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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject




Subjects covered .  The geography collection has historically supported the subject areas of urban geography, economic geography, cultural geography, political geography, historical geography, physical geography, cartography, migration studies, regional economic development, demography, air photo interpretation, climatology and general meteorology.  Spatial aspects of many disciplines (e.g. medicine, crime, etc.) are also included in materials purchased by geography.  During the past decade the focus of the Geography Department has changed emphasis from a strong focus on human geography to one with more emphasis of aspects of physical geography.  This shift reflects the greater availability of jobs for M.A. and Ph.D. graduates in environmental related job fields.  Soil science, geomorphology (especially of cold climate areas), and biogeography are the specialties of the most recently tenured faculty. The emerging area of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) has become a new focus of the department during the 1990's.  Both the A&S Geography Department and the School of Planning from DAAP offer strong programs in the use of GIS applications.  These two departments frequently coordinate their efforts in teaching and accessing this rapidly expanding technology.  More than 20 campus departments and colleges share an interest in having their students and faculty learn and use this technology.  For graduates in geography, planning, civil engineering, and aspects of many other disciplines, a basic knowledge of GIS is now an essential tool for obtaining a job.

Departments and users served .  The geography collection primarily serves the Geography Department.  It also serves the School of Planning in the College of DAAP which has several geographers on its staff.  Because of the nature of the discipline of geography, materials purchased with geography funds have the potential of being used by a large portion of the campus and local community. Other major UC users of geography related materials are Sociology, Anthropology, History, Economics, Marketing, Biology, Geology, and Civil & Environmental Engineering.  Local planning and environmental consultants also make use of the geography materials.  Maps, plus National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) depository and other climatological data, receive frequent use from the local community and the entire UC community.  TIGER/line census files, digital line graph (DLG) data, and digital raster graphic (DRG) data on CD-ROM are loaned to users from the various labs that use GIS on the UC campus.

Quantitative information .  The Geography Department presently has 10 full-time faculty and 2 part-time faculty and has 14 graduate students pursuing M.A. degrees and 24 students pursuing Ph.D. degrees.

Degrees granted .  The Geography Department offers Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Special programs and accreditation requirements .  A certificate in Historic Preservation may be pursued concurrently and the Geography Department participates in certificate programs offered in Asian Studies and Judaic Studies.  The Geography Department also offers an M.A. degree jointly with a Master of Community Planning (MCP) degree.

Research focus, grants, special funding .  University funding for the geography collection is supplemented by the materials received on the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Depository (see special collections statement).

General Description of Collection

Location of collection .  About half of the geography collection is housed in the Langsam Library, mostly in 5E.  The portion of the collection housed in Langsam Library includes most of those monographs and serials that contain geography materials primarily relating to the social sciences (cultural, historical, urban, political and economic geography, demography and migration studies). Materials related to the physical sciences are housed in the Geology/Physics Library in 240 Braunstein (physical geography, climatology, air photo interpretation, general meteorology, soil science, and cartography).  Most materials on the UC campus relating to Geographic Information Systems, including CD-ROM data files and maps, are housed in the Geology/Physics Library.  This resulted from agreements reached with other selectors in the mid 1990's.  All new materials purchased with geography funds are now housed in the Geology/Physics Library.  Older sets of AAG serials that are no longer received on exchange and other peripheral materials are being put into the Southwest Ohio Depository storage facility. 

Other collections supporting program

Internal .  Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of geography a large number of other collections support the program. Support depends on the type of research being conducted by geographers.  All social sciences, geology, history, civil & environmental engineering, math, computer science, biology, classics, planning, and architecture collections support the specific needs of geography faculty and students at UC.

External .  Geography patrons also use the collections of OhioLINK libraries and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County extensively.  As well, they use materials from the EPA Library, the Cincinnati Historical Society and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Planning Agency.

Collection history .  In 1951, Geography Department's materials were brought together with materials from the Central Library in Old Tech.  These materials were combined with the geology collection to form the Geology/Geography Library.  The collection was maintained as one unit in 103 Old Tech until 1968 when most AAG materials were transferred to the Central Library because of overcrowding in the Old Tech facility.  In 1978, overcrowding forced the removal of social science related materials to the new Langsam Library.  All materials purchased for physical geography programs continued to be housed in the Geology Library in Old Tech.  These materials were moved to the new combined Geology/Physics Library that opened in 1990.  The Geography Department's map collection became a part of the Willis G. Meyer Map Collection at that time. (See separate statement.)

