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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Urban and Community Studies, Tri-Campus

Prepared by Janice Mathews, Spring, 2005
DRAFT for review by the Urban and Community Studies Department, Spring 2005.


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 Library Collecting in a Digital Age: New and Persisting Challenges, April 2003.


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

I. Characteristics of the Community

  1. Factual Background (Spring 2005)

    Core Faculty: 10 2 new hires
    2 faculty from Sociology
    1 faculty from American Studies/ History
    1 faculty from History/ Social Work
    1 faculty from Social Work/ Urban Studies
    2 faculty from Political Science/ Public Policy
    1 faculty from Economics

    Undergraduate Majors: 48

  2. Departmental Narrative

    The Urban and Community Studies program is an interdisciplinary degree program based in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. A Tri-Campus program, classes are offered at the Greater Hartford Campus, Waterbury, and Torrington. The department of Urban and Community Studies confers degrees at the Bachelor’s level. Concentrations within the department include:

  3. Social and Human Services
  4. Public Policy and Administration
  5. Urban and Regional Planning
  6. Urban Culture

    UCS students fill their major requirements from courses in urban studies, sociology, economics, political science, geography, history, statistics, and anthropology. Students are all commuters, relying primarily on Trecker Library at Greater Hartford Campus and the Waterbury Campus Library. UCS students also participate in capstone projects and community internships.

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns

As an interdisciplinary field of study, Urban Studies collecting includes political science, geography, anthropology, economics, urban planning, and sociology. The Urban Studies budget includes collecting in all these social sciences.

The budget for monographs for FY 2005 is $8750.
The budget for videos is $1700.
The budget for serials is $8,000.*
The budget for reference works is $1200.

Total budget: $19,650.

*Urban Studies students at Greater Hartford Campus benefit from proximity to the School of Social Work collections. Though not included in the Urban Studies budget, students have access to a large collection of sociology and community studies journals purchased through Social Work.

Networked Services:
Electronic indexing, abstracting, and full-text services purchased by the Library’s Networked Services budget (not reflected in the above figures) which significantly support research in Urban Studies include: InfoTrac, Social Sciences Full Text, PAIS International, WilsonWeb, Academic Universe, and JSTOR.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Characteristics of the Literature

    Urban Studies resources include works from the fields of urban planning, sociology, economics, political science, geography, history, statistics, and anthropology that study cities, suburbs, neighborhoods, and communities. Urban Studies research requires monographs and journal literature.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus

      Attention is directed toward building strengths that will support the curriculum and faculty research. As the department does not confer advanced degrees, our collection is intended to support undergraduate learning and faculty interests. The emphasis is on urban planning, city histories, comparative studies, public policy, urban economics, demographics, the social aspects of urban life, local government, and urban growth. Additional emphasis is being given to studies of Central Connecticut, specifically Hartford, Connecticut, including dissertations, demographics, neighborhood studies, and information about local organizations. The study of Hartford is growing in importance as the department develops. Faculty interests include studies in race, gender, and class, electoral politics, the economics of housing, local governments, and community based response. Both qualitative and quantitative works are collected. The joint appointments of two faculty members with Social Work and one with Public Policy make the study of social and human services especially important.

    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs

        The University of Connecticut Libraries uses 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 Urban Studies. 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. Publishers who do not discount to Yankee or produce less than five titles a year are not covered. 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.

        Comprehensive collecting in all areas of Urban Studies is neither feasible nor necessary. Core and classic texts (based on Choice recommendations) have been purchased and new titles are acquired to support the curriculum. Faculty recommendations are solicited.

        Textbooks, popular reading, guidebooks, examinations, laboratory manuals, software and hardware manuals are generally not collected. City plans are selected on a case-by-case basis. Dissertations must be specifically requested for purchased, except for those pertaining to Hartford, which are being actively acquired.

      2. Journals

        New journal subscriptions in Urban Studies are generally ordered pursuant to a student or faculty request. The Library requires 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.

        Urban Studies benefits from the many journals covering social issues purchased to support study and research for the School of Social Work at the Hartford campus. The Library’s excellent suite of databases provide sufficient articles for Urban Studies undergraduates.

      3. Other Media

        Videos and DVDs are purchased at faculty request to support the curriculum. Topics that are collected include urban sprawl, homelessness, poverty, urban economics, and local politics. CDRoms and microformat materials are generally not collected.

  3. Access Development

    In order to assist Tri-Campus Urban Studies 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 delivery and interlibrary loan.

    1. Acquisitions Strategies: Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities

      The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services provided by the Library seems sufficient to meet the above stated objective. There are no databases per se for Urban Studies, but the social science databases are strong in their coverage of urban issues. The undergraduates in the department are well served by InfoTrac, WilsonWeb, Project Muse, Social Sciences Full Text, and LexisNexis. Through these sources, students and faculty are often able to find ample full text journal resources, which is particularly important for titles that are not held locally. In fact, students are increasingly limiting themselves to electronic sources, even for titles that are held locally. Should electronic sources become unavailable, students would be lost. We do not currently maintain back-up print copies of reader’s guides or indexing services.

    2. Acquisitions 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 began 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 Urban Studies library liaison maintains a web page that organizes and promotes a wide range of electronic resources including locally licensed indexing/abstracting services and full-text resources located at: /research/bysubject/urbanpage.htm

      The liaison welcomes comments on improvements to the page and/or additional sites that should be listed.

    4. Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan

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

      The vast majority of DD/ILL requests from the Greater Hartford Campus come from the School of Social Work. Since the Tri-Campus Urban Studies program is for undergraduates, it can be assumed that the in-house collection of monographs and journals, and electronic access to databases and ejournals, with occasional support from DD/ILL, is entirely sufficient for our students and faculty.

    5. Significant Campus or external resources

      The Greater Hartford Campus participates in the Hartford Consortium for Higher Education, allowing students from Capital Community-Technical College, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford Seminary, Saint Joseph College, Trinity College and the University of Hartford to cross-register for our courses. Our students are likewise able to take courses at participating institutions. Urban Studies classes play a key part in the cross-curriculum. Library privileges are extended to faculty and staff of member institutions.

IV. Emerging Choices

The Tri-Campus Urban Studies department will continue to depend upon books and journals to facilitate research. Students are increasingly limiting their serials research to full text electronic sources, increasing the ease of research from remote locations and reducing need for periodical housing. Undergraduate Urban Studies students primarily rely on recent journal articles, but as the program develops more attention may be paid to the history of urban studies, necessitating access to older journals. Archiving serials is not now a priority, but may become one.

Monographs will continue to be collected to support the curriculum. As an undergraduate interdisciplinary program that covers so many disciplines (sociology, economics, political science, geography, history, statistics, and anthropology) collecting at a research level will not be necessary, or, for that matter, possible. Instead, collecting will be done to support teaching and introductory research. Monographs and other published materials pertaining to Hartford and Central Connecticut will be increasingly important to the program and will be collected as comprehensively as possible.

The future of collecting to support Tri-Campus Urban Studies 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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