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last updated: 4/20/2012

Collection Development Policies - Classical Studies

Classical Studies

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This document provides information on the Classical Studies collection of the Indiana University Libraries, detailing the scope of coverage, collection responsibilities, and selection tools, and giving an overview of the collection and its clientele. It will serve as a basis for managing, maintaining, and planning for the future development of the collection, and as a tool for other collectors and administrators.

    2. Audience
      The intended audience is Library staff and administration, the Classical Studies Department, as well as students and faculty in related disciplines.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      Founded as a seminary in 1820, Indiana University-Bloomington has been classed by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement in Teaching as a Doctoral/Research-Extensive institution, offering doctoral programs in 86 disciplines, master's degrees in 125 fields, professional degrees in two areas, and bachelor's degrees in 98 subject areas. One of the leading research universities in the United States, IUB has historically been noted for its strength in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.

      The Department of Classical Studies at IUB has a long tradition. It provides a wide range of courses for both undergraduate and graduate students in ancient Greek and Roman languages, literature (both in the original language and in translation), art, archaeology, and civilization. As well, it offers training in the ancillary fields of palaeography, papyrology, epigraphy, archaeology, and text criticism. Its undergraduate programs lead to majors and minors in Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilization (concentrating on either culture and literature or art and archaeology), and have been ranked among the top programs in the country. Qualified students can earn a departmental Honors degree in Classics by maintaining a high G.P.A and by completing a senior Honors thesis under the close supervision of a faculty sponsor. The department also offers graduate level programs leading to the M.A., the M.A.T., and the Ph.D. degrees. Students in the M.A. program may specialize in Latin, in Greek, or in both languages; the M.A.T. in Latin is available in cooperation with the IU School of Education. Students in the Ph.D. program may supplement their studies in Latin and Greek by doing work in related disciplines such as Comparative Literature, Mythology Studies, Folklore, Art History, History, Anthropology, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, and Theatre and Drama. Faculty research interests are wide ranging, and include Greek and Roman law and historiography, Roman art and archaeology, Pompeii, Ovid, Athenian democracy, ancient Greek art and archaeology, mythology, popular literature, and comedy. In 2004-05 the department comprised 41 undergraduate majors, 25 graduate majors, and 11? faculty members. More detailed information on the department is available at its web site at:

      The primary clientele for the Libraries' collections in Classical Studies are faculty, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates in the department, but also those from other areas of the humanities, such as Anthropology, Comparative Literature, Fine Arts, Folklore, History, Linguistics, Medieval studies, Philosophy, and Theatre and Drama, who need materials on the ancient world as background for their particular studies.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      For the first three years of Indiana University's existence, the curriculum consisted exclusively of courses in Latin and Greek, so the Classical Studies collection has a long history. It has grown along with the university and covers, for the most part at research level, Greek and Latin literature, language, culture, palaeography, papyrology, epigraphy, text criticism, mythology, and religion; the history of classical scholarship; patristics; classical archaeology; and ancient history (purchasing of materials in ancient history, numismatics, and archaeology is limited to filling gaps not covered by other funds such as History, Fine Arts, and Anthropology). There is selected acquisition of materials in Latin literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, more so since 2002, when a faculty member specializing in Medieval Latin was hired. Patristics coverage is restricted to texts of the Church Fathers in Greek and Latin, and linguistic and textual studies. Simple translations are not regularly purchased unless considered outstanding, but dual language editions with commentary and notes are acquired.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Materials in classical Greek and Latin, medieval Latin, English, Italian, German, and French predominate, with some Spanish as well. Modern Greek and neo-Latin are excluded. Very little is acquired in non-Roman-alphabet languages other than ancient Greek.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      The main focus is on the ancient Mediterranean world and, to a lesser extent, those areas of Europe and the Near East ruled or influenced by Greece and Rome.

    3. hronological periods covered and excluded
      The main emphasis is on the period from about the 8th century B.C.E. to the 5th century C.E. Selected medieval and Renaissance texts in Latin are collected. The palaeographical collection extends to the 15th century.

