Purpose and Program Description

The Health Sciences Library (HSL) supports research and instruction in health sciences. It supports the needs of the CUMC campus, which is comprised of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, College of Dental Medicine, Mailman School of Public Health, the School of Nursing, health sciences programs at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, NYPH and CUMC research centers and institutes. It serves information needs of faculty, students, physicians, residents, researchers, and staff.

  1. Monograph types collected: HSL collects monographs and reference tools. HSL subscribes to a number of monographic series and continuations (also called here serials and standing orders) in support of research, education and clinical practice on the HS campus.
  2. Imprint Dates Collected: HSL collects current publications extensively and adds books published earlier, which come though gifts, donations and Special Collections acquisitions. See also Archives and Special Collection website.
  3. Languages: Currently HSL collects books almost exclusively in English. HSL has comparatively extensive collections of books in German and French and selective collections in some other languages through about 1980.
  4. Place of Publication: Currently HSL collects monographs published in North America and Western Europe.
  5. Format: HSL collects books in electronic and print formats. Electronic books are mostly purchased as collections (a.k.a. packages) and a la carte (via title by title selection) on a publisher's or an aggregator's platform. HSL may participate in university wide ebook package acquisitions with selection and paying responsibility for the segment of such a package that falls under HSL subject profile. Also, HSL has access to ebooks in multiple disciplines acquired by other CU libraries. The library does not facilitate online access that comes with the acquisiton of a print book since this mode is intended for individual purchasers, not for libraries. 

Selection Guidelines by Subject Area

Life Sciences:

Subject areas:

HSL collects a limited number of materials in the area of Life Sciences, i.e., Biochemistry, Microbiology, Cytology, Genetics, etc, relying profoundly on CU Science Libraries on the Morningside campus. Selected books are acquired for Course Reserves and Reference.

HSL collects more comprehensively in the area of Stem Cell research, Genetic Engineering and other promising areas as they emerge and evolve. Translational Medicine (bench to bed) is a focus.

Limitations:

HSL does not collect in most areas of Ecology, Evolution, Botany, Zoology (other than laboratory animals; HSL collects very selectively on the anatomy and physiology of laboratory animals), etc.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects materials mostly on a university graduate/professional level. At the same time HSL collects a limited number of educational texts on the undergraduate and professional level for nurses and nursing students, PT, OT, and other health professionals.

Anatomy and Physiology:

Subject areas:

HSL collects very selectively in the areas of Human Anatomy and Physiology, relying significantly on the Science Libraries on the Morningside campus. Selected books are acquired for Course Reserves

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects materials mostly on a university graduate level, and also a limited number of materials on an undergraduate level for nurses and nursing students, PT and OT, and other health professionals.

Pharmacology and Pharmacy:

Subject areas:

HSL collects selectively books on Pharmacology, oriented for medical, dental and nursing students, clinicians and researchers. It collects selectively books on drug development that may be of interest to CUMC researchers and students.

Limitations:

HSL doesn’t collect books for Pharmacy students. HSL collects very discriminatingly books oriented primarily at pharmaceutical companies. HSL collects discriminatingly books for hospital pharmacists.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects materials mostly on a university graduate/professional level.

Medicine and Dentistry:

Subject areas:

HSL collects comprehensively in most areas of Medicine and Dentistry.

Limitations:

By subject:

HSL is very selective in collecting books on specific Surgery types (e.g., Cosmetic Surgery), or Surgery by anatomical part/system as well as specific Radiology types, or Radiology by anatomical part/system. HSL assumes that these books would be of interest to the residents of a particular department and might be purchased by residents themselves for personal use or purchased by departments.

HSL collects selectively on Physics in Medicine and medical devices and instrumentation, and is very discriminating on books in Biomedical Engineering, relying on CU Science and Engineering Libraries.

HSL collects selectively on speech pathology and communication disorders.

HSL selectively collects general ophthalmology texts for students but relies significantly on the departmental Ophthalmology Library of the Eye institute in acquiring in-depth books in Ophthalmology and Ophthalmic Surgery.

HSL collects comprehensively in Pediatrics but is very discriminating in the areas of child psychology and behavior, child development, etc., relying on Psychology Library, Social Sciences Library and NYS PI libraries.

