At a glance

Swain Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Library

Supplement 2

Supplemental guidelines for the technology conspectus

Engineering information comes in a variety of forms including books, which focus on a given topic, often providing historical perspective or overviews of the state-of-the-art; journals which contribute technical articles on the most recent research and current practices; government research reports and documents which supply even more timely information on research in progress; validated numerical engineering data on material properties, their physical, chemical, and electrical characteristics, which is often found in handbooks, manuals, computerized databases, or subscription data sets; specific product information including sizes, composition, configuration, performance characteristics, compatibility, availability and vendors for a wide range of engineering components and equipment; and industry standards and specifications.

Since the primary literature sources which support engineering research include monographs, in addition to the periodical literature, it is, therefore, appropriate to consult the standard guide to the engineering literature, Publications Indexed for Engineering, which annually lists the materials abstracted in Engineering Index. The Engineering Index includes the world’s technological literature in all engineering disciplines, covering about 3,000 journals, technical reports, monographs, and conference proceedings. Since it does not cover standards, patents, theses, product information or data sources, determination of Existing Collection Strengths and of Current Collecting Intensity must also consider the institution’s holdings and the availability of these additional sources as appropriate in each engineering discipline. The interdisciplinary nature of technical information makes it appropriate that this one source be consulted when evaluating collection strength in the “T” conspectus.

The values assigned should reflect your institution’s collection, considering portions of the technology collection which may be housed in campus libraries other than the primary engineering library.

In determining the appropriate Existing Collection Strength and Current Collecting Intensity, it is important to recognized that at various times during the past twenty years, many technical libraries may have significantly decreased their level of monograph collecting in order to preserve the integrity of their periodical collections. The result of such a history might means that the extent of both measures might vary by format. Such discrepancies, as they may have occurred, should be noted. Additionally, where a library has undergone significant journal cancellation projects, the existence of a current subscription should be the determining factor in deciding Current Collection Intensity.

When assigning values for both measures, the collection evaluation should consider that the values and definitions describe collections and collecting policies absolutely, not relatively, and assume a broad cognizance of all facets of collecting. When the value describes Existing Collection Strength, it should relate to national shelflist measurement and should reflect what is actually owned and on the shelves, not the totality of the institution’s shelf list (if it includes missing and lost materials). The value for Current Collecting Intensity, should represent the actual collection practices of a library, if budget or other factors cause the collection policy to be inconsistent with practice.

The following definitions should be applied as uniformly as possible to achieve consistency. Each succeeding level of collecting is presumed to be inclusive of those which precede it.

  1. Out of scope: The library does not collect in this area.
  2. Minimal level: A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works.
  3. Basic information level: A highly selective and up-to-date collection of general materials which serves to introduce and define the subject, and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It includes a representative selection of dictionaries, encyclopedias, historical surveys, access to appropriate bibliographic data bases, bibliographies, and handbooks, in the minimum number that will serve the purpose. It contains selected editions of textbooks and monographs listed in Books for College Libraries and contains a few periodicals covered by a source like Applied Science and Technology Index. A basic information collection is not sufficiently intensive to support any advanced undergraduate or graduate level courses or independent study in the subject area.
  4. Instructional support level: A selective collection which is adequate to support undergraduate and MOST graduate instruction, or sustained independent study within a curriculum; that is, a collection which is adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes major reference tools for the pertinent subject, significant indexing and abstracting services, access to appropriate non-bibliographic data bases, a broad selection of major textbooks, monographs, and government documents, and a wide range of basic periodicals, including at least 30 percent of the titles pertinent to the subject in Publications Indexed for Engineering.
  5. Research level: A collection which contains the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including specialized reference tools, conference proceedings, professional society publications, technical reports, government documents, multiple editions of most textbooks and monographs, older or superseded materials which are retained for historical research and at least 50 percent of the titles pertinent to the subject in Publications Indexed for Engineering. While English materials may predominate, the collection should contain important materials in other languages (especially those of industrialized nations in Western Europe, the Asia-Pacific Basin and Eastern Europe.)
  6. Comprehensive level: A collection in which the library endeavors, insofar as possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (including publications, manuscripts, and other formats) in all applicable languages for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is one that aims for, if not achieves, exhaustiveness. This level of Current Collecting Intensity would maintain a national resource collection of technical journals, containing at least 90 percent of the titles pertinent to the subject in Publications Indexes for Engineering and 100 percent of the pertinent titles in the Ei Engineering Literature Core List.