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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:

Prepared by Barbara Cervera, DATE: May 2001
DRAFT for review by the Psychology Department, Fall 2001.


The purpose of this Collection Development and Access Plan is threefold. First, it is a tool for the Library to become better informed of the information and data needs of academic programs on campus. Second, it will outline how existing local collections, networked electronic services, and document delivery services are being utilized to meet the bibliographic needs of these programs. Third, it is hoped that this plan will provide the faculty and the library staff a base for dialog concerning future information needs and areas for cooperation. This plan follows the broad guidelines established in Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market: A Framework for the University of Connecticut Libraries, issued by the Chancellor's Library Advisory Committee in March 1999.


  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 Psychology Department is regarded as one of the premier departments of the University. Faculty members have received numerous prestigious University awards for teaching, teaching promise, and use of information technology. In 1999-2000, psychology professors were awarded approximately $5 million of federal grant money for research projects. Psychology has more undergraduate majors than any other department and the most graduate students of any department in CLAS. In addition, the introductory psychology courses (Psychology 132 & 135) are the most heavily enrolled of any course that is not required for graduation with over 1335 students in Spring 2001.

The department attaches a high priority to research, including at the undergraduate level. On average, over 90% of the faculty participate as sponsors of undergraduate research. In 1998-1999, approximately 40 undergraduates were co-authors on book chapters and journal articles and/or presenters of papers at professional conferences.

The department supports several programs in focused areas of research. The Center for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action (CESPA) is in the Experimental Psychology division and takes an ecological approach to the study of perception and action. The Center for HIV Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) seeks to develop, implement, and evaluate innovative intervention programs to reduce HIV risk behavior using the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model of health behavior change (e.g., J. Fisher & Fisher, 1992; J. Fisher & Fisher, 2000; W. Fisher & Fisher, 1993) as a conceptual framework. The department maintains an affiliation with the Haskins Laboratories, an independent research institute with a primary focus on the biological bases of speech and language that is located in New Haven.

  • Degree Programs
  • Undergraduate program:
  • Psychology major leading to the B.A. or B.S. degree
  • Psychology minor
  • Criminal justice
  • Graduate program: All programs lead to the Ph.D. in one of six areas of specialty
  • Behavioral neuroscience (biopsychology, neuroscience)
  • Experimental (language/cognition, ecological psychology, cognition/instruction)
  • Clinical
  • Developmental
  • Social
  • Industrial/Organizational (personnel/organizational, human factors/ergonomics)
  • Faculty (Fall 2000)
  • 41 full-time faculty
  • 26 affiliated faculty
  • 4 active emeritus faculty
  • Students (Fall 2000)
  • 622 undergraduate majors (Storrs)
  • 144 graduate students

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns

  • Total 1999-2000 Collections Budget: $118,000
  • Journals: $106,000
  • Monographs (and other non-serial formats): $12,000

  • Networked Services: PsycINFO annual cost $7,750 (FY 2000/2001) Psychology researchers also benefit from the use of other electronic indexing, and full-text services purchased by the library's Networked Services budget such as Web of Science, Medline, and Sociological Abstracts and from packages of electronic journals.

The majority of the collections budget for Psychology is allocated to journal subscriptions. Since many of these are scientific or medical in nature, they have exhibited extraordinary price increases in recent years and cancellations have been necessary. The ability to initiate new subscriptions, without cancellation of currently held titles, has been almost totally curtailed.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Characteristics of the Literature

    As noted above, the discipline is heavily reliant on journal literature. The broad scope of research and teaching within the Psychology Department requires access to a wide variety of titles covering fields from behavioral neuroscience, through developmental, clinical, social, experimental, and industrial/organizational psychology, including research in human factors engineering. The journal literature comes from commercial publishers and from professional societies like the American Psychological Association, the Neuroscience Society, the Psychonomic Society, and others. The journals in science and technology, particularly those from commercial publishers, have increased dramatically in price in recent years.

    Faculty and graduate students increasingly request electronic access to journal content and it is becoming more readily available--for a price, of course. Nonetheless, the convenience of being able to locate and print/download articles at the desktop is appealing and compelling.

