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The electronic and print collections of the veterinary libraries support the clinical, research and teaching needs of the School of Veterinary Medicine, and of other researchers on campus. The bulk of the physical collection is at the Steven W. Atwood Library and Information Commons in Philadelphia, with older materials transferred to remote storage. A small collection of works on large animal, production animal, wildlife, and toxicology is housed at the Jean Austin duPont library at New Bolton Center in Kennett Square.

Accordion List

The academic veterinary medicine curriculum is a four-year program focused on the teaching and training of students in preclinical science, as well as the medical and surgical care of large and small animals. Approximately 125 students each year are awarded a VMD degree. Two dozen veterinary students are enrolled in dual degree programs (including a research doctorate, and master's programs in Law, Business, Environmental Studies, and Social Work). Several dozen outside students are enrolled in the online Animal Welfare and Behavior certificate and Masters degree programs. The training programs include internships, residencies, fellowships, Doctor of Philosophy degrees in basic and clinical science and postdoctoral training.

In addition to the teaching and training programs, highly advanced research is conducted at both the Philadelphia and New Bolton campuses in veterinary medicine and bioscience, including oncology, immunology, microbiology, parasitology, genetics, reproduction, and sustainable agriculture. Research projects often are carried out in collaboration with other schools and departments at the University.

An arrangement exists with Harcum Junior College for the students in their Veterinary Technology program to experience a clinical rotation at the Veterinary School and/or the New Bolton Center Hospitals.

The Veterinary Medicine Libraries endeavor to collect most English language monographs and journals that are published in the area of veterinary medicine, along with a selection of relevant basic science, human medicine, and agricultural titles. Materials are also acquired to support the pedagogical, research methodology, and wellness needs of the staff and students.

1. Chronological

Emphasis is placed on the current research and practice of veterinary medicine. Information relating to the history of the field is selectively acquired.

2. Formats

Like the other health sciences libraries, the veterinary libraries have an e-preferred collection policy. Access via the publisher's website is preferred over access via an aggregator database. All recommended reading materials for courses are purchased in print and electronic format where possible. Veterinary journals are collected in electronic format whenever possible and otherwise in print. Non-veterinary journals are not purchased in print. Other electronic resources include comprehensive bibliographic databases, computer-based learning programs, and point-of-care resources. Streaming and DVD resources, examination reviews, handbooks, laboratory manuals, loose-leaf services, programmed texts, and workbooks are purchased selectively. Microforms are excluded.

3. Geographical

There are no geographical limitations.

4. Language

English language. Foreign language titles are considered upon request.

5. Publication dates

Emphasis is on current materials. Older materials may be added as new research or instructional programs are developed. Digital archives are purchased as they become available, when affordable. Rare books or older materials are not actively acquired unless the items are considered to be of current interest or value.

Serials are purchased through the Print and Electronic Acquisitions Departments at the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center from EBSCO Subscription Services, journal aggregators, individual publishers, and through consortial agreements. The librarian maintains a notification plan with GOBI YBP for print and ebooks. Additional print titles are purchased through Rittenhouse Books and the Van Pelt Acquisitions Department. Ebooks are mostly acquired through collaborative package purchases or ordered through Gobi YBP.

All materials are selected by the librarian. Selections for purchase are made from the following sources:

  • Weekly review of titles through Gobi Notifications.
  • Suggestions and requests from faculty, staff, students, and librarian colleagues.
  • Publishers' advertisements and catalogs as well as book reviews.

The following criteria are used when making collection decisions:

Serials and Periodicals

  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Inclusion in a major indexing source such as Medline
  • Interlibrary Loan activity
  • ISI impact factor
  • Potential audience
  • User requests
  • Perpetual Access


  • Accessibility
  • Content Level
  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Interlibrary Loan activity
  • User requests
  • Digital Rights Management
  • Perpetual Access

Other Digital Resources (workflow tools, databases)

  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Quality and depth of material
  • Storage requirements
  • Library Subject Expertise (support for the resource)

Subject Level LoC range
Ethics 2 BJ0-1800
Statistics 2 HA0-9999
Veterinary public health 4 KIA-KWX 7 159
Higher Education 2 LB2300-2799
Natural History 2 QH0-200
Genetics 3 QH426-470
Reproduction & Life 3 QH471-559
Cytology 2 QH573-671
Animal Behavior, Anatomy, Embryology 4 QL750-999
Medicine, Animal 4 QP501-899
Microbiology 3 QR0-354
Physiology 3 QT0-275
Biochemistry 3 QU0-220
Pharmacology 3 QV0-835
Microbiology and Immunology 3 QW0-949
Parasitology 4 QX0-675
Clinical Pathology 3 QY0-490
Pathology 3 QZ0-380
Medicine, General 3 R0-920
Toxicology 3 RA1190-1270
Neurosciences, Neurology 3 RC321-434
Veterinary Medicine 4 SF600-1100
Aquaculture & Fisheries 3 SH0-400
Wildlife Management 3 SK351-593
Zoology 2 SK601-605, SK650-664
Virology 3  

No topic in or related to Veterinary Medicine is formally excluded.

Penn is home to the only veterinary school in the state of Pennsylvania, and the veterinary libraries provide informational resources to regional libraries relating to animals and veterinary science.

Shared electronic acquisitions and the collections of other Penn Libraries are important in meeting the needs of the veterinary school. Some pedagogical, research method, medical and basic science book titles are duplicated in the veterinary libraries as are necessary to the veterinary program. We work with others to help make key resources in veterinary medicine available through collaborative digitization programs, including classic texts, history resources, and information about underrepresented groups.