Collection Development - German and German Studies

Collections Librarian: Sarah Becker x3593

The German collection supports the curriculum and basic faculty research needs of the German Department and German Studies, which focus on German language skills and the literary and cultural traditions of German-speaking countries (primarily Germany, Austria and Switzerland). The collection also supports the general scholarly needs of all members of the Wellesley College community in the areas of German literature and culture.

General Purpose of the Collection

The collection includes primary source materials and a large body of supporting critical material. The Library attempts to acquire the complete works of major authors and critics writing in German from all relevant periods and genres, and representative collections of the works of secondary authors. Supporting materials include biographical, bibliographical, and critical works about these major and minor writers, as well as bibliographical and critical studies of the periods and genres in which they wrote. The collection includes subscriptions to a number of journals that present the current range of literary scholarship, primarily in period and genre studies, and periodicals presenting contemporary German culture and current events. We acquire literary works by contemporary authors selectively, usually as they are required by the curriculum.

The Library's collection of German literature and criticism is primarily of modern German materials; German literature is collected both in German and, where available, in English translation. Secondary materials are collected in both German and English. Materials written in other Germanic languages (Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Afrikaans) are acquired in English translation on a very selective basis. Literature, and supporting secondary materials, in other Germanic languages-primarily Dutch and the Scandinavian languages-is collected selectively, almost exclusively in English translation.

Scope of Coverage

The primary geographical areas covered by acquisitions are Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Significant works on German literature, but published in countries other than the U.S., U.K., and those listed above, are very selectively acquired. Recent publications are of primary importance. Retrospective purchases are made on a selective basis for the circulating and reference collections, depending on the availability of materials and funds. Current collecting strengths include Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Mann, Austrian literature, and the history and culture of Berlin and Vienna.

Subject Boundaries & Shelving

All items in these categories, including German cinema, are housed in Clapp Library; items related to German music and art (including architecture, photography and graphic design) are located in the Music and Art Libraries, respectively. The general scope of this collection is primarily determined by Library of Congress call numbers PT; German cinema, feature films, and related works are located in PN.

Region 1 DVD and NTSC VHS are the preferred formats for video materials. Region 2/PAL videorecordings are acquired if this is the only format available.

Collected: Books, periodicals; reference materials, including dictionaries, encyclopedias, bibliographies, biographical dictionaries, companions, concordances, and indices.

Collected selectively: Electronic resources, newspapers, proceedings, videorecordings and multimedia.

Not collected: Government documents, textbooks, juvenile literature, dissertations, and theses.

Related Subjects & Interdisciplinary Relationships

The collection is related to several other collections in the library.

Art: For critical works dealing with both literature and art-including aesthetics and visual imagery-or with writer/artists, such as William Blake, the English collections librarian is responsible for selecting those with primarily a literary approach or focus; these items are housed in Clapp. The Art Librarian is responsible for such materials having a dominant focus on art (e.g., the author is an art critic) for the Art Library.

History: The History collection contains some writings that can be considered literature. Likewise, the German collection supports History in the purchase of selected materials relating to German culture, and by acquiring texts which can serve as primary documents. 
DB 1 - 879 History of Austria & the Austro-Hungarian Empire 
DD 1 - 905 History of Germany 
DJ 1 - 500 History of the Netherlands 
DL 1 - 991 History of Scandinavia 
DQ 1 - 851 History of Switzerland

Music: The Music collection contains scores, performances, criticism and other secondary materials on German composers, musicians, and German-language texts by that have been set to music. The German collections librarian is responsible for selecting those materials having primarily a literary approach or focus (e.g., Music in the Works of Broch, Mann, and Kafka); such items are housed in Clapp. The Music Librarian is responsible for materials focusing predominantly on music (e.g., Shakespeare's use of music) for the Music Library.

Philosophy: German culture has been heavily influenced by German philosophers. This works can be found in the Philosophy collection; as can, more generally, theory and theoretical writings by literary authors.

Political Science

Religion: The Religion collection has important works relating to German culture, and writings by German authors that can be considered literature.


Theatre: The Theatre Selector collects materials dealing with acting, the stage and accessories