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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject




Subjects covered .  The physics collection contains a diversity of publications in classical and modern physics.  The aim of this collection policy is to critically select materials for the following research specialties in theoretical and experimental physics in the Department of Physics.  In the area of theoretical physics, the major areas covered are astrophysics and relativity, atmospheric and space physics, atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter theory and statistical physics, and elementary particles and fields.  In experimental physics areas covered include condensed matter, materials science, low temperature physics, optics, high-energy physics, and medical physics.  Astronomy and astrophysics materials are also purchased from the physics budget line, as these programs are a part of the UC Department of Physics.

Departments and users served .  The physics collection primarily supports the research and teaching efforts of the Department of Physics at the University of Cincinnati.  The mission is to maintain a timely collection capable of strengthening the department's teaching objectives and supporting its research specialties by keeping constant with new developments in physics.  The collection also serves the Chemistry, Biology and Geology Departments in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Chemical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical, Industrial and Nuclear Engineering Departments in the College of Engineering.  Materials from the Observatory Collection form a valuable historical resource to scholars nationwide.  The Balinkin Color Collection supports users in the College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning.

Quantitative information .  The Department of Physics presently has 29 full-time faculty, 7 emeriti, 6 post-docs and instructors, and 3 visitor and adjunct professors.  There are about 60 graduate students currently enrolled in the physics program.

Degrees granted .  The Department of Physics offers Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

Special programs and accreditation requirements .  At present there are no special programs or accreditation requirements.

Research focus, grants, special funding .  Special funding to purchase materials on the physics of light and color for the Isay Balinkin Color Collection augments university funding for physics.


Location of the collection .  The major portion of the physics collection is housed in the Geology/Physics Library in 240 Braunstein Hall.  Many lapsed journal titles and most of the Observatory Collection materials are located in remote storage.

Other collections supporting program .

Internal .   The physics collection is supported primarily by chemistry, mathematics, and engineering collections and, to a lesser degree, by the biology, geology and medical collections.

External.   Physics patrons tend to be very heavy users of the collections of OhioLINK libraries, especially for graduate level texts and for unique conference proceedings volumes.

Collection history .  The Physics library has served the Department of Physics as a departmental library since 1929.  Before that, the physics collection was part of the University General Library.  For an interim time of fourteen years, the Physics Library housed the mathematics collection that was moved into separate quarters in 1974.  In 1987, the Physics and Geology Departments jointly occupied a newly constructed Geology/Physics Building and three years later the Physics and Geology Libraries merged their collections into a combined Geology/Physics Library.

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.  With the recent increase in available materials funds, conference proceedings and other ephemeral materials not available at other OhioLINK libraries are being purchased as funds permit.


Call numbers .  Most materials fall into the QC and QB classifications.  Materials in QA, QD, T, R, and Z are collected selectively.

Current and retrospective collecting .  Most materials purchased are current imprints.  Older or out-of-print materials are occasionally purchased to replace missing items, add additional copies of heavily used materials, 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.   Current collection efforts in physics focus on recent scholarship.  Historically materials in classical physics and the history of physics and astronomy have been collected.  The Observatory Collection contains many early books and journal runs in astronomy commencing with the first volume beginning in the nineteenth century.

Levels and treatment.   Most purchases are directed toward upper undergraduate, graduate and research levels.  Materials are selected for their relevance to current faculty research interests and teaching requirements of the Department of Physics.  Upper level texts are purchased as needed.

Languages .  English is the language of communication and publication for most current materials in physics, thus most current purchases are for materials in the English Language.  Older materials held were published in a variety of European languages.  The historic Observatory Collection is rich in nineteenth and twentieth century materials published in foreign languages.

Geographical areas.   Place is not a factor in physics and astronomy publication collecting.

Special aspects .  The Observatory Collection is being integrated into the physics collection and that portion which is not housed in the Geology/Physics Library is being moved to the Southwest Ohio Regional Depository.

Types of resources .  Monographs, periodicals, continuations and monographic series are all of importance to the physics collection.

Resource formats (including electronic) .  Library materials purchased for physics historically have been in paper format.  An increasing number of journals in full text are becoming available via the web versions of UCLID and OhioLINK.  Nearly 75% of the mainstream physics journals, as well as INSPEC, the main database, are now available electronically via web based sources, allowing users to do much of their current research via office or home computers.

Endowed areas supported by restricted funds .  The physics collection receives a small amount of funding from the Isay Balinkin fund for purchase of materials on the area of the physics of color and light.


Approval plans .  Physics participates in the Yankee Book Peddler (YBP) Approval Plan.

Firm orders .  Approval slips are the major source of ordering materials purchased from physics funds. This allows UC to take advantage of YBP discounts.  Most firm orders are for rush materials or faculty suggested items outside the YBP profile.

Standing orders .  Standing orders are important for purchase of monographic series from several major societies and materials in series from major publishers.

Document suppliers .  The physics collection relies heavily on direct patron access through OhioLINK 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 .  Physics does not generally require special vendors other than those used by the Acquisitions Department.

Unique sources .  None are required to obtain physics materials.

Richard A.  Spohn
November 22, 2000

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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