Skip to main content
clickable transparency Dartmouth College Library
Home > Collections Program > Collection Development Policies >


Collection Area


General Purpose

The Psychology fund is used primarily to support the instructional and research needs of the Psychology Department at the graduate and undergraduate levels. However, it also serves many other constituencies, such as Medicine, Business, Philosophy, Religion, Government, Education, Literature, and Linguistics. As a result, the collection is considerably broader than those areas now emphasized by the Department. The scope of the collecting policy also reflects historical changes in psychology as a discipline, thereby including areas that are no longer considered part of the field, e.g., mesmerism, phrenology, and the occult sciences. While current teaching and research interests predominate in shaping the collection, library holdings represent both the historical process and contemporary directions.

The Biomedical Libraries and the Business-Engineering Library also collect in psychology to support programs in Medicine, Biology, Business, and Engineering. Most volumes that are housed in these libraries are acquired and maintained by their respective bibliographers.

Dartmouth College Program

The experimental process is stressed throughout the Department's course of undergraduate instruction. Majors are expected to achieve competence in experimental design and the gathering and analysis of psychological data. The program focuses on four areas of study in which students may specialize: brain and behavior, learning, perception and cognition, and social psychology. Students are also expected to take courses in applied psychology (e.g. behavior modification, psychology and law, environmental psychology). The Department's orientation is behavioristic; no courses in clinical psychology are available. Course work in psychology counts toward fulfillment of the undergraduate social science distribution requirement, and this accounts in part for the high participation of undergraduates in introductory-level courses.

The Psychology Department also offers a graduate program in experimental psychology leading to the Ph.D. degree. The program was started in 1968 and admits approximately 4-6 students per year. Research within the department is conducted in several areas, with three focus areas at the graduate level: behavioral neuroscience, perception & cognition, and social psychology. Students are required to serve apprenticeships in teaching under the direction of faculty members.

The Psychology Department maintains close ties and affiliations with a number of other departments and programs, especially the Dartmouth Medical School. Course work and research is often conducted in conjunction with these other programs. A program in neuropsychology will be re-established by the Department in FY1996-1997 and is expected to strengthen its ties with the Medical School.

General Subject Boundaries

Materials in psychology are found throughout the library system. In general, titles are not duplicated and are purchased without regard to classification and consequent location. Traditional works are located in Baker Library in the Library of Congress classification BF, with earlier holdings in the Dewey 150's. Works in social psychology are, for the most part, housed in Baker in HF, HM, HQ, and HV.

The Business-Engineering Library and the Biomedical Libraries also have a strong interest in psychology, and both participate in funding the PsycINFO database. Feldberg has materials in BF as well as the H's and the T's. They collect in psychology as it relates to the fields of business, management, and engineering (see the policies for Business Administration and Engineering). The Biomedical Libraries actively collect in psychiatry, comparative psychology, and physiological and neurological psychology. These materials class mainly in BF, QL, QP, and RC. Their collections support the Medical School and DHMC, as well as undergraduate programs in the Biological Sciences and Ph.D. programs in Physiology, Toxiocology, and Pharmacology. (See the policies for Medicine, Biology, and Nursing). Because of the strong interest by the Psychology Department in the neurosciences, the psychology and biomedical bibliographers collaborate when appropriate to purchase materials of joint interest.


Although English language materials are emphasized, works in all major European languages are purchased as appropriate.

Geographic Areas

British and European works dominate the earlier collection, but American works are now collected in the greatest depth. Increased interest in cross-cultural psychology, as well as Native American and Third World Cultures, has expanded geographic parameters. No areas are specifically excluded.

Types Of Material Collected

Because the graduate program requires the availability of information on current research, serials are a primary collecting focus. Monographs, documents, technical reports, and selected dissertations are bought as appropriate. Reference works such as abstracts, indexes, and bibliographies are also collected. The library offers access to online databases through DCIS/DCLOS including PsycINFO, Project CORK (alcohol abuse), PILOTS (post-traumatic stress), ERIC (Education & Educational Psychology), Social Sciences Index, Medline, and Carl UnCover. Additional resources, such as Social Sciences Citation Index, are available through Dialog.

Format Of Materials Collected

Materials are collected regardless of format.

Special Collections and Manuscripts

Special Collections has an extensive collection of senior honors theses in psychology. Other holdings include a collection of papers published by the psychology faculty in the 1930s; correspondence between John Dewey and Adelbert Ames,1946-1950 ; and a collection of psychological tests that were administered to Dartmouth students in the 1920's and 30s. The papers of the Dartmouth Eye Institute are another important resource.

Other Resources Available

The Veterans Administration Hospital in White River Junction maintains a small clinical library, and Project CORK has a reprint file of all of the articles in its database on alcohol abuse.

Collecting Intensity


Subject Existing Current Desirable
General Psychology (including History) 3/4 3 3
Abnormal Psychology 3 3 3
Animal Behavior (See Medicine policy)
Applied Psychology 3 2 3
Cognition and Perception 3 3/4 4
Comparative Psychology (See Medicine policy)
Developmental Psychology 3 3 3
Environmental Psychology 2 2/3 3
Experimental Psychology (including Methodology) 3 3/4 4
Learning (See also Education policy) 3 3 3
Motivation 2 3 3
Parapsychology 1 1 1
Personality Theory 3 3 3
Physiological and Neurological Psychology (See Medicine policy)
Psychoanalysis (see also Medicine policy) 1 1 1
Psycholinguistics (see also Lingusitics policy) 3 3 4
Sexuality 3 3 3
Social Psychology 4 4 4

Revision History

February 1996 (William Fontaine)

LC Class



William Fontaine

Last Updated: 8/5/16