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Geography (physical) collection policy

Liaison librarian

  • Jennifer [dot] Zhao [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-1273

Purpose and scope

The Department of Geography at McGill was founded in 1945. Although the department is based in the Faculty of Science, it is very much interdisciplinary. It offers degrees at the Bachelors (B.A. & B.Sc), Masters (M.A. & M.Sc), and Ph.D. levels. As of 2008, research focuses on the following thematic categories:

  • Cryology
  • Environment and human development
  • Earth system science
  • Environmental management
  • GIS and remote sensing
  • Land surface processes
    • hydrology
    • biogeochemistry
  • Political, urban, economic and health geography
  • Sustainability

The purpose of this document is to describe the Schulich Library guidelines for supporting teaching and research conducted by the department. The human aspect of the subject is addressed by the Geography (Human) Collection located at the Humanities and Social Sciences Library. Maps, atlases, aerial photography, and geospatial data are also out of scope of these guidelines.

We are constantly working toward an increased electronic coverage, as it enables access to scholarly literature 24/7, from anywhere in the world. This centralization effort for the acquisition of electronic materials and our participation in various consortia such as the Conference of Rectors and Principals of Quebec Universities (CREPUQ) and the Canadian Research Knowledge Network (CRKN) enables the Library to provide and maintain a research level collection and provide access to major indexing and abstracting databases in the field. The Library also provides faculty members and students with the InterLibrary Loan service for books, journal articles and conference proceedings not held at the Library, called Colombo ILL.

Collection Development Guidelines

General collection guidelines


English is preferred. Works published in a language other than English will be acquired if the author or the content is of sufficient importance.

Chronological Coverage

Current monographic titles are purchased. The collection provides comprehensive coverage of older materials thanks to the age of the collection and the department at McGill.

Geographical Coverage

No restriction.

Required reading acquisitions

It is our goal that all of the required materials for courses (textbooks, journal articles, DVDs) be included in the collection. The Course Reserves collection ensures fair access for all students by providing access to selected materials on a short term loan period. Because of the increasing high availability of electronic materials, we recommend inclusion of persistent links within MyCourses whenever the electronic format is available. This provides students with unlimited simultaneous access while meeting most license agreement requirements. The reserve request form can be used to request material to be placed on Course Reserves. 

Book acquisitions

As of 2008, the McGill e-books collection includes more than two million titles. The preferred acquisition model for e-books is through the purchase of large sets. Examples of large sets purchased include:

Most of the monographic selection, outside of sets purchase, is automated using selection profiling tools. It is essential that the Liaison Librarian and the Departmental Representative review the profile below frequently to ensure that the profile remains relevant to Faculty research interests.

Suggestions for book acquisition can be made using our online form to suggest a purchase. Whenever available, e-books format will be selected over the print version.

The collection development profile below uses the Collection levels employed by McGill University Library.

GB Geography Physical
LC Classification Description Collection level
GB1-GB110 General 3b
GB111-GB399 By region or Country 3b
GB400-GB446 Geomorphology. General. By region or country 4
GB447 Climatic geomorphology Collected for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
GB448-GB449 Slopes Collected for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
GB450-GB460 Coasts 3b
GB461-GB470 Reefs 3b
GB471-GB499 Islands 3b
GB500-GB560 Mountains 3b
GB561-GB568 Floodplains, river, channels, valley, watersheds 4
GB569-GB580 Piedmonts, plains, plateaus, steeps, tundra 3b
GB581-GB590 Glacial landform 4
GB591-GB599 Alluvial fans, deltas, terraces 3b
GB599-GB608 Karst landforms. Caves 4
GB609-GB610 Interior valleys. Sinkhols 4
GB611-GB620 Desert. Arid regions 4
GB621-GB630 Marshes, bogs, swamps, etc 4
GB631-GB640 Dunes 3b
GB641-GB648 Frozen ground. Cold regions 4
GB649-GB650 Other landforms 3b
GB651-GB655 General hydrology. 4
GB656 Methodology 4
GB657-GB700 General hydrology 4
GB701-GB844 Hydrology by region or Country 4
GB845-GB854 Hydrological cycles and forecasting 4
GB8550-GB979 Natural Water Chemistry 4
GB980-GB1197 Ground and surface waters (general) 4
GB1198 Springs and geysers 3b
GB1199-GB1199.4 Aquifers 3b
GB1199.5-GB1200 Geothermal resources 4
GB1201-GB1398 Rivers and streams 4
GB1399-GB1400 Floods 4
GB1400-GB1600 Waterfall 3b
GB1601-GB2400 Lakes, ponds, lagoons 4
GB2401-GB2800 Ice. Snow Collected for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
GB2801-2998 Hydrometeorology Collected for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
GB5000-5030 Natural disasters Collected for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
GC1-GC1581 Oceanography – Collected for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
GE Environmental sciences
LC Classification Description Collection level
GE1-GE9999 Environmental Sciences 3b
GE24-GE49 Data processing. Remote Sensing 4

Journal acquisitions

McGill Library, along with its consortial partners, favours the purchase of electronic journal titles (full text) produced by a publisher, bundled, and sold as an all-or-nothing deal. Examples of STM packages include:

  • Elsevier ScienceDirect
  • Wilson Web
  • EBSCO Academic Search Premier
  • ProQuest digital dissertations

Through the Catalogue, we also make available extensive Open Access collections. For example, the Catalogue will resolve links to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Subject specific collections are also purchased. For example, this is the case with our membership with the American Geophysical Union.

Requests for journal acquisition can be made by jennifer [dot] zhao [at] mcgill [dot] ca (email to your Liaison Librarian). Note that a Collection Development Committee is in the process of being established, and one of the main roles of this Committee will be to make system-wide decisions as to what should be ordered from these requests, keeping in mind the needs of all disciplines.

Print cancellation policy

Whenever a title is available electronically and we own a perpetual license to it, the print format will be cancelled.

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