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Dental Medicine - Collection Policy

I. Program Information

The Dental Library serves the research needs of the faculty, staff, and students of all twelve academic departments of the Dental School. These departments include: Anatomy and Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Community Oral Health, Endodontics, General Restorative Dentistry, Microbiology, Oral Medicine, Oral Surgery and Pharmacology, Orthodontics, Pathology, Pediatric Dentistry, and Periodontics. The Library supports the curriculum for the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree, and also supports ten post-graduate programs in advanced dental education. Research support for clinical needs is provided, as well as support for the basic science research efforts of the faculty and their research associates.

The D.M.D. program enrolls approximately 100 students per class. As a four year program, about 400 students are enrolled during any given year. The post-doctoral programs enroll another 35 students per class. Most of the advanced programs are of two year's duration, so that there are approximately 70 post-doctoral students at any one time. A program for foreign students who are studying to obtain U.S. licensure enrolls about 35 students in each of two classes for a total of 70 additional students.

II. Collection Description

The University's Dentistry collection is housed in the School of Dental Medicine's Leon Levy Library. The collection consists of 55,000 volumes, and 755 currently received serials. It covers all aspects of dental medicine, together with related material from the biological, chemical, and physical sciences. The collection is especially strong in historical materials, as well as in areas of current interest such as AIDS research, and plastic and reconstructive surgery. Other areas emphasized include cellular biochemistry, bones and mineral research, tissue reactions, human genetics, pain, chemotherapy, and wound healing.

Databases that Penn makes available such as MEDLINE, BIOSIS Previews, ISI Citation Indexes, AgeLine, PsychINFO, CancerLit, and the Evidence-based Medicine Reviews Multifile greatly enhance the Dental community's ability to access current biomedical information.

Several early Deans and faculty members of the Dental School founded the Dental Library through the donation of their historic personal collections. Dean Charles J. Essig, Dr.Edwin T. Darby, and Dean Edward C. Kirk contributed invaluable collections of books from the 18th and 19th centuries. By 1902 a Special Library Fund had already been created, and the purchasing and donation of dental books and journals has continued throughout this century.

The historical collection covers the history of dental medicine in the United States and Western Europe. It includes most of the rare early books on dentistry; a collection of S.S. White Dental Manufacturing Company catalogs; and publications by and about Thomas W. Evans, an early Penn Dental School benefactor. Some of the rarest dental books and manuscripts are now housed in the Special Collections Department of the University's Van Pelt Library.

III. Guidelines for Collection Development

The Dental Library endeavors to collect most English language monographs that are published in the area of dental medicine and oral biology, along with a selection of relevant supporting titles from the basic sciences. The Library also attempts to collect most substantial dental and oral biology journals, as well as primary medical journals, and additional major journal titles published in the basic sciences that are studied as part of the D.M.D. curriculum.

  1. Chronological

    Emphasis is placed on the current research and practice of dental medicine, but information relating to the history of the field is also acquired.

  2. Formats

    The core book collection is in print. Electronic versions of selected books are also being added, as they become available. Dental journals are currently collected in both print and electronic formats. New subscriptions to non-Dental journals are being added in electronic format only. Penn also provides access to many comprehensive databases, full-text resources, and links to useful Penn and non-Penn web sites organized by broad subject areas. All networked resources are accessible from the Dental Library website. Upon faculty request, electronic publications on CD-ROM are purchased, if they are curriculum-related. Electronic publications requiring site-specific web access are not normally purchased. Audio-visual material, examination reviews, handbooks, laboratory manuals, loose-leaf services, programmed texts, and workbooks are purchased selectively. Microforms are excluded.

  3. Geographical

    No limitations. But the emphasis is on literature from the United States and Western Europe.

  4. Language

    Monographs are currently purchased only in the English language, although the collection includes many historic foreign language texts, especially French and German monographs. The majority of current journal subscriptions are in English, although we currently subscribe to some select foreign language journal titles. The historical journal collection covers a wide range of foreign language titles.

  5. Publication Dates

    Current literature is acquired almost exclusively. Material older than five years is purchased only by specific patron request.

IV. Principal Sources of Supply and major Selection Tools

The principal supplier for monographs is J.A. Majors, Company, with whom we have an approval plan. EBSCO handles most domestic serial subscriptions, and a network of foreign dealers provide most of our foreign serial titles.

Faculty and student input is of primary importance in selecting and reviewing titles and periodicals for acquisition. The Dental School Library Committee offers suggestions, as do faculty on an informal basis. Other selection tools include book reviews in dental and scientific journals, the J.A. Majors Company approval website, acquisitions lists from other health sciences institutions and from the American Dental Association, and publishers' announcements and catalogs.

V. Subjects Collected and Levels of Collecting

Subjects CollectedLevels of Collecting
Bone and Minerals2/3E
Cell Biology2/2E
Dental Education4/4E
Dental Materials2/3E
Forensic Dentistry4/4E
General Dentistry4/4E
General Medicine2/2E
Genetics, Human2/3E
Histology 2/2E
History of Dentistry5/4E
Infection Control3/3E
Materials Science2/2E
Mouth Diseases4/4E
Operative Dentistry4/4E
Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery4/4E
Oral Biology4/4E
Oral Medicine4/4E
Pediatric Dentistry4/4E
Plastic Surgery2/3E
Practice Management2/2E
Temporomandibular Joint4/4E
Veterinary Dentistry4/4E
Wound Healing3/3E

VI. Subjects Excluded

No areas of dental medicine or oral biology are excluded.

VII. Cooperative Arrangements and Related Collections

The Dental Library depends on other campus libraries at Penn, such as the Biomedical, Veterinary, and Engineering libraries to provide additional support in the areas of Biomedicine, Veterinary Dentistry, and Materials Science. The Dental Library endeavors to be fairly comprehensive in the field of dental medicine and therefore generally does not depend on particular cooperative arrangements with other collections. But through the National Library of Medicine's interlibrary loan system, Docline, many Dental and Medical school libraries support us by lending needed material.

The Dental Library is a member of the Health Sciences Libraries Consortium and the Regional Medical Library Program.