Collection Development - Cinema and Media Studies

Collections Librarian : Pamela Bristah (x2076)

This collection development policy guides the development and management of the Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS) collection. The policy is for the use of the Wellesley College community, as well as for the CAMS collections librarian. Building the collection is a collaborative process, and faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

The library collection for the Cinema and Media Studies program supports the undergraduate CAMS curriculum at Wellesley College, providing resources for both study and teaching of cinema and media. Cinema and media materials are also used in many other Wellesley curricula, given the importance of film and media in reflecting and shaping modern life.

The main priority for the collection is to support the CAMS curriculum. The CAMS curriculum focuses strongly on national and regional schools of cinema, with courses on Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin American, South Asian, Spanish, and Russian cinema, among others. It also offers courses in film history, film aesthetics, film theory, directors/auteurs, film genres, women in film, screenwriting, and on media in general.

The major includes art courses on photography and video production, and sociology and political courses on mass media, popular culture, and the sociology of film. The CAMS curriculum requires students select one of three distinct tracks— History and Theory of Media, Video Production, or Media Arts Production.

A common curricular thread at Wellesley is an emphasis on the roles and contributions of women. In CAMS, this includes study of women directors, gender and film, feminism and film, and the portrayal of women in media and film, emphases that are reflected in the CAMS collection as well.

Description of the collection

The CAMS collection reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the program. It is a dispersed, broadly-based collection reliant on materials from many disciplines. In addition to works specifically on cinema and media, the collection draws on materials in subjects such as art, sociology, political science, women's studies, and area studies. The CAMS collection includes primary materials-- films, documentaries, and other videographic materials-- and secondary materials, such as film criticism, history, film theory, biographies, and other studies. Many materials on theatre are a resource for cinema and media studies as well.

Responsibility for the collection is similarly broad-based. With CAMS faculty based in other Wellesley College departments, the work of selection is distributed across the Wellesley curricula.

To support film history and other aspects of the CAMS curriculum, the Library seeks to build a broad and fundamental collection of historically significant films. This body of work includes historical and international cinema, and features artistically significant directors and actors. The Library also collects critical works to support the study of these films.

CAMS faculty in area studies and area department faculty are primarily responsible for building an international collection of library materials on film and media. The area programs and departments represented by CAMS faculty include Africana Studies, American Studies, East Asian Studies, English, French, German, Italian, Middle Eastern Studies, Russian, South Asia Studies, and Spanish.

The Library provides secondary materials for cinema studies in a number of ways :
- adding books on film and media from most major university presses and selected trade presses via the Library's approval plan, including the British Film Institute Film Classics and Modern Classics series
- funding subscriptions to periodicals on film and media
- funding purchase of interdisciplinary audio-visual materials for CAMS and other multi-disciplinary programs
- indexing and abstracting databases

The CAMS collections librarian is responsible for the overall balance of the collection, and coordinates faculty requests toward that end. The CAMS collections librarian may select materials to achieve a balanced and diversified collection. The collections librarian purchases the winners of best picture awards from major competitions, including the Academy Awards, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), the American Film Institute, and Cannes, and selects from winners of Sundance, Toronto, Venice, Berlin, and other film festivals. The collections librarian also purchases films which are the subject of British Film Institute monographs, and films included in the United States National Film Registry at the Library of Congress.

English is the preferred language for writings about cinema and media. Important monographs and reference works in Western European languages are collected selectively. Writings on cinema and media in non-Roman alphabets are generally excluded.

Materials not collected include films intended principally for recreational viewing; formats other than DVD or VHS, such as 35mm film or laser discs; film clips; textbooks; and workbooks.

The reference collection for CAMS follows the general subject parameters of the circulating collection, providing resources generally on media, including film, television, and radio, with particular emphasis on film history, theory, and criticism. The sociology of film and media is also collected. The collection includes but is not limited to, encyclopedias, especially those dealing with cinema in other countries, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, including technical dictionaries, film guides, and indexing and abstracting databases for periodical articles and reviews. Research guides and bibliographies are collected very selectively-bibliographies would be collected primarily for major directors or genres. Reference works may be acquired in print or online, with online generally preferred when available. English is the preferred language for reference works. Reference materials are selected by the Research and Instruction Group librarian for CAMS, who may collaborate with the collections librarian for CAMS.

CAMS resources are chiefly located in Clapp Library, including most films and documentaries, as well as critical studies, histories, biographies, and other secondary materials. Works on film and video production are generally located in the Art Library; works on music and film are located in the Music Library.

Formats and public performance rights

For film and video, DVD is preferred to VHS, whenever available, although many titles in VHS are present in the collection.

For DVDs, region 1 coding is preferred. For VHS videos, NTSC is the preferred format. The Library will purchase DVDs in other than region 1 coding, or VHS tapes in PAL or SECAM format, only when the preferred format is not available.

Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

In addition to the major contributions made by area studies and department faculty and curricula to the collection, the CAMS collection also relies on faculty requests from, and the curricula of, Women's Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Art, and other departments to build cinema and media collections for these areas, as described here:

Art: The art faculty and Art Librarian select materials on applied photography, video- and film-making, and on photography as an art form. CAMS faculty and the CAMS collections librarian select materials relating to cinema as an art form.

Media Arts & Sciences: The media arts and sciences faculty and collections librarian select works on artistic, cultural, and scientific applications of media technologies.

Music: The music faculty and Music Librarian select works on film music.

Political Science: The political science faculty and collections librarian select materials on mass media and politics.

Sociology: The sociology faculty and collections librarian select materials on mass media and society, popular culture, and the sociology of film.

Theatre: The theatre and CAMS collections librarians collaborate on materials that deal with cinema and theatre in general. The theatre faculty and collections librarian select works on acting.

Women's Studies: Faculty and collections librarians across the Wellesley College curricula select materials on women and film, and on women and media, given the emphasis on women's studies at Wellesley. The Women's Studies faculty and collections librarian select materials to support specific courses on women and film, and on women and media. They also select materials which cover these subjects generally, as well as works on gender and film, and gender and media.

    Related Resources

    The Knapp Media and Technology Center provides video and audio production and editing equipment.