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last updated: 4/23/2012

Collection Development Policies - German

German Collection

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This document provides information on the Germanic 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 Germanic 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 Germanic Studies at IUB pursues teaching and research related to German, Dutch, and Yiddish language literature, and culture. As well, Norwegian has been offered since 2003-2004. Strengths of the academic program are broad, covering modern German linguistics, Germanic philology, and German medieval studies; German literary criticism and history from about 1750 to the present; German cultural history and culture studies; and literary and cultural theory and the German intellectual and philosophical tradition. Faculty expertise in literature covers a broad range, while the interests of Germanic linguistics faculty vary from language pedagogy to semantics to the history of the language. Each fall semester, the department hosts a visiting professor from Germany who teaches an eight-week intensive seminar, funded by the Max Kade Institute. The department also houses the Institute of German Studies (IGS), the oldest institute of its kind in the United States. Since its establishment in 1969, it has supported study and research on the culture of German-speaking Europe from the middle of the eighteenth century to the present day. Its primary goals are support for and coordination of graduate education in German studies at Indiana University; and the encouragement of scholarly exchange and research in German studies throughout the United States. Teacher training is an important part of the graduate program. Advanced degrees granted by the department 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 81 undergraduate majors, 39 graduate majors, and 18 faculty members. More detailed information on the department is available at its web site:

      The primary clientele for the Libraries' collections in Germanic Studies 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, Jewish Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Music, and Theatre and Drama.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        The collection is rich and deep, due in part to its long history, and in part to the receipt of a grant from the Volkswagen-Stiftung that enabled the purchase of a large number of antiquarian titles after a fire in the 1960s damaged a portion of the collection. It covers, for the most part at research level, the history and criticism of German literature; fiction, poetry, drama, theater, and other materials relating to letters and literary life; publications in German about literature, its subdivisions and aspects; and most categories of linguistic materials on the German language. Dutch materials are acquired at the instructional support level; Danish, Swedish and Norwegian mostly in translation, but also to provide the works of major writers in the original language (as Norwegian is now being taught at IUB, some additional materials may be acquired to support the curriculum).

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        Notable strengths include Goethe, Schiller, and the eighteenth century; material published since World War Two and especially after 1950; Expressionism; "migr" literature (1933-1945); and literary almanacs.

      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 and the ALF. Related materials, such as Lieder 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
      • German: Materials in German predominate; works in English are also acquired extensively, with some substantive materials in French and Italian, and important works in other Western European languages.
        Dutch: For the most part materials are limited to works in Dutch and English, with some German.
      • Danish, Swedish and Norwegian: Currently, English translations of works in the original languages predominate. Works by major authors are acquired in the original.
      • Yiddish: For the most part materials are limited to works in the original and in English, with some German.
      Very little Germanic Studies material is acquired in non-Roman-alphabet languages.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      • German: The focus is on Germany, Austria, and German-speaking Switzerland.
      • Dutch, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian: Coverage is substantially limited to these countries and to Belgium. Afrikaans (South Africa) is covered by African Studies.
    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      • German: All periods but the Baroque are currently covered at research level (the department has had no faculty member regularly teaching the Baroque period for a number of years). Important secondary literature and works by major authors of the Baroque period are still collected.
      • Dutch and Danish: There is no limitation as to period, but coverage is not at the research level. The 20th century is well represented. Danish was taught at IUB until about 1995; coverage has abated since then.
      • Swedish and Norwegian: Coverage is sparse in all periods, limited mainly to major works.
    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 Chadwyck-Healey electronic edition of Goethes Werke. 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 Germanic Studies fund, but most usually by the Media fund.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The Librarian for Germanic Studies 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, History, the Information Commons, Jewish Studies, the Lilly Library, Linguistics, Media, Music, Theatre and Drama, 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 German materials are ordered from the vendor Otto Harrassowitz in Wiesbaden. An approval plan has been established with Harrassowitz covering contemporary authors writing in German; it is reviewed periodically to determine whether new authors should be added. Dutch and Scandinavian materials are acquired mainly from Coutts Nijhoff. 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 Germanistik, Reference Reviews Europe, the Times Literary Supplement, or literary supplements to the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit; 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, 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
    A very small departmental library exists, containing mostly periodicals and major reference resources. Most, if not all, of the materials duplicate holdings in the Main Library.

    The Lilly Library of Rare Books and Manuscripts at IUB has some major holdings of German materials, such as Hartmann Schedel's Weltchronik and many other early works of note. It has also begun to collect belles letters translations from the German.

    The Gayle and William Cook Music Library at IUB has holdings of German libretti.

    The University of Wisconsin-Madison Library has an old and rich collection of materials on German 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
    The IUB Main Library cooperates with the Ohio State University Library in collecting contemporary German belles lettres: the two libraries share a core approval plan list of about 320 major authors; in addition, each covers ca. 260-270 authors that the other one doesn't. In this fashion about 60% of all the authors on Harrassowitz's belles lettres list are covered. Both libraries are willing to circulate these titles on Interlibrary Loan.

German Collection Home Page

Revised December 2004

last updated: 4/23/2012