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Collection Development Policy

This guide highlights quick reference sources and major journals and indexes.

Guide to the Mathematics Collections

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

Disciplinary Scope and Collecting Emphases

This collection spans all areas of mathematics (QA), particularly as needed to serve curricular needs, however, given the particular focus of departmental research on Algebra, Geometry, and Topology, these are the areas of greatest collecting depth.  Examples of more specific collecting areas within those broader categories include:

  • Algebraic geometry
  • Geometry
  • Number theory
  • Representation theory
  • Topology
  • Algebra
  • Dynamical Systems

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 American Mathematical Society, Birkhauser/DeGruyter, Cambridge University Press, CRC Press,  Elsevier, the European Mathematical Society, the London Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America,  Oxford University Press, Princeton University Press, Springer, Wiley, World Scientific, and other highly-regarded commercial and scholarly presses.

Collaborative interdisciplinary relationships in collections are seen particularly with Computer Science.

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, in both print and electronic, form the core of the collection.  When journals are available in online format, they are purchased with perpetual access whenever possible, and include the offerings of all the major scholarly publishers in the field.   Electronic journal backfiles are purchased to augment available content or replace print, based on requests, usage data, and space considerations.
  • Monographs may be purchased in either print or electronic format.  However, the wider access that e-books provide, particularly for edited, individually-authored chapter works, makes them an increasingly important part of the collection.  
  • Bibliographic Databases ("Indexes") provide access to the extensive literature of the field and are almost exclusively purchased in electronic format.
  • Conference Literature access is generally met through purchase of published proceedings. 
  • General materials are acquired to support first-level, non-major courses. Biographical information is also acquired for much the same purpose.


Material purchased for the Mathematics collection are primarily English-language materials, with French and German, as needed.  Older materials in all languages (particularly English, French, German and Russian) remain relevant and are maintained.

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.