Biological Sciences Collection

I. Collection Description


To support teaching and research in the School of Life Sciences through, and beyond, the doctoral level in all areas of biology, theoretical or applied. The collection also supports teaching and research in related fields such as agriculture, anthropology, applied life studies, chemistry, engineering, geology, health sciences, home economics, natural history, physical education, physics, psychology, and veterinary science.

History of Collection:

The bulk of the biological sciences collection evolved from the Natural History Library which originated from the collection of the State Laboratory of Natural History developed by the late Professor Stephen A. Forbes. The nucleus of the Natural History Library was transferred from Normal, Illinois, when Forbes was made Professor of Zoology and Entomology at the University in 1884. In 1911, books from the University of Illinois departmental seminars of Botany, Entomology, Geology, Physiology, and Zoology were added to the collection. During 1913-14, the University transferred books from the Main Library to be added to the Natural History Library collection. In 1940, the present Natural History Survey Library was established in the Natural Resources Building by the transfer of many of the materials from the Natural History Library. When the School of Life Sciences was established in 1959, coinciding with the completion of Burrill Hall, named for the eminent biologist Thomas Jonathan Burrill, the collection in the Natural History Library was split again. A Geology Library was formed, taking the geological materials from the Natural History Library, while the books and serials covering the fields of the life sciences were moved to the Biology Library, 101 Burrill Hall.

Estimate of Holdings:

200,000 (December, 1983).

State, Regional and National Importance:

The biological sciences collection is preeminent in the state and region, with a distinguished reputation as one of the finest collections in the nation. Holdings in taxonomy and systematics of flora and fauna are especially strong.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Most selection of biological literature originates in the Biology Library and to a lesser extent, the Natural History Survey, although there are collection activities in libraries supporting disciplines listed in the purpose statement.

Location of Materials:

The majority of the biological sciences collection, some 115,000 volumes, is located in the Biology Library. Portions of the collection are also located in the Natural History Survey (36,000 volumes), the Bookstacks (20,000 volumes), and the remaining volumes are found primarily in the Agriculture, Undergraduate, and Veterinary Medicine Libraries.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Downs, pp. 30-31. Major, pp. 1, 3, 32, 48.

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement. English translations, if they are available, are usually preferred to the original foreign language work.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restriction.

Geographical Guidelines:


Treatment of Subject:

Standard statement with the exception that textbooks are collected selectively. The biological sciences include all areas of biology, theoretical or applied, with emphasis on anatomy, biophysics, botany, ecology, entomology, genetics, microbiology, physiology, zoology, and related interdisciplinary fields. Historical and biographical materials relating to the biological sciences are collected selectively with responsibility in biology and the history of science funds. Interdisciplinary areas, such as environmental literature and the neurosciences, are the responsibility of individual selectors as they pertain to departmental collections. Clinical material is included in the biological sciences collection only if it is paired with experimental work; clinical literature is normally collected by the Veterinary Medicine Library. The biological sciences collection also extends into such areas in linguistics as neurological linguistics; in anthropology, ethnobiology and human evolution; and in psychology, physiological psychology.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement. Laboratory workbooks, field guides, and manuals are purchased selectively and more comprehensively in some specialized areas which directly support the curriculum.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement. Special efforts are made to collect first editions of classic works in the field of taxonomy and systematics.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Biological Sciences Collection
Aging, biological aspects 4 Biology Veterinary Medicine
Anatomy and histology 4 Biology Veterinary Medicine
Bioethics 4 Law Biology
Biology 4 Biology
Biophysics 4 Biology Physics
Biotechnology 4 Biology Chemistry/Agriculture/Engineering
Botany 4 Biology Natural History Survey
Cell biology 4 Biology
Ecology 4 Biology Natural History Survey
Electron microscopy-see Microscopy Entomology 4 Biology Natural History Survey
Environmental biology 4 Biology Natural History Survey
Evolution, biological 4 Biology
Ethology 4 Biology
Genetic engineering-see Biotechnology 4 Biology
Genetics 4 Biology
Histology-see Anatomy and Histology Immunology 4 Biology
Limnology 4 Biology
Microbiology 4 Biology
Microscopy, including electron, optical and scanning 4 Biology Engineering
Molecular biology 4 Biology
Neurobiology 4 Biology
Oncology, theoretical aspects 3 Biology
Parasitology 4 Veterinary Medicine Biology
Physiology 4 Biology
Pharmacology 4 Veterinary Medicine Chemistry
Plant biology-see Botany tissue culture 4 Biology Veterinary Medicine
Toxicology 4 Veterinary Medicine Biology
Zoology 4 Biology Natural History Survey


Version Date: 2006