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Science - Van Pelt Library

Bibliographer: Melanie Cedrone, 215-898-1862,

I. Program Information

The aim of the Science collection at the Van Pelt Library is to bring the results of scientific inquiry to non-specialist readers. Many of the works may touch upon broad social, ethical, etc. implications that may not be developed in specialist works. Science literacy is increasingly important in our technology-driven world, and every student/citizen should have some general information about scientific developments. The collection therefore does not support one particular program, but rather complements other science and technology related collections in the Penn Library system. It fills in some collection gaps not covered by other collection development policies, as well as some multidisciplinary works.

II. Collection Description

This collection is housed in the Van Pelt Library, with the book collection comprising much of the material located at Library of Congress call numbers beginning with Q (science), T (technology), and some RA (public health). A number of print and electronic periodical subscriptions are supported.

III. Guidelines for Collection Development

  1. Chronological

    Emphasis is on the role of science in contemporary society.

  2. Formats

    Primarily, monographs, journals, and monographic series in print and electronic formats are collected; some DVD films/television programs.

  3. Geographical


  4. Language

    The preferred language is English.

  5. Publication Dates

    Primarily current materials are purchased.

IV. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools

Approval plans and standing orders for monographic series are used for acquisitions. Publishers' advertisements and catalogs are also consulted. Book and journal reviews are useful, as are faculty, staff, and student recommendations.

V. Cooperative Arrangements and Related Collections

Collaboration with other Penn science and technology collections and libraries is common. Consultation is done with the Biomedical Library, which is the primary collector of works in biology and ecology; also with the Veterinary Medicine Library regarding animal-related collections.