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Emphasis is on collecting current materials, but if gaps are noted in the collection, retrospective acquisitions are also undertaken, if financially feasible.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Primarily collected are monographs and serials, including electronic journals and selected digital resources, such as the Thesaurus Linguae Grecae, Cetedoc Library of Christian Latin Texts, and L'Ann?e philologique. Electronic versions of journals will be preferred if they are the visual and textual equivalent of the print versions and are not more expensive, and if access is provided to permanent archival copies of all issues. Microforms and reprints are acquired if available and needed for research. Other formats, such as films or videos, are acquired occasionally on the Classical Studies fund, but most usually by the Media fund.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The Librarian for Classical Studies is responsible mainly for the collection of materials in and on the languages and literatures of classical antiquity. There is close collaboration with the collection managers for Fine Arts and History, especially with regard to classical art and archaeology and numismatics; and also with the collection managers for Anthropology, Folklore, the Lilly Library, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Theatre and Drama, and the Information Commons. Except for the Information Commons, there is little or no overlap with other IUB campus collections.

  4. Related Collections
  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    Most English-language publications are acquired from Blackwell's Book Services; many of these titles are covered by an approval plan profile for university press and trade titles. Most French materials are ordered from Aux Amateurs de Livres or Jean Touzot, both in Paris. Italian materials are acquired from Casalini Libri in Florence/Fiesole. German materials are ordered from the vendor Otto Harrassowitz in Wiesbaden, and Spanish materials come mainly from Puvill Libros or Iberbook in Spain.

    Major selection tools include bibliographic information on new titles supplied by vendors in both paper and electronic form; review journals, such as Classical Review, Gnomon, or the Bryn Mawr Classical Review; electronic records of recently cataloged titles from the Library of Congress; dealer catalogs; publishers' blurbs and catalogs; recent bibliographies; online booksellers' databases; and recommendations from faculty and students.

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      Criteria to be taken into consideration for selecting items for preservation include demand for the item; the condition of its binding and/or paper; and its availability, either commercially or in other libraries (i.e. its uniqueness or rarity). Selected for mass deacidification might be parts of the collection published between about 1850 and 1970, depending on the state of brittleness of the paper (books that are too brittle can not be successfully deacidified). Demand could be an issue here, as well as a need to preserve the items for future use even if in low demand at the moment.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment are volumes published before 1821, simply because of their age and possible rarity; particularly in the Classical Studies collection there are many books published between 1600 and 1821. As well, books and journals published ca. 1850-1970 are potential candidates for review and treatment, because of their likely brittleness.
  7. Selection Criteria for ALF
    Most titles published before 1821 are being sent to the ALF, possibly excepting dictionaries and encyclopedias.

    Unless they are reference-type materials, most items published between 1821 and 1993 that have never or rarely circulated since 1990, especially if the last use was not recent, are being sent to the ALF.

    In general, items that are in poor condition or brittle may be sent to the ALF, where environmental conditions are much better than in the stacks. Depending on copyright restrictions, if an item is in high demand it may be scanned to produce a copy to be shelved in the Main Library stacks, with the original being sent to the ALF.

    Journals that are available electronically through Project Muse will be sent to the ALF. Electronically available volumes of JSTOR journals will also be sent to the ALF. Some journals indexed in the Periodicals Contents Index (PCI) will be sent to the ALF, in whole or in part.

  8. Digital Projects
    Possible candidates for digitization are items that are old, fragile, and held by very few libraries in North America.

  9. Other Resources and Libraries
    There is a small reference collection in the Classical Studies Department for use by graduate students and faculty in that department only. Most, if not all, of the materials duplicate holdings in the Main Library.

    The Lilly Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at IUB has significant holdings of early printed books, many of which are editions of titles from classical antiquity, as these titles were one of the staples of early printing.

    The Harvard University Libraries have excellent holdings of works relating to Classical Antiquity, many of which are available via Interlibrary Loan.

    The Center for Research Libraries' policy of collecting foreign dissertations on request eliminates the need to make significant purchases in that area.

  10. Consortial Agreements
    No cooperative collection development agreements are in place for the Classical Studies fund.

Classical Studies Home Page

Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/20/2012