Reference & Information Literacy Department Collection Policy

Scope of the Reference & Information Literacy Collection

The Reference & Information Literacy 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 the designated State Research Library for Business, Science, and Technology.

The Reference & Information Literacy 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 & Information Literacy Collection Development

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

The Head of Collection Services, in cooperation with inter-campus or inter-library groups as needed, is responsible for approving new Reference & Information Literacy 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 the Reference & Information Literacy Department and the Head of Collection Services.

Selection and Weeding

Reference materials, regardless of format, should provide background information, be helpful in clarifying research topics, and/or assist with defining appropriate terms in a research area. In recommending a resource for the Reference collection, Reference librarians should take the following into consideration: the scope of the resource; how the resource addresses gaps in, or complements, existing Reference & Information Literacy Help Desk 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 & Information Literacy collection is expected of each permanent Reference librarian, in their assigned areas. Final decisions on weeding are made by the Head of the Department. Final decisions on cancellation of subscriptions to electronic reference sources are made jointly by the Head of the Reference & Information Literacy 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 the Reference collection 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 & Information Literacy 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

Biographies – Selected collective biographies

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 handbooks, important to specific disciplines

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 in force, 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