General policies and principles for the Library's collections are stated in the General Collection Development Policy.  This policy specifically addresses the subject of Geography, both as a general academic discipline and as it relates to teaching and research in UCSB’s Department of Geography.

Purpose of the Collection

Geography collections in the Library support the scholarly information needs of the Department of Geography at UCSB.  The Department confers bachelors through doctoral degrees, therefore the Library collects scholarly information at levels appropriate to degree seekers at those levels.  The Department has a wide-ranging research program, with significant teams of scholars specializing in computational geography, geographic information science, earth systems modeling, and observational science.

Subject Parameters

Collecting concentrates on the following sub-disciplines within geography:

  • Geographic Information Science and applied computer cartography
  • Earth systems science, including climate modeling, climate change studies, and human-environment interactions
  • Physical geography, including geomorphology, atmospheric science, and oceanography
  • Computational geography, including transportation, demographics, and geodesy
  • Cognitive and behavioral geography

While not an emphasis of the Department, essential works in human and critical geography are collected in support of general undergraduate education.


Geographical Coverage

California is emphasized, with particular emphases on Central Coast ecosystems, including the Channel Islands.  Other areas with Mediterranean climates or chaparral ecosystems are also collected. 


Active collecting occurs almost exclusively in English, although specific requests are always entertained.  Through other collecting activities and consortial purchasing, researchers have access to a rich array of Spanish and Asian language scholarly resources.

Types of Materials Collected

Geography is a journal-intensive discipline, and this need is primarily supported through consortial licensing of journal packages from major commercial and academic publishers.  The California Digital Library’s journal collection offers access to current and archival publications in every conceivable discipline.  A limited number of journal titles are collected at the local level—primarily from small scholarly and professional organizations and national geographic societies.  Through its regional storage facilities, many of these foreign geographic societies’ journal backfiles are accessible to University of California scholars.  Many of these regional journals have begun to publish open access publications, and the Library actively seeks to build discovery mechanisms to these resources. 

Scholarly monographs are actively collected.  Academic press titles are primarily selected through automated purchase agreements, and a limited budget is kept for title-by-title selection of other materials. 

The Library generally does not collect undergraduate textbooks.


Journals are licensed in electronic, web-delivered format with perpetual access rights whenever possible.

Monographs are purchased in electronic book format by default.  Titles will be purchased in print:

  • Upon request by faculty
  • If they are deemed to have particular and permanent discipline-wide impact.  
  • If they are not available in an appropriate electronic book format

Related Collection Development Policies

Spatial data, maps, and works in applied cartography are collected under the Collection Development Policy for the Map & Imagery Laboratory.  Geographers’ library needs are well met by the highly interdisciplinary nature of the discipline, and particularly benefit from Library collections in:

Subject librarian: Jon Jablonski
Policy Last Updated: June, 2015