Medical and Health Sciences Collection Development Policy

Bobst Library, New York University
Susan Kaplan Jacobs, Subject Specialist for Medical and Health Sciences


The Jerome S. Coles Science Reference Center/Medical and Health Sciences collection supports the academic programs in the College of Nursing, the Steinhardt School of Education's Department of Occupational Therapy, Department of Physical Therapy, and the Department of Communicative Sciences & Disorders. The collection acquires materials to meet user needs related to clinical practice, research, administration, and education. The collection also serves to provide materials dealing with consumer health of interest to the university community at large.

The highly interdisciplinary nature of the health sciences produces literature that may also be consulted by a wide range of users, from those beginning to explore careers in human services to post-graduate and doctoral students and faculty from various disciplines studying the public, cultural, biological, behavioral, ethical, and economic aspects of health in the College of Arts and Science, Graduate School of Arts and Science, NYU School of Medicine, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, the Ehrenkranz School of Social Work, the Steinhardt School of Education, and the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.

The following are the principal degree programs supported:

College of Nursing --
B.S. (student population includes those entering as high-school graduates, transfer students, college graduates with non-nursing bachelor's degrees, R.N.s with Associate's degree or diploma)
M.A. in Teaching or Administration
M.A., Post-Master's Certificate in: Advanced Practice Nursing:
with specialties in: Acute Care of Adult, Primary Care of the Adult; Elderly; Infants, Children and Adolescents, Mental Health, Holistic Nursing, Palliative Care.
M.A.or Post-Master's Certificate in Nurse-Midwifery
M.A.or Post-Master's Certificate in Nursing Informatics
MA/MS Joint Degree program in Nursing and Management with the Wagner School of Public Service
PhD(Doctor of Philosophy in Research Theory and Development)
DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice)

Steinhardt School of Education -- Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders
B.S., Teacher of the Speech-Hearing-Handicapped,
M.A., Ph.D.

Steinhardt School of Education -- Department of Occupational Therapy
Post professional M.A. with specialty concentration

Steinhardt School of Education -- Department of Physical Therapy
B.A., M.A. in Pathokinesiology, Developmental Disabilities Pediatrics Focus
Ph.D. in Pathokinesiology

In addition to the above programs, the Coles collection supports the missions of varied centers and consortia such as the Center for Nursing Research, the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, and the Consortium of New York Geriatric Education Centers, which focus on care of the elderly, and the Interdisciplinary Consortium on Substance Abuse (ICSA) with membership representative of the schools of Education (Division of Nursing, Department of Health Studies), Medicine, Law, Graduate School of Public Service, College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Social Work.

Based on the NYU Libraries Strategic Plan, Strategic Goal 4, Outcome 3: "We provide intellectual access to all library collections in a manner that fully meets the needs of our users," the Medical and Health Sciences Policy is designed to be flexible and responsive to user needs. Input from faculty and students is welcome. The policy should not be rigidly interpreted, but is to be used as a guideline to meet user needs in a dynamic and responsive way in order to keep pace with advances in technology and changes in progress that continue to transform healthcare and information retrieval.


  1. Languages

    Primarily English; English translations of material in major European languages are included. Periodicals are primarily U.S. publications; British, Canadian, and Australian titles are acquired selectively. An effort is made to collect materials to support healthcare professionals' interaction with non-English speaking populations.
  2. Geographical Areas

    In general, materials are acquired without regard for geographic considerations, though the focus should generally address an American audience. Materials of local interest, such as those related to public health in New York City, may be acquired more comprehensively, while other areas, such as tropical medicine and Arctic medicine, are collected at a minimal level.
  3. Chronological Periods

    The focus is on current healthcare practice and access to current materials. However, historical and biographical material, as well as reprints of historically important materials are collected and retained so as to reflect a record of issues for comparative study.

Types of Materials

All formats are included except lecture notes, equipment manuals, reprints of articles, preprints, pamphlets, elementary textbooks, and juvenile materials.

The reference collection includes major bibliographic database services (print and electronic), bibliographies, handbooks, manuals, directories, atlases, outlines and syllabi, pharmacopoeias, encyclopedias, dictionaries, sourcebooks, and study guides for licensing examinations. The collection includes indexes to tests and measurements but does not attempt to collect the testing instruments themselves (see: Psychological, Health, and Educational Tests and Collection Development Policy for Psychology).

