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Collection Management and Metadata Services


About Us

The Collection Management and Metadata Services department is dedicated to providing rapid and reliable access to resources for Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and its affiliated communities. The department encompasses acquisitions, collection development, cataloging and metadata services, and print and electronic resource management in support of maintaining a robust collection that serves the library's users. After acquiring and cataloging resources, the department makes the resources available to Galter's users, and, in the case of electronic resources, maintains reliable access to them through Galter's online catalog. When problems with access to electronic resources arise, librarians address them in a timely fashion. Librarians also enhance metadata for digital objects deposited into DigitalHub, Galter's digital repository for the Feinberg community, and provide metadata creation and support for the Special Collections department. Online finding aids for manuscripts and other Special Collections materials are included with all of Northwestern Library materials and available on the Archival and Manuscript Collections page.

Visit our collections statistics page to see an overview of Galter's holdings. In-process items can be requested using our online request form, and recommendations for items to add to the collection can be submitted here. For questions about accessing or using electronic resources, please contact the Reference team, (312) 503-8126, or see our Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources policy. Information about electronic course reserves is available in the Reserves and Copyright Policies.

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Gifts of Materials to the Library

As part of the selection process, the Department accepts relevant gifts of books. For questions about material donations to the Library contact Ramune Kubilius, Collection Development/Special Projects Librarian, (312) 503-1912.

Related links:

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Collections Philosophy


This Collections Philosophy guides Galter Health Sciences Library staff in our current acquisitions practices for building the best collection for the Feinberg School of Medicine community. This philosophy is meant to work in conjunction with all other relevant library policies.

Scope of the Collection

Galter Health Sciences Library strives to offer its users a current, top-quality, relevant collection in line with the library’s mission and strategic plan. We use our expertise to assess and acquire resources in a variety of formats and seek out electronic collections whenever feasible to meet users’ needs for access. We add to the collection year-round to support emerging research, clinical, and education needs in the Feinberg School of Medicine’s missions, programs, departments, and initiatives.

We manage the collection with the following guiding principles in mind:

Environmental Scans:

  • We use various means to measure the use of our collection and take into account expertise from key constituents to provide resources for research, curricular, and clinical needs.
    • Additionally, Galter staff contribute toward assessing renewals and when we consider acquiring key resources.
    • Collection Development strategies include consulting usage statistics, interlibrary loan reports, and reviews.
  • We assess the needs of our users on a regular basis, utilizing liaison contacts, regularly consulting FSM strategic plans and Northwestern Medicine documents, and by conducting formal assessments such as surveying our users about proposed key acquisitions or cancellations.

Collection Management Principles:

  • We maintain a collection wishlist year-round to help us prioritize possible future acquisitions and incorporate faculty recommendations through reference and liaison activities and communications.
    • Having items on our radar allows us to be more responsive to requests and newly available resources.
  • To maintain a current and relevant electronic collection, we assess it regularly and deselect or cancel little-used resources in order to:
    • Conserve our collections budget.
    • Refocus our collection development efforts on new resources or to meet new demands.
  • Print materials are reviewed and deselected or relocated as needed in order to optimize the library space for the needs of students, faculty and staff.
  • We actively add to our electronic collections, pursuing journal subscriptions in electronic editions only, considering electronic journal backfiles, if appropriate, and acquiring eBooks to respond to users’ preference for ubiquitous access to our collections.
  • Other electronic resources, such as databases, streaming video and specialized resources, are reviewed and licensed, as curricular or other information needs warrant and budget permits.
  • We add a few select key titles to our print book collection for curricular reserves, authored by FSM faculty, or recommended by Galter’s primary user community.

Business Principles:

We seek out business arrangements with publishers and vendors who understand the unique research and education relationships within all Northwestern University libraries, allowing us to provide access to the entire NU community and fulfill obligations to affiliated hospitals whenever possible. We seek joint-purchasing and shared licensing opportunities with other Northwestern University libraries, departments, and consortia to conserve funds and to avoid cumbersome technical arrangements. We consult with Northwestern University’s legal services as appropriate. Whenever possible, we negotiate for the following data or benefits where we have a contract:

  • IP-authenticated access, including by proxy.
  • COUNTER compliant usage statistics.
  • Electronic fulfillment of ILL requests and allowances for eReserves.
  • Multi-year subscriptions to maximize our collections budget.
  • Post-cancellations rights to subscribed content. We pay particular attention to publishers’ and vendors’ participation in long-term electronic access solutions such as Portico, LOCKSS and CLOCKSS and try to influence such sustainable behaviors.

(May 2017)

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Cataloging and Metadata


Librarians create catalog records for resources owned by the Galter Library and not indexed elsewhere. Records are also created for certain Open Access electronic resources that are freely available. All of the resources are cataloged using current standards and metadata schema. Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) are assigned to every resource, and print books and videorecordings are classified using the National Library of Medicine Classification. The Collection Management and Metadata Services department is also responsible for the quality control of all of the data in the Library's catalog. The Department participates in Northwestern University's LCSH/MeSH Mapping Project. For questions about cataloging and metadata, contact Liping Song, Metadata Librarian, (312) 503-0421, or Joelen Pastva, department head, (312) 503-6020.

Northwestern University Libraries LCSH/MeSH Mapping Project

The LCSH/MeSH mapping project was begun at Northwestern University in 1990 and continues up to the present time. The goal of the project is to map corresponding LCSH and MeSH headings and enter the mapping data into the 750, 780, and 788 linking entry fields in LCSH and MeSH authority records. For more information, visit the project page.


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Joelen Pastva
Head, Collection Management and Metadata Services
Email Joelen
Professional Website

Bart Davis
Acquisitions and Electronic Resources Librarian
Email Bart

Mahonry Estrada
Library Assistant 2
Email Mahonry

Ramune Kubilius
Collection Development / Special Projects Librarian
Email Ramune
Professional Website

Liping Song
Metadata Librarian
Email Liping

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Updated: March 17, 2021