General Science

Collection Selector

Paula Carey

Librarian for Engineering and Mathematics

Mugar Memorial Library, Science and Engineering Library

General Purpose of the Collection

The General Science collection complements the discipline specific science and engineering collections by acquiring resources that span all or several of the disciplines or that fall outside the scope of individual disciplines. Publications such as encyclopedias and biographical dictionaries covering all the sciences, and the multidisciplinary journals Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are examples of discipline spanning titles collected. Resources that support study and research in the environmental sciences, an interdisciplinary subject that includes content from the fields of chemistry, biology, zoology, earth sciences, physics, and engineering, are also a focus of this collection. An emphasis in this field is on global issues and the human impact on large scale environmental systems. Lastly, the collection acquires resources for the study and teaching of science as a whole, its history and philosophy, the nature of communication, its methodology and instrumentation, and its impact and role in social and political contexts.

The General Science collection is a fundamental resource for all the science and engineering degree programs and is of broad interest to users throughout the campus community. Its publications are particularly relevant to a two year program offered by the Division of Natural Science in the College of General Studies, which teaches students to appreciate and understand that humans are part of an intricately interwoven ecological system. The collection’s environment related resources support study and research in the Departments of Geography and Environment and Earth Sciences and, particularly, in the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, where study of Environmental Science or Environmental Analysis and Policy leads to a BA degree. MA degrees can be earned in Energy and Environmental Analysis, Environmental Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems, and International Relations and Environmental Policy. Joint BA/MA programs offered through the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies are Environmental Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Systems and Energy and Environmental Analysis. In addition to related coursework in the Departments of Biology, History, Philosophy, Political Science, and Sociology, the collection is of use for courses in earth sciences, biology, and urban affairs offered through Metropolitan College, for a program in science and medical journalism offered through the College of Communication, and for study of developing countries in the Department of Economics. The collection also supports the work of the Center for the Philosophy and History of Science.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected
English is the primary language of the collection.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources
The collection is international in scope, although predominantly the work of North American and European scholars.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools
All chronological periods are of interest for the history and philosophy of science, but the phenomenal growth in the sciences since the second World War and the development of environmental study and research during the last twenty five years are emphasized.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates
Emphasis is on the collection of current imprints, but retrospective collecting occurs to fill in gaps or in response to faculty requests.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The primary subject areas of the collection correspond to the following Library of Congress call number ranges:

  • GE 1-350 : Environmental Sciences
  • Q 1-295 : General Science, History of Science, Scientific Biography, Philosophy of Science
  • T 1-55.3 : General Technology, Communication of Technical Information
  • T 61-342 : Technical Education, Technological Change, Industrial Research
  • T 391-999 : Technology Exhibitions, Trade Shows
  • TD 1-1066 : Environmental Technology, Environmental Pollution, Water Supply, Air Pollution
  • TJ 163.26-163.5, 807-830 : Energy Conservation, Renewable Energy Sources
  • TP 315-360, 690-692.5 : Fuel (alternative sources, environmental effects), Petroleum Refining (environmental effects)
  • TH 6014-6081 : Environmental Engineering of Buildings (green design)
  • Z 5861-5863 : General Environment, Human Ecology Bibliography
  • Z 7401-7407 : Science Bibliography

All current journals, monographs, and reference sources are housed at the Science and Engineering Library, with the exception of works on the history and philosophy of science most of which are housed at Mugar Memorial Library. Older volumes of some journal titles are housed in off-site storage with approximately 24-hour retrieval available.

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

African Studies
Works dealing with environmental issues on the African continent are referred to the African Studies Selector.
Works focusing on the natural environment and particularly on ecological systems are acquired by the Biology Selector.
Works on the chemistry of toxic substances and pollutants are collected by the Selector in Chemistry.
Earth Sciences
Works dealing with geological processes, such as surface and groundwater hydrology and sedimentology, related to environmental concerns are collected by the Selector for Earth Sciences.
Works on environmental policy in the context of economic development are collected by the Selector in Economics.
Works focusing on the use of technology in the detection and management of environmental problems are collected primarily by the Selector in Engineering. Works focusing on environmental policy and the environmental effects of human activity are collected primarily by the selector in General Science. Works focusing on alternative energy, energy conservation, and renewable energy sources are collected primarily by the selector in General Science.
Works dealing with energy and environmental systems, including resource analysis and policy studies, are discussed with the Selector in Geography.
Works focusing on major events in American history and culture influenced by advances in technology and science are acquired by the History Selector.

Types of Materials

Current cross disciplinary resources collected are primarily journals and reference works, the latter encompassing encyclopedias, directories, dictionaries, handbooks, and periodical indexes (particularly in electronic format). Collecting in the environmental sciences includes reference works and monographs, but emphasizes journals. In the history and philosophy of science, monographs and journals are predominant.
Collected Selectively
Textbooks when best available treatment of a topic, popular treatments of complex science topics for non-scientists, occasional second copies of titles in high demand, and technical reports and conference publications on significant interdisciplinary topics, especially in the environmental sciences.
Not Collected
Theses and dissertations from other institutions, popular works, and juvenile literature.