Collection Development - Religion

Collections LibrarianPamela Bristah (x2076)

The collection development policy for religion guides the development and management of religion materials in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for use by the Wellesley community and the religion collections librarian. Building the Library's collection is a collaborative process, and faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

Religion materials in the Wellesley College Library support the Religion Department curriculum. The religion collection provides resources for undergraduate study, faculty instruction, and basic faculty research. In addition, the collection supports programs and disciplines with a close relationship to religion in areas of study such as sacred music, or sacred architecture and art.

The Religion Department awards the Bachelor of Arts degree. The curriculum covers the major religious traditions of the world, approaching them from a variety of perspectives, including historical and textual, theological, and social-scientific. The Religion curriculum also offers New Testament Greek, and options to study Hebrew, Arabic, Latin, Chinese, and Japanese in other departments or programs.

Description of the collection

The religion collection includes resources for the study of religion worldwide, including Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, Shinto, Hinduism, and other religions. The collection includes source documents for all major religions (e.g. the Bible, Qur'an, Torah, and other sacred texts), and study and exegesis of these works; also resources on the history of religion, religion and literature, religion and archaeology, the role of religion in society, and New Testament Greek, among other subjects.

A common thread running through all subject areas at Wellesley College is an emphasis on the contributions and roles of women, exemplified in the Library's religion collection in works on women in the Bible and in the Biblical world, women and the church, women and religious law, feminist theology, goddesses, the Virgin Mary, gender studies, and other subjects.

Readership level: The religion collection includes works written for basic through advanced undergraduate level, and for basic faculty research; masters-level publications are collected selectively; research-level publications are collected very selectively.

Languages collected: Sacred texts and primary source materials are collected in the original language, including Hebrew, Aramaic, Arabic, and New Testament Greek, and in English translation. For secondary materials on religion, English is the preferred language; secondary materials in non-Roman alphabets are generally excluded. Books and newspapers in Hebrew and Arabic are collected to support language studies. Important monographs and reference works in Western European languages are collected very selectively.

Geographical areas covered (intellectual content or publication source): All geographical areas are included, with particular emphasis on the countries, and geographic areas covered by Wellesley area studies curricula.

Chronological periods covered (intellectual content): All chronological eras are included.

Chronological period covered (publication dates): The emphasis is on works of recent publication, representing current scholarship.

Special emphases: Exegesis and theology, women and religion, Islam, East Asian religions, Buddhism in East Asia and South Asia.

Reference: The reference collection for religion follows the general subject parameters of the circulating collection, providing resources on religion worldwide. The collection includes, but is not limited to, encyclopedias, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, foreign-language dictionaries, research guides and bibliographies, indexing and abstracting databases for periodical articles and other writings such as the ATLA Religion Index, and primary source material such as the Bible and the Qur'an. 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 which support a language-specific religion. Reference materials are selected by the Research and Instruction Group librarian for religion, who may collaborate with the collections librarian for religion.

Types of materials: Formats in the religion collection include books, periodicals, and newspapers,in print or online, electronic encylopedias and indices, sound recordings, and video recordings. 
- Reference works: see Reference section, above. 
- Books: histories, exegesis, sociological and anthropological studies, cultural studies, biographies
- Periodicals and newspapers: scholarly periodicals on religion; newspapers in support of Hebrew and Arabic language studies
- Sound recordings: compact discs of sacred and liturgical music
- Video recordings: DVDs of significant films and documentaries, in region one coding 
NB: monographs published by major university press and selected trade publishers are added to the Library via its approval plan

Types of materials collected selectively: Multiple copies; bibliographies; foreign-language reference works; foreign-language monographs; research-level monographs; memoirs; dissertations and theses; Festschriften, congress proceedings, and other essay anthologies by more than one author; foreign-language periodicals; VHS videos; DVDs in other than region one coding.

Types of materials not collected: Foreign-language dissertations; single or discrete issues of periodicals; textbooks; workbooks; microforms.

Library locations: Most religion materials are in Clapp Library, under Library of Congress call numbers BL through BX. Works on religious art and architecture are in the Art Library; materials relating to sacred music are in the Music Library. Materials on the relationship of religious belief and scientific thought are either in the Science Library or Clapp.

Related subjects & interdisciplinary relationships

Africana Studies: he Africana Studies collections librarian selects works on African traditional tales. The religion collections librarian has primary responsibility for works related to African, Caribbean, and other African-based religions.

Anthropology: The religion collections librarian selects works on religions of Western and non-Western cultures taught in the Wellesley College curricula, and on the anthropology of religion in general, but the anthropology collections librarian may also select works in these areas. Both the religion and anthropology collections librarians may select works on American Indian religion and mythology.

Art: The Art Librarian has primary responsibility for selecting works on religious art and architecture, especially works dealing with religious iconography.

Classical Studies/Classical & Near Eastern Archaeology: The classical studies collections librarian selects works on religion, mythology, and archaeology of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Assyria, Babylon, and other Near Eastern ancient cultures, and on archaeology in general. The religion collections librarian selects works on Middle Eastern (in particular Jewish, Islamic, and Christian) religion, mythology, and archaeology, and on mythology in general. Area studies collections librarians select works on mythology of their geographic areas.

East Asian Languages & Cultures: The East Asian Studies collections librarian selects works on East Asian traditional tales. The religion collections librarian has primary responsibility for works related to East Asian religions.

History: The Religion collections librarian has primary responsibility for selecting materials relating to religion and history, although the History collections librarian may supplement this collection.

Jewish Studies: The Jewish Studies collections librarian has primary responsibility for selecting materials related to Judaism.

Medieval/Renaissance Studies: The religion studies collections librarian has primary responsibility for works related to religion in the Medieval era and Renaissance, but the Medieval/Renaissance collections librarian may also select works in this area.

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

Music: The Music Librarian has primary responsibility for works dealing with religion and music, specifically liturgy and music, sung liturgical texts and translations, hymnology, and the role of music in religion, but may collaborate with religion collections librarian.

Philosophy: The religion collections librarian has primary responsibility for works related to the philosophy of religion, but may collaborate with the philosophy collections librarian.

Political Science: The political science and religion collections librarians collaborate on works dealing with the relationship of religion and politics.

Science: The religion collections librarian selects works on religious belief and scientific thought.

Spanish and Latin American Studies: The religion collections librarian has primary responsibility for works related to Spanish and Latin American religions, but may collaborate with the Spanish and Latin American collections librarian.

Women's & Gender Studies: The religion collections librarian selects materials on women in the Bible and in the Biblical world, women and the church, including the ordination of women, and on women and religious law, feminist theology, goddesses, the Virgin Mary, gender studies, and other subjects.

    Other resources

    The libraries of the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, and Andover-Newton Theological School, Newton, provide significant additional resources for the study of religion.