Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.


Appendix 5: Reference Collection

Approved by Library Council, 02/16/2005


This policy complements the Libraries' Collection Development Policy by detailing policies specific to the Reference Collections. The priorities and selection criteria in the general policy document apply as well to the Reference Collections, which also serve to support the broader intellectual interests of the college community.

Purpose and scope

The Reference Collections comprise those materials classed in the reference areas in Crumb and Crane Libraries, as well as electronic resources used as reference tools. The resources designated for reference generally

  • are designed by arrangement and treatment to be consulted for specific information rather than to be read in their entirety
  • are comprehensive in scope but condensed in treatment
  • follow an alphabetical, tabular, classified, geographical, or chronological arrangement
  • are needed to answer factual reference questions

In Crumb Library designations of materials for addition to and removal from the Reference Collections are made by the librarian responsible for reference collection development in consultation with the library faculty who provide reference service. The same function is performed in Crane Library by the Crane Librarian with consultation as appropriate.


Electronic reference resources are preferred when currency, accessibility, and level of expected use make them desirable. Purchased electronic resources will be cataloged and linked at appropriate places on the library web site. Additional electronic reference resources may be selected for inclusion on the reference and subject pages of the library web site, and be cataloged as appropriate.

Materials in the reference print and electronic collections generally include:

  • General and major subject encyclopedias
  • English language dictionaries
  • French and Spanish dictionaries, and basic dictionaries in other languages of interest
  • General atlases, historical atlases
  • Selected statistical sources
  • Almanacs
  • Style manuals
  • Indexes and abstracts
  • Comprehensive handbooks
  • Comprehensive and disciplinary level bibliographies
  • Yearbooks
  • Chronologies

Crane Music Library also includes other types of materials pertinent to reference use in the field of music


In most cases the latest edition only will be kept of titles on the shelves in the Reference collection. Older editions will generally be discarded, or moved to the circulating collection if retrospective retention is warranted. Annuals will generally have the latest 3 years kept in Reference.

Use of Reference materials

To insure that the Reference Collection remains available for immediate use by patrons, shelved reference materials are for library use only. Exceptions may be made for short-term loan (less than 12 hours) to faculty or students at the discretion of the librarian on-duty at the Reference Desk. Exceptions for long term loan (e.g. interlibrary loan) are made in consultation with an appropriate librarian.


Crumb Library: 315-267-2485
Crane Library: 315-267-2451

Text Us! (Mon-Fri, 10 - 4): 315-277-3730

Social Media

College Libraries


SUNY Potsdam College Libraries
44 Pierrepont Ave
Potsdam, NY 13617