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





Sociology materials in the Dartmouth College Library system are intended not only to meet instructional needs at the undergraduate level but to support both student and faculty research as well. Also supported are social science seminars in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program and the few courses under the heading Social Science.

Although recent emphasis has been placed on a methodological core, theoretical holdings have traditionally been strong and remain areas of primary interest. Historically, American social thought and processes have dominated the curriculum with western European social philosophy an important auxiliary. At present, there is increasing concern with macro-sociology, including Marxist perspectives, particularly as it applies to Third World development. Women's studies and related gender and family issues are well established in the curriculum. There is also strong interest in the broad area of race relations, and in the sociology of law and deviance.


The Department of Sociology was established in 1893, offering instruction not only in sociology but also anthropology and archaeology. With the approval of an anthropology major in 1961, the department was restructured as the joint department of Anthropology and Sociology, ultimately becoming independent departments in 1967.


Quantitative analysis is regarded as an essential research skill for the meaningful appraisal of social interaction at all levels and is therefore a major instructional focus. Although no graduate degree is offered, students are expected to do research involving collection and analysis of data. Faculty are also regularly engaged in research ranging from macro-sociological studies of events and organizations to quantitative interpretations of community processes. Recent activity in the department has focused much attention on issues of equality and social stratification in all venues. Consequently, there has been an effort of late to collect materials supporting such research.

The department is small, averaging approximately 23 undergraduate majors, but cross-listing of courses gives wide reach across other programs: African and African-American Studies; Latino, Latin American & Caribbean Studies; Women's Studies; Education; and Geography. Additionally, two specialized minors are offered: "Markets, Management and the Economy"; and "Social Inequalities". The Department sponsors an off-campus program at the University of Copenhagen, offering coursework across the social sciences.


Given the number of interdisciplinary programs offered by the College, and the broad reach of the discipline in general, collection efforts in sociology both benefit from and contribute to many other collections. [See other areas' policies below.]

Core materials in sociology are located for the most part in Baker/Berry Library, current works falling into the Library of Congress classifications HM through HV and earlier holdings in the Dewey 300's. There is substantial overlap both within Baker/Berry (e.g., social psychology and some small group theory may class in BF; aspects of minority or ethnic relations may class in E; sociolinguistics may class in P; etc.) and with other Dartmouth College libraries (e.g., some materials in mathematical social science may be held in the Cook Mathematics Library; aspects of urban planning may be located in Feldberg; medical sociology may be housed at Dana). Library materials required to support instruction in these courses are purchased without regard for classification and consequent location.

Two traditional components of sociology, the 'applied' areas of Social Work and Criminology, are not included in the current Dartmouth curriculum and are targeted less intensively, with major reference tools and monographs emphasized. Interest in social deviance, however, has often overlapped these areas, strengthening their collections.

A somewhat narrower subfield, the sociology of sports, is in heavy demand, with much support coming from the Recreation bibliographer. Faculty and student interest, and curricular initiatives in the Women's Studies Department, give collecting on Gay and Lesbian Studies a current emphasis; this includes much sociology, as well as literary works. Although bibliographers across the disciplines collect in this area, a significant amount of material supporting Gay and Lesbian Studies is selected by the Sociology and Women's Studies bibliographers.


Materials in English and major Western European languages are collected; a former emphasis on German is no longer maintained. The changing interest and direction of current scholarship here has resulted in greater emphasis on English. There is also a developing interest in Spanish language materials, intensified by the Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean Studies Program.


American materials are collected in greatest depth although British, Canadian, and European works are also acquired. Current interest in Third World culture and development has widened considerably the geographic parameters of the collection, with special attention given to Africa and Latin America. No areas are specifically excluded.


While monographs and serials (the latter perhaps the most important source of information on current research) are collected intensively, documents, technical reports, and selected dissertations are also bought. Library-wide and consortial purchases of publishers' online journal packages offer additional support to the area, with individual journals being cataloged. Statistical sources, abstracts, indexes, and bibliographies (both interdisciplinary and subject-specific) are collected, a large number of which are available online.

In recent years there has been increasing interest in the acquisition of various electronic data sets and their relevant code books. The library works in collaboration with Social Science Computing to meet this demand, our government document collection offering further support.


Appropriate materials are collected in all formats.


Other than undergraduate and graduate theses, Rauner Library has no particular collection focus in the discipline.


The Social Science Computing Center, located in Silsby Hall, is the official campus representative to the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). As such, the Center provides support for accessing and manipulating statistical data sets.


African and African American Studies
Business Administration
Government documents
Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies
Medical Sciences
Native American Studies
Reference (Baker/Berry Library)
Women's Studies


Creation Date

August 1981 (H. MacLam)

Revision Date

March 1990 (G. Finnegan)
January 1995 (G. Finnegan)
June 2001 (A. Witzel)

LC Class



Amy Witzel

Last Updated: 8/5/16