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A Guide to Mathematics Resources

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Mathematics

Collection: General

Date Revised:February 2014

Subject Librarian: Ruth Lewis

1. General purpose:

  • Support for research and teaching in the Department of Mathematics. 
  • This overview may be helpful; numbers are from October 2012:
    • Undergraduate education:
      • Mathematics major and minor; 40-70 new majors each year;  201 total declared math majors (March 2012); 5 tracks for math majors: traditional, probability/statistics, applied, mathematics for secondary education, mathematics (economics emphasis)
      • Math courses are required for many disciplines including business, economics, engineering, sciences, etc. 
      • Math faculty have very heavy teaching loads; the department teaches nearly 5,000 students each year; it teaches more student hours in the Fall semester than any other department in Arts & Sciences, and is consistently among the top five departments for student hours taught in Spring semesters. 
      • Courses for non-scientists include Mathematics & Music (taught by David Wright, department chair) and Introduction to Statistics.
      • There is no “Department of Statistics” at Washington University, and since the interdisciplinary Center for Applied Statistics was closed in 2011, mathematics meets some needs in this field.
      • University College (within the College of Arts & Sciences) offers several courses and curricula for BS in Mathematics or Applied Mathematics and a Certificate in Applied Mathematics.
    • Graduate education:
      • PhD or MA in Mathematics, MA in Statistics (all Graduate School of Arts & Sciences)
      • 42 graduate students; 6-10 graduates students added each year
      • The American Mathematical Society (AMS) divides math departments with doctoral programs into groups based on “scholarly quality of program faculty.”  Washington University is in the highest ranked group.
    • Faculty and Researchers:
      • 23 faculty arranged in 4 informal groups: Algebra, Analysis, Geometry, Statistics; 2 new faculty last year and 1 faculty plus a couple of adjuncts added this year; searches for 3 tenure-track positions begin this fall
      • An external review of the department, in 2008, recommended 28 faculty were needed; numbers of majors, graduate students and undergraduate students taking classes have all grown since 2008.
      • 3 Chauvenet postdoctoral lecturers; a new one is appointed each year and they stay 2-3 years.
      • A few lecturers, adjunct and emeritus professors
      • Research is funded by NSF and other sources; many statistics folks collaborate with researchers in other departments, especially WUSM, so some NIH funding; a few faculty collaborate with engineering, physics, etc.

[Separately, there is also an MS in Biostatistics at the WU School of Medicine (WUMS).]

2. Subjects excluded:

  • Minimal level (1):
    • Popular Works
    • Recreational Mathematics
    • Historical Works
    • Teaching
    • Accounting
  • Instructional Support Level; Introductory (3A):
    • Applied Mathematics and Statistics
    • See Overlap

3. Overlap with other collections or subjects:

  • Collecting beyond the 3A level in applied mathematics and statistics is left to the applications areas, such as:
    • Business
    • Biology
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Medicine/Public Health
    • Economics
    • Anthropology
    • Psychology
    • Engineering (including Computer Science and Systems Science & Mathematics), etc.
  • Computer science is Engineering (not Mathematics)
  • History and philosophy of mathematics are left for history and philosophy to collect when they want to.We probably have a Basic Information Level (2) collection.
  • Teaching of mathematics is left to Education when they choose to collect in that area. We probably have a Minimal Level (1) collection.

4. Languages included and excluded:

  • Almost entirely English
  • Occasionally:
    • French
    • German
    • Italian
    • Spanish
    • Russian languages on faculty request

5. Geographical limitations:


6. Chronological limits:
None; history/philosophy of mathematics collected only minimal-basic level

7. Retrospective acquisition:

Older materials are used and considered valuable but they are not actively acquired except in special cases, for example, to replace important lost and missing items which are not available via MOBIUS.  Although it hasn’t happened, I could imagine retrospective acquisition if a new faculty member were hired who works in some area we have not collected before.

8. Types of material collected and excluded:

  • Excluded:
    • ‚ÄčK-12 Textbooks
    • Test Preparation Guides
    • Reprints when we own the original
    • Dissertations from other universities
    • Newsletters
  • Some textbooks are desired, usually graduate level or to use for examples for teaching.  The library does not actively acquire those but will occasionally add gifts or acquire on request.

