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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Political Science

Prepared by Darlene Hull, 11/1/99.
Reviewed by the Political Science Department, 10/18/99.


  1. Characteristics of the Community
  2. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns
  3. Current Patterns of Information Service
  4. Emerging Choices

I. Characteristics of the Community

The Political Science Department offers work through the Ph.D. degree. As well as offering a Master of Arts in Political Science, the department offers a Master of Arts with Concentration in Survey Research, and a Master of Public Affairs Degree. "These programs are designed to prepare political scientists for teaching, research and management positions in the public and private sectors. The graduate curriculum of the Department of Political Science is structured to serve the individual needs of students as they prepare for the variety of opportunities that the field offers. Emphasis is placed on developing an understanding of the dynamics and institutions of political life, preparing for the realities of public policy and administration, and learning the methods necessary for empirical research and analysis."

In it’s recent departmental self-study, Political Science identified the following areas of focused excellence:

  • Political Economy (including such research specialties as international political economy, domestic political economy (both industrial and developing countries), public budgeting and finance, and political-economic theory (Marxism, capitalism, corporatism, etc.))
  • Mass Politics (meant to be "sub-institutional" politics, including such research specialties as public opinion, voting and other aspects of mass political behavior, mass movements, theories of mass governance (democracy, communitarianism, anarchism, direct democracy, etc.), political parties, ethnic-gender-racial politics, the media, interest groups, and political socialization and culture.)
  • Public Law and Justice (to include research specialists in such foci as jurisprudence, judicial process, judicial behavior, constitutional law, law and society, criminal justice, international law, human rights, theories of law, justice, and ethics.)

Full time faculty: 27 (1 Stamford; 1 Hartford); undergraduate majors: 355; master: 67; doctoral: 79

The graduate program is centered at Storrs. Additionally, the MPA program has a significant off campus student body. Undergraduate study of political science is also concentrated at Storrs. Some representative 200-level course enrollment figures (Fall 1998) are: Storrs 1045; Stamford 35; Greater Hartford 31; Torrington 28; Waterbury 15; Avery Point 10. Students rely on both physical and remote access to information resources for the period of their course work and dissertation writing. Undergraduate, as well as graduate study and faculty research, often relies on access to very current source materials most successfully obtained through full-text online resources.

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns in Support of Political Science (1998/99)

Political Science (SSPOLI): $50,000.00 annually base budget.

Typical breakdown: Monographs $18,500 (including videos); Journals $31,500 (including continuations)

Interdisciplinary: $30,000.00

Separately funded programs spending from 30%-50% of their budgets on political materials include: African Studies, European Studies, Latin American Studies.

Networked Services: $25,000.00

Electronic indexing, abstracting, and full-text services purchased by the Library’s Networked Services budget which primarily (or in some cases significantly) support research in Political Science include: Academic Universe, CIAO (Colombia International Affairs Online); CQ Library Online; NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service); PAIS International (Public Affairs Information Service); World News Connection, JSTOR, Project Muse, Index to Legal Materials. Total estimated cost for these services is $25,000.00.

Total annual expenditures for political science: $105,000.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

A. Characteristics of the Literature

Political Science relies more heavily on journal literature than information produced in monographic form. Additionally, there will be an increasing need for electronic data that can be downloaded and manipulated with statistical software.

B. Collection Development

  1. Areas of Focus

    Political economy with emphasis on international areas (i.e., OECD and developing countries); public budgeting and finance (both domestic and international) ; international and comparative politics; American politics; public opinion, survey research, and voting; political parties; political culture, political behavior, public law; crime and justice.

  2. Acquisition Strategies:
  3. a. Monographs

    Monographic purchases focus on English language materials from major domestic academic and university presses. Works on theoretical issues are emphasized. In acquiring monographs we look for titles that are apt to remain important for a number of years. Topical issues, like the progress of privatization in Eastern Europe or the security situation in South Asia, are better approached, in our view, through journal articles and materials available on the web. Though it appears to be a declining perspective within Political Science, the library still approaches its task of reviewing the available literature in area studies terms. We acquire works on European politics and society in French, German, Italian and, very selectively Spanish. Selective acquisitions are also made on West Africa and Quebec in French. Somewhat more robust collecting is focused on Latin America and the Caribbean, where we collect in Spanish and, to a lesser extent, French and Portuguese. Although monographs are no longer acquired in Russian, the Library continues to devote significant resources to sources on Russia. In light of recent changes in the composition and general direction of the Political Science program, it is not clear whether these investments remain appropriate.

