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Collections Development Policies


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Bibliographer: Lauren Gala, (215) 746-0228,

I. Program Information

Mathematics is both a discipline in itself and a fundamental tool for research in many fields, including the physical and life sciences, computer science and engineering, the social sciences, statistics and business. The Department of Mathematics offers both specialized training in mathematics (through the Ph.D. program) and prepares students for careers in all fields for which mathematics is a fundamental tool. The Department confers about 40-45 bachelor's degrees, 4-5 master's degrees, and 5-6 doctorates per year. Many undergraduate majors have a co-major in one of the physical sciences, engineering, or finance.

The research program of the Department is in pure mathematics and concentrates on algebraic geometry, algebraic topology, algebraic number theory, combinatorics and algorithms, logic and programming semantics, representation theory, Riemannian geometry, several complex variables, string theory, and mathematical physics. A concentration in applied mathematics has been started recently.

II. Collection Description

Because of the broad significance of mathematics to scholarship, the prominence mathematics has had in University's curriculum, and the complex development of the library system, materials on mathematics can be found in a number of campus locations, notably the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library, the Van Pelt Library, the Lippincott Library, and the Engineering Library.

The largest and most current concentration of mathematics materials is in the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library. This collection, established in 1948, contains approximately 10,000 monograph volumes and receives some 200 current serial titles. It has the collected works of nearly 150 mathematicians of the 19th and 20th centuries, and a collection of 82 French mathematical seminars. Because of space limitations, a significant number of older mathematics journals and monographs are now located in LIBRA, from which they can be retrieved daily. The Department is an institutional member of the American Mathematical Society and collects all of the Society's publications.

The Math-Physics-Astronomy Library also provides print and electronic indexes and abstracts to the literature of mathematics. MathSciNet provides electronic access to over 55 years of Mathematical Reviews and Current Mathematical Publications. Also available is the ISI Science Citation Index database. The Reference collection consists of dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias, and data tables. Dissertations from the Mathematics department are added to the collection as they become available.

The Van Pelt Library contains approximately 7,000 volumes classified in mathematics. Among these are nineteenth-century journals, materials on the philosophy and history of mathematics, a large collection of older treatises and textbooks, material on the teaching of mathematics, and some popular work on computer science.

The Lippincott Library has approximately 1500 volumes classified in mathematics in its active collection. The collection is centered on the application of mathematics to business needs, especially computer simulation, database management, mathematical programming, probability, and statistics.

The Engineering Library houses some five hundred volumes on various aspects of applied mathematics and computational mechanics.

III. Guidelines for Collection Development

This policy applies to mathematics as collected for the Math-Physics-Astronomy Library.

  1. Chronological

    Emphasis is primarily on the 20th century. Materials from the 19th century are collected selectively. Materials prior to 1800 are out of scope.

  2. Formats

    Journals and monographs are the primary formats for mathematics materials. Many monographs are part of ongoing series.

  3. Geographical

    Not applicable.

  4. Language

    English is preferred, but materials in the major European languages are also acquired. Major Russian journals are collected both in the original and in translation. Asian works are collected in translated editions only. More and more, English is the major language of scientific publications.

  5. Publication Dates

    The emphasis is on current publications.

IV. Principal Sources of Supply and major Selection Tools

Faculty members play a major role in the selection of materials for the mathematics collection. Publishers announcements and catalogs, both print and electronically, are sources of bibliographic information. In addition to title-by-title selection, materials also come through standing orders for monographic series and approval plans. Preprints are received directly from the originating institutions as gifts.

V. Subjects Collected and Levels of Collecting

Subjects Collected Levels of Collecting
Applied Linguistics4W
General Works4/3W
Dictionaries, Bibliographies, Handbooks3/2W
Recreational, Problem Books1/0/0
Instructional Exposition2/0/0
Conference Proceedings3/4W
Collected Works4/4W
Abstract Harmonic Analysis3/4W
Algebraic Geometry4/4W/5W
Algebraic Topology4/4W/5W
Approximations and Expansions3/2E/2
Associative Rings & Nonassociative Algebras4/4W
Calculus of Variations and Optimal Control3/3E
Category Theory, Homological Algebra4/4W
Commutative Rings and Algebras4/4W
Convex and Discrete Geometry3/3W
Differential Geometry4/4W/5W
Error Analysis2/1E
Field theory and Polynomials4/4W
Functional Analysis Selfadjoint Operator Algebras4/4W
Functions of complex Variable4/4W
Game Theory4/1E
General Algebraic Systems3/2W
General Topology3/2E
Geophysics, Economics, Operations Research3/1E
Global Analysis, Analysis on Manifolds4/4W
Graph Theory4/4W
Group Theory4/4W
Integral Equations3/3W
Integral Transforms, Operational Calculus3/3W
Linear and Multilinear Algebra, Matrix Theory4/2W
Manifolds and Cell Complexes4/4W
Mathematical Logic and Foundations3/4/4W
Measure and Integration3/3W
Mechanics of Particles and Systems4/3E
Number Theory4/4W/5W
Numerical Analysis3/2/3E
Operator Theory4/4W
Ordinary Differential Equations3/2W/3W
Partial Differential Equations4/4W/5W
Potential Theory3/3E/3W
Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes4/2E
Quantum Theory4/4W
Relativity and Gravitational Theory4/4W
Sequences, Series, Summability3/2E
Set Theory3/2E
Statistical Mechanics3/2W
Theory of Computation (Programming Semantics)2/3/4W
Topological Groups, Lie Groups4/4W

VI. Subjects Excluded

Recreational books, problem books, instructional exposition books, and introductory undergraduate textbooks are excluded.

VII. Cooperative Arrangements and Related Collections

Lippincott Library collects in probability, statistics and the application of mathematics to business. Van Pelt Library collects in the history, biography, and philosophy of mathematics and in game theory and logic. Applied mathematics is the general responsibility of the Engineering Library. Computer Science is collected by the Engineering Library.

A formal user arrangement has been established between Penn and Drexel University to allow Penn faculty to use the Drexel University Library. Nearly half of the Mathematics Department faculty take advantage of this arrangement.