis
The main emphasis will be on current materials, with occasional acquisitions of important classical and historical materials, primarily as requested by faculty in the Biological Sciences department.
2. Geographic Focus
Materials focusing on
Kansas, adjoining states, and the Midwest will be a priority in our
collection, but since the majority of materials published in this subject
area do not have a geographic focus, this is not a huge concern for this
portion of the Libraries’ collections.
3. Formats and Materials Collected
Any format useful for study, teaching, or research, including software, video, audio, online, journals, books, reports, and conference proceedings, among others, will be considered. Online materials will be purchased when possible since the department has expressed a preference for online accessibility.
Due to the large number of introductory-level biology classes, and because of our large Health Professions program, textbooks will be purchased where appropriate. Textbooks are useful to these groups, and also to some upper-division students, because of their value in providing materials for comparison and different perspectives.
Undergraduate and graduate level books will be acquired. Research level materials will be acquired to support current, active research programs at WSU, and at the request of faculty. Popular works will be acquired on the basis of their usefulness to the undergraduate program. Juvenile materials will be considered in cooperation with the juvenile materials bibliographer.
Limited library resources, including financial and space resources, do not allow for duplication of materials except in very limited circumstances based on heavy demand.
Our current serials policy states that, in order to add a new serial to our collection, an existing title of equal or greater value must be cancelled. That being said, the biological sciences librarian is willing to consider requests for extra funding for new departments or research areas. Serials review projects will be conducted as needed or as requested by the subject department or the Head of Collection Development. These projects will be used to maintain the focus of the collection on the needs of the University and also to control costs.
Our primary electronic bibliographic database subscriptions serving the biological sciences are MEDLINE, BasicBIOSIS, and H.W. Wilson’s General Science Abstracts. We are in the process of trying to upgrade from our current combination of paper subscription to Biological Abstracts and online BasicBIOSIS access to the full online version of Biological Abstracts. A master’s level biology program with active faculty research combined with the relatively small incremental cost make this move advisable if funds and library priorities permit.
Access will be provided to online journals via subscription and when the publisher/agent supports IP-protected, proxy-friendly access. Also considered will be freely available sites which provide significant content.
Electronic books will be considered in the same light as other materials available for the collection. Given the department’s stated preference for electronic availability, where there are paper and electronic copies available, we will purchase the electronic copy when funds and library priorities permit.
The Life Sciences Librarian will consider gifts in the same light as other materials considered for the collection. Items not retained can either be returned to the giver or disposed of as the coordinator of collection development sees fit. If the giver wishes, they can be referred to the Collection Development Assistant for a list of used book/journal vendors whom they can contact about selling materials and for sources for estimating the value of materials donated. The Wichita Public Library also accepts donations for their used book sales.
WSU does not have an active weeding program. As a research library, we consider that there is historical value in older materials, and retain less frequently used materials as a service not only to our university, but also to other universities in Kansas, the U.S., and the rest of the world. Occasionally, when an item becomes damaged beyond repair, it will be necessary to consider it for discarding. If the Life Sciences Librarian considers the item’s content to still be pertinent, a replacement will be considered.
The Life Sciences Librarian will consider any request for purchase of materials from patrons. Requests for serials, if the titles are considered useful for the WSU community, will be referred to the department chair for consideration (see Serials Policy above.)
The Life Sciences Librarian will
consult review sources, including Book Review Digest, Book
Review Index, Choice, and others, as needed in making selection
4. Publication/Imprint Dates
Currency is usually highly desirable in the sciences but older materials will be considered as needed.
5. Place of Publication
Any place of publication will be considered, but the collection will mostly focus on materials published in the U.S. and Europe.
6. Languages Collected
Non-English materials will be acquired only at
the specific request of faculty.
C. Summary of Subjects Collected and Collecting Levels
A broad range of biology
subjects will be collected for support of the undergraduate and graduate
programs and for general non-majors. Research level materials will be
collected in narrow ranges as needed based on local needs for WSU faculty
and graduate students. Main focuses of our collection development efforts
will mirror those of the department, currently ecology/environmental
science and cellular/molecular biology. See
Appendix A for a detailed breakdown of subjects and collecting levels.
D. Subjects Excluded
All biology subjects will
be considered since broad coverage of subject areas is needed to support
undergraduate and graduate education.
E. Related Collections and Cooperative Efforts
WSU has no formal cooperative collection development arrangements with individual libraries. Cooperative efforts such as the Regents Library Database Committee allow for consortial purchases and substantial discounts on electronic resources.
Biology faculty and
students, due to the interdisciplinary nature of their work, will utilize
other collections within the WSU Libraries, including the medical
collections, the chemistry collection, the geology collection, etc. WSU
affiliates may also wish to take advantage of the collections of other
local libraries such as University of Kansas School of Medicine - Wichita,
and also the libraries of the University of Kansas and Kansas State
University. Many of these materials will be available through
interlibrary loan, while some may require on-site access. If WSU
affiliates are planning to visit non-WSU libraries, they are encourages to
phone in advance to determine schedules and any local policies for access
to individuals who are not students or faculty of the institution.
F. Related Collection Development Policies
See also the WSU
collection development policies for the other relevant science disciplines
(mainly chemistry and geology) and medicine.
G. Related Collection Evaluations
A collection evaluation
for the biological sciences was performed in 2002. See also the WSU
collection evaluations for the other relevant science disciplines (mainly
chemistry and geology) and medicine.
H. Other Factors
Appendix A – Specific Subjects Collected (with Collecting Levels)
APPENDIX B—Explanation of Collecting Levels and Codes
Written by: Connie Dalrymple 2/3/03