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About Swain’s Collections

Overview | Locating Materials | Collection Development Policy | Notable Acquisitions | Suggestions for Purchase

Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy Statement | RLG Conspectus Values | RLG Conspectus: Chemistry | RLG Conspectus: Technology

Collection Development Policy Statement

Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Bibliographer: Grace Baysinger
Swain Library of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering

I. Programmatic Information

The Swain Library primarily supports instruction and research for the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. Swain’s collections are used heavily by researchers and graduate students from fields such as chemistry, chemical engineering, other areas of engineering, biology, geology, and medicine; as well as patrons from industry (e.g. Lockheed, Hewlett-Packard, Watkins-Johnson, Syntex), nearby research centers (e.g. SRI, NASA-Ames), and the public.

Primary faculty contacts are the members of the Swain Library Committee. This committee is usually composed of two faculty from the Chemistry Department and one faculty member from the Chemical Engineering Department.

Selection of materials for Swain is based upon the following:
  1. To support the research needs of faculty, post doctorals, and graduate students in the Department of Chemistry. In FY 96, the Department consists of 20 faculty, 6 emeritus, 11 visiting scholars, 79 postdocs, 237 graduate students, and 45 undergraduate majors. Emphasis in the Department is on graduate training at the Ph.D. level.

    Areas of advanced research include:

    Spectroscopic, magnetic and structural studies of metalloprotein active sites. The chemistry of metal ions in biological systems. Elucidation of immunological phenomena which are controlled by cell membranes, preparation of synthetic membranes, determination of lateral mobility in membranes. Study of the communication process of cell membranes (e.g. erythrocyte responsne to neurotransmitters, protein transfer mechanism). Primary photochemistry of photosynthesis.
    Inorganic coordination chemistry (e.g. synthesis, structure and reactivity of transition metal complexes) particularly of relevance to bioinorganic chemistry, material science and heterogeneous catalysis. Inorganic spectroscopy (e.g. magnetic susceptibility, EPR, electronic absorption, vibrational, resonance Raman, magnetic circular dichroism, photoelectron, X-ray absorption and EXAFS, paramagnetic NMR) and ligand field and molecular orbital theories of transition metal complexes. Applications of organo-transition metal complexes to homogeneous catalysis and polymer science.
    Stoichiometric and catalytic asymmetric synthesis. Synthesis and structure of natural products (e.g. steroids, insect hormones, terpenoids, toxins) and non-natural products. Applications of physical measurements (e.g. mass spectrometry, nuclear magnetic resonance, optical rotatory dispersion, magnetic circular dichroism) and computers for determing structure and stereochemistry. Development of new synthetic methods based upon main group and transition elements and biological techniques. Understanding the chemical basis of biological phenomena.
    The major part of the work involves the use of physical methods (e.g. spectroscopy, ion cyclotron resonance, laser techniques, molecular beam techniques) to understand chemical reactions (e.g. reaction pathways, rates of reaction, structure of reaction intermediates, role of solvents, transition state structure and properties, dynamics of chemical reactions, reaction cross sections, thermodynamic and statistical mechanics of chemical reactions, and the study of excited states.
    Applications of physical methods (e.g. DIDNP, X-ray diffraction, magnetic resonance) for the structural determination of macromolecules (e.g. phosopho-lipids, proteins, membranes). Study of motion in liquids and polymers by such techniques as infrared, raman and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
  2. To support the Chemistry Department's graduate and undergraduate instruction programs. Areas of study at the graduate level include organic, inorganic, physical, and biophysical chemistry. In recent years, a number of chemistry students have been involved in interdisciplinary research programs with co-advisors from Applied Physics, Biochemistry, Biology, Cell Biology, Chemical Engineering, Genetics, Materials Science, Neurobiology, and other departments.
  3. To support the research needs of faculty, post doctorals, and graduate students in the Department of Chemical Engineering. In FY 96, the Depatment consists of 11 faculty, 7 visiting scholars, 12 postdocts, 48 graduate students, 35 undergraduate majors. Emphasis in the Department is on graduate training at the Ph.D. level. Research efforts are fundamental in nature, with faculty members focusing on understanding basic chemical, physical, and biological phenomena that underlie the engineering research problem under consideration. Many of the graduate students work on research projects that involve collaboration with researchers from other fields who come from other departments at Stanford or from industry.

    Areas of advanced research can be clustered into four groupings:

    Factors that influence growth and product formation for genetically engineered bacterial and mammalian cells. Reacton and diffusion of immobilized cell systems. Elucidation of protein/polymer surface interactions. Analysis of oligosaccharide structures of glycoproteins.
    Catalysis and Surface Science
    Understanding the chemical basis of reactivity and bonding of surfaces, new solid catalysts of industrial interest, and molecules on solid surfaces. Kinetics and memchanism of molecular rearrangement of reactants absorbed on metal surfaces and the dynamics of reactive collisions of gaseous molecules at solid surfaces.
    Influence the environment has on the configuration of an individual polymer chain. Impact dynamics and structure of complex polymeric and colloidal materials have on behavior related to flow, flow-induced phase transitions, and structural defects. Thin film processes of technological importance. Fundamental nature of adsorption, association and conentrated suspension dynamics of complex macromolecular fluids.
    Core Areas of Chemical Engineering
    Effect of stability on fluid mechanics and transport phenomena in physical systems. Areas of interest include the study of transitions between stable and unstable flow, non-linear dynamics following instability, control of fluid/transport systems, oil recovery, and the flow of multiphase, multicomponent fluids in porous media. Chemical instabilities which focus on the property of chemical waves; oscillatory, biperiodic and chaotic behavior in combustion reactions; and response of oscillatory systems to periodical perturbations. Delay kinetics and application in chemical and biophysical systems. Thermodynamic efficiency of thermal, chemical, and biological engines.
  4. To support the graduate and undergraduate instruction programs in the Department of Chemical Engineering. Areas of graduate study include applied mathematics, transport phenomena, microrheology, optical methods in fluid mechanics and rheology, molecular thermodynamics, catalysis and surface science, bioengineering, polymer physics, and polymer chemistry.
  5. Although not part of the formal academic curriculum, the Industrial Affiliates Program (sponsored jointly by the Departments of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering) offers unique exposure to, and interaction with, the world of industrial science. Representatives of about 15 national and international concerns meet several times each year with students and faculty members for 2-3 day symposia which cover both general and technical scientific topics. As of Fall 1989, the Swain Library is the repository for videotapes made of these symposia.
  6. To support the reference duties (traditional and online reference) of the Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Librarian.

