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Polar Studies

General Scope

The development of the general collection in polar and cold regions supports undergraduate instructional needs and the research requirements of graduate students and faculty in a broad range of subjects. In addition to the traditional concentration on exploration, travel and historical works found in the Stefansson Collection on Polar Exploration, the collection encompasses materials in art, architecture, ethnography, archaeology, linguistics, earth sciences, and government relating to polar regions. Emphasis is also given to biological sciences, engineering, and environmental studies. The current collecting scope aims to cover broad aspects of polar and cold regions as well as specific research interests in science and engineering applications.

  1. Audience
    Numerous courses in a wide range of subjects are offered to undergraduates, including several Native American Studies and Anthropology courses. In addition the polar regions are a significant concern in several courses currently offered in History, Government and Environmental Studies. Graduate courses are taught in the Biological Sciences department.

    In 1982, the Thayer School of Engineering established a cooperative program of graduate studies in Cold Regions Science and Engineering with the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL), of Hanover, N.H. Graduate course work at Thayer and projects or thesis work conducted in affiliation with CRREL leads to a master's degree in engineering. This joint program provides research and curriculum in the applications of electrical and electronic, mechanical, environmental, materials science, and water resources engineering, as well as engineering geology to polar environments. Laboratory research is conducted at CRREL's facilities and in the Ice Engineering Laboratory at Thayer School. Field studies are conducted in the polar regions.

    In 1987, the Institute of Arctic Studies was created within the Dickey Endowment for International Understanding. This interdisciplinary institute draws together many disciplines from both the humanities and social sciences and makes heavy use of library resources.

  2. Boundaries
    The collection is divided between Baker, where anthropology, history, government, geography and linguistics and government documents from many nations are collected, and the associated libraries, where the applicable subject aspects of polar studies are collected. The Sherman Art Library collects materials on the subjects of art, architecture and photography relating to polar regions. Dana Biomedical Library's subject boundaries include polar environment, natural history, zoology, botany, marine biology, Arctic medicine, and physiological adaptation to cold. The collection also includes Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, and whaling. Feldberg Library contains collections in engineering geology, water resources engineering, environment, civil, mechanical, electrical and electronics engineering, as well as mining and metals engineering. The collection in Kresge Library emphasizes meteorology, descriptive geology, remote sensing, climatology, natural resources, structural geology, volcanism and seismology. Materials on polar regions are found in a wide range of Library of Congress classifications and generally class where the primary subject is found. The Stefansson Collection in Rauner Special Collections Library (see separate policy) is of vital importance and supports instruction and research in cold regions. The Collection contains manuscripts, printed materials and bodies of papers relating to events in the Arctic before 1925 and in the Antarctic before 1940

  3. Partnerships
    [Discuss briefly how different partnerships affect collecting decisions, e.g. Borrow Direct, NERL, other consortia or libraries. What collaborative collecting within the Borrow Direct group is pertinent to this discipline? What opportunities should be developed?]

Specific Delimitations to collecting in this subject area

  1. Languages
    English is the primary language of the collection. To a lesser extent materials written in French, German, Russian, Inuit, Greenlandic, and the Scandinavian languages are acquired.

  2. Geographical Areas (if applicable)
    The geographical areas for the collection are lands above 60o North latitude and below 50o South latitude, including Tierra del Fuego.

  3. Types of Materials Collected
    Monographs, periodicals, technical reports, conference proceedings, bibliographies, grammars, dictionaries and audiovisual materials, and CD ROM products are acquired.

  4. Format of Materials Collected
    Materials in all formats are collected. The collection is enriched through extensive microform holdings, such as Envirofiche. In addition, access is available to various online and CD ROM databases including COLD, PolarPac, GeoRef, and Compendex.

  5. Collective Collections
    The HathiTrust provides access to early publications on Polar Studies. Many of these publications are documents not readily available.

Revision History

This policy was created in May 1992 by XXXXXXXXXXX; revised in 2016 by XXXXXXXXXXX

Current Bibliographer(s):

Barbara DeFelice, Lucinda M. Hall; Jay Satterfield; Amy L. Witzel

Last Updated: 9/30/16