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last updated: 4/23/2012

Collection Development Policies - Jewish Studies

Jewish Studies

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      This document will provide information about the scope of the Jewish Studies collection. It will serve as a basis for planning future development and maintenance of the collection, as a tool for use by IU Libraries staff and administration, and as a basis for cooperative agreements and sharing of information with other libraries.

    2. Audience
      The intended audience is comprised of administrators, faculty, students and staff at Indiana University, especially Library and Jewish Studies Program faculty, staff and students. Also, included are colleagues at other research libraries with comparable collections and people in the greater Bloomington Jewish community who use the collection, and are interested in its contents and growth prospects.

    3. Description of institution/department and clientele
      The Jewish Studies Program is not a department but a program. Namely, its faculty is affiliated with other departments in addition to being faculty in the program. The program offers undergraduate as well as graduate courses so its clientele scope varies from undergraduate to faculty. Materials purchased for the JS program under JS funds also serve the needs of library users from the departments of NELC, Religious Studies, Comparative literature, Germanic studies and the Russian-East European Institute.

    4. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        The Jewish Studies Program was established in 1968. The collection originally was built up from donations and purchases requested by faculty, which made for a more or less a stable situation until the initiation and establishment of a consistent approval plan with the company of Jerusalem Books in 1997. Acquisitions for the collection, being inconsistent as they were prior to the approval plan establishment, gave rise to a collection unbalanced in its respective subject division quota, the age and importance of respective publications? holdings and the unclear prospect of purchase planning and practice. In 1997, when the approval plan was established, IUB relied largely on Jerusalem Books? wide experience in working with American academic libraries in establishing a subject profile and purchase routines. Since 1997, the goal of has been to extend and improve both the subject list and the publishing sources for Hebrew books from Israel. The collection now reflects a better balance in terms of subject representation and quantity.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        As I mention above, the collection?s main weakness has been its unevenness among the various subjects it held. Holes still exist that need to be filled in terms of items crucial to a collection of our caliber, but this is less of a problem than it was, and eventually should cease to be a problem at all.

      3. Subject areas emphasized or deemphasized
        Following the previous point of trying to even out the collection, the current policy aims to avoid creating major imbalances among different parts of the collection. However, as some areas in Jewish studies are more researched and raise greater interest than others, having greater and lesser developed areas is unavoidable. Our major strengths lie within the areas of Holocaust, Zionism and Jewish history, World Jewish Diaspora, Hebrew, Israeli and Yiddish Literature and language and Biblical and Antiquity studies. Less emphasis is put on Jewish arts (although occasional purchase recommendations are made for the fine arts and the media libraries), law (of which we only purchase canon and biblical-related law subjects), archaeology (with the exception of items with historical and biblical value) and juvenile literature (unless specifically requested by a faculty member).

      4. Collection locations
        The Jewish Studies collection, for the most part, is housed among the research collections in the Herman B. Well Library.
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      The focus of the collection is on materials in Hebrew, Yiddish, Aramaic, Ladino, and Judeo-Arabic. Romance and Anglo-Saxon language materials are purchased occasionally. Slavic language materials on Jewish Studies are highly sought-after, but these materials are purchased by the Slavic Studies librarian. Similarly, materials on Jewish Studies topics in languages explicitly covered by other subject and area librarians (particularly Western European and Central Eurasian languages) are purchased by the collection managers of those areas.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      Geographic Areas emphasized include Israel, the Middle East, and the World Jewish Diaspora. No countries are excluded.

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      Antiquity, Biblical, Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern periods (18th century to present) are emphasized. No historical periods are excluded.

