Life Sciences


The Woodward Library life sciences collection serves the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Dentistry and the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science.  The former includes the School of Audiology and Speech Sciences.  It is the library of first resort for the School of Nursing (Faculty of Applied Science).  In the Faculty of Science, the Departments of Botany, Microbiology and Immunology, and Zoology are covered, as well as some aspects of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Chemistry. Woodward is also the principal library for the Faculty of Forestry and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. Lastly, the School of Human Kinetics (Faculty of Education) is served by our holdings in Sports Medicine and other health-related aspects of leisure activity.

Current areas of collecting

Current areas of collecting in the life sciences include:  agricultural sciences, anatomy, audiology and speech sciences, biochemistry and molecular biology, bioinformatics, biostatistics, dentistry, dietetics, experimental medicine, health care and epidemiology, food science, forestry, human kinetics, human nutrition, genetics, medical genetics, microbiology and immunology, neuroscience, nursing, obstetrics and gynaecology, occupational and environmental hygiene, oceanography (biological aspects), pathology and laboratory medicine, pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacology and therapeutics, physiology, plant science, psychology (biological and medical aspects),  rehabilitation sciences, surgery, zoology. Programs in medical laboratory science, occupational and environmental hygiene, aboriginal health, international health, health services and policy research, and midwifery are also supported.  In addition, limited collections of biomedical engineering, bio-resource engineering, and clinical engineering can be found at Woodward.


An increasing percentage of the budget is now being spent on electronic resources, particularly e-journals, databases, indexes and e-books. As we cannot often afford to offer both print and electronic formats of the same resource, we are choosing electronic journals over print in all feasible cases. Our e-book collection continues to grow, although printed monographs continue to be purchased to a significant extent.

Chronological limits


Most areas of the life sciences are concerned with the latest developments; therefore, most purchases are of very recent material. Retrospective purchasing is occasionally done to replace missing items or fill in collection gaps. Historical monographs are purchased for the History of Medicine collection.

Publication date

The majority of acquisitions will be for current publications, with retrospective purchasing to fill collection gaps and to meet research needs of users, in particular faculty.


It has become increasingly necessary, for budgetary reasons, to restrict new materials to the English language. Dictionaries and historical materials are among the few exceptions, as are some multilingual journals. Translations into English are selectively collected.

Geographic origin

At the present time most new monographs collected are published in North America, Great Britain or by English publishers in Holland, Germany, or Switzerland. An effort is made to collect most relevant Canadian material but it makes up a small percentage of the total. Books in English from other countries are selectively collected. Australia, New Zealand, and Japan are fairly well represented. Serials in English come from all over the world.


Microforms are excluded. Reprints, preprints, annual reports, patents, standards, maps, newsletters, equipment catalogues and manuscripts are not ordinarily collected. Selectively collected are conference proceedings, pamphlets, and technical reports. Examination questions are very selectively purchased.  Biographies are purchased only when considered highly relevant to a subject area. Audiovisual materials (DVD is the preferred format) are very selectively collected, in general only in response to user requests.

Collections in other UBC Libraries/ Areas of overlap

Biomedical Branch: Other material relating to the health sciences may be found at this library.

Hamber Memorial Library: Other material relating to the health sciences may be found at this library.

St. Paul’s Hospital Library: Other material relating to the health sciences may be found at this library.