RCL: FAQs
To find more answers visit our Support Center.

What is Resources for College Libraries?
Resources for College Libraries (RCL) is a bibliographic resource that identifies the essential core titles for four-year undergraduate institutions. RCL defines the recommended core collection for all liberal arts and sciences college libraries. Its coverage includes print materials (monographs, series, and reference works), as well as electronic materials such as web-based databases and resources. Learn more about RCL and the database features.
How is the RCL content selected and reviewed?
RCL resources are carefully considered by subject specialists, who are almost exclusively academic librarians and faculty members. Editors seek external reviews from resources like Choice, consider current curricula, and elicit faculty input on resources under consideration. Additionally, each RCL subject undergoes comprehensive peer review to ensure that selections remain relevant, credible, and current for the undergraduate collection.
How many records are in the database?
RCL contains over 80,000 titles in 61 curriculum-specific subjects.
How often is content added?
The database is continuously updated with new content. You can find recently added content in a variety of ways: browse the newest titles on the RCL homepage, limit your advanced search or subject browse by date added, or use an RSS alert to receive a notice when new titles are added to an RCL subject.
How is RCL different from Choice?
The goal of RCL is to identify the most important core titles for given academic subjects, retrospectively (that is, not just the best recent titles, but also those published years or even decades ago which have maintained their importance for the undergraduate curriculum). Choice Reviews Online (CRO) is a searchable database which contains all Choice reviews of academic books, electronic media, and Internet resources of interest to those in higher education. The Outstanding Academic Titles (OAT) are the titles selected by Choice editors from among the previous year's reviews as the most important recently published academic works. Though roughly one-third of RCL content has been reviewed in Choice, neither CRO nor OATs make any attempt at what Resources for College Libraries does—a comprehensive subject bibliography aligned with the undergraduate curriculum.
How does RCL benefit students?
Students will benefit from the fact that academic librarians and faculty have already evaluated and curated the RCL content. RCL lists books, websites, and other resources which are most useful for undergraduates. Because RCL subjects are aligned with the college curriculum, it’s easy for students to quickly find the essential works to support their research and study.
How does RCL benefit faculty and researchers?
RCL titles are those which are critical for teaching undergraduates and have been selected for a wide range of students, from freshman to advanced undergraduates. The RCL core collection balances standard works, landmarks of scholarship, and long-established classics with contemporary works reflecting current research and publications. Faculty who are developing syllabi or curricula can use RCL to select the most appropriate materials to complement their teachings. Additionally, faculty, librarians, and administrators working together to establish a new undergraduate program, minor, or major will benefit from consulting RCL to ensure the library collection contains the appropriate works to support undergraduate study.
How does RCL benefit librarians?
RCL is a time-saving collection development and analysis tool that helps librarians to discover, build, and refine the library’s holdings. Librarians benefit from the credible, expertly evaluated RCL content, as well as the powerful discovery and organization tools in the RCL database, including Choice full-text reviews, BCL3 and OAT identifiers, curriculum-specific subject hierarchies, FRBRized format information, and authoritative bibliographic data from Bowker.
Does RCL contain titles from BCL3?
Yes. RCL does contain some of the titles which were recommended in Books for College Libraries, third edition (BCL3). The BCL3 title retention varies greatly amongst RCL disciplines and reflects the scholarly and publication trends in a subject. For example, RCL’s U.S. History section retained nearly 25% of BCL3 selections, while the Computer Science discipline has changed dramatically and experienced an almost total turnover, retaining just 1% of BCL3 titles. Additionally, RCL contains new interdisciplinary subjects to reflect the contemporary undergraduate curriculum, offering coverage beyond the traditional BCL3, LC subject-based classifications.
Does RCL contain e-books?
Yes. The new RCL database contains a modified FRBR functionality, which allows users to view alternate formats, including e-books. It retains the expert subject selection that users depend on to discover the most essential editions of works, along with the capability to view alternate formats of resources, enabling libraries to make purchase decisions based on institutional preferences and selection policies.
Is RCL available in print?
A print version of RCL was published in 2006, but is no longer available. Current RCL selections are available via the RCL database, which is continuously updated.
Is there a free trial available?
Yes. Contact a representative today to sign up for a 1 week trial!