Collection Selector

photo of Mary Foppiani

Mary Foppiani

Librarian for Astronomy, Biology, and Physics

Astronomy Library, Science and Engineering Library

General Purpose of the Collection

In order to support programs of study in the Department of Astronomy, the Michael D. Papagiannis Astronomy Library is located on the 6th floor of 725 Commonwealth Avenue. Used equally by the Astronomy Department and the Department of Space Physics, this research collection includes approximately 50 scientific journals, and monographs in all areas of the field.

Books in all aspects of astronomy and astrophysics are collected with special emphasis on stellar studies, black holes, neutron stars, pulsars, nebulae, galaxy formation and evolution, planets, quasars, telescopes and observational instrumentation, and cosmology. Research level monographs in these subject areas are collected while basic and general treatment works on these topics are more selectively acquired. Since proceedings from conferences, workshops, and schools are so important in the field, there has been greater emphasis in the past few years on collecting these materials. Proceedings are acquired based on subject area and usefulness in support of ongoing departmental research.

The Department of Astronomy of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GRS) offers BA, MA, and PhD degrees leading to careers in astronomy, space science, or related fields. Faculty in Astronomy and Space Physics work in broad areas of astrophysics and space physics. Specific faculty research interests include: observational and theoretical studies in galactic and extragalactic astrophysics, planetary and gravitational atmospheres, comets, clusters, cosmic and space plasma physics, cosmic gas dynamics, auroral physics, space weather, solar winds, interstellar clouds, magnetic storms and substorms, astronomical spectroscopy, radiospectroscopy, photometric and spectoscopic instrumentation, optical observational astronomy, gravitational lensing, galactic structure, starburst galaxies, star formation and variable stars, stellar systems, interstellar chemistry, quasars, radio astrophysics, high-energy astrophysics, and cosmology.

Department members are also actively involved in research programs using space probes, airborne infrared telescopes, satellites, radar observations of meteor trails, and sounding rockets. Facilities for optical observing and instruction are maintained by the Astronomy Department on the roof of the College of Arts and Sciences building.

Adjacent to the Department of Astronomy is the Center for Space Physics, a unit devoted to research in solar system atmospheres, plasmas, experimental astrophysics and magnetospheric and ionospheric physics. A number of faculty and graduate students in the Department of Astronomy are also members of the Center. In addition to direct support for the Department of Astronomy and the Center for Space Physics, the astronomy collection also supports work being done by the Institute for Astrophysical Research and the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling at Boston University.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
English language works are primarily collected. Works written in languages other than English are acquired very selectively.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
There are no geographical limitations in the selection of materials. However, emphasis is placed on works published in North America.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Works on the history of modern astronomy are represented in the collection. In areas of research and theory, recent materials are more valuable in supporting the department’s work.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Although there are no specific chronological limits, current materials are generally selected.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The subject scope of this collection is primarily determined by the Library of Congress call number range QB. Most items are housed in the Astronomy Library. Some older folio works are housed in Mugar Memorial Library.

  • QB 1-999 : Astronomy
  • Z 5151-5156 : Astronomy Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

Interdisciplinary in nature, the Astronomy collection may support related work in other departments. Therefore, consultation with other selectors occurs in the following disciplines:

Earth Science
The Astronomy Selector collects works on planetary geology and geodesy.
The Astronomy Selector generally acquires works on astrophysics, space plasmas and cosmology.

Types of Materials

Monographs, periodicals, proceedings from conferences, symposia, and workshops, and reference materials including indexes and abstracts, dictionaries, encyclopedias, directories, bibliographies, handbooks, sky atlases, and astronomical maps.
Collected Selectively
Electronic resources, textbooks, and popular works.
Not Collected
Patents, newsletters, preprints, and government documents.