Collection Development - Geosciences

Collections Librarian:  Colleen McGhee-French (x3596)

The collection development policy for Geosciences guides the development and management of the geology 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 geology collection supports the undergraduate geology curriculum offered at Wellesley College. The collection supports student research in specific areas of interest.   The collection is used primarily by geosciences majors, by students in environmental studies courses, and by students fulfilling course distribution requirements in the sciences. The overall collecting policy supports the Geosciences Department goal of giving students a broad understanding of the earth as background for possible future study in areas of resource development, waste management, environmental protection and land use.  

Material is acquired covering subjects such as mineralogy, climate, hydrogeology, paleontology, geographic information systems, structural geology, sedimentology and volcanism.   Selected specific departmental research interests encompass areas such as: environmental geochemistry, paleontology, biogeochemical processes in watersheds, physical geology and stable isotope geochemistry. Published material from the major national geological societies (e.g. Geological Society of America, American Geophysical Union ) or government agencies (U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Department of the Interior) is favored and selectively purchased to support courses currently being taught.

The Geosciences Department offers a program leading to a traditional bachelor's degree in geology or to an environmental geoscience degree that emphasizes an understanding of and solution to environmental problems. Also, the Department collaborates closely with the Departments of Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Physics to support an Environmental Science concentration within the Environmental Studies major.

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 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. Foreign language works, if selected, are purchased in translation.

Geographical Areas Covered (intellectual content or publication source): Materials are routinely purchased from all areas of the world with no exclusions. A sizeable portion of the collection constitutes literature from various geological societies throughout the world.

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 geological works of historical significance are not purchased although referrals are sometimes 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 geology is purchased by the Science Librarian for Research and Instruction and follows the general subject parameters of the geology collections policy. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following types of material: biographies, dictionaries/thesauri/nomenclature aids, encyclopedias, handbooks, 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.

Current Collecting Emphasis: Materials related to environmental science are a current focus.

Subjects Collected Selectively: GIS materials are bought selectively by the Geology Selector to support classroom teaching. The Geosciences Department typically provides handbooks and instructional material related to GIS training for their students. Also, the Geosciences Department works closely with the campus Instructional Technology group for GIS training support.

Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

Interdisciplinary support is offered as follows:

Environmental Studies & Chemical Engineering materials in the areas of hydrology, geochemistry, soil analysis, pollution, ozone depletion, climate, and contaminant testing and tracking are purchased to support the Environmental Sciences concentration in the Environmental Studies program. Material supporting the Environmental Studies major is purchased collaboratively with the Biology , Chemistry , and Physics selectors, depending upon the focus of specific courses offered for the Environmental Sciences concentration.

Political Geoscience topics about the environment such as policies concerning global warming, acid rain, and heavy metals in the environment are purchased by the Social Sciences selector.

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