Collection Development - Political Science

Collections Librarian : Graham Henderson (x3514)

The collection development policy for Political Science guides the development and management of Political Science materials in the Wellesley College Library. This policy is for use by the Wellesley College community and the Political Science collections librarian. Faculty and students are encouraged to provide recommendations for library materials.

General purpose of the collection

Political Science materials in the Wellesley College Library support the Political Science department curriculum and provide support for other disciplines as they intersect with or draw upon political science, government, and public policy. The materials provide for undergraduate study, faculty instruction, and basic faculty research.

The Political Science collection includes resources for the study of American Politics and Law, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory. The Political Science department serves as the hub for several interdisciplinary programs, and as such the collection includes materials supporting courses in American studies, Chinese studies, international relations, Latin American studies, Russian area studies, and environmental studies.

The Political Science curriculum includes courses designed to introduce students to the issues and methods explored by political scientists. Beyond the introductory level, courses are divided into four subfields:

American Politics and Law focuses on political and legal institutions and processes in the United States.

Comparative Politics considers political life in countries other than the United States.

International Relations is concerned with politics among nations.

Political Theory studies the political ideas (both normative and explanatory) expressed by philosophers, political figures, and others from ancient to contemporary times.

Formats in the Political Science collection include books, periodicals, electronic resources, and video recordings. The majority of these circulate to students, faculty, and staff.

Description of the collection

1. Readership level: The Political Science collection consists primarily of works written for basic through advanced undergraduate level and for basic faculty research. Graduate- and research-level publications are collected selectively.

2. Languages collected or excluded: English-language materials are collected almost exclusively, although the collection contains a very small number of French, German, and Italian titles.

3. Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate: No area of the world is excluded from consideration, although acquisitions are selective in the case of Africa and Oceana. Material regarding African and Oceanic countries is collected primarily by Political Science when covered as part of a broader world view, or regarding diplomacy and/or U.S. policy toward Africa and African countries. The United States, Europe, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia receive particular attention. Works dealing with very specific geographic areas - the detailed voting breakdown of a particular U.S. county, for example - normally would not be acquired.

4. Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate: The collection emphasizes current material, with the primary purpose of supporting coursework, student research, and basic faculty research. Older imprints are acquired selectively, usually as replacements for classic works, or at the specific request of a student or faculty member.

5. Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movement, or schools: All chronological areas are included.

Reference: Reference material for Political Science is purchased by the Political Science collections librarian for Research and Instruction and follows the general subject parameters of the Political Science collections policy. The scope includes, but is not limited to, the following types of material: biographies, dictionaries/thesauri/nomenclature aids, encyclopedias, style and/or literature guides, and occasional electronic search aids and full text or statistical databases which support curricular or related professional programs. Reference material may be online or print.

General subject boundaries and library locations

Political Science materials are housed in Clapp Library.

1. Special Subject Emphases: Traditionally, the Political Science collection has emphasized coverage of the United States and Europe.

2. Current Collecting Priorities: In addition to the above, the collections holdings in Asia and the Middle East have been given priority.

3. Subjects Collected Selectively: The library collection contains fewer volumes and is increased more selectively in the following geographic areas, which are generally not covered in the Political Science collection: Canada, Scandinavia, Australia and the other Pacific Islands. United States local politics, with the exception of Massachusetts, is collected selectively.

4. The Political Science collection is enhanced by Wellesley's participation in the Federal Depository Library Program. Wellesley collects tangible formats selectively and has an agreement with Marcive, Inc. for electronic records for most monographs.

Related subjects and interdisciplinary relationships

American Studies: The American Studies collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the area of United States politics.

German: The German collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the area of German political life as a part of German culture.

History: The History collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the areas of United States and international politics.

Environmental Studies: The Environment Studies collections librarian selects materials relating to environmental law and policy.

International Relations: The International Relations collections librarian selects materials relating to comparative politics.

Latin American Studies: The Latin American collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the area of Latin American politics.

Middle Eastern Studies: The Middle Eastern Studies collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the area of Middle Eastern politics.

Peace and Justice Studies: The Peace and Justice Studies collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the areas of international politics, human rights, and international law.

Philosophy: The Philosophy collections librarian supplements the political science collection in the area of individual philosophers working in political theory.

Sociology: The Sociology collections librarian supplements the political science collection, particularly in the area of international human rights.

Women's Studies: The Women's Studies collections librarian may collaborate with the Political Science collections librarian in the area of women and politics.

    Types of materials

    Collected: Books, periodicals, and reference works, including encyclopedias, biographical and subject-specific dictionaries, handbooks, and almanacs.

    Collected Selectively: Conference proceedings, multi-media publications, spoken-word recordings, electronic resources, dissertations, foreign-language monographs, research-level monographs, foreign-language periodicals, and videos and DVDs (Region 1 DVD and NTSC VHS are the preferred formats for video materials. Region 2/PAL videorecordings are acquired when this is the only format available).

    Not Collected: Textbooks, foreign-language dissertations, single or discrete issues of periodicals, vanity press publications, non-journal microforms, and 16mm or 35mm films.