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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject




Subjects covered .  The College of Engineering programs cover most of the major branches of engineering.  These include aerospace, biomedical, chemical, civil, computer, electrical, environmental, industrial, materials, mechanical, and nuclear (and radiological) engineering as well as engineering mechanics, environmental science, health and medical physics, materials science, solid state electronics and computer science.  The College does not offer programs in agricultural, automotive, marine or mining engineering.

Departments and users served .  The College is organized into seven academic departments.  The seven departments are Aerospace Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical and Materials Engineering , Civil and Environmental Engineering , Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Mechanical, Industrial and Nuclear Engineering .  Several departments include more than one program.

The vast majority of materials checked out of the Engineering Library is done so by graduate students, undergrads and faculty of the College.  Students and faculty from Mathematics, Business, Chemistry, Physics, Industrial Design, Architecture, Medical and Geology also use the collection.  Collection development is directed toward the primary users of the College.  Requests for purchases by non-College patrons are honored if they fall within the scope of the engineering programs.

Quantitative information . Users .  The College has about 143 full-time faculty and 6 research faculty.  Faculty conduct about $21 million in sponsored research annually.  Of the 2,950 students, about 1,000 are graduate students (800 FTE).  The Ph.D. programs and research activity place the most pressure on collection development. Activity level .  Over fifty percent of all materials circulate to graduate students.  Much of the undergraduate activity is for reserve material.  Total check-outs are approximately 25,000 annually.  Another 4,000 items are used in-house annually. Much material is online. The web site receives over 170,000 hits per year.

Degrees granted .  Degrees in nine undergraduate programs (B.S.) and 15 graduate programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) are offered.  Heavy emphasis has been placed on graduate programs and research since 1970.

Special programs and accreditation requirements . Special programs are offered in the Engineering College.  These are the Advanced Course in Engineering, the Advanced Course in Manufacturing, and the Perry Educational (Nuclear) Program.

The library must pass the accreditation requirements of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), which accredits the Engineering College once every six years.  This accreditation process examines primarily the undergraduate program.

All students are prepared for the Professional Licensing Examinations for the State of Ohio.  The Engineering College at UC has a high percentage of graduates who take and pass this exam compared with other Ohio schools.

Research focus, grants, special funding .  Many courses and research efforts are conducted in conjunction with support from external agencies such as NASA, NSF, EPA (environmental engineering, water and sewage treatment), NIOSH (safety engineering) and the US Air Force.   There are many specially funded labs, research centers, and centers of excellence .


Location of collection .  The majority of the Engineering collection is located in the Engineering College at 850 Baldwin Hall, with portions in SWORD and local storage facilities.  Approximately 30% of the collection is at SWORD, including journal volumes before 1985 and older monographs.  The Department of Energy (DOE) microfiche predating 1993 are located in the microform area at Langsam (1980-1992) or in storage (1976-1980).

Other collections supporting program . Internal .  Other UC collections are important for engineering students and faculty.  They are at the CAS, Geology/Math/Physics, Chemistry/Biology, DAAP, Langsam, and AIT&L libraries.  Historically, engineering faculty and students have checked out over 25% of the Math materials, 15-20% at both Geology/Physics and CAS, over 10% at Chemistry/Biology, 3% at AIT&L, and about 1% at DAAP.
External .  Engineering patrons also use OhioLINK, the EPA Library, the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, and some industrial libraries.

Collection history
.  Engineering was taught at the University of Cincinnati as early as 1874.  The first department was formed before 1900.  The College was founded in 1905.  The engineering collection has been housed in Baldwin Hall since the erection of the building in 1912.  In 1919, the Colleges of Commerce and Engineering merged.  In 1922, the Department of Architecture was established in Engineering and became the School of Applied Arts (now DAAP) in 1925.  The College of Business Administration grew out of the Commerce Department in 1946.  The chemistry collection originally included chemical engineering.  The chemical engineering materials were eventually transferred to engineering.  In 1994, the Computer Science Department at the University of Cincinnati moved to the Engineering College.  The Computer Science collection previously housed in the Mathematics Library was moved to the Engineering Library in 1995.

The College is famous for its cooperative education program, founded by Dean Herman Schneider in 1906. The cooperative education concept originated in Cincinnati.  Emphasis was placed on the undergraduate program up through 1970.  Because the cooperative terms were short compared with the rest of the university, the College taught its own service courses such as English, math, and sciences.  Some remnants in the collection reveal that the library supported the service courses.  Today service courses are taught by other units at UC, and the Engineering Library purchases only engineering materials.

By 1970, the College responded to the push for research, a push which took place during the 1960s at other institutions.  By the time UC began to support growth and research, funding sources were not plentiful.  Thus the collection did not receive the growth funds received by other comparable universities.  In 1976, the monographic budget jumped to a higher level in order to meet the research demands.  In recent years, high inflation rates have affected purchase power.  Access to OhioLINK resources has offset the effects of inflation on collections to a certain degree.

General level of collecting .  Because of the nature of the cooperative program at UC, emphasis was placed on supporting courses of study only.  In 1976, the collecting goal advanced to the research level.  While some major journals, monographic series, standards, technical report collections, and conference proceedings are lacking for full research support, they are acquired through Interlibrary Loan.


Call numbers .  Almost all call numbers in the Engineering Library collection fall in the Q (20%) and T (70%) classifications.  The subdivisions and their relative size in the collection are as follows:










































Other classifications are HD (industrial management) 1%,  HE (transportation) 1%,  K (codes) negligible, RA (health physics) negligible, and UG (military engineering) negligible, VM (naval engineering) negligible and Z (bibliography) 3%.

