General & Popular Science

  1. General Scope

    1. Audience

      Materials in the general science collection broadly support many academic programs across campus; there is no single department, program, or research center that relies on general science materials as its primary collection.  Materials in general science are those that have broad, overarching relevance to research, teaching, learning and practice for those in STEM fields.  Popular science materials, by contrast, are aimed at an educated but non-specialist audience, potentially any member of the Dartmouth community, not limited to those in STEM fields.

    2. Boundaries

      Books and other materials in general science are non-subject specific in nature, and can be interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary.  This collection area covers works such as:

      • The nature of science and the scientific method
      • Guides to careers in science
      • Guides to success in research and academia
      • Scientific writing and publishing guides, handbooks, and manuals; scientific dictionaries
      • Ethics in science
      • Science and public policy
      • Impacts of science on society
      • Cultural and social aspects of science

      Reference works such as handbooks, general science encyclopedias, and multidisciplinary journals such as Science, Nature, and PNAS are encompassed by the general science collection scope.

      Popular science materials, by contrast, can be subject-specific in nature.  This collection area covers the following categories:

      • Best-sellers on science topics
      • Current and emerging science areas
      • Controversial or “hot” topics, and subjects getting significant attention in the media
      • Popular biographies of prominent scientists
      • Science writing “eg Best American Science Writing”
      • Games, brain teasers, etc.

      There can be overlap between these collection areas.

      Location of print materials in general science can vary, depending on subject.  Books useful to practicing researchers and students should be housed in one of the science libraries (Biomedical Libraries, Feldberg, or Kresge), space permitting.  Books whose focus is science and society (science and policy; impacts of science on society; cultural and social aspects of science) should be selected for Baker Berry Library.  The Popular Science Collection is housed in Kresge Library.

    3. Partnerships

      There are no current partnerships with other libraries or consortia relevant to these collecting areas.  

  2. Specific Delimitations to collecting in this subject area

    1. Languages

      No language is excluded; however, English is emphasized.  Multilingual dictionaries of scientific and technical terms are in scope.

    2. Types of Materials Collected

      No type of material is excluded; the main types collected include monographs and serials.  The popular science collection emphasizes current materials.

    3. Format of Materials Collected

      General science works such as reference works, serials, and journals, and multidisciplinary works, are typically more useful to a wider audience in electronic format, while monographs are often still preferred in print. Print is preferred for popular science materials; audiobooks may be an area of future collection growth.

    4. Collective Collections

      The need for general science materials is universal and diffuse among academic institutions, so the area is not well suited to collaborative collection building except for possible shared access to digital resources. Few libraries in the Ivy+ group explicitly collect popular science materials, and this collection sees considerable use through the BorrowDirect service. 

  3. Revision History
  • Created July 2016 (Jane Quigley)
  • Current Selector: Jane Quigley