Popular works on health topics are collected to serve both the consumer health and current awareness needs of the NYU community, and and patient education resources to support healthcare professionals.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Collection

  1. Monographs

    Historically, the Coles collection primary subject emphases have been Nursing and Psychiatry. As of December 2014, the monograph collection holds 154,853 titles in the following classifications:

    • BF 1-1000 (psychology)
    • HM (sociology)
    • HQ (family, marriage, women, general works)
    • HV 1-5840 (social service, social work, includes substance abuse, alcoholism, tobacco habit, drug habits, drug abuse)
    • QM (human anatomy)
    • QP1-345 (physiology, including influence of the environment)
    • QP 351-495 (neurophysiology and neuropsychology)
    • R-RZ (medicine)

    An additional 225,000 titles related to the health sciences are held as electronic books. The approximate number of health-care-related periodical titles is 43,577.
  2. Materials are acquired to support the curricular offerings in the health sciences, which share a focus on evidence-based practice, along with many of the following goals as they prepare students to practice in varied settings with diverse populations: knowledge and application of the basic biological, physical, social, and behavioral sciences to clinical situations; a focus on prevention and wellness; teaching, sharing and disseminating information to a larger community; habilitation, rehabilitation, integrating clients with disabilities into society; interpretation and application of research to clinical care; and working closely with other healthcare professionals. The collection is strong in sources that address interpersonal communication and education, counseling of patients, their families and their communities.

    The addition of advanced practice roles in nursing and the other allied health fields prepares practitioners to take on leadership roles in the managed care environment, to critically evaluate research methodologies, and to prepare practitioners to contribute to the scholarship of their professions. The collection has evolved to reflect these directions, including assessment and diagnosis; assistive technology; disaster-preparedness; bioethics; care of the elderly; evidence-based practice; HIV/AIDS issues; holistic medicine; informatics; the economics, policy, planning, organization, and reform of healthcare delivery; midwifery and childbirth education; outcomes research; palliative treatment; sports medicine; healthcare issues for women, ethnic minorities, the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population; telecommunication technology and the use of the Internet and other methods of electronic retrieval of information by both consumers and health practitioners.

    The reference collection has been designed to include the core authoritative texts covering the major areas of medicine as well as sources for consumers and materials to support vocational guidance for healthcare careers. An ongoing objective is to assemble a ready-reference collection that provides readers with basic information on diagnoses, related drugs, and therapeutic intervention as they prepare for clinical experiences.

    The collection aims to provide sources that focus on prevention and therapeutic intervention related to health and disease, with less emphasis on differential diagnosis, clinical pathology, and the molecular aspects of diseases. Works are collected that reflect the historical, cultural, social, public policy, ethical, and philosophical aspects of medicine. In the area of internal medicine a focus is speech and language disorders, neurology, psychiatry, AIDS, nutritional diseases, geriatrics, and sports medicine. Works in pediatrics are collected with a focus on AIDS and child psychiatry. Works in surgery are collected that emphasize surgical nursing and physical rehabilitation. Nursing works are collected up to the professional level. Works in the RM class Therapeutics, pharmacology emphasize drug addiction, neuro/psychopharmacology, types and classes of drugs. Psychotherapy works are collected that encompass the entire life span and address all models of treatment.

    Students and faculty have full borrowing privileges at the NYU Health Sciences Library and the Bobst collection avoids duplicating materials related to clinical medicine that are held there.

  3. Serials

    The periodical literature represents the most current record of progress in the health sciences. The current subscriptions list reflects selections based on the following criteria: reputation, curricular offerings, student and faculty demand, mention in core lists, ratings in the ISI Journal Citation Reports, other regional holdings, cost, space, and electronic alternatives.

    A priority and major strength of the collection are the supporting indexing services, both print and electronic, that serve as the primary tool to access the literature. Providing remote access to the premier electronic databases in the health sciences delivers a crucial link to information; the current curated list for the health sciences is found at the library databases page. Access to full text via ezproxy authentication for NYU users is accomplished with SFX software via the Arch display at the database citation level, offering options for full text, Bobcat catalog searching, interlibrary loan, saving citations to bibliographic management software and other functionality.