    The following sources are relied upon for selection:

  4. Yankee Book Peddler Approval/Slip Plan. YBP covers all university press and most trade publishing produced or actively distributed in the U.S. Publishers who refuse to discount to YBP, or produce less than 5 titles per year, are not covered. A full list of covered publishers is available on the YBP web page:
  5. Catalogs from CQ, UN, OECD, World Bank, and the like.
  6. Latin American & Caribbean approval plans and dealer’s catalogs.
  7. Harassowitz slip plan covering German and Austrian imprints.
  8. Casalini slip plan covering Italian imprints.
  9. Livres du Mois for French language imprints.
  10. A quarterly catalog of new publications from Iberbook, our Spanish vendor.
  11. Nijhoff monthly catalogs of English language imprints from Scandinavia.
  12. Listings from the African Books Collective and Clarke’s Bookshop (Cape Town, S.A.) are reviewed for English language materials published in Africa.
  13. Quarterly newsletter from DK Agencies is reviewed for Indian imprints in English.
  14. Annual summary of new publications from Canada is checked for publishers not handled by Yankee.

    Additional ordering is generated from faculty recommendations and investigating the previous publications of specific authors.

  15. b. Journals

    Journals purchase will also focus on English language materials. Coverage from other countries and world areas in the vernacular will depend on intensity of University area study programs. New journal subscriptions in political science are generally ordered pursuant to a student or faculty request. We require special justification, or evidence of demand from our document delivery statistics, to consider titles from for-profit publishers known for rapidly increasing the subscription costs of their titles. Also, addition of new titles will likely require trade-offs (i.e., cancellations) of currently held titles.

  16. c. Documents and Legal Materials

  17. Federal Documents: Library is a U.S. government documents depository at 76%. Many materials are also full-text on the Web with well-organized links.
  18. The Homer Babbidge Library maintains the second richest Connecticut Documents collection in the state, second only to that of the State Library in Hartford.
  19. About 50% of all materials currently produced in Connecticut by state agencies, offices, committees, task-forces, and commissions enter into the depository program. Occasionally documents of interest are not distributed by respective agencies. While fugitive documents are not aggressively pursued, those of interest are acquired whenever their existence is known. Faculty and students need to let the Library know what is needed. Nowadays, many items of serial nature or of topical interest are made available via the Internet. These are made readily accessible through an "Alphabetical Subject Index to Online Government Information" <> maintained by the Connecticut State Depository Librarian and a "Connecticut State Documents by Title" page maintained by the University Libraries </ConnState/CTDocalph.htm>.
  20. The Connecticut State Library serves as the full repository for Connecticut documents and shares these materials freely and expeditiously with the University community. The State Library's catalog serves as the most definitive record of state publications <>. A regularly updated checklist of new state publications is available at Searches in the UConn Libraries catalog and the State Library catalog may be limited to Connecticut document collections.
  21. The Library also acquires selective documents from Connecticut cities through the Connecticut microfiche of materials indexed in Current Urban Documents.
  22. Foreign documents: The Library does not monitor these publications closely. Selective collecting is done for Latin American Studies. Faculty and students need to let the Library know what is needed.
  23. International / Intergovernmental documents: Again, faculty and graduate students need to let the Library know what is needed. The Library is relying on the Web to provide increasingly more materials in full-text. We will rely on such organizations as the United Nations and other international organizations for statistical materials. We will continue to subscribe to the CIS National Statistical Compendium and Index to International Statistics (including the corresponding documents microfiche set). We will also rely on Yale’s Mudd Library for the most extensive collection in the state.
  24. Law materials: The Library is collecting Case Law for Federal courts (including for Supreme, selective for District and Court of Appeals) and Connecticut. Physical growth of these materials continues to be problematic for the Library and will need to be addressed. We are also attempting to improve electronic access for law materials through organized links to free web products as well as evaluation of cost products (e.g., evaluating Westlaw versus Academic Universe for legal coverage)
  25. Legislative materials: U.S. and Connecticut. As a federal depository we receive such central publications as the Congressional Record, Code of Federal Regulations, etc., CT Journal of the House and Senate, Proceedings of the State Legislature, etc. These materials are also virtually all available on the Web with increasingly sophisticated search interfaces.

