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Biomedical research collection development policy

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Program information

This policy governs the collecting activity in Biomedical Research. The Biomedical Graduate Studies was established in 1985 and serves as the academic home within the University of Pennsylvania for roughly 700 students pursuing a PhD in the basic biomedical sciences. Although BGS is housed within the Perelman School of Medicine, it is composed of more than 600 faculty members across seven Penn schools and several associated institutes. BGS provides training and administration through seven graduate groups, some of which have distinct sub-specialty areas. Each graduate group has its own training mission, leadership, and staff, but there is often significant overlap among the groups in respect to faculty membership, courses offered, policies, and procedures. BGS provides centralized support to the graduate groups for admissions, student fellowships, curricular oversight, record-keeping, and other operations.

Guidelines for Collection Development

1. Chronological

Current publications in support of basic science and biomedical research.

2. Formats

The preferred format is electronic with access via IP authentication. Single site access is not acceptable. When there is an option, access via the publisher's website is preferred to access through an aggregator database. Handbooks, laboratory manuals and loose-leaf services are rarely purchased in print. They are given greater consideration when available online. Programmed texts, workbooks and examination reviews are purchased selectively. Microforms are excluded. Video and streaming media are also selectively purchased.

3. Geographical

Basic science and research material may be from anywhere in the world, if written in English.

4. Language


5. Publication dates

Publications issued within the previous three years. Older materials are purchased in support of new programs, or at the specific request of faculty members. Missing volumes are selectively replaced. Digital archives are being added as finances permit. Backfiles do not take precedence over currently published material.

Principal sources of supply and major selection tools

Serials are purchased through EBSCO Subscription Services, Rittenhouse Books, journal aggregators, individual publishers, and through consortial agreements. The Biomedical Library maintains an approval plan with Rittenhouse Books and uses GOBI for supplemental collecting. In addition, the following criteria are often helpful in making collection decisions:

Serials and Periodicals
Inclusion in a major indexing source such as Medline
Interlibrary Loan activity
ISI impact factor
Potential audience
User requests
Ease of use
Interlibrary Loan activity
User requests
Clinical Practice Resources
Ease of use
Quality and depth of material

Cooperative arrangements

Purchases for the Biomed Library collection are coordinated with the purchases for the Dental and Veterinary Libraries. Duplication of resources is kept to a minimum.

University of Pennsylvania:

  • The Biddle Law Library collects in medical jurisprudence.
  • The Chemistry Library collects in all areas of chemistry
  • The C.J. Marshall Memorial Library collects in parasitology.
  • The Lippincott Library collects in health care economics, health care management, and medical practice management.
  • The Pennsylvania Hospital Library has a substantial print collection in psychiatry.
  • The Van Pelt /Dietrich Library collects in the history of science and medicine, social, environmental, ethical, legal, philosophical, political, public policy and religious issues related to medicine and health care. The Bioengineering collection is also held at Van Pelt. 


Related subject collections