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Using Engineering Theses And Dissertations To Inform Collection Development Decisions, Especially In Civil Engineering

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2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Meeting the Needs of Engineering Faculty, Researchers, and Students

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1320.1 - 14.1320.11



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Paper Authors


Patricia Kirkwood University of Arkansas

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Patricia Kirkwood is the Engineering and Mathematics Librarian at the University of Arkansas where she has been carefully adding civil engineering materials to the collection for 5 years. Patricia has over 20 years experience as a chemistry librarian and a science librarian, but 2004 marked the new career of Engineering Librarian.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract


Abstract: To develop an excellent collection for graduate student use, a librarian must take the time to know what students are using for their research and study. Citation analysis can be used to enhance a librarian’s knowledge of tools and resources used by the graduate population and therefore allow better purchase and service decisions. For graduate students, especially in fields where journal publication is not necessarily the venue of choice, theses and dissertations are a font of information. Citation patterns provide information about the governmental and web resources that should be included in a collection. Tracking down the cited materials provides the librarian with information about the discovery tools that should be taught to newer students. Civil engineers, especially in the transportation and construction fields, use specialized resources and unique databases.


Citation studies, especially when using materials that require manually processing bibliographies, can be time consuming and cumbersome, but they help guide collection development efforts with empirical information. Broadus [1] discussed this idea extensively as a method to aid the non-subject specialist in building a collection. Dr. Smith [2] specifically notes that citation analysis of theses and dissertations can help in both collection development and user services development. Kriz’s [3] citation analysis of West Virginia University College of Engineering doctoral dissertations was used to dramatically hone the journal collection to best suit the needs of that institution. Citation studies, along with collection use information (especially electronic journal use), comparative shelf counts and interlibrary loan information are the traditional methods used by librarians to justify their collection development decisions.

The citation study of engineering theses and dissertations at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville was started in early 2005 to assess the Libraries’ collection. With the advent of substantial new funds for the Libraries in the previous 5 years, journal subscriptions as well as electronic resources were aggressively purchased. This study was undertaken to determine if sufficient funding was being allocated towards monographs. While completing this study it became evident that a more in-depth view of the civil engineering citation patterns was needed to appropriate gauge the types of resources needed by this client group.


A review of the library, engineering, and educationally related literature was conducted. Little is written on the literature of civil engineering. In order to take the broadest look at related literature, the search was conducted not only in general civil engineering, but also the areas of environmental engineering, structural engineering, transportation engineering, and construction engineering that have active research groups at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. Most of

Kirkwood, P. (2009, June), Using Engineering Theses And Dissertations To Inform Collection Development Decisions, Especially In Civil Engineering Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4570

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