    C. Access Development

    1. Relevant Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities

      In order to assist Political Science researchers to locate the research materials they need, the Library will use a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, subject and program-based web links, current awareness services, and document deliver and interlibrary loan. The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services, as well as those specific to Political Science (see section Current Library Expenditures, Networked Services) provided by the Library seems sufficient to meet this objective.

    2. Electronic Journals, Books, and Data

      User enthusiasm and economic incentives have caused the library to embrace electronic only access to commercial as well as non-profit journal packages. With the subscription year that begins in January 2004, if a cost savings is available, the libraries are generally converting journal subscriptions that currently bring us both print and electronic copies to electronic-only provision.

      We are making this change on a publisher-by-publisher basis. Many of our electronic journals do not come directly by license from the publisher, but instead through aggregator products such as Lexis-Nexis Academic, Dow-Jones, InfoTrac and Wilson Web. The arrangements between aggregators and publishers are constantly in flux. Only when titles are available through multiple aggregators, in a complete and reasonably current version will the cancellation of print be considered.

      We have resisted going electronic-only up to now because of concerns about long-term, archival access. Commercial publishers cannot be relied upon to archive their content once the prospect of additional sales approaches nil. Although a solution is far from in place, we believe that technologies now under examination, with funding from the National Science Foundation among others, will yield solutions whereby the largest research libraries will undertake the distributed archiving of digital content in all our interest. We expect that even the largest commercial publishers will, ultimately, cooperate with such an arrangement.

      One of the primary goals in the immediate future will be to identify the journals for which we have a subscription but not electronic access, and attempt to add said access. Often the stumbling block for doing so is the license agreement. Additionally, many of the society journals are only now being made available electronically. Often, online access to these titles is free with a print subscription. Retaining access to the already respectable menu of online journals provided by the Library is an ongoing library goal although this effort is becoming increasingly difficult. Because of unsustainable inflation of scholarly journals, electronic only access may be increasingly viewed as a viable option. The question of permanent access to reliable archives of this material is not yet resolved, making such a switch a risky venture.

      Furthermore, electronic journals can be hot linked to web based indexes like Web of Science, and the electronic resources listed above. Additionally, the Library’s electronic journal locator, eCompass, facilitates the identification of specific e-journal titles "owned" by the Library (i.e., accessible via the University internet domain, "".)

    3. Other Internet-based resources

      The political science liaison maintains a web page for political science resources that is part of the Libraries’ web site. The political science pages provide a starting place for students and faculty seeking local political science resources of various sorts and promote locally licensed electronic resources. The political science liaison is open to suggestions for the improvement of this page and is willing to set up specific links to resources being used in connection with local courses. See /research/bysubject/polisci.htm

    4. Document Delivery / Interlibrary Loan

      1998 ILL/DD transactions for Political Science: 649 total (78% graduate ; 22% faculty)

      Breakdown by type: 55% journals ; 44% monographs ; 1% other

      Comparable transaction totals: Sociology 376; Economics 543

    5. Significant Campus or external resources

    6. We continue to rely on the Law School Library for in-depth collecting of law materials. The library continues to work on more favorable cooperative situations with the Law Library for our faculty and students.
    7. The Library relies on the Roper Center to collect polling data, both national and international. We will also direct researchers to Roper to access resources available through the University’s membership in ICPSR.
    8. The State Library will remain our source for identifying and accessing Connecticut state documents not held in Storrs.

IV. Emerging Choices

Digital Data

The Library is beginning to collect key statistical data in digital formats that users can download and manipulate with statistical software. U.S. government agencies are beginning to make some of their key data sets available over the Internet in this fashion. Many international agencies, however, are not this far advanced. Moreover, where digital data is available it generally comes on windows based CD-ROMs that are very difficult to network and often employ less than state-of-the-art software. In order to fully integrate data into Library services for research needs it may mean a shift in staffing resources. The Library sees a need to move in this direction but still sees problems in succeeding.

Electronic Journals

In the field of Political Science, which relies more heavily on journal literature, we will continue to rely heavily on document delivery. Networked indexing and abstracting sources such as PAIS International, makes it easier for us to identify needed materials. We will need to also continue to monitor the journals budget. As we have already done in the recent past, we may need to continue to make choices to rely exclusively on electronic versions of some journals.

Monographs Budget

We are currently buying more monographs in political science than we can afford. We will need to closely monitor expenditures on monographs, videos, and digital data, as well as journal inflationary encroachments on the monographs budgets.

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