Current and retrospective collecting .  The Engineering Library purchases almost exclusively current materials.  Little retrospective collecting is done, except in the area of journal back runs for titles frequently requested through Interlibrary Loan or titles in new areas.  When funding permits, retrospective collecting is done to support new or weak areas such as biomedical engineering.  Budget and space do not permit the purchase and housing of large retrospective collections.  Further, care is taken to remove out-dated materials which do not represent current standards and methods.  Key classic works are preserved.

Time period collected .  Only current materials are purchased with the exception of  replacing missing items or filling a specific gap.  Out-of-print  materials are occasionally purchased if the item is a classic that has not been superseded.  The history of engineering is covered only modestly.

Levels and treatments .  Purchases are directed toward the upper undergraduate and graduate/research levels.  A few basic texts for undergraduates are purchased or accepted as gifts to amplify their study needs.  Upper level texts are purchased if relevant to the programs.  The texts ordered by the bookstore are regularly reviewed and ordered selectively.

Basic, how-to, non-technical materials for public consumption are not purchased.  The exceptions are a few magazines to entice students into the library.  The emphasis is rather on theory, design, and technical applications.  Research materials are purchased but only if they relate to the programs in the College.  Occasional books are purchased in peripheral areas if they provide a good single source of information in an area of some interest.  Computer manuals are available online through Safari and not purchased.

Languages .  Only English language monographs are purchased.  Very few foreign journals are received, remnants of previous purchasing policies.

Geographical areas .  Geographical area does not play a role in selection for the engineering collection.  The application is generally of more interest.  Thus the application of solar techniques in specific geographic areas might be selected if technical in nature. Other examples are low-cost construction (for third-world countries), water supply engineering (in underdeveloped countries), and global air pollution problems.  Books based on foreign standards, such as a British construction text, are avoided.

Special aspects .  The Engineering Library has limited funds for purchasing non-technical works relating to engineering.  Very occasionally a history of technology is purchased if it is a basic resource or if it related to one of the strong academic areas.  Selected books on engineering as a profession, women in engineering, engineering ethics, philosophy, economics, and engineering in society are purchased.

Types of resources .  Journals are the most important resource for engineering research.  Books are important for student study.  Technical reports are important for research.  Conference proceedings are akin to journals in importance since they contain recent information on research.  Industrial standards and manufacturing catalogs are important for projects because they provide guidance in testing and design.  Society publications are extremely important because societies sponsor many important conference and research activities and have active publishing programs.  Dissertations are important in engineering but are generally borrowed rather than purchased if not available online.  Patents are an important source of information.

Resource formats (including electronic) .  Most engineering books and journals are in paper format, although online journals represent about 65% of the journal subscriptions.  Some computer books are available online from OhioLINK, and many online book collections have been purchased with general as well as gift funds.  Technical reports, government documents, industrial standards and conference materials, formerly purchased in paper or microfiche, are becoming increasingly available online.  A very few multimedia items are purchased and housed at Multimedia Services in Langsam Library. Some materials come with CD's.  Most subject indexes are now available online, and a very few are still on CD Rom.  Except for books, online format is preferred in all areas. Online book collections are useful if there is a search interface to search the content of all of them at once. Examples are Knovel, CRCbaseNET, and Referex. Online encyclopedias are also popular, but expensive.

The College of Engineering & Applied Science Library web site provides lists and links to relevant online materials.  Links are also created in the Library Catalog as quickly as possible.  The site includes a complete list of science and engineering-related databases available either through the web at UC, OhioLINK, the Internet, or local CD Rom stations, and other online resources.

Endowed areas . In addition to receiving UC General Funds, the Engineering Library has the following restricted funds:  Bott, Breen, Dryer, Krug, Terry, and Schlemmer.  All of these permit purchase of engineering materials in the broadest sense. Restricted funds are often used to support new areas of interest.  Restricted funds have been utilized in recent years to support many of the electronic resources in the Engineering Library and to purchase occasional new journal titles.


Approval plans .  Engineering participates in an approval plan with YBP.  This plan supplies monographs from many of the major publishers in engineering.

Firm orders .  Many desired publications are announced by notification slips from the approval vendors and purchased from them.  Other non-approval materials are direct-ordered or ordered through vendors by the Acquisitions Department.  Society publications especially fall in this category.

Standing orders .  Standing orders are important in engineering.  Many conference proceedings are received on standing order when possible.  When not possible, a tickler system reminds us to purchase the proceedings each year.  Standing orders are also set up for large sets such as the Book of ASTM Standards, the Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, ASM Handbook, etc.

Document Suppliers .   The Engineering Library works with Interlibrary Loan to help researchers access journal and conference materials not held in the collection.  Suppliers include CISTI (Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information), the British Library Document Supply Centre (BLDSC) for articles and conference papers, and the Linda Hall Library for engineering societies publications and AIAA papers.  Some articles and conference papers are ordered and received electronically, often in less than 24-hours.  In addition, OhioLINK is used to locate and request many books and conference proceedings not normally purchased for the Engineering Library.  The OhioLINK delivery service provides delivery of materials in 3-5 working days.

Special vendors .  Engineering does not generally require special vendors other than those typically used by Acquisitions for sci/tech purchases.  The library does however have the availability of a credit card (in Accounting) to purchase government research technical reports from NTIS.

Unique sources .  The unique sources for engineering are society publishers, companies, universities or research institutes which have report series not generally available.  Several government agencies (e.g., NASA, DOE, AGARD) provide technical reports which are not necessarily part of the GPO distribution.  The Engineering Library receives a number of the NIST series on civil, chemical and mechanical topic on microfiche through the GPO distribution.
Dorothy F. Byers
January 25, 2007

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