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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject

Mathematical Sciences



Subjects covered. The primary responsibility of collection development for mathematics and the Mathematics Library is to support the teaching, learning, and research needs in the mathematical sciences for the faculty and students at the University of Cincinnati.

Priorities for support are:

1. The teaching, learning and research needs of the Department of Mathematical Sciences on a graduate and research level.

2. The teaching and learning needs of the Department of Mathematical Sciences on the undergraduate level.

3. Needs of students and faculty in other departments who use mathematics as a tool in their studies and research.

Departments and users served. Publications in the field of mathematics are of interest not only to mathematicians but to faculty, students and other patrons in varied fields including all sciences, technology, medicine and the humanities. Math faculty use the math collection proportionally more heavily than other faculty use their collections. Math undergraduates uses the collection proportionally less than most.

Circulation percentages by user category for the following libraries
May 1999 - April 2000


Patron Type

Math Lib 

Engr Lib 



































Quantitative information. The Mathematics Department presently comprises forty-four permanent faculty, including a Taft endowed professor. There are approximately seventy graduate students. Undergraduate student majors usually number between fifty and sixty. Approximately 40 of these undergraduate students are in a double major program with Computer Science, Physics, Education, Economics, etc.

The department offers extensive service courses including: Calculus (approximately 700 students per quarter), Elementary Probability and Statistics (approximately 700 students per quarter), Finite Math and Calculus (approximately 650 students per quarter), and Topics in Mathematics (approximately 500 students per quarter).

Degrees Granted. Degrees offered by the Mathematics Department are: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy. From July 1996 to June 1997, 19 BAs were awarded, 24 MAs, and 4 PhDs.

Special programs and accreditation requirements. The Department must pass the North Central Accreditation along with the rest of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Research focus, grants, special funding.
Major undergraduate areas of interest include: History of Mathematics; Mathematics Education; Combinatorics and Discrete Mathematics; Algebra; Analysis; Differential Equations; Geometry; Topology; Numerical Analysis; Probability and Statistics; Assorted Applied Areas.

Graduate areas of study include more specialized topics from the list of undergraduate areas of interest; the particular emphasis tends to change with the passage of time. The faculty of the Department of Mathematical Sciences has a broad range of interests; and they have been well supported by our libraries effort to maintain a first-rate collection in all the major areas of mathematics. As one of the two comprehensive mathematical research facilities in Ohio, our Department wishes to see the policy of support continued.

During the 1999-2000 acadmic year mathematics Faculty worked on eleven active grants or contracts worth $424,831. They published about 30 articles that were picked up in Science Citation Index.


Location of Collection. The Mathematics Collection is housed in the Mathematics Library located in Room 840 of the Old Chemistry Building.

Other collections supporting program.
Internal - The needs of our users are supported primarily by the collections of the Engineering and the Langsam Libraries.

This chart shows usage of the following collections
by the "home library" of the patron
for all items checked out after May 25, 1999 and still out on May 25, 2000

Home Library of patron     Math                     Engr Library          Geo/Phys        Chem/Bio      Langsam
Engineering                          45%                             74%                       32%                   23%                 8%
Langsam                               46% (Langsam = "home" library) 19% 59% (Langsam = "home library") 60% (Langsam = "home library") 72%
DAAP                                     0.0%                              3%                         4%                     2%                 7%
OCAS                                     0.0%                              2%                      0.5%                  0.0%             0.9%
Health Sciences                    0.4%                              2%                         2%                   13%                 3%

Collection history. The Mathematics Library supports the teaching, learning, and research needs of the students and faculty at the University of Cincinnati, and makes acquisitions so that these goals and the perceived needs of future students or scholars can continue to be met. Acquisitions have been continuous in varying degrees since the university was established.

An autonomous Mathematics Library was established in 1972 when the mathematics collection was separated from the Physics Library. In 1983 Computer Science was separated from Math and given a separate budget, but the collection continued to be housed with the math collection. During the summer of 1995 the Computer Science collection was separated from Math and moved to the Engineering Library when the Computer Science Department moved from the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences to the College of Engineering.

The monographic collection in the Math Library includes many works of prominent early mathematicians and most of the significant publications. The library has been fortunate to have at its disposal monies from the Taft funds for retrospective collection which has made possible the purchase of needed back sets of journals. This enabled the library to gradually build up an excellent collection of journals. There have been a number of forced cancellations due to budgetary constraints in recent years; but the collection remains desirably broad and reasonably good in depth in the various major areas.