9. Other factors to consider:

  • Monographs:
    • We buy monographs on request from WUSTL community
    • Some come on our automatic-ship profile, but very few (30 books in fy13)
  • We buy almost all volumes in American Mathematical Society Graduate Studies in Mathematics book series
  • We buy all Springer monographs and book series in their annual ebooks mathematics & statistics packages (2005+).
  • Generally, we do not duplicate monographs included in the CRCnetbase or Safari Technical Ebooks subscriptions.
  • We buy ebook format instead of paper if available on DRM-free platform, such as Springer, ScienceDirect, Wiley Online Library, Cambridge, World Scientific, deGruyter, JSTOR, etc.
    • We do not duplicate ebooks in paper, except by mistake.
  • Journals and standing orders:
    • We subscribe online-only when available with post-cancellation access guarantees and preservation mechanisms.
  • A fairly high percentage of journal articles are available in preprint format on author websites or ArXiv, so sometimes Research Level work can be done without access to all subscriptions which would otherwise be needed.

10. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

(Except where noted above most of math is at level 3B or 4.  Areas indicated in italics are more likely to be level 4 since those are current research areas for faculty).

  • QA75-76 Computer science:  Out of scope for math (0); see Engineering
  • QA101-145 Elementary mathematics.  Arithmetic: Minimal level (1)
  • QA150...QA272 Algebra
  • QA150 Periodicals, societies, congresses, serials collections, yearbooks
  • QA152-QA155 Textbooks
  • QA157 Problems, exercises, examinations
  • QA162 Abstract algebra
  • QA164 Combinatorics, algebraic combinatorics
  • QA166 Graph theory
  • QA169 Homological algebra
  • QA171 Theory of groups
  • QA171.5 Lattice theory
  • QA184...QA205 Linear and multilinear algebras. Matrices
  • QA184 General works
  • QA186 Vector spaces
  • QA188-QA199 Matrices
  • QA200 Vector and tensor algebras
  • QA211...QA224 Theory of equations
  • QA219 Graph algebra
  • QA221 Approximation theory
  • QA241...QA255 Theory of numbers
  • QA247 Algebraic fields. Algebraic numbers
  • QA248 Foundations of arithmetic. Set theory
  • QA252.3 Lie Algebra, commutative algebra
  • QA267...QA272 Machine Theory. Abstract Machines. Abstract Automata
  • QA273...QA275 Probabilities
  • QA274 Stochastic Processes
  • QA275 Theory of errors
  • QA276...QA299 Mathematical Statistics, longitudinal data analysis, Bayesian smoothing, survival analysis, numberical algorithms, applications of statistics to medicine
  • QA278 Multivariate analysis
  • QA292 Sequences
  • QA297...QA299 Numerical analysis
  • QA297 Series
  • QA298 Numerical simulation. Monte Carlo methods
  • QA299.6...QA433 Analysis, real analysis
  • QA303...QA316 Calculus
  • QA319...QA326 Functional analysis, complex analysis, harmonic analysis,      Von Neumann algebras
  • QA329 Operator theory
  • QA331...QA360 Theory of functions, Hardy spaces, complex function theory, function algebras
  • QA370...QA387 Differential equations, partial differential equations, numerical analysis of differential equations
  • QA401...QA433 Analytical methods used in the solution of physical problems, Lie groups, wavelets
  • QA440...QA699 Geometry
  • QA451...QA477 Elementary geometry
  • QA481...QA497 Special topics in plane geometry
  • QA501...QA529 Descriptive geometry
  • QA531...QA538 Trigonometry
  • QA551...QA563 Analytic geometry
  • QA564...QA581 Algebraic geometry, polynomial automorphisms, Hodge theory
  • QA601...QA608 Transformations, correspondences, and general methods for algebraic configurations
  • QA611...QA699 Topology, dynamical systems, several complex variables, low dimensional topology,
  • QA612 Algebraic topology. Combinatorial topology, algebraic K-theory, homology and cohomology of groups
  • QA613 Manifolds and cell complexes
  • QA614 Global analysis
  • QA615...QA640 Infinitesimal geometry
  • QA641...QA699 Differential Geometry, symplectic geometry, noncommutative geometry
  • QA801...QA939 Analytic Mechanics.  Out of scope for math (0); see Engineering