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Collection Development Policy

Computer Science

Computer Science
Jenny Hart
April 2008


Brief overview of the collection

History:  The Department of Computer Science, created in 1983, had its origins in the Department of Mathematics.  Therefore, the computer science collection at that time focused on the mathematical and theoretical aspects of the discipline.  As the department grew and developed, the collection broadened to support the more varied research interests of the faculty.  In the early years, the fluctuating research interests of the relatively small number of faculty positions led to a somewhat eclectic collection.  While efforts were made to develop a more balanced collection in computer science, financial resources were not always sufficient to accomplish this.  In addition to supporting faculty research, the collection was developed to support both undergraduate and graduate instruction. 

Broad subject areas emphasized or de-emphasized:  The collection focuses on research level monographs and journals in areas of current faculty research, primarily in theoretical computer science, computational complexity, artificial intelligence, and the use of computing to solve mathematical and scientific problems.  The Department’s web site currently lists five major research areas: theory of computing, artificial intelligence, programming languages, distributed systems, and computational and applied mathematics.  Materials in computer engineering and hardware are acquired very selectively.

Description of academic program:  The Department of Computer Science offers both a B.A. and a B.S. degree.  The graduate doctoral program leads to a PhD degree, with a Masters degree conferred upon completion of coursework leading required for the PhD degree.  The Department also offers the Computer Science Professional Program that leads to a Masters in Computer Science degree; this program is designed to prepare individuals for a career in applied computing. 

Audience/Purpose:  The computer science collection is developed primarily to provide computer science materials for the faculty, students, and staff of the Department of Computer Science.  It supports undergraduate and graduate instruction, graduate research through the PhD level, and faculty research.  Additionally, the collection supports collaborative research with other departments and advanced level computing needs of the University as a whole.

Collecting guidelines:

Levels of selection:  Comprehensive, research, instructional support, basic information; for a description of these levels, see the general policy statement.  Scholarly materials are acquired in:

            Comprehensive:  theory of computing, computational complexity

            Representative:  artificial intelligence, distributed computing, parallel computing,

                        selected programming languages, computer software issues,

            Selective:  computer hardware, image processing, computer vision, computer graphics


Type of materials included and excluded:

            INCLUDED:  scholarly journals and serials 

                                    research level treatises and monographs

                                    reference works, including dictionaries and encyclopedias

                                    textbooks for course reserves

                                    textbooks at the advanced undergraduate and graduate levels

                                    conference proceedings

                                    software manuals to support departmental instruction

            EXCLUDED: dissertations from other universities


                                    popular works

                                    general software manuals

                                    technical reports



Physical formats included and excluded:

            INCLUDED:  print and electronic journals – prefer electronic format

                                    print and electronic books – format preference depends on book content

                                    electronic indexing and abstracting services

                                    digital media, usually as part of books

                                    audio, video – very selective

            EXCLUDED: software packages

                                    computer software packages

                                    data sets


Publication dates collected:  Only current imprints are acquired for the collection.


Languages: English is the predominant language for computer science materials.  Non-English language titles are rarely added to the collection.


Geographical range:   not applicable


Chronological span:  Materials about current research materials in computer science are acquired.  Historical titles are acquired by the History of Science Bibliographer.


Areas of Distinction

Strong collection in computational complexity

Strong collection in theory of computing


Related University of Chicago collections

The history of computer science collection in located in the John Crerar Library.  The History of Science Bibliographer has primary responsibility for developing this collection.  More contemporary history of computer science titles (after 1945) are usually acquired by the Computer Science Bibliographer.

Computer and software manuals of interest to the general university population are acquired by another bibliographer and located in the Joseph Regenstein Library.

Social and governmental aspects of computing are acquired by other bibliographers and located in the Joseph Regenstein Library.  Computers as they relate to other disciplines are usually acquired by the bibliographer for the specific discipline.

Subject Specialist

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Jenny Hart
Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics and Statistics Librarian
Regenstein 260

Eckhart Library
Eckhart Hall Room 217
1118 E. 58th Street
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