General level of collecting intensity. Upper level pure and applied mathematics publications are collected, especially, algebra, analysis, combinatorics and discrete mathematics, differential and difference equations, geometry, history of mathematics, mathematical logic, mathematics education, numerical analysis, probability and statistics, set theory and topology. Because the curriculum for undergraduates in mathematics requires few materials beyond the textbook for the course, the acquisition of materials in this area is minimal. There is heavy use of reserve material by undergraduates; reserve material is provided by the faculty or the department office. These materials are not usually added to the permanent collection. Exceptional textbooks are occasionally added to supplement texts and for historical value.


Call numbers. The principal call numbers in mathematics are the QA's in the Library of Congress classification. There are over 60,000 QA's at U.C. 52% are in the Math Library; 14% are in the Engineering Library, mostly in computer science; 11 % are in storage and 6% are at OCAS.

Current and retrospective collecting.
In the main, the Math Library purchases current material. Out-of-print catalogs are followed for carefully selected titles on historical mathematics. Such titles are typically purchased with Taft funds. Completeness of serial runs is also sought.

Time period collected. All significant titles are collected regardless of date of publication. All collected works of prominent mathematicians are collected. Historical materials are also collect to support the teaching in the history of mathematics.

Levels and treatments. The collection primarily serves graduate students, faculty and advanced researchers. Materials are collected on a broad basis at this level. Popular works, lower level textbooks and mathematical recreations are not usually collected.

Languages. English is the preferred language, although there are a number of books and journals that must be collected in their original language since translations do not exist. German, French, Russian and Italian are the predominant languages. Ph.D. candidates are required to show "competence in reading mathematics in French, German or Russian."

Geographical Areas. Materials are collected from all geographical areas.

Special aspects. The depth or age of a collection in mathematics is of special importance. Research materials do not become obsolete and are more than historically significant. Conjectures, theorems and problems from the past are studied, reworked and improved and are vital in various applications to the progress of modern science and technology.

The Farr Collection
This collection was given in memory of Benjamin Gatch Farr. It was given to the library in the mid 1970's along with a locking bookcase. It has evolved into a collection of about 70 old books on mathematics. A few are from the original Farr library, but others are from the Robert Clark collection of early Americana given to the University in 1898, the William Merrill collection of engineering books donated in 1901, and the Timothy Day collection from the Ohio Mechanics Institute. There are also books from the Physics and Engineering libraries; many others have been purchased with Taft funds. We continue to add to this collection, usually using Taft monies.
Types of resources. Most of the collection is books and journals. Math has only one journal with back set microfiche and one preprint series on microfiche. Computer software to accompany printed material is acquired as needed. Math has a video collection of approximately 70 titles. Approximately 40% of the more than 200 journals currently received are available online, at least in part.
Resource formats.
Monographs are important for mathematics, in paper and online. One excellent online example is the Cornell University Library Math Book Collection. Journals and conferences are also important, both in paper and online. Mathematics journals are available online from resources such as OhioLINK's Electronic Journal Center and the American Mathematical Society.

Math patrons use a variety of electronic databases, especially MathSciNet, the online form of Mathematical Reviews. This resource is available through OhioLINK to the desktop. The other important mathematics database is ZentralBlatt fur Mathematik which is available on the web from the European Mathematical Society. Math Library patrons also use Science Citation Index (The Web of Science), Dissertation Abstracts (Digital Dissertations) and other electronic databases.

Math patrons use other electronic resources such as preprints and e-print archives. Examples include the Preprint Series from the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications, Mathematics ArXiv from the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Directory of Mathematics Preprint and e-Print Servers from the American Mathematical Society.

Endowed Areas. In addition to the monies from the library operating budget the Math collection is supported with Taft funds.


Approval plans. YBP (Yankee Book Peddler) provides approval plans service for U.C. .

Firm orders. Firm-ordered materials, new serials, and standing orders are selected in consultation with Mathematics Department faculty through the library liaison. This process has worked particularly well in this department. Slips or forms for new titles are distributed to the relevant faculty members by the library liaison. In this way the faculty member most knowledgeable about an area can assist in deciding which titles to add. The library liaison has been most helpful about filling the gaps in areas were individual faculty members may not have been forthcoming.

Standing orders. All American Mathematical Society Series are received on standing order. Many series standing orders exist with publishers particularly strong in mathematics.

Document suppliers.
Math patrons use interlibrary loan through the Langsam Library and other document suppliers several times a month.

Special vendors. Special vendors are not usually needed for mathematics. Occasionally Math uses rare book vendors for works of historical interest.

Unique sources. The American Mathematical Society is the most important unique source for mathematics. The Mathematical Association of American is also important.

Lucy Wilson
October 13, 2000

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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