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Law Collection Development Policy

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Collection Area



General Purpose

Although Dartmouth College does not offer a law degree, a considerable amount of legal material is needed to support courses in the Dartmouth curriculum which include an important emphasis on the legal aspects of the subjects studied. Legal material is also needed for persons doing graduate work in business, engineering and medicine, as well as for faculty research. The collection is also used extensively by outside users, notably lawyers from surrounding communities. A substantial part of the collection consists of U.S. government documents, Canadian documents, and New Hampshire documents that are received through the respective depository programs. [See the policy statements for these collections] and legal journals. The greatest part of the acquisition of legal material is for the collection in Baker Library but Feldberg Library of Business and Engineering and Dana Biomedical Library collect in their respective subject fields.

Online electronic access to full-text legal materials, specifically campus-wide access to LEXIS-NEXIS, has sharply increased the availability of materials to the Dartmouth community. State court decisions, state codes, and most law review articles were either unavailable or hard to acquire. Now, they are available on every desktop with Internet access. This campus-wide access allowed the library in 1997 to end subscriptions to several print titles saving valuable shelving space. The library also used the opportunity to end subscriptions to several titles that were more appropriate for practicing attorneys and/or law libraries.

Dartmouth College Programs

As noted above, the Dartmouth curriculum contains many courses which emphasize legal aspects of a given subject. For example, law as it impinges on politics and government administration, environmental control and the legal rights of minorities and women are all subjects of considerable interest to members of the Dartmouth faculty and are studied in the courses which they teach. Medical jurisprudence, medical ethics and public health regulation, are the concern of Dana Biomedical Library and material on these subjects is collected there. The Feldberg Library, which supports the Tuck School of Business Administration graduate program, has a general collection in business and commercial law, as well as a more in-depth collection of U.S. tax, securities and accounting law. For the most part, legal material falls in the K classification but frequently works are classified in the subjects with which the law under discussion deals.

General Subject Boundaries

The Dartmouth legal collection is strongest in the areas of Federal and New England legislative documents, statutes, administrative regulations, law reports and legal bibliography. Works pertaining to states outside the New England area, and to some extent New York, are not collected in any depth, nor are those pertaining to smaller administrative jurisdictions. Works collected are in the area of history, philosophy, and general applicability of laws with a very general coverage being sought for areas of the world outside North America and Western Europe. Human rights and environmental issues, regardless of country, are of interest to students of political science so works written in English on these subjects are well represented.

The collection is strong in the area of general reference and other aids to legal research. Examples include Black's Law Dictionary, The Environment Reporter, West's Encyclopedia of American Law, and the U.S. Code Annotated.


English is the primary language of the collection.

Geographic Areas

Primary and secondary works in western European languages are purchased selectively.

Types Of Material Collected

Publications in law may be in the form of books, periodicals, reports, loose-leaf supplements, or government documents.

Format Of Materials Collected

In addition to paper, legal materials are acquired in microform and electronic (CD-ROM and online) formats.

Special Collections and Manuscripts

The Library has retained an extensive collection of the papers of some prominent lawyers and professors of international law. Among these are the papers of Daniel Webster [1782-1852] which include his role in the Dartmouth College Case; Robert Vose [1763-1841], Chief Justice of the Court of Sessions for Cheshire County, New Hampshire; Grenville Clark [1882-1967], lawyer, public servant, civil rights and peace activist; and professors of international law James Colby [1850-1939], Clyde Eagleton [1891-1958], and Waldo Chamberlin [1905-1986].

Other Resources Available

Requests for legal materials, not available in the Library's collection, are directed to the Vermont Law School or to other law schools in the vicinity. DCIS (Dartmouth College Information System) databases, including LEXIS-NEXIS, provide access to full-text legal materials.

LC Class



John Cocklin

Revision History

October 1994 [Robert D. Jaccaud]
October 1999 [John Cocklin]

Last Updated: 8/5/16