HSL collects very selectively in Sports Medicine and very discriminatingly in Military, Navy, Space, Arctic, Transportation Medicine, etc. HSL doesn’t collect on Forensic Medicine.

By type:

HSL is very discriminating in collecting handbooks and manuals, and pocket reference books. HSL assumes doctors and other health professionals will purchase them, themselves, for personal use.

HSL is very discriminating in acquiring educational materials for self-assessment, exam preparation, etc. The Library assumes that students and residents purchase such books, which are very often inexpensive, themselves, for personal use. This category may include pre-tests, other exam preparation materials, series like Secrets, Pearls, On-Call, etc. Most of such books are kept in the HSL Study Guides collection. The books in this collection are not bound and get withdrawn from the Library when outdated, not being transferred to the General book collection for permanent keeping. Most of them come through gifts and donations. This collection is historically supervised by students themselves.

HSL is very discriminating in acquiring books on case studies. Some of them could be acquired for the General collection, some could be kept in the Study Guides collection under conditions described above.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects on a university graduate/professional level in these areas. HSL subscribes to a number of monographic series and continuations in support of clinical practice and research on the HS campus. Also, HSL collects very discriminatingly, a limited number of books, on the undergraduate level for EMS workers, technicians and other allied health professionals, physician assistants, dental assistants, etc.

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy:

Subject Areas:

HSL collects materials on OT and PT.

Limitations:

HSL collects very discriminatingly on massage and other manual therapies. HSL relies to a degree on CU Psychology and Social Work library in the areas of social, psychological and psychiatric aspects of rehabilitation.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects on a university graduate/professional level and more selectively on undergraduate level.

Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Podiatry:

Subject Area:

HSL collects an extremely limited number of books in Osteopathy, mostly when the subject matter is connected to Orthopedics, OT, PT or holistic health. HSL doesn’t collect books on Chiropractic or Podiatry.

Academic/Reader Level:

Preference is given to materials on a university graduate/professional level.

Nutrition:

Subject Areas:

HSL collects selectively on Nutrition. This includes human nutrition in connection with life sciences, Public Health, and clinical nutrition and dietetics.

Limitations:

HSL relies on other CU Libraries in the areas of food chemistry (Chemistry Library) and food industry (Engineering Library).

HSL does not, as a rule, collect cookbooks.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects on a university graduate/professional level for Nutrition science, medical and public health students, doctors and dietitians, and on graduate and undergraduate levels for nursing students, nurses and dietitians.

Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Holistic Health:

Subject Areas:

HSL collects very selectively materials on Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Holistic Health and Integrative Medicine (including herbal medicine; acupuncture; reflexology; Ayurveda, Chinese, Tibetan and other folk systems of Medicine, etc.).

Limitations:

HSL relies on NYS Psychiatric Institute Library, CU Social Work Library, etc., for materials on alternative psychiatric therapies. HSL doesn’t collect on Homeopathy.

Academic/Reader Level:

Preference is given to reference materials, educational, professional and research materials, although a limited number of materials may have a consumer health orientation.

Psychiatry and Psychology:

Subject areas:

HSL collects only selected core fundamental textbooks (mostly for Course Reserves) and reference materials on Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. HSL collects a very limited number of books out of the mentioned above scope. HSL collects books on Psychiatric Nursing for nursing students and more discriminatingly for nurses.

Limitations:

HSL relies on the NYS Psychiatric Institute Library collections in Psychiatry.

HSL relies almost entirely on NYS Psychiatric Institute Library as well as CU Psychology, Social Work, Butler libraries and Barnard College library in acquiring books on Psychology, Psychoanalysis, Psychotherapy and Substance Abuse. HSL collected in these areas in the past and has an extensive old collection on books in psychoanalysis, but does not collect in these areas anymore.

*After the partial closure of the New York State Psychiatric Insitute library the decision on collecting in Psychiatry is pending.*

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects a limited number of university graduate/professional level monographs in the mentioned above areas and undergraduate texts for nursing students.

Public Health:

Subject Areas:

HSL collects extensively on Public Health in the United States. HSL collects selectively on global and international Public Health focusing more on regions of the world and less on individual countries.

