The Psychology Department and the Graduate Group in Psychology offer instruction on both the undergraduate (B.A.) and graduate (Ph.D.) levels. Resources and expertise are available for the study of a wide range of topics. Among them are cognitive psychology, sensation and perception, biological psychology, learning, motivation, emotion, personality, experimental psychopathology, social psychology, individual differences, and developmental psychology. The department boasts the world's first psychological clinic founded in 1896 and the development of clinical psychology as a specialization. At present there is an APA-accredited clinical psychology program. The graduate program prepares students for scientific and scholarly research and teaching. Students are expected to develop scholarly breadth in psychology as well as a specific area of research competence.
There are currently 25 faculty members with primary appointments in the department, 8 emeritus professors, and 22 associated faculty with secondary appointments in psychology. In addition to a fairly broad undergraduate enrollment, the department granted an average of 130 B.A. degrees per year over the last five years (1985-1990). In 1990-1991 approximately 45 graduate students were enrolled in the department with 8-12 entering each year. An average of 7 Ph.D.s has been granted per year over the last five years (1985- 1990). Graduates have found employment in teaching and research in both the public and private sectors.
The broad nature of the discipline is evident in the department's various collaborations. It plays a pivotal role in two important interdisciplinary efforts on campus -- cognitive science and neuroscience. It has active ties to the Schools of Medicine (especially anatomy and psychiatry) and Engineering (especially computer and information sciences), the Wharton School (especially decision sciences, marketing, and statistics), the Graduate School of Education (especially the Language in Education and Psychology in Education Divisions), and to numerous Arts and Sciences Departments, most notably Anthropology, Biology, Linguistics, Music, and Philosophy. Research centers such as the Institute for Cognitive Science Research, the Mahoney Institute for Neurological Sciences, the Center for Cognitive Therapy, and the Center for Risk and Decision Processes promote interdisciplinary research and graduate training.
The University's psychology collection is housed primarily in the Van Pelt and Biomedical Libraries. Shelf-list counts (as of December 1991) estimate approximately 13,000 titles in the Library of Congress BF classification, including periodicals. This does not include the older material classified under Dewey decimal. Other material also regularly used includes anthropology (GN), sociology (HM-HX), some public aspects of medicine (RA), neurology, psychiatry, and abnormal psychology (RC), pediatrics (RJ), and animal behavior (QL). The focus of the Van Pelt collection is on method and theory, developmental psychology, comparative psychology, cognition, feeling and emotion, intelligence, perception, psycholinguistics, and senses and sensation. Together with the Lippincott Library, a good collection of applied and industrial psychology exists. Together with the Biomedical Library, physiological psychology, psychopharmacology, and the neurosciences are covered.
The publications of government and intergovernmental organizations which contain primary data and policy information are also very important. The University of Pennsylvania is a partial depository for U.S. government documents (43 percent) which includes important technical reports and federally-sponsored surveys from agencies such as NIH and NIMH. Nearly all English-language publications of the United Nations and the European Community are also received.
Although the American Psychological Association has not yet provided an institutionally-viable e-journal program, fulltext access to psychological documentation is provided through Academic Press's IDEAL program and OVID's Full-text Biomedical Journals database as well as individual e-journal subscriptions.
Bibliographic access to the collection is provided through Franklin, the Penn Library's online catalog. The Van Pelt Library Card Catalog is still needed for locating some pre-1968 materials.
Tests and other assessment instruments are a recent addition to the collection, with the ETS Tests in Microfiche collection acquired in Fall 1999. Prior to this acquisition, only major tests published in monographic form or tests appearing in journal articles were collected. Tests are identifiable through Health and Psychosocial Instruments, PsycINFO article abstracts, and various online ERIC test locators linked through the Penn Library Web. Cataloging is being pursued for individual tests in the ETS collection.
Journal literature bibliography has moved almost entirely to electronic format. The Penn Library locally loads the licensed online databases PsycINFO -- in two files, 1967-present and 1887-1966 -- and MEDLINE, both among the most heavily used networked databases offered through the Penn Library Web. Other relevant subject-specific licensed online databases include: Ageline, Bioethics Line, EI Compendex, ERIC, ISI Citation Indexes, ProQuest Digital Dissertations, Social Work Abstracts, and Sociological Abstracts. Print bibliographic tools persist, e.g., Exceptional child education resources.
The Penn Library Web provides focused access to web sites relevant to the curricular and research interests of Penn's psychology community, as well as pages linking e-journals in psychology.
Guidelines for Collection Development
Books and journals are primarily collected. As currency is of particular importance in the field, journals are central to teaching and research and are heavily relied upon. Electronic information sources are increasingly important for both instructional and research needs, and both bibliographic and fulltext resources are acquired when licensing, cost, and access allow. The publications of relevant research institutes, technical reports, and working papers from major series are also considered. Dissertations from other universities are collected primarily by request. Textbooks are not usually considered unless requested.
Although there are no limitations as to which languages the library collects, English language publications dominate the field and represent the largest portion of the collection. Materials in other languages are obtained selectively with particular attention to major historical and theoretical works, areas where Penn has historical strengths or research is ongoing. Vernacular language materials of the Middle East, South and East Asia, Latin America, and Russia and Eastern Europe are collected by area studies bibliographers.
5. Publication dates
Emphasis is on current materials. This reflects both scholarly use patterns and budgetary constraints. Retrospective collection is done selectively to fill in gaps, in response to requests, or with a concern for the history of the discipline.
Principal sources of supply and major selection tools
The interdisciplinary character of psychology results in materials being acquired from widely diverse sources. Approval plans, standing orders, publisher notifications, user request, and regular review of the scholarly literature account for most of the material purchased. Although many publications of university and domestic presses come primarily on the approval plans, faculty contact and review of the scholarly literature are crucial to obtaining all relevant materials in a timely manner. This is especially true for some types of reports, research institute publications and the important secondary literature.
Subjects collected and levels of collecting
Because of the interdisciplinary nature of psychology, material in a number of libraries other than Van Pelt is also used. The Biomedical Library is frequented the most for a number of the subjects listed above. The Math/Physics, Engineering, Lippincott, and Veterinary Libraries are also used. The Fernberger Library, the Psychology Department's own library (not a part of the Penn Library), has an older collection of 3,000 books and subscribes to over 100 journal titles, a number with complete runs since 1900. The Penn Library is currently evaluating the Fernberger holdings for absorption into the general collection.
Beyond Penn, the Psychology Library of Princeton University and the Educational Testing Service Library, also in Princeton, New Jersey, offer extensive collections.