    As in other disciplines, current psychological research builds on previous research, some of it very early. PsycINFO indexes the literature of the field back to 1887, the most comprehensive coverage of any subject database. Therefore, it is important to retain access to earlier research, whether it is the seminal works of eminent authors in the field or the work of current researchers taking the field in new directions. There is increasing emphasis on interdisciplinary studies, particularly in areas such as linguistics and cognitive science. Affiliated faculty from Communication Sciences, Linguistics, and Family Studies augment the Psychology Department faculty.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus

      Resources are selected based on their relevance to instruction and current research in the fields of psychology taught in the department: behavioral neuroscience, developmental, clinical, experimental, industrial/organizational, and social psychology. The majority of the budget is allocated to journals. Monographs and other formats are purchased when appropriate and as funding allows. In general, textbooks, laboratory manuals, practice manuals, and festschriften are not collected. Conference proceedings are purchased very selectively.

    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs

        The University of Connecticut Libraries use the approval plan services of Yankee Book Peddler to supply the bulk of new monographs. Books are received based on a profile that is broad in coverage for psychology and notify slips are provided for items that fall outside the profile but which may be of interest. Some titles are selected and ordered from these slips. In addition, catalogs from publishers and reviews from various sources are consulted for other materials that might be added to the collections. Specific suggestions from library users, including students and faculty, are always given full consideration.

      2. Journals

        The journal literature predominates in the many aspects of psychology research done by faculty and students in the department. Coverage must support, at the very least, instruction and general study. Core journals must be maintained in each division, including: behavioral neuroscience, developmental, clinical, experimental, industrial/organizational, and social psychology. Price increases in psychology journals, like those in other sciences, have made it difficult to sustain anything beyond this level of collecting. The Libraries require special justification, or evidence of demand from document delivery statistics, to consider new titles. Also, addition of new titles will likely require trade-offs (i.e., cancellations) of currently held titles.

        Because new subscriptions cannot be accommodated within the journal budget without the cancellation of existing subscriptions, a new process is needed that allows for the consideration of new titles and the review of existing subscriptions. Such a process has been outlined in consultation with the Psychology Department's Library Liaison but has yet to be approved or tested. It basically relies on a form that requires requestors of new titles to also list existing titles that might be considered for cancellation. The process further requires that division colleagues agree to both the addition of the new title and the cancellation of the existing one. Finally, the department head and the department council (consisting of all division heads) have an opportunity to review the requests and make their recommendations. It is hoped that this process can be implemented in Spring 2002.

        Whenever possible and affordable, electronic versions of titles on current subscription are purchased.

      3. Other media

        In the last two years, the Libraries have made some modest acquisitions of videos to support the teaching needs of Psychology. These expenditures will need to be monitored as they encroach on the monographs budgets.

  3. Access Development

    In order to assist Psychology researchers to locate the research materials they need, the Libraries will use a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, subject and program-based web links, current awareness services, and document delivery and interlibrary loan.

    Acquisition Strategies: Indexes and Abstracts
    The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services as well as those specific to Psychology (see section Current Library Expenditures, Networked Services) provided by the Libraries seems sufficient to meet the above stated objective.

    As a reminder, the paper analog of PsycINFO, Psychological Abstracts, does contain abstracts for articles in the early years of publication (1927+) that are not contained in the online database. However, Psychological Abstracts does not abstract non-English language journals and it no longer indexes dissertations. Both of these sources are covered in PsycINFO. Given the more comprehensive coverage of PsycINFO, the subscription to Psychological Abstracts has now been cancelled.

    Psychology researchers rely on Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan services to supply what the Libraries do not own. Psychology faculty and students have been among the most active users of the Libraries' new Electronic Document Delivery service, even before that service was announced and publicized.

    Acquisition Strategies: 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, "".)

    The APA does market a software product called APA Style Helper, primarily to undergraduates, which automatically assists with writing papers in APA format. This product could be investigated for possible use in the Libraries' microlabs.

