Skip to Content
Skip to Search
Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content

University of Connecticut University Libraries

Sociology

Collection Development and Access Plan:
Sociology

Prepared by Tiffani Conner, DATE: Fall 2004.
DRAFT: For review by the Department of Sociology

Purpose:

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.

Contents:

  1. Characteristics of the Community

  2. Current Library Expenditures in Support of Sociology

  3. Current Patterns of Information Service

  4. Emerging Choices

I. Characteristics of the Community

  1. Factual Background (Fall 2000)

    Faculty: 24
    Undergraduate Majors: 188
    Master's Candidates: 17
    Doctoral Candidates: 23

  2. Departmental Narrative

    The Department of Sociology confers degrees at the Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral levels. Major areas of concentration within the department include:

    Social Work and Human Services
    Criminal Justice
    Business and Management
    Public Policy and Law
    Urban Affairs and Community Development

    The department of Sociology offers a variety of cross-listed courses with other departments including: Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Women's Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Urban Studies. Additionally, selected courses are acceptable for Sociology majors in the fields of Communication Sciences, Education, English, Foreign Languages and Literature, Geography, Statistics, Human Development and Family Relations, Linguistics, and other programs.

    Two new areas of concentration involving the Dept. of Sociology have recently been approved by the University's Board of Trustees:

    Human Rights Minor (undergraduate)
    Survey Research (master's level)

    Both are interdisciplinary in nature. The Human Rights Minor was initiated in Fall 2001, and is directed by a member of the Dept. of Sociology. The Survey Research program will be administered by the Institute for Public Service, with strong ties to the Center for Survey Research and Analysis, the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, and the Political Science Department's existing program, but will also involve faculty and students in Sociology and other disciplines.

    Some courses enable students to combine academic work with volunteer, for-credit, field experience in a social welfare agency, organization or group in the following areas: Services for Children & Youth; Services for the Elderly; Crisis Intervention & Counseling; Education, Special Training & Job Placement; Health, Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services; Criminal Justice & Legal Services; and Multi-Purpose Research & Planning Agencies-Community Organizing (e.g., Connecticut Permanent Commission on the Status of Women). The new Human Rights minor will likewise entail fieldwork in an organization or agency related to human rights issues.

    Students interested in the growing field of criminal justice are offered an interdisciplinary Minor in Criminal Justice, requiring 18 credit hours of coursework in Sociology, Political Science, Psychology, Philosophy and HDFR.

II. Current Library Expenditures in Support of Sociology

The base budget for monographs and journals for FY 2000-2001 was $28,000.
Typical breakdown: $12,000 for books and $16,000 for journals, serials, and continuations.

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 Sociology include: Sociological Abstracts, PsychInfo, ERIC, Social Work Abstracts, PAIS International, AgeLine, Dissertation Abstracts, Women's Resources International, and Alternative Press Index. Likewise, more general use electronic resources are available via Academic Universe, Dow Jones Interactive, Infotrac Expanded Academic Index, First Search, Uncover, WilsonWeb (including Social Sciences Abstracts) and Web of Science (including Social Sciences Citation Index).

(For a more complete list consult the Sociology Resources by Subject page at: /reserach/bysubject/socio.html.)

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Special Characteristics of the Literature
    Citation analysis of recent publications by the Sociology faculty at the University of Connecticut, using the Social Sciences Citation Index as well as physical examination when SSCI lacked appropriate information, suggest that the following pattern of references is typical:

    47%

    journal articles

    1 % 

    newspapers

    43%

    books

    4%

    government documents

    .005%

    social science data survey

    4%

    unpublished materials

    The use of both journal literature and books in approximately equal proportions suggests the equivalent importance of both forms of literature as well as of current and historical literature. This coincides with the fairly equal "typical breakdown" of the Library budget for Sociology as indicated in Section II.

    The discipline of Sociology and its related fields make high use of statistical data. There will be an increasing need for electronic data that can be downloaded and manipulated with statistical software.

    Because of the strong interdisciplinary nature of sociological research, there is wide use of the sociology literature by those in the fields of psychology, human and family development, political science, law, education, women's studies, religious studies, health policy, and social work, among others.

  2. Collection Development

    1. Areas of Focus

      Resources are selected based on their relevance to instruction and current faculty research which covers a wide variety of topics, with emphases in the following areas: adolescents and drugs; African film; African urbanization; African-American youth; the aging individual; class and voting; community policing; community redevelopment; corporate welfare and global debt; crime and rational choice; crime and society; education and class; employment and economic attainment; ethnicity and gender; the family; HIV prevention; Marxist theory; political sociology; popular culture and society; privatization of prisons; race and class; religion and belief; social deviance; urban social classes; white racism; and women and health.

