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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy - Psychology

Last Updated: 2018

Programs Supported

The Psychology Department offers a minor and a BA in psychology, as well as the following graduate degrees:  MA in Psychology; MS in Clinical Psychology; and MS in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Existing Resources

The University Library is the University’s main resource for this subject.


Many disciplines have psychological aspects, e.g. psychobiology and psycholinguistics. Consequently, the psychology librarian works cooperatively with other subject-specialist librarians in related areas.

The focus of the SJPL collection is on general interest and self-help materials, while SJSU purchases monographs and journals with greater subject depth and an academic orientation.  However, efforts are made to coordinate the purchase of expensive reference works to avoid duplication.

Materials Collected

A.    Special Materials – The Department of Psychology maintains a small test collection for use by department faculty only.

B.    Languages – Most items purchased are written in English or translated into it; on rare occasions a significant work in a foreign language such as German might be purchased.

C.    Geographical Areas – Primary emphasis is on the U.S.; materials on other countries or regions of the world are purchased as needed.

D.    Chronological Periods – Contemporary topics are of primary importance, but some historical materials are acquired.

E.    Current / Retrospective Materials – Emphasis is on current materials.

F.    Other factors – Most of the psychology collection budget is committed to subscriptions, such as databases and journals.  As a general rule, psychology funds are used to buy items classified in BF or RC classes.


Collection Strengths 

Strengths:  The collection contains current editions of major reference tools, including subject dictionaries and multi-volume subject encyclopedias.  The database PsycInfo provides comprehensive indexing coverage of the research literature.  The number of electronic items continues to grow at a satisfactory pace. Subscriptions to databases such as Science Direct and PsycArticles have greatly increased electronic access to scholarly journals.

As reflected in the discipline itself, the scope of the Psychology collection is vast.  This makes it difficult to obtain all of the materials for both the core and emerging topics in the field.  Demand-driven acquisitions will fill some of these needs, but the collection relies on the support of other discipline collections such as Education and Health Sciences.

Evaluation of Collection – Past Progress and Future Plans

A.    Academic Senate Policy

According to Academic Senate Library Policy S15-10, periodic evaluations of the print collection are required to maintain the high quality of the academic collection, with the primary goals of improving the effectiveness of browsing and providing space for new acquisitions.  In 2001 in preparation for the move to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, the psychology collection was reviewed and weeded.

B.    Past, Present and Future Evaluation Plans
In AY 2017/2018 the Psychology collection was reviewed and items were identified for deselecting.  The focus of this review was on outdated Graduate Program Guides, APA Directories, Standardized Test Study Guides, and Style Guides.  Approximately 50 titles were removed.

Future plans for the collection are to:
●    Increase the number of e-books available in the catalog
●    When fiscally able, purchase the unlimited-user options for e-materials