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last updated: 4/30/2012

Collection Development Policies - Religious Studies

Religious Studies

  1. Introduction
    1. Purpose of the policy statement
      The Religious Studies fund acquires materials primarily in support of the undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty of the Indiana University Bloomington Department of Religious Studies. The department offers B.A., M.A., and since 1989, Ph.D. degrees. There are currently approximately 20 faculty members, 40 graduate students and 240 undergraduate majors. Undergraduate enrollment is consistently among the highest in the College of Arts and Sciences. Religious Studies materials are also used by faculty and students in History, English, the western European languages and literatures, Classics, Journalism, Sociology, Communication and Culture, Anthropology, the Area Studies Programs, and other departments.

    2. Brief overview of the collection
      1. History of the collection
        Materials supporting the study of religion have been collected at Indiana University since the University's foundation in 1820 as a (Protestant) seminary. The emphasis of the collection was predominately biblical studies, Protestant theology and history of Christianity, until the mid-20th century, when a growth of interest in other religions enlarged the collection and led to the creation of the Department of Religious Studies in 1972. Since that time, the collection continued to diversify, and has become one of the stronger collections in the U.S. for the study of Buddhism.

      2. Collection strengths and weaknesses
        Strengths include Ethics, Biblical Studies, Catholicism, Islam, Buddhism, Comparative Religions. Hinduism is a growing area. Eastern Orthodox Christianity is an area of weakness.

      3. Collection locations
        The collection is located in the Main Library, with some overflow to the Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF)
  2. Scope of Coverage
    1. Languages collected and excluded
      Materials are collected primarily in Western European languages, with an emphasis on materials in English due to large undergraduate enrollment in Religious Studies courses. Bilingual editions of materials in non-Western languages are also collected. The Religious Studies fund sometimes contributes to major purchases in non-Western languages.

    2. Geographical areas covered and excluded
      No area is excluded; emphasis is on the U.S., Europe, and Asia.

    3. Chronological periods covered and excluded
      No period is excluded; emphasis is on Late Antique, Medieval, Early Modern and contemporary religious experience. Materials that are primarily devoted to historical aspects of a religious topic are typically purchased on the History fund.

    4. Dates of publication of materials collected; current vs. retrospective coverage
      Both current and out of print materials are collected.

    5. Formats collected and excluded
      Formats collected include print and electronic monographs and serials, microforms, dissertations and a variety of digital collections. Videos and DVDs are rarely collected on this fund,
    6. Serials
      Scholarly journals in religious studies are collected. Denominational publications 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.

    7. Microforms and digital collections
      The religious studies fund contributes to the acquisition of important microform or digitized collections that include religion-related materials.

    8. Dissertations
      (other than IUB dissertations) are usually not collected, except in areas where little else has been published, such as specialized topics within Chinese religions. At this time, paper copies of non-IU dissertations are collected.
    9. Collecting Responsibility
      The Librarian for History, Religious Studies and History and Philosophy of Science manages the religious studies fund and has primary responsibility for the religious studies collection in the Main Library. She collaborates with collection managers for Area Studies and Philosophy.

    10. Principal Sources of Supply and Major Selection Tools
      Approval plans from Blackwell, Harrassowitz, Casalini Libri. Book reviews in core Religious Studies journals, including the Journal of the American Academy of Religion and others, as well as Choice and Library Journal.

    11. Preservation
      1. Criteria for selection for preservation and/or mass deacidification
        Damaged or disintegrating materials that have recently circulated, as well as 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.

      2. Selection Criteria for ALF
        In addition to materials selected for ALF on the basis of their rarity, fragility or vulnerability, religious studies materials deemed to be primarily of historical interest, in areas not emphasized by either the Department of Religious Studies or the Department of History may be selected for the ALF.
    12. Digital Projects
      1. Criteria for selection for digitization
        Criteria for digitization include: relevance to Indiana University curriculum and complementarity to other digitized collections of the Indiana University Libraries.

    13. Other Resources and Libraries
      Religious Studies collections at other CIC libraries and the specialized microform collections in Center for Research Libraries in Chicago complement our holdings.

    Religious Studies Home Page

    Revised April 2012

    last updated: 4/30/2012