General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy.  

Purpose of the Collection

The purpose of the collection activity in environmental sciences is to develop a research level collection and to support the instructional curriculum and academic subject emphases of the undergraduate Environmental Studies Department up through the doctoral level in the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, and of related centers, such as the UCSB National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS), the Cheadle Center for Biodiversity and Ecological Restoration (CCBER), and the Institute for Computational Earth Systems Science (ICESS).

Environmental Sciences is a very interdisciplinary field; it relates directly to other collection areas including the natural sciences, humanities, Economics, Law and Society, Chemistry, Political Science, and other sciences, engineering and social sciences, and collection activity occurs in those areas. The collections are also used by staff in the UCSB Department of Environmental Health & Safety.

Academic Department/Program Description

The Environmental Studies Department and the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science & Management conduct research and teaching in broad subject areas reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the discipline. The undergraduate department offers two degree options: the B.A. and the B.S. requiring introductory coursework in the sciences, social sciences and humanities. The ES Department is also home to the B.S. degree in Hydrologic Sciences, a cooperative effort by the departments of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, Chemistry, Geography, and Geological Sciences.

The Bren School offers a two-year professional Master's program and a Ph.D. program; within these, several interdisciplinary options are available including an MBA emphasis in corporate environmental management and an Economics and Environmental Science training program.


Given the interdisciplinary nature of the environmental sciences, scholarship from across the disciplines is collected and materials are acquired in consultation with other science, social science, and government information specialists as appropriate. Priority is given to areas of current faculty research and teaching. Areas of concentration and collection include, but are not limited to: environmental policy, environmental economics and corporate management, remediation, hydrology, environmental regulation and innovation, conservation, toxicology, nature and nature writing, environmental law, biodiversity, environmental movements, risk assessment, environmental problems and solutions, natural resources, waste management, ecology and environmental biology, sustainability, pollution, and international environmental issues and comparisons.


Generally, electronic books are acquired for monographs unless available only in another format. To maximize limited resources, journals and indexes and abstracts are generally acquired in electronic format only, so long as they have reliable and perpetual access. In addition to the criteria used for judging print materials (authority, content, etc.) other factors are also considered with electronic materials. These include:

  • Method of access
  • Availability: access to the entire campus is preferred to library-only access
  • Licensing requirements
  • Availability of, and perpetual access to, archives

Systemwide and Other Resources

In order to maximize our purchasing power, the vast majority of materials selected for physics are purchased consortially with other UC campuses.  These include:

  • Databases, including Sustainability Science Abstracts and Web of Science.
  • Monographs, including titles from Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley.
  • Serials, including titles from Elsevier, Springer, and Wiley.

Related Collection Development Policies

Given the interdisciplinary nature of environmental science, there is considerable consultation with other science and social science specialists for acquisition of resources relevant to this field of study.

Subject librarian: Kristen LaBonte
Policy Last Updated: May 2015