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Collection Policy for the McKeldin Library Reference Collection


The McKeldin Reference collection is managed to serve the needs of the University of Maryland community, its undergraduate and graduate students, its faculty, and its staff. The collection is constructed to serve both on-site and remote users.

McKeldin Reference collects general reference materials and specialized reference materials to support campus programs in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Life Sciences, generally in print and e-book formats. In areas where branch libraries exist (e.g. Performing Arts, STEM), those branches are responsible for creating the main campus reference collection for those primary subject areas. Note that the STEM Library no longer has an on-site Reference Collection.

Policy Objectives

  • To delineate both the scope of the McKeldin Reference collection and the types of materials to be included.
  • To provide policy guidelines which will promote the development and maintenance of a comprehensive, and current reference collection.
  • To establish criteria for acquiring and weeding reference materials.

Types of Materials Included in the Collection

To be included in the reference collection, materials must meet one of the following criteria:

  • They provide quick answers to factual questions.
  • They serve as starting points for more in-depth research by either providing a general overview of information on a specific topic or by citing the literature on a specific topic.

Acquisitions of Reference Materials

The subject specialists residing on the Library's subject teams are responsible for selecting items to purchase and for weeding materials for the McKeldin Reference Collection for their assigned subjects. The Reference Coordinator for Research, Teaching and Learning manages the reference fund. Selectors request items to be purchased via the Reference Coordinator.

In considering the appropriateness of material for the collection, the following points should be considered:

  • Contribution to support of the curriculum and research needs of programs at the University of Maryland.
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection. The reference collection should provide a convenient selection of the most authoritative sources for convenience of use. Unnecessary duplication of content should be avoided.
  • Currency of the topic.
  • Currency of publication.
  • Language of the publication.

In most cases the collection emphasizes current, English language material.

Sources of Information on New Reference Titles

  • Professional review journals in library and information science; e.g., Choice, Library Journal.
  • Annual Lists such as American Reference Books Annual, Directory of Directories.
  • Publishers leaflets and catalogs.
  • Professional journals in the respective subject areas.

Created: 1999; Reviewed: 9/11/19; CDC Approved: 12/13/19.