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      The Hebrew collection is quite comprehensive, covering major areas of Jewish Studies research published during the 20th century. Our Yiddish collection has also expanded considerably, consisting mainly of materials from 1900 until 1950 and then again from the late 1990s, when Yiddish was added to our subject profile with our distributor, Jerusalem Books. Our collection holds some 19th century materials as well, although the scope is not nearly as large as our 20th century collection. We do, however, hold works of major 19th-century authors in both Hebrew and Yiddish. The Lilly library holds Judaica materials which are earlier than 1800 or else exceedingly rare

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      The primary formats collected print monographs serials, plus online databases, journals, reference sources. Non-internet accessible electronic formats, single workstation CD-ROMS, unique extremely important. Microforms and reprints primarily to fill retrospective gaps or when they only format available. Other media, such as videos, are acquired very occasionally Jewish Study funds, but most often on the Media fund.< LI>
  3. Collecting responsibility
    The Jewish studies collection manager is the primary selector and recommender for the collection. The Collection Manager works in close collaboration with the Librarian for Middle Eastern, Islamic, and Central Eurasian Studies, the Librarian for History and Religious Studies, and the Librarian for Slavic Studies. Other member of the Subject and Area Librarians Council (SALC) are consulted as necessary, particularly for West-European materials, for translations of Hebrew literature to English and for Israeli or Jewish-theme films.

  4. Related collections
    The most closely related collections within the IU Libraries at Bloomington are those of Anthropology, Central Eurasian Studies, Classical Studies, German, Government Publications, Fine Arts, Folklore, History, Linguistics, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, Political Science, Religious Studies and Western European Studies.

  5. Principal sources of supply and major selection tools
    As mentioned above our main supplier of books in Hebrew from Israel is Jerusalem Books. JB is a highly professional company that has been working with American university libraries for almost two decades now. Jerusalem Books staff members have a wide knowledge of the market, needs and major fields of research in Jewish studies. They are our main and most trusted source. In addition, Israeli book publishers? catalogs and press book reviews are consulted regularly. Foreign non-Hebrew catalogs and Western language approval forms are reviewed to see what is published in our fields of interest in other languages. Other collection managers also send recommendations regularly. The Collection Managers keeps in close touch with different book and other vendors such as the representatives of IDC, Primary Source Microfilm amongst other publishing companies. With JB, IU has an arrangement of getting the first issue of every new periodical, in order to decide whether we should establish a standing order for this publication or not and other collection managers express their opinions about periodical subscriptions.

  6. Preservation
    1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
      The current condition of an item is the main criteria used, for example, books with covers that are disintegrating or falling out or with brittle, acidic pages are sent to preservation. Periodically, the shelves are searched to locate such books, as old books in their original format are not purchased very often. For older materials purchased retroactively, digital or microform versions are preferred; this includes past issues of newspapers and periodicals. In the area of mass deacidification, steps are being taken to identify books suitable for this kind of treatment.

    2. High-priority areas of the collection for preservation review and treatment
      The highest priority should focus on the older books in the collection, mainly Yiddish and Hebrew literature and some older rabbinic materials.
  7. Selection criteria for ALF
    • Items of which we have several editions, like Talmud and Mishnah sets. The older ones with more archaic commentary/printing/script are sent to the ALF.
    • Editions of rabbinic material mostly in Aramaic or in Rashi script, which caters to a very narrow research audience.
    • Text books for Hebrew literature or grammar, which are dated and use old-fashioned teaching methods.
    • First editions of books of which we have later editions as well, which are unlikely to be highly requested.
    • Second copies of books which are unlikely to be highly requested.
    • Books without barcodes, which will indicate their not been having checked out for over a decade.
  8. Digital projects
    1. Criteria for selection for digitization
      Items with high level of deterioration or that are fairly rare will be primary choices

    2. Priorities for collections to be digitized
      Periodicals and newspapers would be primary targets
  9. Other resources and libraries
    Other libraries that are members of the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL) represent the major resources that complement our collection.

  10. Consortial agreements
    No formal, ongoing exchange agreements are currently in force. However, an "exchange of goods" is often offered through the channels of the Association of Jewish Libraries. We were also the beneficiary receivers of a small synagogue library in Northern Indiana which closed and whose librarian is an alumnus of IUB. Another gift was made to us by a local Bloomington couple, members of the local temple, who retired and, when moved to their retirement home, gave us their private Judaica library. Given the continuing growth and reputation of the Indiana University Jewish Studies Program, it seems likely that our collection will continue to be the recipient of such donations in the future.

    Jewish Studies Home Page

    Revised April 2012

    last updated: 4/23/2012