    The following core lists are used as guidelines to identify relevant monographs, serials, electronic databases, and web sites:

Other Resources

Refer to the following Collection Policy Statements for other Bobst collections that are related to the medical and health sciences: Biological Sciences, Earth and Environmental Science, Food and Nutrition, Education, Psychology, Business and Politics/Public Administration, Sociology, U.S. Government Documents, U.N. Documents.


Subject & Collection Levels

Existing collection strength (ECS) and current collecting intensity (CCI) are assigned according to the scale A, B, C, D, E and O detailed in the Introduction to Collection Development Policy Statements

LC ClassSubjectECSCCI
R5-722 General Medicine - Includes History of Medicine and Medical Education B B
R723-726 Medical Ethics C C
R727.4 Health Counseling C C
R733 Alternative/Holistic Medicine B C
R856 Biomedical Engineering C D
R895-905 Medical Physics C C
  Radiology, Nuclear Medicine B B
RA Public Health C C
RA3-420 Medicine and the State - Includes US, UN, and WHO documents C C
RA421 Medical Sociology C D
RA440-RA440.5 Health Education C D
RA443-448 Public Health of US and US Ethnic groups C D
RA565-618 Environmental Health (see also TD) B C
RA644.A25 AIDS (public health) C D
RA645 Emergency Medical Services C C
RA773-790 Personal Health and Hygiene B C
RA960-998 Medical Centers, Hospitals, Nursing Homes, etc. C C
  Includes outpatient services food services, emergency services, extended care units and physical therapy departments    
  Sociological, psychological and public relations aspects D D
  Administration of D D
RA1001-1171 Forensic Medicine and Medical Jurisprudence B A
RA1190-1270 Toxicology C C
RB Pathology B B
  metabolism disorders, pathogenesis    
RB37-125 Clinical Pathology, Autopsy B B
RB144-145 Disorders of Circulation and pathology of blood C C
RB155 Medical genetics, heredity C C
RC Internal Medicine C C
RC110-253 Infectious and Parasitic Diseases C C
  Virus and Bacterial Diseases C C
  Individual Diseases B B
  Plague, Black Death - history C C
RC254-298 Neoplasms, Neoplastic Diseases B B
  Cancer and other malignant neoplasms C C
RC306-320 Tuberculosis B B
RC321-431 Neurology C C
  Except individual diseases of the nervous system B B
RC423-RC429 Speech and language disorders C D
RC435-576 Psychiatry, Psychopathology C D
RC440 Psychiatric Nursing C C
RC454 General Works C D
RC467 Clinical Psychology (see Psychology statement) C D
RC475-489 Therapeutics, general C C
RC489.A7 Art Therapy (see Fine Arts statement) C C
.B4 Behavior Therapy C C
.C63 Cognitive Therapy C C
.D3 Dance Therapy C C
.G4 Gestalt Therapy C C
  Music Therapy (see Music Statement)    
RC500-510 Psychoanalysis and Group Psychoanalysis (see Psychology Statement) C C
RC512-528 Psychoses C C
RC514 Schizophrenia C C
RC530-553 Neuroses (see Psychology Statement) C C
RC556 Sexual Problems C C
RC563 Drug Abuse C C
RC565 Alcoholism C C
RC566-568 Narcotic Habit C C
RC569 Suicide C C
RC570-571 Mental Retardation C C
RC578-632 Allergic, Metabolic, Nutritional Diseases C C
RC607.A26 AIDS C C
RC620-623 Nutritional Diseases C C
RC633-935 Diseases of Organs, Glands, Systems    
  Includes blood, circ. Systems, heart, blood vessels C C
RC952-954 Geriatrics C C
RC1200-1245 Sports Medicine C C
RD Surgery B B
RD99-114 Surgical Nursing C C
RD118-120 Plastic Surgery, Reparative Surgery B B
RD792-811 Physical Rehabilitation C C
RE Ophthalmology B B
  (includes ophthalmic nursing)    
  (excludes RE80-87, eye surgery, RE121-923, diseases and abnormalities, RE940-981, optometry, RE986-988, prostheses)    
RF Otorhinolaryngology B B
RF290-320 Audiology, diseases of the ear C C
  Deafness and Clinical Hearing Tests C C
RG1-104 Gynecology and Obstetrics, General C C
RG105 Gynecological Nursing D D
RG134 Artificial Insemination B B
RG136-138 Contraception, Sterilization C C
