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A Guide to Mathematics Resources

Recommended resources for Mathematics and Statistics

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin
Subject: Mathematics
Collection: General
Date Revised: April 2020
Subject Librarian: Eliot Boden


1. General purpose:

  • Support for research and teaching in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics
  • Overview from 2020:
    • Faculty and Researchers:
      • 29 full time tenure or tenure track faculty, 1 lecturer,  and 6 postdoctoral lecturers.
      • Research is funded by NSF and other sources; many statistics faculty collaborate with researchers in other departments, especially WUSM, so some NIH funding; a few faculty collaborate with engineering, physics, etc.
    • Graduate education:
      • PhD or MA in both Mathematics and Statistics
      • 68 graduate students; 24 graduates students added in Fall 2019
      • 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.
    • Undergraduate education:
      • Majors in Mathematical Sciences, Mathematics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics.  Approximately 100 new majors added each year;  274 total declared math majors (April 2020).
      • 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. 
      • 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.

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:
    • ​K-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 (Advanced Study) or 4 (Comprehensive).  Areas indicated in red italics are more likely to be level 4 since those are current research areas for faculty).

0 - Out of Scope
1 - Minimal Level
2 - Basic Informational Level
3A - Introductory Study
3B - Advanced Study
4 - Research
5 - Comprehensive


Level Call No. Subjects
0 QA75-76 Computer science; see Engineering
1 QA101-145 Elementary mathematics.  Arithmetic:
  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...QA20 5 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, numerical 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
0 QA801...QA939 Analytic Mechanics; see Engineering