Collection Development - Philosophy

Collections LibrarianBrooke Henderson (x3258)

The collection development policy for Philosophy guides the development and management of the Philosophy collection. This policy is for the use of the selector for this collection. The policy will be updated as needed. Faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

The Philosophy Department of the College offers a BA program which emphasizes three broad areas: History of Philosophy, Value Theory, and Metaphysics. Philosophy courses may also be required for concentrations in interdisciplinary programs such as Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Environmental Studies, German Studies, Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Peace and Justice Studies, and Classical Civilization. Specializations among faculty in the Department include African Philosophy, Vedanta Ethics, Philosophy of Yoga, Feminist Philosophy of Science, and Environmental Philosophy.

General purpose of the collection

The existing collection comprises works of prominent philosophers primarily in translation, critical monographs and secondary sources, and holdings of major periodicals. Philosophical literature collected includes speculative works by both classical and contemporary philosophers, critiques and discussions of these works, works on philosophical systems, and biographical material on philosophers. The Philosophy collection has strengths in Ancient and Modern philosophy, Epistemology, Hermeneutics, and Philosophy of Mind. In the past ten years areas of the collection that have expanded most rapidly are Speculative Philosophy and Ethics. Current collecting interests in Philosophy reflect curricular offerings in such areas as normative ethics, philosophy of science, feminist philosophy, phenomenology, environmental philosophy, and Eastern philosophy.

Description of the collection

Types of Materials: Materials are bought in all formats (paper, electronic, DVD) but this is primarily a print collection. Other publication types, such as conference proceedings are rarely acquired unless their topics overlap with current curricular offerings and are of a level appropriate to undergraduate scholarship. Materials supporting specific coursework such as audio-visual materials, and textbooks are evaluated with faculty consultation, and purchased as needed. Current issues of print periodicals are found at Clapp Library's Reading Room, and many are available electronically online.

Readership Level: Material is bought at all levels, with emphasis on upper undergraduate, early graduate levels for the general collection.

Languages Collected: The primary language of the collection is English. Some works of foreign philosophers are available in the original language, although this is not current collecting practice. (Exception: The French and German departments request and use modern philosophical works in those languages for literature and culture courses.)

Geographical Areas Covered (intellectual content or publication source): Most materials are published in and purchased from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom. Geographical areas covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content include primarily Western Europe and the United States, with selective collecting of works from Canada and Asia.

Chronological Periods Covered (intellectual content): The collection represents a broad spectrum of works covering ancient to modern philosophy, and current collecting is not systematically exclusive of any historical period but tends to reflect current curricular needs.

Chronological Period Covered (publication dates): Current materials are the focus of almost all purchasing, but a strong retrospective collection is maintained particularly as it supports current course offerings and student research. Reproductions of historical documents as primary source material are acquired selectively.

Shelving Locations: This collection is mostly housed at the Clapp Library where Philosophy books are shelved on the First floor. The current periodical collection is primarily located in the Reading Room on the Second floor. Knapp Media Center: Paper, electronic, and audio-visual materials for student reserves is handled by the Knapp Center in Clapp Library which oversees all reserves activity.

Reference: Reference material for Philosophy is purchased by Joan Campbell, Librarian for Research and Instruction in Philosophy, and follows the general subject parameters of the Philosophy collections policy. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following types of material: a variety of specialized dictionaries and encyclopedias, biographical sources, bibliographies (selectively), print and electronic indexes.

A subject web page for Philosophy is maintained and provides a list of reference and other sources.

Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

Although Philosophy materials are used by a variety of disciplines, the Philosophy selector does not purchase all materials which may end up in the main Philosophy collection. Following are a few useful distinctions which may assist in the delineation of collecting responsibilities shared by a variety of collection managers.

Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences: Materials relating to logic, Philosophy of Mind, the Theory of Knowledge, and reasoning are the responsibility of the Philosophy selector.

Environmental Studies: Some materials relating to Ethics, Philosophy of Nature, and Aesthetics are the responsibility of the Philosophy selector.

German Studies: Works by German philosophers for use in Philosophy courses are generally selected by the Philosophy selector. Works in English about schools of German philosophical thought, or about the lives of German philosophers will be collected selectively by the Philosophy selector. The Philosophy collection contains some writings in German and used in courses on literature. These are selected by the German Studies selector as needed.

Medieval/Renaissance Studies: All works on Medieval or Renaissance philosophy are the responsibility of the Philosophy selector. Works on Medieval and Renaissance history are the responsibility of the History selector.

Peace and Justice Studies: Materials relating to the philosophical treatment of topics related to this field including power, feminist ethics, justice, social values, law, punishment, virtue are the responsibility of the Philosophy selector.

Classical Civilization: Materials relating to the philosophical concerns, contributions and philosophers of the classical period, as well as secondary discussions of those contributions are the responsibility of the Philosophy selector.