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last updated: 4/23/2012

Collection Development Policies - French

French Collection

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This document provides information on the French and Italian collections 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 French and Italian 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 French and Italian at IUB pursues teaching and research related to French and Italian language, literature, and culture. Faculty interests fall into three basic areas: French and francophone literature and culture; French linguistics; and Italian literature and culture. Within each of these three divisions there exists a broad range of specialization. Faculty expertise in literature written in French ranges from medieval French chansons de geste to contemporary African novels. The research interests of French linguistics faculty vary from language pedagogy to semantics to the history of the language. A close affiliation with the Creole Institute further broadens opportunities for linguistic and cultural study. In Italian, faculty cover each of the major areas of Italian literature, from Dante's Divine Comedy to contemporary poetry and film. In addition to research, teacher training is an essential part of the graduate program. Advanced degrees granted are the M.A.T. for secondary-school teachers; and the M.A. and Ph.D. in literature and linguistics. In 2004-05 the department comprised 84 undergraduate majors, 69 graduate majors, and 27 faculty members. More detailed information on the department is available at its web site:

      The primary clientele for the Libraries' collections in French and Italian are faculty, graduate students, and upper-level undergraduates in the department, but also scholars and students from other areas of the humanities, such as Comparative Literature, Film, Fine Arts, Folklore, History, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Music, and Theatre and Drama.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        The collection has grown along with the university and covers, for the most part at research level, the history and criticism of French and Italian literature; fiction, poetry, drama, theater, and other materials relating to French and Italian letters and literary life; publications in those two languages about literature, its subdivisions and aspects; and most categories of linguistic materials in French, with somewhat less comprehensive coverage for Italian.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        Francophone literature from outside of France has been an increasing focus. Notable strengths include Voltaire, Rousseau, and Diderot; materials published after World War Two and especially since 1950, including contemporary poetry (in Lilly, mostly 1970s-1980s); and erotic fiction (in Kinsey).

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        Limited acquisitions are made of works by popular authors; works in or about minor dialects; translations into languages other than English; textbooks; folk literature; and juvenile literature.

      4. Collection locations
        The bulk of the collection is housed in the Main Library, with other holdings in the Lilly Library for Rare Books and Manuscripts, in the library of the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, and in the ALF. Related materials, such as songs of the troubadours or works by artist/authors, are in the Music Library and the Fine Arts Library. Selected contemporary children's literature is in the Education Library.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Materials in French and Italian predominate. Works in English are also acquired extensively, with some substantive materials in German, and important works in other Western European languages. Very little is acquired in non-Roman-alphabet languages.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      The main focus is on France, Italy, Switzerland, francophone Canada and the francophone West Indies; the Mahgreb and the United States are covered, when relevant. Sub-Saharan African francophone literature is acquired by the African Studies librarian.

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      All periods are covered at research level.

    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 ARTFL, Le Grand Robert dictionary on CD-ROM, and Voltaire electronique. 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 French and Italian fund, but most usually by the Media fund.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The Librarian for French and Italian is responsible for the bulk of the collection. There is collaboration with other collection managers, mainly those for African Studies, Comparative Literature, Education, Film, Fine Arts, Folklore, the Kinsey Institute, the Lilly Library, Linguistics, Media, Music, Spanish and Portuguese (for general materials in Romance language and literature), Theatre and Drama, the Information Commons, and West European Studies. Except for the Information Commons and the Lilly Library, there is little or no overlap with other IUB campus collections.

  4. Related Collections

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    Most European French materials are ordered from two major vendors: Aux Amateurs de Livres and Jean Touzot, both in Paris. Italian materials are acquired from Casalini Libri in Florence/Fiesole. Approval plans have been established with Aux Amateurs for French, and Casalini for Italian, contemporary authors; these plans are reviewed periodically to determine whether new authors should be added. Francophone materials from outside of France are acquired from a variety of vendors, chief among them Coutts Nijhoff International for French-Canadian titles. 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.

    Major selection tools include bibliographic information on new titles supplied by vendors in both paper and electronic form; review journals, such as the Bulletin critique du livre en fran?ais, Reference Reviews Europe, or the Times Literary Supplement; 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 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, and those published ca. 1850-1970, 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 French and Italian 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 French materials, such as a 1775 edition of Diderot's Encyclopédie and many other early works of note, as well as modern artist books and works by contemporary poets. It has less extensive holdings of Italian materials. It also has begun to collect belles letters translations from French and Italian.

    The Kinsey Institute at IUB has holdings of French erotic literature.

    The Gayle and William Cook Music Library at IUB has holdings on the songs of the troubadours, as well as French and Italian libretti.

    The Yale University Library has excellent holdings of materials on French and Italian language and literature, 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 French and Italian fund.

French Collection Home Page Revised December 2004

last updated: 4/23/2012