Collection Development - Mathematics

Collections LibrarianIan Graham Interim (x2127)

The collection development policy for Mathematics guides the development and management of the math collection. This policy is for the use of the Science Librarian for Collections and the Science Library's users. The policy will be updated as needed. Faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

The math collection supports the undergraduate mathematics curriculum offered at Wellesley College. The collection supports student research in specific areas of interest.   The collection is used primarily by math majors, by students pursuing majors leading to graduate study in economics and business, medical school, computer science, teaching K-12 and by students in certain other math-intensive science courses. Students fulfilling course distribution requirements in the sciences are also users of the collection.  

Material is acquired covering subjects such as mathematics theory, applied mathematics, calculus, geometry, statistics, probability, numerical analysis, graph theory, linear algebra and operations research. Selected specific departmental research interests encompass areas such as: differential geometry, commutative algebra, partial different equations, combinatorics, complex analysis and geometric topology. Published material from the major national mathematical societies (e.g. Mathematical Association of America, American Mathematical Association ) is favored and selectively purchased to support courses currently being taught.

The Mathematics Department offers a program leading to a bachelor's degree in mathematics. Additionally, the Quantitative Reasoning overlay course requirement for all Wellesley students is fulfilled by several 100- and 200-level math classes.

Description of the collection

Types of Materials: Materials are purchased in all formats, with emphasis on the journal literature. Electronic access is the preferred format for journal literature.  Conference proceedings, laboratory manuals and protocols are selectively acquired when their topics support curricular offerings.  Single copies of textbooks are purchased selectively when their content provides a foundation of knowledge in a new or advanced area of science or when a text is so important to a field that its use and acceptance go beyond supporting introductory curriculum.  Materials created for individual use such as lab notebooks, workbooks and problem/answer sets are not purchased for the collection.

Readership Level: Material is collected at the college level, with emphasis on upper undergraduate/early graduate works. Entry level materials are acquired selectively to support courses fulfilling distribution requirements, as are popular materials to encourage reading about the sciences across the disciplines.

Languages Collected: The primary language of the collection is English, however, older literature in foreign languages is maintained in the collection as mathematics majors are expected to acquire reading knowledge of at least one foreign language such as German, French or Russian. Today, foreign language works, if selected, are purchased in English translation.

Geographical Areas Covered (intellectual content or publication source): Materials are routinely purchased from all areas of the world with no exclusions.

Chronological Periods Covered (intellectual content): There are no restrictions on intellectual content of the collection. Current history of science material is bought selectively to support current course offerings. Typically, primary mathematical works of historical significance are not purchased although referrals can be made to the Selector for Special Collections for the history of science collection housed there.

Chronological Period Covered (publication dates): Current materials are the focus of almost all purchasing, but a strong retrospective collection, especially in the journal literature, is maintained.  

Shelving Locations: Books and journals are housed at the Science Library with the exception of most pre-1985 journal literature, which are housed at an off-site facility and are retrievable by request.  Online access to collections is provided through the Library website.

Reference: Reference material for mathematics is purchased by the Science Librarian for Research and Instruction and follows the general subject parameters of the math collections policy. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following types of material: biographies, dictionaries/thesauri/nomenclature aids, encyclopedias, style and/or literature guides, and occasional electronic search aids and directories which support curricular or related professional programs. Electronic access is the preferred format for reference works

Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

Mathematics supports every science discipline, including computer science. Interdisciplinary support is offered as follows:

Mathematics for Scientists: Mathematical material tailored for "the chemist", "the biologist", "the physicist", etc. is purchased by the pertinent selector, not by Math selector.

Statistics material specifically supporting economics is purchased by the Social Sciences selector.

Science & Society materials are selected by the Social Sciences selector.

Mathematics Education material is selected by the Social Sciences selector.