RG500-547 Obstetrics, General B C
RG551-588 Pregnancy B C
RG600-635 Fetus-physiology, etc; Birth Defects C C
RG648-721 Labor B C
RG661-791 Childbirth, Obstetric Operations C C
RG940-991 Maternal Care B C
RG950 Midwifery, midwives C D
RG951 Maternity Nursing D D
RG973 Childbirth Education C D
RJ1-49 Pediatrics, General B B
RJ52-111 Therapeutics, child care C C
RJ125-135 Physiology of Children B B
RJ138 Medical Rehabilitation of Handicapped Children C C
RJ140-145 Physiology of Adolescents B B
RJ145-231 Nutrition and Feeding of Children C C
RJ240-243 Immunization/Hospital Care of Children/Adolescents B C
RJ245 Pediatric Nursing D D
RJ250-325 Newborn Infants C C
RJ370-550 Diseases of Children C C
RJ499-507 Child Psychiatry D D
RK Dentistry A A
RL Dermatology A A
RM Therapeutics, Pharmacology B B
RM214 Diet Therapy C C
RM216-217 General Works C C
RM300-676 Drugs and their Actions C C
RM695-727 Physical Therapy C D
RM735-736 Occupational Therapy C D
RS Pharmacy and Materia Medica B B
RS400-431 Pharmaceutical Chemistry C C
RT Nursing C D
RT1 Periodicals and Serials C C
RT3-17 Congresses C C
RT21 Dictionaries and encyclopedias C C
RT23-24 Communication in nursing C D
RT25 Directories C C
RT27 Placement Agencies B B
RT29 Statistics and Surveys B B
RT31-37 History and Biography C C
RT40-42 General Works C C
RT48 Observation and assessment of patients C C
RT48.6 Nursing Diagnosis C C
RT49 Nursing Care Plans C C
RT50.5 Computer applications D D
RT51-55 Handbooks, manuals, outlines, etc. C C
RT63 Addresses, essays, lectures B C
RT65 Medicine and Surgery for Nursing C C
RT67 Hygiene for Nursing B C
RT68 Mathematics and Statistics for Nursing B C
RT71-81 Study and teaching D D
RT82 Nursing as a profession D D
RT82.8 Nurse practitioners D D
RT83.3-83.5 Minorities in Nursing B C
RT84.5 Philosophy of Nursing D D
RT85 Nursing Ethics D D
RT85.5 Standards for Nursing Care D D
RT86 Psychology of Nursing D D
RT86.5 Social Aspects of Nursing D D
RT86.54 Transcultural Nursing D D
RT86.7 Practice of nursing, nursing economics C D
RT87 Special topics in nursing care C D
RT87.N87 Nutritional Care D D
RT89 Nursing Administration D D
RT90 Nursing teaching D D
RT90.5 Team Nursing C D
RT95 Communicable Disease Nursing C D
RT97-98 Public Health & Community Health Nursing D D
RT102 Institutional Nursing C C
RT120.F34 Family Nursing C C
RT120.R4 Rehabilitation Nursing C C
RV Botanic, Thomsonian, and eclectic medicine B C
RX Homeopathy O B
RZ Other systems of medicine B B

Retention & Withdrawal Guidelines

  • retain the most current copy of reference materials (drug handbooks, directories, encyclopedias, style manuals); keep previous editions or those less than 5 years old for circulation.
  • withdraw previous editions of textbooks, except those in anatomy, psychiatry, or those considered classics. (Retain all sources in tuberculosis).
  • retain items authored by NYU faculty, with the exception of clinical materials judged to be out of date
  • retain non-reference items that have been published within the last ten years with the exception of any consumer health materials judged to be out of date
  • retain items that appear in: Allen, M. (Peg). Nursing Information Access. Celebrating Nursing History: What to Keep. Nursing and Allied Health Resources Section, Medical Library Association. Includes weeding guidelines and listing of classic works.
  • retain items that are history of medicine, history of science, or other histories, biographies, or bibliographies.
  • retain items that appear in Morton, Leslie T. A medical bibliography (Garrison and Morton) : an annotated check-list of texts illustrating the history of medicine. 4th ed. Lexington, Mass: Gower, 1983.
  • retain items that appear in Erlen, Jonathon. The history of the health care sciences and health care, 1700-1980 : a selective annotated bibliography. New York : Garland, 1984.
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