Limitations:

HSL depends profoundly on the Lehman Library U.S. Government Documents collection and partially on the CU Law Library in the area of government documents in Public Health, e.g., Medicare and Medicaid government documents, NIH publications, U.S. Congress and state/city level documents, Health Law, etc. HSL selectively acquires some government materials, but U.S. Governments Documents division of the Lehman Social Sciences Library is a Government documents depositary and covers this area comprehensively. More and more of the documents in this area are now available only electronically, most of them are free on the Internet. HSL collects selectively and relies to a high degree on CU Social Sciences, Social Work and Business libraries in the areas of healthcare economics, including health insurance.

HSL collects selectively and relies on CU Social Sciences, Social Work, Butler Libraries and Barnard College Library in the areas concerned with social, political and international issues related, to various degrees, to Public Health. For example, social issues include families, violence, etc.

HSL collects selectively on specific issues of Health Care facilities like Hospitals, etc. It relies on Social Work library in the areas concerned with Nursing Homes, Home Care, Children Services, etc. It relies on CU Avery library in the area of healthcare facilities design and architecture.

HSL collects books on methodology of Biostatistics and Medical Statistics. Books on mathematical statistics can be found at the CU Mathematics Library. HSL collects books and continuations on vital, health and healthcare statistical data and also relies on Lehman Social Sciences and some other CU Libraries for publications in this area as well as in the area of related statistics (demographic, economic, etc.)

HSL collects books on Environmental Health in the U.S., but in the area of broader environmental issues it relies on other CU Libraries: on CU Science, Geoscience, Engineering and Avery Libraries for the scientific and technological aspects in this subject area, on Lehman Social Sciences and Business libraries for social, political and economic aspects in this subject area, and on CU Law library for legal aspects.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects mostly on a university graduate/professional level and selectively on a university undergraduate level.

Nursing:

Subject Areas:

HSL collects books on general Nursing, including books on nursing diagnosis, nursing planning, nursing research, etc. HSL collects books on Midwifery and Specialty Nursing, in particular, in specialties in which there are degree programs at CU School of Nursing.

Limitations:

HSL collects very discriminatingly materials for nurse-educators, relying on the Teachers College collection in this area. HSL collects very discriminatingly books for Practical Nurses. HSL collects discriminatingly manuals and handbooks on nursing procedures, especially, pocket formats. HSL almost exclusively collects books published in the United States.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL collects extensively for nursing students and selectively for nurses. HSL collects books on high undergraduate, graduate and more selectively on professional level. HSL is very discriminating in collecting on lower undergraduate level (PN, etc.)

Veterinary Medicine:

Subject areas:

HSL collects a very limited number of books in Veterinary Medicine, mostly in support of caring of lab animals.

Academic Level/Reader:

HSL collects materials on a university graduate/professional level.

Medical Philosophy and Bioethics:

Subject areas:

HSL collects monographs on Medical Philosophy and Bioethics.

Limitations:

As a rule, HSL doesn’t collect books on biomedical ethics written from the perspective of any religious faith.

Academic Level/Reader:

HSL gives preference to materials on a university graduate/professional level and more selectively collects materials on university undergraduate level.

Medicine and Society, Social Aspects of Medicine, Medical Anthropology:

Subject areas:

HSL collects monographs on Medicine and Society, Social Aspects of Medicine, and Medical Anthropology.

Limitations:

Preference is given to the United States coverage. Works with emphasis on other countries are collected discriminatingly.

Academic Level/Reader:

HSL gives preference to materials on a university graduate/professional level and more selectively collects materials on university undergraduate level.

History of Medicine:

Subject areas:

HSL collects books and some continuations (serials/standing orders) in History of Medicine, including History of Surgery, Dentistry, PT/OT, Nursing, Public Health, other biomedical sciences, and very discriminatingly in the history of life sciences.

Items on history of biomedicine are mostly acquired for the general library collection, whereas items that may have historical significance, which are coming to the Library mostly through the gifts and donations, may be incorporated either into the general Library collection or into the Archives and Special Collections.

