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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Marine Sciences

Prepared by Jan E. Heckman, DATE: January 2002


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 the Marine Sciences community. Second, it will outline how existing local collections, networked electronic services, and document deliveries are being utilized to meet bibliographic needs. Third, it may provide the faculty of the Marine Sciences Department, Coastal Studies program and the library staff a base for dialog concerning future information needs and area 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

Teaching and research performed by the Department of Marine Sciences, Marine Science Technology Center (MSTC), and the Coastal Studies program at the Avery Point campus are critical to the long term economic and environmental health and welfare of the state of Connecticut. Additionally, the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the National Undersea Research Program, NA-GL support educational, research, and outreach efforts throughout Connecticut as well as out-of-state. In the spring of 2001 new state-of-the-art facilities were occupied. These facilities will provide immediately opportunities for increased enrollment and marine science research activities at Avery Point.

Various marine sciences related institutions and organizations in the Southeastern Connecticut geographic actively use the Avery Point library resources. Groups which reside on campus but are not University entities are Project Oceanology, the Coast Guard Research and Development Center, and the Long Island Sound Resource Center. Among the off campus organizations that utilize our collection there are the Coast Guard Academy, Mystic Seaport Museum and Library, and the Mystic Aquarium (whose staff also teach a University credited course). High schools and general public also often take advantage of the Avery Point collections.

Undergraduate Program: A Coastal Studies four-year undergraduate degree was established at Avery Point in 1999. At present there are 34 students in the program and realistic expectations are that 20 new students will begin the program each year.

Graduate and Research Programs:
The Department of Marine Sciences offers both Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees in oceanography. The concentrations of study follow the classic fields of study for oceanography: biological, physical, chemical, and geological.

Graduate Program Profile 2005:

Faculty: 20
In-Residence (non-tenure track): 9
Joint Appointment Faculty: 5
Post Doctoral: 5
Staff: 26 (National Undersea Research Center (NURC), 9 ; Coastal Environmental Lab (CEL), 6 ; Sea Grant, 6)

Master's Candidates: 17
Doctoral Candidates: 26

The Marine Science Technology Center (MSTC) supports the efforts of the Department of Marine Sciences and Coastal Studies by promoting and providing assistance with technology integration and enhancement as well as conducting research of their own.

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns

Marine Sciences Library Annual allocation: $82,000 (fy 2001)
Typical breakdown: journals, $71,000; monographs and other media, $11,000.
The marine sciences also benefit greatly from the library's support of many of the science disciplines.

Networked Services:
Electronic indexing, abstracting, and full-text services purchased by the Library's Networked Services budget (not reflected in the above figures) which primarily (or in some cases significantly) support research in Marine Sciences include: Biosis, CSA: Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts, CSA: Biological Sciences, CSA: Water Resources Abstracts, GeoRef, Sci-Finder (Chemical Abstracts), and Web of Science (SCI). (For a more complete list consult the Marine Sciences Resources by Subject page at: /research/bysubject/martable.htm.

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Characteristics of the Literature

    Literature within the Marine Sciences at the university level, like most sciences, is dominated by journals. Every year there are a number of monographs published which pull together the commonly accepted state of research on a variety of topics which range from very subject specific and detailed studies to more general ecological, atmospheric, geological, and ocean physics systems studies. Since the marine science collections at Avery Point is used by anyone from freshman coastal studies students to graduate, post doctorate researchers, and faculty the breath of literature collected is quite open.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus
      Collecting supports the research needs of the graduate marine sciences program, the undergraduate Coastal Studies program, and the general curricula at the Avery Point campus. There is a geographical focus on Long Island Sound, the Connecticut coast (estuaries and ocean waters), plus the greater Atlantic Ocean. Monographs are purchased which expand upon emerging marine science discoveries, deal comprehensively with marine science principles, or address research actively pursued. All of the historic subject divisions, which occur under oceanography; biological, physical, chemical, and geological, are collected.
    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs
        The University of Connecticut uses the Yankee Book Peddler Approval/Slip Plan, which covers U.S. scholarly and trade publishers plus their Canadian and British equivalents, which directly distribute in the U.S. Books are chosen from notification slips based on a profile that is broad in coverage for the Marine Sciences. Publishers who do not to 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.

        Textbooks, popular reading, guide books, examinations, laboratory manuals; software and hardware manuals are generally not collected. Dissertations must be specifically requested for purchased.

        The Avery Point library has in the last few years increased its collection of federal, state and other domestic or international agency documents. Recently the non-circulating collection of the Long Island Sound Resource Center was moved to the library. The collection will remain a non-circulating research collection. This should greatly increase access to reports that focus on Long Island Sound. Maps are collected for the general geographic area of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean.

      2. Journals
        There is a core collection of journals to which the libraries subscribe. Specific requests by patrons for new titles are reviewed taking into account relevance to curriculum, cost-benefit, and document delivery statistics for a given title. Addition of new titles will likely require trade-offs (i.e., cancellations) of currently held titles. Electronic journals are actively sought if they meet these same standards of review. (See section Access Development:Electronic Journals, Books and Data for discussion of electronic journals).
      3. Other media
        Videos are selectively purchased specifically when they directly support the teaching curricula and in some cases for ongoing curriculum support.
  3. Access Development

    In order to help marine science and coastal studies students, faculty and staff locate the research materials they need, the University of Connecticut Libraries uses a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, subject and program-based web links, current awareness services, interlibrary loan and document delivery.

    1. Relevant Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities
      The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services as well as those specific to Marine Science (see section Current Library Expenditures, Networked Services) provided by the Library seems sufficient to meet the above stated objectives.

      Because of the broad scope of oceanographic study, there are a large number of indexes used by marine science faculty and students. Two very important indexes are Aquatic Science and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) and Web of Science (Science Citation Index). Both of these cover, to some degree, the biological, chemical, physical, geologic, and geographic subject disciplines that comprise the range of oceanographic studies. The library also subscribes to specialized databases for each of those disciplines.

    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 Marine Science Librarian maintains a web page that organizes and promotes a wide range of electronic resources for marine sciences including locally licensed indexing/abstracting services and full-text resources located at: /research/bysubject/martable.htm. The liaison welcomes comments on improvements to the page and/or additional sites, which 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.
    5. Significant Campus or External Resources
      As the literature in the sciences expands and journal subscription prices inflate at a rate greater than that of the budget, no one library is able to collect everything. We will more actively pursue cooperation between libraries, particularly in the form of cooperative purchasing and licensing arrangements with regional library consortia.

      The International Association of Aquatic and Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers (IAMSLIC) serves as a networking group which serves as a resource for marine sciences librarians and for locating hard to find materials.

IV. Emerging Choices

Journals and electronic subscriptions require an ongoing commitment and will be reviewed on an annual basis. As long as for-profit publishers dominate the distribution of the Scientific literature, price increases will outrun our resources, and the number of journals to which we can continue to subscribe will diminish. Only our cancellation of unreasonably priced journals and your decision not to publish in such or review for such titles will lead to change in the system.

Because journals are critical for marine sciences research and teaching, a clear challenge in collection development for Marine Science is managing the transition to electronic journals. There are major questions and concerns raised by this transition and no ready answers. As the Library purchases different packages and products, both library staff and Marine Science faculty and students must understand that we are experimenting in the acquisition of journals in this new medium and that permanent electronic access cannot be guaranteed for everything we initially provide. All journal users are encouraged to be active participants in the promotion and evaluation of electronic journals within their subject areas.

The future of collecting to support Marine Science 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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