Access to the College Green area of campus will be restricted until further notice. PennCard holders and some Penn affiliates may enter and exit Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center through the Rosengarten Undergraduate Study Center on the ground floor, and may enter and exit the Fisher Fine Arts Library through the 34th Street entrance to Meyerson Hall. See our Service Alerts for details.

Accordion List

This policy governs the collecting activity in biomedical research. The Biomedical Graduate Studies program was established in 1985 and serves as the academic home within the University of Pennsylvania for roughly 950 students pursuing a PhD in the basic biomedical sciences. Although BGS is housed within the Perelman School of Medicine, it is composed of more than 750 faculty members across seven Penn schools and several associated institutes. BGS provides training and administration through seven graduate groups, some of which have distinct sub-specialty areas. Each graduate group has its own training mission, leadership, and staff, but there is often significant overlap among the groups in respect to faculty membership, courses offered, policies, and procedures. BGS provides centralized support to the graduate groups for admissions, student fellowships, curricular oversight, record-keeping, and other operations.

The biomedical research collection supports the teaching, research, and learning needs of the Biomedical Graduate Studies Program, the vast research enterprise of Perelman School of Medicine, and the many associated Centers and Institutes.  The primary focus of the collection is the biomedical sciences, which includes, but is not limited to biostatistics, biochemistry, molecular biology, computational biology, immunology, neuroscience and pharmacology. It should be noted that there is a strong synergic relationship between the biomedical research, the biology collection and the clinical medicine collection.

The collection is almost entirely electronic and is heavily weighted towards journals and ebooks. In addition, there is also a large collection of online research protocols, reference material from major STEM publishers, and scientific databases. Where possible, the collection aligns with the strategic mission and values of the Libraries. For example, transformative open access journal agreements are sought that are both sustainable and equitable. Preference is given to "subscribe to open" agreements, but other models are reviewed to see if they benefit the University and the scholarly communication ecosystem as a whole. New and emerging formats are also collected, such as research workflow tools, datasets, and apps, when their licensing models permit access for all Penn authorized users, protect user privacy, support fair use and align with our current authentication and authorization services. 

1. Chronological

Current publications. 

2. Formats

Books, journals and databases make up the core of the collection. The preferred format for all resource types is electronic. Access via the publisher's website is preferred over access via an aggregator database. Textbooks are only collected if requested by faculty.  Streaming media and apps are selectively purchased. Datasets are collected only when requested and must meet selection criteria.  Microform, DVDs, and audiobooks are excluded.  

3. Geographical

Not applicable. 

4. Language


5. Publication Dates

Publications issued within the previous three years. Older materials are purchased in support of new programs, or at the specific request of faculty members. Missing volumes are selectively replaced. Digital archives are added when funding permits.  

Serials are purchased through EBSCO Subscription Services, journal aggregators, individual publishers, and through consortia agreements. The collection development librarian maintains a slip approval plan with GOBI and uses Rittenhouse Books for supplemental collecting. The monograph collection is acquired mainly in electronic format using various ebook vendors and publishers. The publisher platform is preferred; however, books are purchased on other platforms such as EbscoHost and Proquest. Frontfiles and subject packages make up a large part of the electronic monograph collection. Approval plans, search alerts, and vendor communications are used to identify new material for the collection. 

The following criteria are used when making collection decisions: 

Serials and Periodicals

  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Inclusion in a major indexing source such as Medline
  • Interlibrary Loan activity
  • ISI impact factor
  • Potential audience
  • User requests
  • Perpetual access


  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Interlibrary loan activity
  • User requests
  • Digital Right Management
  • Perpetual access

Other Digital Resources (workflow tools, datasets, apps, databases)

  • Accessibility
  • Cost
  • Ease of use
  • Quality and depth of material
  • Storage requirements 
  • Digital Rights Management 
  • Library subject expertise (support for the resource)

The collection strives to be at a Library of Congress Research level 4, but there are some subjects where a Level 3 is adequate.  

Subject LC Class Level
Microscopy QH201-278.5 3
Biology (General) QH301-705.5 4
Evolution QH359-425 4
Genetics QH426-470 4
Reproduction QH471-489 4
Life QH501-531 4
Cytology QH573-671 4
Physiology QP1-981 4
Physiology (General) QP1-345 4
Neurophysiology and neuropsychology QP351-495 4
Animal biochemistry QP501-801 4
Experimental pharmacology QP901-981 4
Microbiology QR1-502 4
Microbiology (General) QR1-74.5 4
Bacteria QR75-99.5 4
Cyanobacteria QR99.6-99.8 4
Microbial ecology  QR99.6-99.8 4
Microorganisms in the animal body QR171 4
Immunology QR180-189.5 4
Virology QR355-502 4


Purchases for the Holman Biotech Commons collection are coordinated, when warranted, with the bibliographers for biology, dental, veterinary, and nursing. Duplication of resources is kept to a minimum.

The Biddle Law Library collects in medical jurisprudence.

The Chemistry Library collects in all areas of chemistry.

The C.J. Marshall Memorial Library collects in parasitology. 

The Lippincott Library collects in health care economics, health care management, and medical practice management. 

The Pennsylvania Hospital Library has a substantial print collection in psychiatry. 

The Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center collects in the history of science and medicine, social, environmental, ethical, legal, philosophical, political, public policy, and religious issues related to medicine and health care. The bioengineering collection is also held at Van Pelt Library.  

Accordion List