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A Guide to Biology Resources

Prominent and popular resources for the study of biology.

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis--Biology Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Biology (Life Sciences)

Collection: General 

Date revised: July 2023

Subject Librarian: Sam Lindgren

  1. Purpose of Collection Development Policy
    • The purpose of this collection development policy is to guide the biology subject librarian in the purchasing of materials that will support the research and teaching of those in the Biology Department. 
  2. Overview of Biology Department
    • Undergraduate Studies:
      • Degree programs include: Biology Major; Biology Major: Ecology and Evolution Track; Biology Major: Genomics and Computational Biology Track; Biology Major: Microbiology Track; Biology Major: Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Track; Biology Major: Neuroscience Track; Environmental Biology Major; Biology Minor.
      • Related degree programs include: Bioinformatics Minor; Biomedical Engineering Major; Environmental Studies Minor; Interdisciplinary Environmental Analysis Minor; Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Major; Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Minor; Philosophy of Science Second Major; Philosophy of Science Minor.
      • Other degree programs supported by biology courses include: Psychological & Brain Sciences; Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology; Biomedical Engineering; Biophysics; Anthropology; Chemistry; Public Health; Environmental Studies, and more. 
      • The majority of undergrads in the Biology Department describe themselves as pre-med or pre-health.
    • Graduate Studies:
      • Graduate students working in the Biology Department are enrolled in WashU's interdepartmental graduate programs. The largest cohort is the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) with degrees granted by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. DBBS students work with researchers in many departments, including Biology, Anthropology, Mathematics, Chemistry, and departments at the WashU School of Medicine.
      • Common degree programs of graduate students in the Biology Department include: Biochemistry, Biophysics, & Structural Biology; Computational & Systems Biology; Ecology & Evolutionary Biology; Plant & Microbial Biosciences.
    • Faculty and Researchers:
      • The Biology Department is home to many postdoctoral researchers, lecturers, research scientists, emeritus and adjunct professors. The Department also has very close ties to the Living Earth Collaborative.
  3. Overlap with Other Collections or Subjects:
    • Coverage of the Biology Collection overlaps with some of the holdings of Becker Medical Library, as well as the collections of Environmental Studies, Chemistry, Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology, and Biomedical Engineering. 
    • Materials selected for the Biology Collection may also overlap with those of the Missouri Botanical Garden's Peter H. Raven Library, the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, and the St. Louis Zoo.
  4. Exclusions:
    • Subjects not covered under the Biology Collection include: agriculture, crop sciences, hunting, fishery, animal husbandry, pets, veterinary medicine, plant diseases, clinical medicine, dentistry, and systematics. 
    • Materials not purchased include: K-12 literature and textbooks; test preparation guides (unless specifically requested by a Biology undergraduate student); re-prints of materials that we already own (unless specifically requested by a Biology faculty member, graduate student, postdoc, researcher, or staff member); dissertations from other universities; newsletters.
    • At this time, only English language materials are to be purchased (unless specifically requested by a Biology faculty member, graduate student, postdoc, researcher, or staff member). 
    • Older materials are not purchased, with the exceptions of: (1) replacing lost or missing items which are not available through the MOBIUS catalog, and (2) if a specific request is made by a Biology faculty member, graduate student, postdoc, researcher, or staff member.
    • For materials with geographic parameters, the Library is only interested in Missouri, neighboring areas, and the tropics.
    • For materials already available through the one of the library catalogs, do no duplicate. 
  5. About Monographs:
    • Monographs are purchased on request from WashU's community, on automated approval by our vendors, and at the biology subject librarians discretion. 
    • The e-book format is preferred to print. Unlimited user, DRM-free e-books are purchased when possible. Print books will be purchased under these circumstances: (1) there is a specific request made by someone in the Biology Department, (2) the cost of the print version is substantially less than that of the e-version, or (3) at the biology subject librarian's discretion.
    • Avoid duplicating e-books in print, unless a specific request is made by someone in the Biology Department. 
  6. About Journals:
    • The University Library subscribes to e-journals when possible. Backfiles of journals will be purchased in e-format unless only print is available. 
  7. About Textbooks:
    • The University Library prohibits the purchase of textbooks for the general collection. However, given the ever increasing burden that purchasing textbooks places on students, faculty members may request that the textbook(s) for their course be purchased by Library Reserves and placed on Course Reserve for the duration of the course. 
  8. Statement of Intentional Diversification of the Biology Collection
    • The field of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has historically overlooked, ignored, or disallowed the contributions of scholars not fitting the male, white, cisgender, and heterosexual identity. As a consequence of this, minority voices are largely missing from WashU's STEM Collections, including the Biology Collection. In order to counteract this, the biology subject librarian is dedicated to the intentional diversification of the Biology Collection. This means the librarian purposefully seeks out materials written by BIPOC scholars, women scholars, and LGBTQ+ identifying scholars to purchase for the Biology Collection.
  9. Subjects Covered within the Biology Collection:
    • Subclass Q Science (General)
      • Q1-390 Science (General)
      • Q1-295 General
      • Q300-390 Cybernetics
      • Q350-390 Information theory
    • Subclass QH Natural history--Biology:
      • QH1-278.5 Natural history (General)
      • QH1-(199.5) General; including nature conservation, geographical distribution
      • QH201-278.5 Microscopy
      • QH301-705.5 Biology (General)
      • QH324.2-QH324.25 Artificial intelligence--Biological applications; Bioinformatics
      • QH359-425 Evolution
      • QH426-470 Genetics
      • QH471-489 Reproduction
      • QH501-531 Life
      • QH540-549.5 Ecology
      • QH573-671 Cytology
      • QH705-705.5 Economic Biology
    • Subclass QK Botany
      • QK1-989 Botany
      • QK1-474.5 General; including geographical distribution
      • QK474.8-495 Spermatophyta. Phanerogams
      • QK494-494.5 Gymnosperms
      • QK495 Angiosperms
      • QK504-(638) Cryptogams
      • QK640-(707) Plant anatomy
      • QK710-899 Plant physiology
      • QK900-989 Plant ecology
    • Subclass QL Zoology
      • QL1-991 Zoology
      • QL1-355 General; including geographic distribution
      • QL360-599.82 Invertebrates
      • QL461-599.82 Insects
      • QL605-739.8 Chordates. Vertebrates
      • QL614-639.8 Fishes
      • QL640-669.3 Reptiles and amphibians
      • QL671-699 Birds
      • QL700-739.8 Mammals
      • QL750-795 Animal behavior
      • QL791-795 Stories and anecdotes
      • QL799-799.5 Morphology
      • QL801-950.9 Anatomy
      • QL951-991 Embryology
    • Subclass QM Human anatomy
      • QM1-695 Human anatomy
      • QM1-511 General
      • QM531-549 Regional anatomy
      • QM550-577.8 Human and comparative histology
      • QM601-695 Human embryology
    • Subclass QP Physiology
      • QP1-(981) Physiology
      • QP1-345 General; including influence on the environment
      • QP351-495 Neurophysiology and neuropsychology
      • QP501-801 Animal biochemistry
      • QP(901)-(981) Experimental pharmacology
    • Subclass QR Microbiology
      • QR1-502 Microbiology
      • QR1-74.5 General
      • QR75-99.5 Bacteria
      • QR99.6-99.8 Cyanobacteria
      • QR100-130 Microbial ecology
      • QR171 Microorganisms in the animal body
      • QR180-189.5 Immunology
      • QR355-502 Virology