    Acquisition Strategies: Other Internet-based resources
    The Psychology liaison maintains a web page for Psychology resources that promotes locally licensed electronic resources and provides a starting place for students and faculty seeking local, national, and international web resources of various sorts, including the APA's website ( and Resource Discovery Network in the UK ( This page is part of the Libraries' web site. The Psychology liaison continually adds links to new and is open to suggestions for the improvement of this page. Review this page at: /resesarch/bysubject/psyc.html

    Document Delivery / Interlibrary Loan
    DD/ILL is an integral part of all collection development and access plans. DD/ILL data is actively considered in relation to both journal purchase decisions and collection budget planning.

    Psychology researchers are active users of Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan services. Individuals at the Storrs campus choosing PSYC as their department accounted for 9% of all DD/ILL filled photocopies during the Fall 2000 semester. Psychology faculty and students have been among the most active users of the Libraries' new Electronic Document Delivery service, even before that service was announced and publicized.

    The largest categories of journal articles requested are titles held at UCHC, which the Storrs Library chooses not to duplicate, and international titles historically not collected by the Libraries.

    Significant Campus or external resources
    Regional consortium agreements that have resulted in the increased availability of electronic content, especially of science journals, have proven very valuable to psychology researchers.

    IV. Emerging Choices

    The Psychology Department has achieved an excellent reputation for the quality of its research and of its students. The University continues to regard Psychology as a priority department. As part of the University's ongoing process of examining its academic programs, the Psychology Department was scheduled for a program review in Spring 2001 but that review has now been postponed and it is unclear when or if it will be conducted. For its part, the UConn Libraries has accorded the Department priority and should continue to do so.

    Electronic Journals
    The predominant trend among researchers in psychology is the desire for the delivery of electronic content to the desktop. There are increasing demands for access to electronic journals, even though the Libraries subscribe to print versions of the same journals. The APA is planning to offer full-text access to its journals through PsycINFO. The Libraries will closely monitor this development and make appropriate acquisitions decisions when that resource becomes available.

    Making choices between print and electronic versions of journals is increasingly the most critical question to be addressed. While there are more and more emerging electronic journals for psychology, the Libraries will probably need to continue to rely heavily on document delivery to supplement print subscriptions. Networked indexing and abstracting sources like PsycINFO make it easier for faculty and students to identify needed materials. As it has done increasingly in the recent past, the Libraries may need to continue to make the choice to rely exclusively on electronic versions of some journals.

    If it is possible to save money by subscribing to electronic versions alone, choosing the e-version will be especially tempting. Any cost savings achieved might afford the Libraries the opportunity to redirect monies toward new subscriptions.

    Electronic texts
    In addition to journals, noted reference works are now becoming available in electronic format. For example, the Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science is now available from netLibrary at a cost similar to that of the print version. The Libraries need to do more investigation and testing of electronic reference works but it is likely that, in the future, they will be considered for purchase along with or instead of their print analogs.

    Indexing/Abstracting Resources
    The paper version of PsycINFO, Psychological Abstracts, does contain abstracts for articles in the early years of publication (1927+) that are not contained in the online database. However, Psychological Abstracts does not abstract non-English language journals and it no longer indexes dissertations. Both of these sources are covered in PsycINFO. Given the stability and reliability of PsycINFO, as well as its more complete coverage of current resources, the subscription to Psychological Abstracts has now been cancelled.

    The future of collecting to support Psychology in a changing information economy
    Both continuing inflation in the unit cost of print and electronic publications, and expanding demand for new products and services are anticipated. The Libraries do not expect the University to solve this problem by increasing the Libraries' share of limited University resources. The Libraries hope for a continuation of the current level of support, but cannot regard it as guaranteed. Increasingly though, measures of user behavior: circulation by classification and patron affiliation; database use; and ILL/document delivery activity will play a role in budget decision-making.

    The significant evolution in collection development and access patterns requires enhanced communication between library staff and the faculty and students they serve. Ongoing dialogue will help ensure that the best choices are being made and that users are knowledgeable about emerging kinds of library resources in terms of access and intelligent use and the risks involved in some of these choices. The Library Liaison Program will continue to be the primary vehicle for this kind of contact.

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