Geology Collection - Collections

The collection is maintained by the Geology Library.

The Geology collection supports the teaching and research of the Department of Geology as well as programs in physical geography, engineering, biology, and agriculture. The collection includes over 104,700 volumes and over 77,700 map sheets in the Geology Library, and over 100,000 volumes in the Bookstacks, Altgeld Hall, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Library. Of particular strength is the history of geology collection.

Version Date: April, 2005


I. Collection Description


To support the teaching and research of the Department of Geology through, and beyond, the doctoral level. The collection also supports programs in physical geography, engineering, and to a lesser extent, biology and agriculture. The collection expands the scope of holdings in the Illinois State Geological Survey Library, particularly for foreign literature.

History of Collection:

The original collection of Geology Library materials was assembled in the late 19th century and presented to the University by Professor C. W. Rolfe, a member of the first graduating class and one of the University’s earliest professors of geology. In 1911, all of the book collections of the departments in the Natural Sciences were combined with the Library of the State Laboratory of Natural History to form the Natural History Library, a departmental library of the University. Two years later, the Natural History Library was moved from the Main Library building to the present Natural History building. This large collection remained as the Natural History Library until the fall of 1959, when, upon completion of Burrill Hall, the biological materials were moved to new quarters provided for the Biology Library in that building. At that time, the Geology Library was established in its present location.

Estimate of Holdings:

136,000 volumes and 35,000 map sheets.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The geology collection at Illinois is recognized as one of the nation’s most comprehensive in terms of backfile strength and international acquisition. Of particular strength is the history of geology collection (as described in the Ward/Carozzi catalog under I.G. below).

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Geology Library.

Location of Materials:

The Geology Library houses 82,000 volumes and 35,000 geologic maps. The Bookstacks has 50,000 volumes, Altgeld Hall has 1,500, and the Rare Book and Special Collections Library has 3,000 volumes of geological materials.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Ward, Dederick and Albert Carozzi. Geology Emerging: A Catalog Illustrating the History of Geology (1500-1850) from a Collection in the Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana, IL: The University Library and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science. (Downs’ Publication Fund no. 8) (in press).

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement, with the exception that in the fields of regional geology, stratigraphy, paleontology, and the history of geology special efforts are made to collect in all languages.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restriction. From the origin of the earth to the present.

Geographical Guidelines:


Treatment of Subject:

Standard statement. The term “Geology” should more aptly be “Geoscience,” which includes most earth sciences except meteorology and certain applied aspects of the science. Since geology is interdisciplinary, there is close cooperation in acquisitions with the Engineering Library in such areas as rock mechanics and environmental geology and physical geography with the Map and Geography Library. It is nearly impossible to distinguish which aspects of these designated subjects are collected by each of the libraries, but duplication is generally avoided.

Types of Materials:

Standard statement. Of specific interest are field guidebooks, regional and governmental reports, and geological maps.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement. Special effort is made to acquire first editions and rare items of classics in the fields of the history of geology, stratigraphy, and paleontology.

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.

Geology Collection
GEOLOGY PER SE (historical and regional geology, stratigraphy, structural geology, sedimentology, geomorphology, and petrology) 4 Geology
CRYSTALLOGRAPHY 3 Geology Chemistry / engineering
(not including marine biology) 4 Geology
Engineering geology 4 Geology Engineering
Environmental geology, nuclear waste disposal,groundwater pollution 4 Geology / Engineering City planning
Hydrology (groundwater) 4 Geology Engineering
Hydrology 4 Engineering Geology
Economic geology 4 Geology
MINERAL ECONOMICS 4 Commerce Geology
ROCK MECHANICS 4 Engineering Geology
SEISMOLOGY 4 Geology Engineering
Geological documentation 4 Geology
Geological maps, field geology 4 Geology
Geological teaching 2 Geology education
History of geology 4 Geology History / Rare book & Manuscript
Mineral resources maps 4 Map Geology


Version Date: December 2006