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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject

General Reference Collection Langsam Library

General Reference Collection Langsam Library


Subjects covered :  The general reference collection in Langsam Library is developed to meet the informational needs of faculty and students who are not served by one of the University's college or departmental libraries.  Subjects represented in the general reference collection fall within the humanities and social science branches and include reference materials in the disciplines of anthropology, business, economics, education, geography, history, philosophy, political science, psychology, languages, literature, social work, sociology, religion, theater, and the African American, Asian, Judaic, and women's studies programs.  However, because the university is large and the college and departmental libraries are variously located, as a service to patrons the general reference collection in Langsam also includes some basic, highly selective key reference works in the arts, law, science, technology, and medicine.

Departments and users served :  The general reference collection serves the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Business Administration and University College.  The general reference collection also serves the remaining colleges within the university community when their faculty and students may have need for reference materials of a general nature or for reference materials related to disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.  Reference needs of library staff members are also accommodated by the reference department.


Location :  The general reference collection is located on the 4th floor of Langsam Library, but also extends to the circulating bibliographies within the Z classification on the 6th floor of Langsam Library.  Reference materials in micro format are housed in the Media Department.  Superseded reference materials are shelved within their appropriate call number range within Langsam Library or are sent to the Southwest Ohio Regional Storage Depository. A few superseded reference editions are sent to departmental libraries. Reference materials designated as Reference Reserve are shelved at the Circulation Desk.  A limited number of reference aids to the use of specific government documents are shelved on a special range in the Government Documents collection.

Collection history :  University Libraries has collected reference materials since the establishment of the first library on the third floor of McMicken Hall in 1895.  The present general reference collection has been in place since the opening of Langsam Library in 1978.

General level of collecting :  The general reference collection includes materials at the basic through research levels.


Call numbers :  A-Z

Current and retrospective collecting :  Emphasis is placed on the acquisition of current reference materials but some retrospective collecting is also practiced through the purchase of reprinted reference works. Older, classic reference publications that need to be replaced due to wear may be purchased in reprinted, microform, or electronic editions.

Time period collected :  All chronological periods are included in the general reference collection.

Levels and treatments :  Reference works in the library's general reference collection are academic in nature and are intended to meet the study and research needs of undergraduate and graduate students and of faculty and researchers.

Languages :  English and major western European languages predominate in the reference collection.  The dictionary collection is more representative of the world's diverse languages.

Geographic areas :  All geographical areas are included.

Types of materials collected :  Reference materials are intended for consultation and are non-circulating except by special permission.  Reference publications consist of abstracts, annuals, atlases, bibliographies, collective biography, dictionaries, directories, encyclopedias, guides, indexes, manuals, maps, and yearbooks.

Resource formats :  The general reference collection includes print, microform, and electronic formats.


Approval plans :  The general reference collection participates in the approval plan supplied by Yankee Book Peddler.

Firm orders :  Most of the reference collection is acquired through firm orders of items selected from a variety of sources including notification slips, direct mail brochures, publisher catalogs, book reviewing publications, and recommendations from subject bibliographers.

Standing orders :  The reference collection maintains standing orders for abstracts, annuals, directories, indexes, and yearbooks.

Special vendors :  The Acquisitions Department determines the need for special vendors. 

Sally Moffitt

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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