II. Coordination and Cooperative Information

Close coordination is maintained with other Stanford University Libraries as well as outside institutions to foster comprehensive coverage of closely related subject areas while minimizing non-essential duplication. In cases where the volume of use is high, intentional duplication may be necessary.

Falconer Biology Library
Falconer Library and Lane Medical Library share primary collecting responsibilities for materials in biochemistry and immunology while Swain maintains a core working collection. Falconer also has primary responsibility for collecting materials in biophysics. However, there is a need for some of these materials in Swain. To avoid unnecessary duplication, selection is coordinated closely with Falconer. Other areas of overlap with Falconer Library (biophysical chemistry, biotechnology, immunochemistry, membranes) are decided on a case by case basis. Materials on biochemical engineering such as enzyme engineering are found primarily in Swain.
Branner Earth Sciences Library
Swain, Branner, and Engineering share responsibility for collecting crystallographic materials, with Swain collecting primarily organic crystallography, Branner collecting primarily mineral and glass crystallography, and Engineering collecting primarily crystallography of semiconductors. Geochemistry, x-ray diffraction and petroleum collections are found primarily in Branner, while petroleum refining and oil recovery processes are found primarily in Swain.
Engineering Library
The Engineering Library collects materials in the following areas of applied chemical engineering: environmental chemistry, engineering management, biotechnology related to waste/pollution management and water quality, fuel technology as it relates to the environment, materials science for ceramics, plastics, refrigerants, and process engineering. Areas of overlap with Engineering (chemical safety, fluid mechanics, physical properties data, polymers) are decided on a case by case basis.
Mathematical and Computer Sciences Library
The Swain Library collects material on the application of computers, artificial intelligence and mathematical modelling in chemistry and chemical engineering.
Physics Library
One of the largest areas of overlap exists with the Physics Library. Generally, materials on fundamental research in atomic and molecular physics is collected by the Physics Library while applied aspects in these areas are collected by the Swain Library. Swain also collects materials in the areas of fluid mechanics, rheology, and crystallography. Other areas that overlap with the Physics Library (chemical physics, lasers, spectroscopy, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, thin films) are decided on a case by case basis.
Other SUL Libraries
Green Library collects works on alchemy, biography and history of chemistry and chemical engineering, and the social aspects of science.
Jonsson Library of Government Documents is relied upon for statistics on chemical industries.
Cubberley Education Library collects college catalogs and information on teaching chemistry.
Coordinate Libraries
Lane Medical Library and Falconer Biology Library share primary collecting responsibilities for materials in biochemistry and immunology while Swain maintains a core working collection. Other areas collected at the teaching level that overlap with Lane (biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, toxicology) are decided on a case by case basis, with a conscious effort to duplicate as little as possible.
Jackson Business Library collects information on the management of industry and prices of chemical commodities.
Crown Law Library collects materials related to legal aspects of chemistry and chemical engineering.

III. Subject and Language Modifiers

Not Relevant.
The emphasis is on current research and theories.
English is preferred. However, if an item fulfills all other collection requirements and it is not available in translation, it may be acquired. Of the foreign languages acquired, German, and French are major. Transliterated versions of Russian and Japanese materials are also major.
The following topics are collected only at a “2” level by Swain: Agricultural Chemistry; Chemical Processing of Wood; Environmental Chemistry; Explosives and Pyrotechnics; Food (and Drink) Chemistry; Food Processing and Manufacture; Oils, Fats, Waxes; Illuminating Industries (Non-Electric); Textile Bleaching, Dyeing, Printing, etc.; and Toxicology.

IV. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials and Format
Most of the collection consists of materials in printed format with some materials in microform. Materials in electronic formats (e.g. diskette, CD-ROM, etc.) are acquired selectively. A small but rapidly growing number of electronic resources are available via the World Wide Web. Approximately 85% of the materials budget is spent for journals and other series. General chemistry textbooks are purchased very selectively for Swain with virtually no new chemistry and chemical engineering being sited in Meyer. Textbooks for undergraduate courses are purchased very selectively with most items purchased being placed on reserve. The collection also contains dissertations for the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Departments and reprints of Stanford Chemistry Department publications. Swain is also the repository of videotaped sessions from the Industrial Affiliates Program Symposia that is jointly sponsored by the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Departments and the William Johnson Symposia sponsored by the Chemistry Department. Audio tapes published by ACS are acquired selectively.
Publication Date
Excluding replacement copies and back volumes of journals, most materials are less than five years old at the time of purchase.

V. Special Considerations

It is the responsibility of the Swain Librarian to select additions and deletions from the collection. Approval plans from Yankee Book Peddler, Lindsey and Howes, and Harassowitz, is monitored. Advertisements and reviews in all chemistry and chemical engineering journals are scanned. Advice from library users are solicited and suggestions for purchases are welcome.

Every five years, funding is needed in order to acquire Chemical Abstracts’ Collective Indexes.

Last modified: December 1, 2009

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