Reference Collection Policy

Scope of the Reference Services Collection

The Reference Services Department develops and maintains a reference collection that primarily supports the teaching, research, and service needs of those working in all academic disciplines at the University, including the needs of undergraduates, graduate students, teaching faculty, researchers, and staff. The collection also provides support to the information needs of the general public. Fogler Library is designated the Science, Technology and Business Library for the State of Maine.

The Reference Services collection provides access to materials that meet the needs of its users (as defined above), including both print and electronic formats. Access is provided to the materials as broadly as possible. Print materials are primarily designated as library use only, to ensure they are here when needed. Whenever possible, electronic materials are remotely accessible through one or more of the following:

URSUS catalog (library catalog)
Indexes and Databases
Subject Guides
Maine’s Business, Science and Technology Library

Responsibilities for Reference Services Collection Development

Subject librarians within the Reference Services Department are responsible for Reference Services collection development. Each permanent subject librarian is assigned one or more subject areas to develop, making recommendations to the Head of Reference Services. In addition to their assigned areas, all Reference Services librarians are responsible for recommending general Reference Services resources. Suggestions from others are also welcomed. The Head of Reference Services coordinates collection development for the department and makes the final decision on materials for purchase from funds budgeted for Reference Services.

The Head of Collection Services, in cooperation with inter-campus or inter-library groups as needed, is responsible for approving new Reference Services materials and resources that require large one-time or ongoing expenditures, as well as determining the funding sources to be used. In these instances, Reference Services librarians are responsible for making recommendations to both the Head of Reference Services and the Head of Collection Services.

Selection and Weeding

Reference Services materials should provide quick answers to factual questions or provide a starting point for further research. In recommending a resource for the Reference collection, Reference Services librarians should take the following into consideration: the scope of the resource; how the resource addresses gaps in, or complements, existing Reference Services resources; perceived and actual use of the resource; the reliability of the resource; how the resource is accessed; the cost of the resource; the language of the resource; the ease of use of the resource.

Systematic, regular weeding of the Reference Services collection is expected of each permanent Reference Services librarian, in her/his assigned areas. Final decisions on weeding are made by the Head of Reference Services. Final decisions on cancellation of subscriptions to electronic reference sources are made jointly by the Head of Reference Services and the Head of Collection Services. General criteria used in making weeding recommendations include: frequency of use, importance of a source to an academic field, currency, accessibility issues, information superseded by another source, and limitations of equipment or space. Print materials removed from Reference Services may be de-accessioned or moved to other areas of the library collection; Maine Shared Collections Cooperative availability will be considered before final disposition is determined.

The Reference Services Collection includes access to:

Almanacs and Yearbooks – Current editions of most standard, general U.S., and Canadian almanacs and the latest editions of some specialized almanacs deemed appropriate for the curriculum

Atlases – Biomedical, geographical, and social atlases pertinent to needs of users

Bibliographies – Some bibliographies on broad curricular topics, as well as topics of considerable current interest; bibliographies with a narrow subject scope are not selected for the Reference Services collection

Biographies – Major collective biographies, including both retrospective and current biography, as well as some specialized biographical dictionaries

Career Materials – Materials that help define, and forecast, career paths

Directory Information – Current directory information, covering associations and organizations, professions, businesses, and government bodies

Educational Information – Materials that cover degree programs, majors, graduate programs, financial aid information, and exam study guides will be selectively collected

Encyclopedias & Dictionaries – Recent editions of specialized encyclopedias and subject dictionaries

Field Guides – Guides that cover birds, fishes, mammals, plants, etc. that cover New England, the U.S., or selected international areas

Guides to the Literature – Current editions of guides to literature in specific disciplines

Handbooks – Selected current handbooks, emphasizing those aimed at data verification, formulae, research methodology, and tables, rather than in-depth research

Language Dictionaries – Extensive sources on the English language, including general, etymological, unabridged, regional, historical, slang, synonym, and antonym dictionaries; selected current and authoritative dictionaries of other major languages; bilingual English dictionaries for most non-English languages

Legal Materials – Basic legal materials, including national and Maine laws, cases, and regulations, U.S. patent and trademark information, and selected legal guides

Sacred Books – Sacred books of the world’s major religions, with appropriate concordances and translations

Scholarship and Grant Information – Current information on scholarships and grants

Standards and Specifications – Major standards and specifications relevant to the curriculum

Statistics – Major national and international statistical compendia, both current and historical

Style Manuals – Current editions of all standard, general style manuals, as well as all major discipline specific style manuals

Taxonomic Literature – Literature concerning the identification and classification of organisms

Tests and Measures – Sources to identify appropriate tests and measures for research

Thesauri – Major thesauri, including subject thesauri

Travel Guides – Current travel guides may be included in the Reference Services collection, with guides providing geographical, cultural, economics, and statistical data favored