Hebrew and Arabic Language and Literature

Collection Development Policy Guidelines

  1. General Scope
    1. Audience
      The Asian Studies Program at Dartmouth College was expanded in 1987 to include study in Hebrew and Arabic language and literature. The Brownstone Lectureship in Hebrew was established in 1989. During the 1989-90 FY the library received a grant from the Mellon Foundation that was used to purchase basic works in Hebrew and Arabic. In 1995, the Department of Asian and Middle Eastern Languages & Literatures (DAMELL) was formed, offering language instruction in Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, and Japanese, as well as courses on their cultures and literatures. In 2007, the Department began to offer second year on-campus instruction in Arabic. Prior to this, students continued their second year of instruction in the foreign study program. While some literature courses require a competency in the foreign language, most do not; they are, as such, open to students with little or no background in that area, but there are opportunities for independent advanced study to qualified students.
    2. Boundaries 
      The primary holdings for Arabic and Hebrew language and literature are in Baker Berry Library in the Library of Congress PJ classification, with Arabic in PJ6001-8517 and Hebrew in PJ4501-5192. The Library collects works of Arabic and Hebrew literature in English translation, purchasing works by major authors in the vernacular. Arabic literature is collected from the pre-Islamic period (fifth and sixth centuries) through the present day, and includes all genres, which can cross over into other disciplines, such as folk literature, philosophy, science, and religion. Hebrew literature, while including all time periods, is focused primarily on literature from the eighteenth century forward to the present day, with an emphasis on Israeli fiction and poetry. By virtue of its colonial beginnings, Special Collections has a number of important early American books that were printed in Hebrew or used Hebrew type. Works on the Hebrew Bible and the Qu'ran are purchased by the religion selector unless they are literary studies of primary interest to DAMELL. The library also has manuscripts of Hebrew commencement orations written and delivered by students during the early years of the College. The college also owns a 19th century Esther scroll and the Taj Torah, produced in Yemen ca. 1400-1450. The George M. L. Brown Oriental Collection includes specimens of Arabic manuscripts (14th-19th centuries).
    3. Partnerships
      The Library limits its purchase of monographs in Arabic and Hebrew, relying on Borrow Direct collections that serve Arabic and Hebrew programs at the graduate level.  The Center for Research Libraries provides access to microfilm newspapers from the Arab world, Israel, and the Palestinian territories. 
  2. Specific Delimitations to collecting in this subject area
    1. Languages
      The primary languages are English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Secondary studies are collected principally in English, works in other languages are collected on a selective basis. 
    2. Geographical Areas 
      There are no geographical restrictions. An effort is made to collect works regarding the society, culture and history of Morocco and Israel, which are the locations for the foreign study programs. Works beyond of the field of literature are referred to the appropriate selectors.  
    3. Types of Materials Collected
      Emphasis is on primary and secondary sources. Serials, works of reference, indexes and abstracts are collected as appropriate for the teaching and research needs of students and faculty. Films are collected upon faculty request.
    4. Format of Materials Collected
      Monographs are collected in print format, but edited collections are purchased as ebooks when available. The preferred format for Indexes, abstracts, works of reference, and serial publications is online. DVDs of Arabic and Israeli television and cinema are purchased and kept in the Jones Media Center.
    5. Collective Collections
      Borrow Direct provides an important , the collections of the Center for Research Libraries, which includes several libraries with research-level collections in Arabic and Hebrew. The HathiTrust, whose content is also indexed in Summon, provides full text access to many 19th century editions of Arabic literature. The Center for Research Libraries provides print archives of serials in JSTOR, which allows the Library to better manage the size of its print collections.
  3. Revision History
    In reverse chronological order, indicate
    • September, 2016
    • Policy revised by William Fontaine
    • Current selector: Daniel H. Abosso