Limitations:

Collecting is focused on the History of Medicine in the United States. HSL collects very discriminatingly on the History of Medicine of the world and its regions.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL gives preference to materials on a university graduate/professional level and more selectively collects materials on a university undergraduate level.

Medical anecdotes, narratives, memoirs, biographies, etc.:

Subject Areas:

HSL collects very discriminatingly books, which are, by nature, medical anecdotes, narratives, memoirs, biographies.

Academic/Reader Level:

HSL gives preference to materials on a university graduate/professional level and more selectively collects materials on university undergraduate level.

Consumer Health

With some exceptions, HSL doesn’t collect books for healthcare consumers or books written by patients from the patient perspective. HSL relies on other CU libraries, e.g., Social Work Library, in this area.

CU HSL Collection Development Policies Rationale:

Columbia University has 25 libraries, many with high quality collections tailored to the needs of the schools and departments they serve. Collection development policy builds upon these existing strengths, encouraging libraries to build and strengthen their core collections, while allowing them to depend upon other Columbia University libraries’ collections to meet the educational and research needs of their constituents that fall outside of their core areas of expertise.

CU HSL acquires more comprehensively in the areas that are its sole responsibility within CU library system, such as Medicine, Dentistry, Nursing, Allied Health, and Public Health.

In marginal areas, e.g., social work, education, nursing education, HSL does not collect comprehensively because it relies on CU Social Sciences, Social Work and Psychology libraries, Teacher's College library and NYS PI library. In the area of Life Sciences HSL relies on CU Science libraries.

Accessibility of monographs within CU system to all CU clientele is guaranteed by the Libraries policies. The inter-campus delivery service delivers materials between the Morningside campus libraries and HSL. Monographs not in CU libraries collections can be borrowed by CU library users via BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan systems.

Collection Maintenance/Weeding

General Circulating Collection

In general, all new materials remain in the onsite collection for a minimum of four years. After four years low use materials are transferred to Columbia’s offsite facility, ReCAP (location, designated in CLIO as “Offsite”).

The collection development librarian may choose to move certain types of materials to ReCAP on an accelerated basis. This is especially likely when a new edition of a title is published. In this case, the collection development librarian may choose to send older editions to Offsite, retaining only the newest edition.

Library keeps only one copy of a book in its circulating general collection (onsite and at the ReCAP facility) with an exception explained in the next section.

Course Reserves (Reserves) Collection

Library keeps books designated for Reserves Collection by the instructors. Those include books acquired by the Library and sometimes instructor’s personal copies. Reserves Collection may include some titles not requested for a specific course. The criteria for such inclusion could be the anticipated use of the book by multiple users at the same time, etc.

Library may keep multiple copies of a title in Reserves Collection as needed for the course. After the new edition of such a title replaces the one on Reserves ALL replaced Reserves copies are transferred to the stacks. At the same time one copy of the edition already in the stacks is sent to Offsite, while the remainder is discarded.

Library tries to keep multiple copies of a title in Reserves Collection when possible. If it acquires a Reserve title as an ebook, one print copy of the title is still kept on Reserve.

Reference Collection

Contains Reference works acquired as stand alone editions and serials (acquired as standing orders). For most of the titles acquired as stand alone books the older edition is replaced by the most recent one (at the discretion of a Monograph Collection Development Librarian the new edition replaces the old one as the new one comes on the Approval Plan or via firm order). Serials (standing orders) are treated automatically.

There are several different policies for Serials in place: 

  • all or some recent editions stay in Reference or Reference/Statistical Serials sections
  • only the current year stays in Reference while the older volume is discarded (applicable mostly to non-biomedical general ready-reference type of material); 
  • the most recent edition stays in Reference and the older edition/volume is transferred to Offsite.

These different policies for different titles are reflected in CLIO.

Offsite

As a Library of Record, HSL keeps a copy of all the books that are within its scope. 
Most of this collection is housed at the offsite storage facility, ReCAP (Offsite). HSL circulating monographs at Offsite may be requested for delivery to any Columbia University Library.

Archives and Special Collections

See separate policy statements at http://vesta.cumc.columbia.edu/library/archives or contact the Head of the department.

 

For more information about this policy contact Michael Koehn at mdk2126@cumc.columbia.edu

Last updated: 9/2011