Collection Development - Middle Eastern and Arabic Studies

Collections Librarian : Pamela Bristah (x2076)

This collection development policy guides the development and management of materials on Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic studies in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for use by the Wellesley community and the Middle Eastern Studies collections librarian. Building library collections is a collaborative process, and faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

Middle Eastern Studies materials in the Wellesley College Library support the undergraduate Middle Eastern Studies curriculum. They provide resources for undergraduate study, faculty instruction, and basic faculty research.

The primary priority for the collection is support of the Middle Eastern Studies curriculum, which emphasizes Arabic language study, and Middle Eastern religion, cultural studies, and history. The major also includes courses on Islamic art and architecture, political thought in the Middle East, and Hebrew.

The major in Middle Eastern Studies awards the Bachelor of Arts degree, and as per the program web page, is designed to "acquaint students with Middle Eastern civilization through interdisciplinary study of languages, literatures, histories, religions, arts, social and political institutions, and cultural patterns of the Middle East. Majors may also study Middle Eastern communities living in diaspora."

Description of the collection

The Middle Eastern Studies collection reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum. It is a dispersed, broadly-based collection which relies on materials in many disciplines. In addition to works specifically on the Middle East and Islam, the collection draws on materials in art, archaeology, history, anthropology, music, political science, and other area studies.

The collection emphasizes resources for the study of Arabic, Islam, and the culture and history of the Middle East, both ancient and modern. The collection also includes materials on Islamic culture and religion worldwide.

A common thread running through all subject areas at Wellesley College is an emphasis on the contributions and roles of women. In the Middle Eastern Studies collection, this is reflected in works on women and Islam, women in the Qur'an, women's lives in Islamic societies, women and Islamic law, Islamic women authors and artists, gender studies, and other subjects.

Primary materials and literature originally written in Arabic are collected in Arabic or in English translation. Source documents of Islamic religion, such as the Qur'an, are collected in the original language and in English translation. English is the preferred language for secondary materials on Middle Eastern Studies; secondary materials in non-Roman alphabets are excluded, with the exception of Arabic. Arabic books and newspapers are collected to support Arabic language studies. Important monographs and reference works in Western European languages are collected selectively.

The reference collection for Middle Eastern Studies follows the general subject parameters of the circulating collection, providing resources on Middle Eastern history, religion, literature, politics, and culture, and for the study of Arabic. The collection includes, but is not limited to, encyclopedias, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, foreign-language dictionaries, research guides and bibliographies, and indexing and abstracting databases for periodical articles and other writings. Reference works may be acquired in print or online, with online generally preferred when available. English is the preferred language for reference works, except for dictionaries and other materials in support of Arabic language studies. Reference materials are selected by the Research and Instruction Group librarian for Middle Eastern Studies, who may collaborate with the collections librarian for Middle Eastern Studies.

Formats in the Middle Eastern Studies collection include books, periodicals, and newspapers in print and online, electronic encyclopedias and indices, sound recordings, and video recordings. Middle Eastern Studies materials are primarily housed in Clapp Library. Materials are arranged by their primary subject:
- materials on Islam are shelved with other books on religion, in Library of Congress class BP
- Middle Eastern Studies history materials are located in the history section, DS35 through DS326
- works on Arabic language and literature are located in the literature section, PJ6001 through PJ7876
and so on. Works on Middle Eastern and Islamic art and architecture are located in the Art Library, and works on Middle Eastern and Islamic music are in the Music Library.

The Knapp Media and Technology Center includes language lab facilities for the study of Arabic.

Materials collected selectively: Bibliographies; Arabic-language reference works; research-level monographs; memoirs; dissertations and theses; VHS videos; DVDs in other than region one coding.

Materials not collected: Foreign-language dissertations; translations into languages other than English; single or discrete issues of periodicals; textbooks; workbooks; microforms.

Related subjects & interdisciplinary relationships

Africana Studies: The Middle Eastern collections librarian selects materials on Middle Eastern literature, language, and culture in general, including north African countries. The Africana Studies collections librarian select materials on north African history, anthropology, sociology, and other areas.

American Studies: The Middle Eastern studies collections librarian has primary responsibility for works related to Muslims and Islam in the United States, but may collaborate with the American Studies collections librarian.

Anthropology: The anthropology and Middle Eastern studies collections librarians collaborate on works related to societies and cultures of the Middle East.

Archaeology: The Middle Eastern, religion, and classical studies collections librarians collaborate on Near Eastern and Middle Eastern archaeology.

Art: The Art Librarian has primary responsibility for selecting works on Islamic art and architecture.

East Asian Languages & Cultures: The Middle Eastern studies collections librarian has primary responsibility for selecting materials relating to Muslims and Islam in East Asia, and may also collaborate with the East Asia collections librarian.

History: The Middle Eastern studies and history collections librarians collaborate on selecting materials relating to history and the Middle East. Typically, the Middle Eastern collections librarian selects materials on the relationship of history and religion in the Middle East, and the history collections librarian selects materials on other aspects of Middle Eastern history.

Jewish Studies: The Jewish Studies collections librarian selects materials related to Jews and Judaism in the Middle East; the Middle Eastern collections librarian selects materials on Muslims and Islam in the Middle East.

Music: The Music Librarian has primary responsibility for Middle Eastern music, but may collaborate with the Middle Eastern collections librarian.

Political science: The political science collections librarian has primary responsibility for selecting works on Middle Eastern politics, but the Middle Eastern collections librarian may also select materials in this area.

Religion: The religion collections librarian and Middle Eastern Studies collections librarian collaborate on selecting materials related to religion in the Middle East, and on Islam and Muslims in particular.

Sociology: The sociology collections librarian has primary responsibility to select works on the sociology of Middle Eastern groups, institutions, or organizations.