      On occasion, selective purchases are made on the history and/or philosophy of sociology, general social sciences methodology, classroom anthologies of current and widespread interest, and the teaching of sociology. Additionally, University-wide programs of a temporary (e.g., human rights) or permanent (e.g., forensics) nature will necessitate purchases in connection with the sociology collections.

      Monographs and journal titles in support of these topics are generally collected, and range in scope from readings for general undergraduate study to scholarly works. Textbooks are rarely purchased; multimedia resources are purchased by request of faculty. Social science data is supported inasmuch as interdisciplinary data is provided via the Federal Depository system, as well as the University's membership in the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, and the Roper Center.

    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 Sociology. 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 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 purchase

      2. Journals

        The library maintains a good collection of sociology and social science journals on site. New journal subscriptions in Sociology 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 may require trade-offs (i.e., cancellations) of currently held titles.

        Additionally, electronic access to social science journals is increasing rapidly. Full-text articles from journals can be accessed via InfoTrac, WilsonWeb, Academic Universe, JStor, Dow-Jones Interactive, Sociological Abstracts (on a very limited basis at the moment), and through individual selected journal titles available electronically. The Library's electronic journal locator, eCompass, facilitates the identification of specific online titles "owned" by the Library (i.e., accessible via the University internet domain, ".uconn.edu".)

      3. Non-print and Miscellaneous Materials

        Videos, conference proceedings, dissertations, selected state and federal reports, and selected research institutions' reports are often relevant to pedagogical and research needs in sociology. Selection and purchase of such materials are made in collaboration with faculty who indicate a need and expect to use such materials for research and instruction. When selected these materials are charged to the book budget portion of the collection development budget allocated to support Sociology.

  3. Access Development
    In order to assist Sociology 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 and Abstracts
      The current complement of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services as well as those specific to Sociology (see section Current Library Expenditures, Networked Services) provided by the Library seems sufficient to meet the above stated objective.

    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 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, ".uconn.edu".)

    3. Other Internet-based resources
      The Sociology Library Liaison maintains web pages that organize and promote a wide range of electronic resources for sociology and criminology including locally licensed indexing/abstracting services and full-text resources located at: /research/bysubject/socio.html and /research/bysubject/crim.html.
      The liaison welcomes comments on improvements to the page and/or additional sites, which should be listed.

    4. Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan
      Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan (DD/ILL) is an integral part of all our collection development and access plans. DD/ILL data is actively considered when making journal purchase decisions and in collection budget planning.

      The Interlibrary Loan statistics for 1999-2000 for sociology faculty and students are:

      Total Requests: 483
         
      Faculty Request Ratio 61%
      Graduate Student Ratio 39% *
         
      Books 43%
      Journal Articles 57%
         
      * includes one staff request  


IV. Emerging Choices

The field of Sociology will continue to rely on books and journals for historical and current literature in pursuit of teaching and research excellence. As sociological literature becomes more widely available via electronic access, research materials will reach users from all locations, obviating the need for one's physical presence in the library buildings. Exclusive reliance on electronic versions of many of the Library's resources may be an option for the future, but will depend on reliable archival access to important information. In the interim, a combination of hard-copy and electronic versions of the literature are often a must.

Statistical data, freely available from a variety of government and non-governmental sources occasionally elude easy access; changes in access to such data are swift and can be confusing. Improvements in access to statistical data rely on a variety of factors:

  • Continued improvements in governmental digital reporting of statistical data
  • Easy access to licensed databases; e.g., Statistical Universe
  • Wide availability of statistical software for download and manipulation of data
  • Employment of a social sciences data manager within the University Libraries system
  • Closer library ties to the Roper Center and the Center for Survey Research and Analysis
  • Investigation of additional sources of sociometric data; e.g., Social Science Electronic Data Library, available from a commercial vendor, Sociometrics Corp.

    The Library sees a need to move in this direction and will work with faculty and graduate students in Sociology to identify, evaluate, and consider acquisition of these digital products. However, the Library will need to consider the priority of diverting staff and materials resources to these choices as well as closely monitor expenditures on digital data so as not to encroach too deeply on the monographs budgets.

    The future of collecting to support Sociology in a changing information economy
    The library anticipates both continuing inflation in the unit cost of print and electronic publications, and expanding demand for new products and services. We hope for a continuation of our current level of University 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 decisions.

    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.

    Return to Top
    Return to Program Planning Main Page