Engineering & computer science collection development policy

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Program information

The collections of the Penn Libraries support the research and teaching of the six departments in the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS): Bioengineering, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Computer and Information Science, Electrical and Systems Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering, and Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Each department offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Faculty from all departments are active in multiple research centers on campus including the Center for Engineering Cells and Regeneration (CECR); Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS); General Robotics, Automation, Sensing and Perception (GRASP) Lab; Institute for Medicine and Engineering (IME); Institute for Research in Cognitive Science (IRCS); Laboratory for Research on the Structure of Matter (LRSM); Center for Engineering MechanoBiology (CEMB); Penn Center for Bioinformatics (PCBi); Penn Center for Energy Innovation (Pennergy); Penn Center for Molecular Discovery (PCMD); Penn Genome Frontiers Institute (PGFI); Penn Institute for Computational Science (PICS); Penn Research in Embedded Computing and Integrated Systems Engineering (PRECISE); Penn Research in Machine Learning (PRiML); the ViDi Center; and the Warren Center for Network & Data Sciences.

  1. The Department of Bioengineering supports research in bioengineered therapeutics, devices and drug delivery; biomaterials; cardiovascular and pulmonary cell and tissue mechanics; cell mechanics; cellular, molecular, and tissue engineering; cellular, molecular, and medical imaging and imaging instrumentation; computational and experimental neuroengineering; imaging theory and analysis; injury biomechanics; orthopaedic bioengineering; systems and synthetic bioengineering; and theoretical and computational bioengineering. A Master of Biotechnology Program is also offered.
  2. The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering supports research in advanced materials; catalysis and reaction engineering; cellular and biomolecular engineering; energy and environmental engineering; molecular simulation and thermodynamics; nanotechnology; soft matter and complex fluids; and chemical systems engineering.
  3. The Computer and Information Science department's key areas of scholarship are algorithms and complexity; computational biology and bioinformatics; computer architecture; computer graphics and animation; computer vision; formal methods and logic; logic and computation, databases and information management; machine learning; natural language processing; networked systems; programming languages and program analysis; real-time, embedded and cyber-physical systems; robotics; and security and privacy. and computer programming languages.
  4. The key areas of scholarship in the Electrical & Systems Engineering Department include circuits; computer engineering; image processing; nanodevices and nanosystems; neural networks; signal processing; telecommunications; systems science and operations research including control systems, modeling, optimization techniques; systems analysis; and civil systems, which includes transportation, structural, and environmental/resources systems. A Master in Telecommunications and Networking (TCOM) Program is also offered.
  5. Areas of research in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering include: the chemistry, physics, electronic and optical properties, theory and modeling, and mechanical behavior of materials, including biomaterials, ceramics, metals, polymers, nanostrucutred materials, and semiconductors; nanotubes and nanowires; application of materials in energy; electron and scanning probe microscopy; surfaces & interfaces; and X-Ray and Neutron Scattering .
  6. Research in the Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics Department concentrates on biomechanics; computational mechanics; fluid mechanics; mechanical systems including robotics, haptics, mechatronics and microelectromechanical systems; mechanics
    of materials; micro- and nanomechanics; thermal sciences and energy conversion.

The Laboratory for Research in the Structure of Matter (LRSM) draws
faculty and students from the SEAS and from the School of Arts and Sciences (Chemistry and Physics departments).

Collection description

The collection that supports the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences consists of a wide array of materials in both digital and physical formats that are spread across the Penn Libraries system. This collection includes, but may not be limited to, books, ebooks, print and electronic journals, databases, videos, theses and dissertations, senior design reports, microforms and software. These materials may be either purchased to own by the Library or licensed subscriptions requiring annual payment for continued access.

Guidelines for Collection Development

1. Chronological

Emphasis is on current research. No effort is made to purchase materials on the historical study of the subjects collected, with the exception of materials relating to the role of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania in the development of the ENIAC computer.

2. Formats

The Library collects monographic series, monographs, and reference works in print and electronic formats. Journals are collected with a preference for electronic format, but print is collected if a viable electronic form is unavailable. Dissertations and theses from Penn are collected; those from other schools are acquired as needed. Some senior design projects are maintained in print and since 2009 in electronic format within Penn's institutional repository.

3. Geographical

Not applicable.

4. Language

The preferred language is English. Monographs are purchased almost exclusively in English. Major foreign language journals may be acquired, but the translated version is preferred if available.

5. Publication dates

Current materials are purchased.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools

Faculty, staff and student recommendations, standing orders for monographic series, and approval plans are used for acquisitions. Publishers' websites, advertisements and catalogs are also consulted; book and journal reviews are useful. Undergraduate materials are purchased if recommended by faculty for reserve or as general reference.

Subjects excluded

Due to their cost, difficulty in keeping current, and generally restrictive use terms for electronic access, standards from most issuing agencies are purchased on a very limited, case by case basis. The Library currently has access to two current collections of standards issued by two major agencies via subscription, IEEE and ASTM. The Library does not collect patents. The Free Library of Philadelphia is a patent depository.

Cooperative arrangements

The sciences foundational to most engineering disciplines are collected in the physical and health sciences libraries on campus.

In addition to the basic physics and mathematics works in the Mathematics/Physics/Astronomy Library, the collection there includes material on chaos theory, classical mechanics, the physics of materials, optics, and surface science. The Chemistry Library has material of special
interest in biochemistry, polymer science and surface chemistry.

Of interest to engineering, the Biomedical Library collects works on biomaterials, biomechanics, hearing and vision research, rehabilitation, and medical instrumentation to support the research of the Bioengineering Department. The Dental Library collects in dental biomechanics and biomaterials.

The Fisher Fine Arts Library collects materials on transportation as does the Lippincott Library (business aspects). The Lippincott collection offers supporting collections for energy management, entrepreneurship, management science, optimization, decision science, statistics, and other areas of applied mathematics.

Historical and social aspects of engineering and other sciences are collected by the Van Pelt Library. There are also collections supporting artificial intelligence and natural language research in the Van Pelt Library, specifically in cognitive science, linguistics, philosophy, and logic.

Due to the proximity of the Drexel University Library, reciprocal user arrangements have been established. Penn faculty can register at Drexel's Library for borrowing privileges, and Penn graduate students use letters of introduction to establish borrowing privileges at Drexel. 

Related subject collections