General level of collecting.   In general the level of collecting intensity is mostly focused on instructional support and support of the current faculty and graduate student research interests.  Only the serials collection, especially for western and central Europe, which is augmented by the AAG Depository materials could be considered research level.  Ephemeral materials that focus on Latin America and the Caribbean area are purchased to support the OhioLINK research collection.

Specific Aspects of Collection

Call numbers .  Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of geography, materials purchased with geography funds fall into a broad range of LC classifications.  Most materials fall into the G, GA, GB, HB, HC, HD, QC, QH and S classifications. Occasionally, purchased materials also D?DT, E, F, GN, Q and RA class numbers.

Current and retrospective collecting .  Most materials purchased are current imprints.  Older and OP materials are occasionally purchased to replace missing items or to acquire a classic in the field.  Recent back issues of journals may be acquired when a new journal title is ordered.

Time period collected .  The geography collection covers the entire history of the discipline from its beginnings as a separate discipline in the 1890's. 

Levels and treatments .  Most purchases are directed toward upper undergraduate, graduate and research levels.  Materials are selected for their relevance to the current research interests and teaching requirements of the Geography Department. Upper level texts are purchased as needed.  General introductory texts are purchased to maintain a basic collection for meteorology and weather.

Languages .  Most monograph purchases are English language titles. Specific requests by faculty members for foreign language titles are honored.  Nearly all journal titles purchased are in the English language.  However, many titles in modern European languages and a few titles in non-European languages are received via the AAG Depository.  Monograph titles in Spanish or Portuguese are considered to develop the OhioLINK research collection for Latin America and the Caribbean area.

Geographical areas .  Materials purchased for the geography collection may be about anywhere in the world, since regional geography is an important part of the program.  However, due to limited funds, highest priority is given to purchase those materials that meet the current research needs of the faculty and students of the department.  Latin American and Caribbean area materials are purchased for the OhioLINK research collection.

Special aspects .  The Geography Department's map collection was integrated into the Willis G. Meyer Map Collection when the Geology/Physics Library opened in January 1990 (see special collections statement).  Climatological data are received from NOAA on the Federal Depository Program.

Types of resources .  Monographs, periodicals, continuations, monographic series, maps, and government documents are all of importance to the geography collection.

Resource formats (including electronic) .  Library materials for geography are mainly books, journals, and maps in paper format.  An increasing number of journals in full text are becoming available via the web through UCLID and OhioLINK.  NOAA depository materials (climatic data and climate related information) are received mainly on microfiche and CD-ROM.  TIGER/Line Census Files, Census of Population and Housing, Digital Line Graph (DLG) data, and Digital Raster Graphic (DRG) data also are received as CD-ROM products.  Much of the 2000 Census data and most topographic map revisions will be distributed via the Internet. OhioView data will also be available in this manner.  Topographic maps also will continue to be distributed in paper format for the foreseeable future.

Endowed areas supported by restricted funds .  The geography collection is not supported by any restricted funds.

Acquisition Processes

Approval plans .  Geography participates in the Yankee Book Peddler (YBP) Approval Plan.  Because of the cross-disciplinary nature of geography and the problem of primary geography materials falling into many LC classifications, many core geography materials are now selected by other selectors, purchased from other fund lines, and housed away from the main geography collection.

Firm orders .  Approval slips are a major source of ordering materials purchased from geography funds.  Most firm orders are for foreign, small or societal publishers or for rush materials and CD-ROM products.

Standing orders .  Standing orders have historically been an important source of acquiring publication series from U.S. and Canadian geography departments.  Some series of this type are still acquired on standing order, however, the number of geography departments issuing these series and the number of items published annually is declining.

Document suppliers .  The geography collection relies heavily on direct patron access through OhioLINK and the Library's Interlibrary Loan Department for access to items that are not in the University of Cincinnati collection, are in circulation, or are missing from the UC collection.

Special vendors .  Geography does not generally require special vendors other than those used by the Acquisitions Department.

Unique sources .  Climatic data are acquired from NOAA through the Federal Depository Program.  Most geography foreign language serials are acquired via the AAG Depository.

Richard A. Spohn
July 14, 2000

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