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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject

Biological Sciences



Subjects covered: The Department of Biological Sciences offers study leading to the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees. The goals of these programs are to support and encourage the student preparing for a career in the biological sciences, entrance into professional schools, or as an
educator/researcher. The graduate program is a research program, with specialties covering all levels of biological organization, including molecular biology; cell and microbial biology; genetics; animal and plant physiology; animal behavior; evolution and ecology; and environmental biology.

Users: The Department of Biological Sciences has 30 full-time faculty member, 65 graduate students, and over 400 undergraduate students. In addition to the Department of Biological Sciences, the Chemistry/Biology Library also serves users from the College of Medicine, College of Engineering, the Departments of Psychology, Physics and Geology, and other academic units in the University. The Library also serves users from outside the University including the Environmental Protection Agency, local business and industry, and the OhioLINK community.  OhioLINK is a consortium of Ohio's college and university libraries and the State Library of Ohio serving more than 500,000 students, faculty, and staff at 79 institutions.


Location of collection:   The biological sciences and chemistry collections are integrated in the Chemistry/Biology Library, located at 503 Rieveschl Hall, with portions also in Langsam Library and the Southwest Ohio Regional Depository (SWORD).

Other collections supporting program:

Internal . Other UC collections are important for biology students and faculty. They are the                                          Health Sciences Library, Engineering Library, Geology/Physics Library, and Langsam             Library.

External . Biology patrons also use OhioLINK, the Lloyd Library, the EPA Library, and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.

Collection size: The biology and life sciences collection has as of June 2000:  28,764 monograph volumes, 3,703 continuations, and 26,317 bound journal volumes. These numbers include materials in the Chemistry/Biology Library and its material located at SWORD, but do not include material located in other library locations. Significant collections of biology and life sciences materials are housed in Langsam Library and the Health Sciences Library. Approximately 20% of the collection is in storage. There are 5,645 monograph volumes, 444 continuations, and 3,686 bound journal volumes at SWORD. The collection also contains a small collection of videos, microfiche, microfilm, and computer datafiles. The library receives approximately 400 current serials in the field of biology. We have access to over 800 biology related journals in electronic format. Over 80% of the collections budget is allocated to serials. 

Collection history: The biological and life sciences collection originally consisted of two collections, Zoology and Botany, which were joined with the Pharmacy collection to form the Biology-Pharmacy Library. The biological sciences portion was separated form this collection in 1970 and integrated with the Chemistry collection to form the Chemistry/Biology Library in Rieveschl hall. The Pharmacy materials are located at the Health Science Library.

General level of collecting: Materials on most aspects of the biological and life sciences are collected with the exceptions of pharmacy and medical, which are collected by the Health Science Library, and agriculture and veterinary materials, which are not collected. The collection is primarily a research collection with a limited amount of undergraduate material. Efforts have been made in the last few years to increase undergraduate purchases.


Call numbers:   The primary biology call numbers included in the Chemistry/Biology Library are: 

Q (Science-1, 931 volumes-3%)
QH  (Natural History, Biology- 15,253 volumes-25%)
QK  (Botany-8,657 volumes-14%)
QL   (Zoology-9,261 volumes 16%)
QM  (Human Anatomy-320 volumes-less than 1%)
QP   (Physiology-8,730 volumes 15%)
QR  (Microbiology-4,494 volumes 7%)
R    (Medicine-2,181 volumes 3%)
S    (Agriculture-5,967 volumes 10%).

Current and retrospective collecting: The Chemistry/Biology Library purchases almost exclusively current materials. Little retrospective collecting is done, except if received as a gift. 

Time period: Nineteenth century to date, with a few eighteenth century journals and monographs. Only current materials are purchased with the exception of replacing items or filling a specific gap. Out-of-print materials are occasionally purchased. 

Level: Most purchases are directed toward the upper undergraduate and graduate/research levels. Efforts have been made recently to increase the amount of material geared for the undergraduate in the collection.

Languages: 95% of the books and journals are in English, with a small number in French and German. Most of the purchases are from American or European publishers. 

Geographical areas: Subject coverage is worldwide.

Format: All formats are collected. Most of the biology monograph and journal collection is in paper format. Access to electronic information is increasing rapidly. At this point, there is access to over 800 electronic full- text biology journal titles. We have electronic access to BIOSIS Previews, the primary indexing and abstracting database in biology from 1980 to date. We have electronic access to the Web of Science (Science Citation Index) from 1980 to date. We have electronic access to Medline from 1966 to date. We have electronic access to Chemical Abstracts via SciFinder Scholar. There is a small collection of microfiche, primarily government documents from the Department of Agriculture, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of the Interior. 

Special aspects: The collection is primarily a research collection with a limited amount of undergraduate materials. The collection is strong in certain areas of particular interest to faculty members, such as molecular biology; cell and microbial biology; genetics; animal and plant physiology; animal behavior; evolution; botany; mammalogy; and ecology. The Chemistry/Biology Library has an exceptional collection of over 500 books and journals on bryophytes (mosses), ferns, conifers, and flowering plants located in the University of Cincinnati Herbarium. 

The Library houses a special collection of biology works published in Cincinnati, works of local interest, works of historical interest, and University of Cincinnati Basic Science Research Publications from the 1920's and 1930's.

The Library houses an extensive collection of University of Cincinnati Department of Biological Sciences theses and dissertations.

Endowed area:   Jesse Woodman Fund was set up in 1967 by Mr. and Mrs. Paul D. Croyle, the parents of Jesse Woodman The fund is used to purchase materials in the field of parasitology and tropical medicine.


Approval plans: Biology participates in a statewide approval plan with YBP. This plan supplies monographs from many of the major publishes in biology.

Firm orders: Many desired publications are announced by notification slips from approval vendors such as YBP and Blackwell and purchased from them. Other non-approval materials are direct-ordered by the Acquisitions Department. A large percentage of the firm orders are student and faculty requests. Others are ordered from publisher catalogs and reviews.

Standing orders: The library receives a number of publications on standing order. These include a number of important societal and museum publications.

Document suppliers: The Chemistry/Biology Library uses a number of document suppliers to access books and journals not held in the collection. The library relies heavily on member libraries in the OhioLINK consortium. The OhioLINK delivery service provides delivery of materials in 3-5 working days. OCLC and UnCOVER are used when materials are not available through OhioLINK.

John Tebo
September 19, 2000

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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