Collection Development Policy Guidelines

  1. General Scope

    1. Audience
      The collection supports the broad instructional and research needs of students and faculty in all major areas of religion. There is strong interdisciplinary interest in religion by other departments in the humanities and social sciences.
    2. Boundaries
      The Library collects publications on the academic study of religion. Major works in theology across all religions are collected selectively. Pastoral and devotional works are excluded except in rare circumstances. Almost everything acquired for religion is maintained in Baker Berry Library, and almost all of it falls into the Library of Congress BL to BX classification. The majority of holdings from pre-1964 is in the Dartmouth Classification R-RZ and is in the Library Depository. There is overlap with the Dana Biomedical Library for some aspects of bioethics. Within Baker Berry there is significant overlap with the social sciences, especially anthropology and sociology. As a general rule, materials outside the BL-BX classification are collected by the selectors for those areas. Overlaps also exist with policy studies, philosophy, psychology, language and literature, and classical studies.
    3. Partnerships
      The Library's participation in Borrow Direct allows the Library to rely on member libraries for print copies of monographs that are owned solely in electronic format, such as those in Oxford Scholarship Online and Project Muse. This partnership also provides access to deeper layers of the secondary literature than would be practical to collect at Dartmouth. The Library's partnership with PORTICO ensures permanent access to digital content for which the library has acquired the necessary rights. CRL membership and other consortial relationships ensure access to print copies of journal backfiles that are now only held electronically at Dartmouth.

  2. Specific Delimitations to collecting in this subject area

    1. Languages
      The primary language of the collection is English. Historically we have collected in all major Western languages. There is a small number of volumes in Hebrew and scattered volumes in Sanscrit and other Asian languages. The Bible collection contains some translations into Native American languages. Important works of scholarship and primary sources are still collected in all Western languages, but there is a de-emphasis on modern works in languages other than English.
    2. Types of Materials Collected
      Publication in religion is almost entirely in books and serials. In addition to primary sources, biographies and histories relating to the study of religion are collected extensively. Apart from the language limitations cited above, there is little material related to religion that is excluded.
    3. Format of Materials Collected
      A significant number of books and journals are collected in electronic format only. Most of the monographic literature is collected in print, but the preferred format for journals is electronic.  While in the past the Library collected machine readable texts of religious texts, such as the Bible and the Talmud, nearly all of these resources are now available through the Internet.
    4. Collective Collections
      Discovery of the extended religion collection is primarily accomplished by searching Summon, which includes public domain books and serials in the HathiTrust. The Borrow Direct catalog is increasingly powerful, while the catalog of the Center for Research Libraries uses the same interface as the Library's catalog.  WorldCat.ORG and its more powerful companion catalog, FirstSearch also allow one to place requests for books and articles directly from the interface.

  3. Revision History

    • August 2016 (William Fontaine)
    • February 1991 (William Fontaine)
    • Daniel H. Abosso (current selector)