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Computer Science


Collection Development Policy

This guide highlights major research databases in Computer Science and select resources for the IT industry.

Guide to the Computer Science Collections

This collection serves the needs of the Boston College Computer Science Department, as well as computer science-related needs of researchers and students across campus including those in the Woods College of Advancing Studies and other disciplines.  The Computer Science Bibliographer works closely with the CS faculty in the selection of materials based on user requests, curricular needs, and knowledge of the discipline.  The bibliographer acts on purchase requests by faculty whenever possible.

Disciplinary Scope and Collecting Emphases

This collection spans all areas of Computer Science (Q 300 - 390, QA 75.5 - 76.95), particularly as needed to serve curricular needs.  However, given the focus of departmental research, the following are the areas of greatest collecting strength:  

  • Data mining
  • Data visualization
  • Distributed algorithms and systems
  • Machine learning
  • Modeling and simulation
  • Natural language processing
  • Programming languages
  • Social and ethical issues in computing
  • Theory of computation

Selection favors materials from high quality scholarly publishers, regardless of country of origin or location of research.  The most important publishers in the field include the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, IEEE, Springer-Verlag, Wiley and others. Digital library packages of journals such as IEEE Xplore and ACM Digital Library, along with conference proceedings, provide a strong core of current and historical collections supporting Computer Science.  E-book content in the Springer Computer Science collection, O'Reilly Online Learning and other resources provide monograph and technical books support.

Collaborative interdisciplinary relationships in collecting are seen particularly with Mathematics, as well as with Biology in the area of bioinformatics.  Collaborative relations will expand with with the opening of the Schiller Institute for Integrated Science & Society.

Format Selection

Format decisions follow the General Collection Development Policy by default, but allow for considerations of requester preference, curricular needs, and other factors.

  • Journals are electronic, with perpetual access whenever possible, and include the offerings of all the major scholarly publishers in the field.   
  • Monographs are preferentially purchased as e-books to support wider access, particularly for edited, individually-authored chapter works.  Exceptions may be made at individual user request.
  • Bibliographic Databases ("Indexes", usually) provide access to the extensive literature of the field and are purchased exclusively in electronic format.
  • Conference Literature is important and is supported by subscriptions to major electronic collections, including those from ACM, IEEE and others.
  • General materials are acquired to support first-level, non-major courses and interest.


Materials purchased for the Computer Science collection are primarily English-language materials, with some exceptions, as needed.  

Currency of the Materials Collected

Selection focuses on current scholarship; materials covering historical research are acquired on a very limited basis.

Retention of Materials

Retention follows the General Collection Development Policy.

Acceptance of Gifts

Gifts are accepted according to the General Gifts Policy.