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last updated: 4/23/2012

Collection Development Policies - History


  1. Introduction
    1. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The History fund acquires materials primarily in support of the undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty of the Indiana University Bloomington Department of History. The Department of History is one of the largest departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, with approximately 70 faculty members, 150 graduate students and 360 undergraduate majors. The Department has the second highest undergraduate enrollment in the College (after Mathematics). History materials are also heavily used by faculty and students in English, the western European languages and literatures, Political Science, Classics, Journalism, Sociology, Communication and Culture, Religious Studies, the Area Studies Programs, History and Philosophy of Science and other departments.

    2. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        Collections supporting the study of history at Indiana University have been built continuously since the founding of I.U. in 1820. Much of the collection originally acquired to support other academic programs is now of interest to historians, notably the Libraries' collections of 19th-century periodicals.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        The strength of the History collection of Indiana University Bloomington Libraries has always been its breadth of coverage, which reflects the Department of History's commitment to a broad curriculum.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        The current aim is to continue to build strong research collections for political, legal, constitutional and economic history, while strengthening and more fully developing collections for social, religious and cultural history, in keeping with a general shift in the discipline away from political and economic history to social and cultural history.

      4. Collection locations
        The majority of the History collection is shelved in the Main Library. The Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF) will eventually hold at least 20% of the history collection, and probably a larger percentage of materials from other disciplines of interest to historians.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      The History fund is used primarily to collect materials in English and other western European languages, especially German, French, Spanish, Italian and Latin. Materials in Slavic languages, East Asian languages, Arabic, Hebrew and Farsi are collected on Areas Studies funds, although the History fund often contributes to larger purchases.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      The entire world, except: eastern Europe (covered by the Slavic Studies fund), Africa south of the Sahara (covered by the African Studies fund) and Latin America (covered by the Latin American Studies fund)

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      All periods from pre-history (archaeology) to the very recent past. Periods emphasized are Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Early Modern period, especially the 18th century, the Modern period.

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Both current and retrospective. Out of print materials are acquired if requested by faculty or students, to replace missing items, and to fill in areas of weakness identified by the collection manager.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Formats collected include print and electronic monographs and serials, microforms, dissertations and a variety of digital collections.

      • Serials: Scholarly journals in all areas of history are collected. Popular magazines and newspapers used as primary sources are collected as well, normally in microform or digital versions (see below), although print copies are acquired if this is deemed the best format.
      • Microforms and digital collections: The History fund contributes to the acquisition of materials of historical interest that have been microfilmed or digitized. Since historians make use of an extremely broad range of materials, and since many kinds of library materials gain historical importance as they age, the History fund contributes heavily to many joint purchases of an interdisciplinary nature. It also contributes to the acquisition of digital collections providing enhanced intellectual access (such as fulltext searching) to historical materials originally created in a variety of formats (books, journals, newspapers, archival collections), which are beginning to change the nature and methods of historical research.
      • Dissertations (other than IUB dissertations) are usually not collected, unless they represent important research, not available in other forms, on topics directly related either to the curriculum or to research projects of faculty or graduate students. At this time, non-IU dissertations are collected only in paper form.
  3. Collecting Responsibility
    The Librarian for History, Religious Studies and History and Philosophy of Science manages the history fund and has primary responsibility for the history collection. She collaborates with collection managers for Area Studies as well as English, Folklore/Sociology/Anthropology, Modern European Languages, Political Science, and others.

  4. Related Collections
    Basically all collections in the Main Library, as well as the Lilly Library and the Indiana University Archives.

  5. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
    Approval plans from Blackwell, Harrassowitz, Casalini Libri. Book reviews in core history journals, including the American Historical Review, Speculum and others, as well as Choice and Library Journal.

  6. Selection Criteria for ALF
    In addition to materials that self-select for preservation treatment by falling apart in the library users' hands, materials that are high-use, rare, not represented in microformat or digital form, monetarily valuable and/or on extremely acidic paper are given priority for preservation.

    Materials selected to be moved to the Auxiliary Library Facility meet one or more of the following criteria: low-use (determined by circulation statistics as well as informed opinion of librarian), fragile physical condition, publication before 1801, rarity or monetary value.

    Criteria for digitization include: relevance to Indiana University curriculum, local interest, complementarity to other digitized collections of the Indiana University Libraries.

  7. Other Resources and Libraries
    The Ruth Lilly Medical Library in Indianapolis provides a more thorough collection in the history of medicine (a subject of greater interest to the Department of History than to the Department of History and Philosophy of Science). Foreign and regional newspapers and highly specialized microform collections in Center for Research Libraries in Chicago complement our holdings.

  8. Consortial Agreements

History Home Page

Revised April 2012

last updated: 4/23/2012