Physics Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • Physics is traditionally defined as the study of matter, energy, and the relation between them. Its discoveries find applications throughout the sciences, since matter and energy are the basic constituents of the natural world. Basic research is divided between atomic and solid state physics, and elementary particle physics. Each of these major branches has a theoretical and an experimental approach. Current strengths are condensed matter, biophysics, astrophysics, elementary physics and accelerator physics. Collaboration is active across the sciences including: applied and engineering physics, applied mathematics, astronomy and space sciences, chemistry and chemical biology, materials science and engineering, and molecular biology and genetics. This is primarily an electronic collection to support the increasingly online workflows and information requirements of researchers. The focus is on full access to the published literature in electronic format. The physical sciences collection includes several enhanced interfaces with features essential to physical sciences research. Astronomical data sources are generally openly available through such initiatives as the National Virtual Observatory. Significant effort through the Cornell Library is also focused on acquiring electronic access to older literature to enhance access and use.


collection strength

  • Overall, the collecting goals for Physics is suitable for dissertation-level research and undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education.

collection level

  • research

geographical guidelines

  • Most materials in the collection are published in North America and Europe.

areas of significant geographic coverage

    country (self-governing)

    • Canada
    • Great Britain
    • United States of America

language guidelines

  • English is the primary language of the collection. Materials in other languages are acquired as requested.


  • English

chronological guidelines

  • General collection holdings date back to mid-1800s in print and electronic holdings.


  • Pre-college materials are not collected. Undergraduate level textbooks are not actively collected. Hardcopy materials are only acquired upon request.

material types

  • Genre Physics emphasizes scholarly communication through academic journals, pre-prints, book series, scholarly monographs, conference proceedings, specialized bibliographic and properties databases. Format Materials are collected exclusively in networked electronic format except for a limited number not available electronically or upon special request. Print materials in physics are primarily located at the Annex or in other related library collections. Electronic editions have been acquired for the majority of older journal issues and many monographic series to facilitate access and use.


housed in

  • Clark Physical Sciences Library 

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • arXiv – preprint server SpringerMaterials – evaluated materials data from Landolt-Börnstein Numerical data and functional relationships in science and technology series

related library subject collection


    academic department

    • Applied and Engineering Physics (A&EP)
    • Biochemistry (Weill)
    • Chemistry and Chemical Biology (CHEM)
    • Materials Science and Engineering (MS&E)
    • Mathematics (MATH)
    • Physics (PHYS)

    graduate field/program

    • Applied Physics
    • Biochemistry and Structural Biology
    • Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology
    • Biophysics
    • Chemistry and Chemical Biology
    • Computational Biology
    • Materials Science and Engineering
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Science and Technology Studies
    • Theoretical and Applied Mechanics
    • Tri-Institutional Program in Computational Biology and Medicine (CBM)  


library contact

  • Spoon, Henrik -  Physics, Astronomy, and Math Librarian