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The Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries is the collective name of the Vanderbilt library system. The Central Library has the largest collection of the nine campus libraries. Central Library collection materials include resources in the arts, humanities, and social sciences; a broad general reference collection; reserve materials for most undergraduate courses; depository materials at the Government Information and Media Services, particularly in federal and United Nations documents; microform and audiovisual media materials; a leisure reading collection; and the W. T. Bandy Center for Baudelaire and Modern French Studies. For specific information on collection levels by subject see the Central Library Conspectus.
- Central Library Collection Levels
- Level 0: Out of Scope. The library does not collect in this area.
- Level 1: Minimal level. A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works.
- Level 2: Basic information level. A collection of up-to-date general materials that serve to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It may include dictionaries, encyclopedias, access to appropriate bibliographic databases, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, bibliographies, handbooks, a few major periodicals, in the minimum number that will serve the purpose. A basic information collection is not sufficiently intensive to support any advanced undergraduate or graduate courses or independent study in the subject area involved.
- Level 3: Instructional support level. A collection that is adequate to support undergraduate and most graduate instruction, or sustained independent study; that is, adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of the works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, access to appropriate non-bibliographic data bases, and the reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject.
- Level 4: Research level. A collection that includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It is intended to include all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Pertinent foreign language materials are included. Older material is retained for historical research.
- Level 5: Comprehensive level. A collection in which a library endeavors, so far as it is reasonably possible, to include all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, other forms), in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is on that maintains a "special collection"; the aim, if not the achievement, is exhaustiveness. Older material is retained for historical research.