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Collection Development Policy


Jenny Hart
April 2008


 Brief overview of the collection

History:  The Department of Mathematics was established in 1892 and soon became “the source of the first generation of American-trained mathematicians of world stature” (Gardiner in Bicentennial Tribute to American Mathematics, 1776-1976).  The roots of the mathematics collection can be traced to the Berlin collection, acquired by President Harper in 1893.  Since then the collection has been developed across the entire spectrum on mathematics.  In 1984, the collections of the John Crerar Library were merged with the science collections of the University.  The Crerar mathematics collection included books from the libraries of Boncompagni and Bierens de Haan.  Since 1930, the mathematics collection has been housed in dedicated library space in Eckhart Hall, currently home to the Departments of Mathematics and Statistics.

Broad subject areas emphasized or de-emphasized:  The collection focuses on research level monographs and journals across the entire range of pure mathematics with less emphasis on applied mathematics.  Since the Department of Mathematics played such a key role in the development of American mathematics since 1893, the supporting library collection closely mirrors national trends in the discipline.  In the early 1900’s, general analysis was the focus of most mathematics research, and the collection during that time shows that emphasis.  By 1930 research interests in mathematics were diversifying in areas such as topology, mathematical logic, abstract algebra, and theory of number; again this shift is reflected in the composition of the collection at that time.  The collection is developed to support the current research interests of the Department as well as to create a cohesive well-rounded collection in pure mathematics.

Description of academic program:  The Department of Mathematics offers both a B.A. and a B.S. program in mathematics, including a B.S. degree in applied mathematics and a B.S. degree in mathematics with a specialization in economics.  The graduate doctoral program leads to a PhD degree in either pure or applied mathematics.  The Master of Science in Mathematics degree is offered to students in the doctoral program who do not pursue study to the PhD level.  The Department also offers a separate Master of Science in Financial Mathematics.

Audience/Purpose:   The Mathematics Collection is designed to meet the mathematics information needs of the Department of Mathematics’ faculty, staff, and students.  It supports undergraduate and graduate instruction, graduate research through the PhD level, and faculty research. It also supports mathematical work of faculty, students, and staff in other departments/units of the University.  


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 all areas of pure mathematics and in selected areas of applied mathematics.

            Comprehensive: analysis, topology, mathematical logic, algebra, geometry, algebraic

                         geometry, number theory, ergodic theory, Lie algebra, homotopy, partial

                        differential equation, finite groups

            Representative:  linear algebra, optimization, fluid dynamics, combinatorics, applied

                        mathematics, computational mathematics

            Selective: control theory, financial mathematics


Type of materials included and excluded:

            INCLUDED:  scholarly journals and serials

                                    research level treatises and monographs

                                    reference works, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks,

                                    collections of tables

                                    textbooks for course reserves

                                    textbooks at the advanced undergraduate and graduate level

                                    preprints – very selective

                                    conference proceedings – very selective

            EXCLUDED: dissertations from other universities


                                    popular works

                                    recreational mathematics



Physical formats included and excluded:

            INCLUDED:  print and electronic journals – prefer electronic format

                                    print and electronic books – prefer print format for research monographs

                                    electronic indexing and abstracting services

                                    digital media, usually as part of books

                                    audio, video – very selective

            EXCLUDED: mathematical software

                                    data sets


Publication dates collected:  In general, current imprints are acquired for the collection. However, older important imprints may be added as they are identified and available.  Missing critical titles are replaced regardless of imprint date when available. 


Languages:  For mathematics monographs, English is the predominant language.  For journals, the language depends of that published in the major titles.  Other languages currently acquired include French and German and to a lesser degree other Western European languages.  Other languages are not acquired.


Geographical range:   not applicable


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


Areas of Distinction

Strong collection in mathematical analysis

Strong collection of collected works


Related University of Chicago collections

The history of mathematics collection is located in the John Crerar Library.  The History of Science Bibliographer has primary responsible for developing this collection.  More contemporary history of mathematics titles (after 1945) are usually acquired by the Mathematics Bibliographer.

The mathematics education collection is located in the Joseph Regenstein Library.  The Education Bibliographer is responsible for developing this collection.

Many titles of interest to students in the Master of Science in Financial Mathematics program are acquired by the Business and Economics Bibliographer and located in the Joseph Regenstein Library.

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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