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Collection Development Policy

The Founders Library and the contiguous Undergraduate Library house books, periodicals, microforms, audiovisual materials and electronic resources. The Reference collection, housed on the second floor of Founders, includes basic tools -- such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, atlases, and indexes -- in both print and electronic formats.  

The collections in the main library complex support teaching and research in African American Studies, African Studies, anthropology, art, astronomy, biology, chemistry, classics, communications, comprehensive sciences, drama, economics, education, engineering, English language and literature, history, mathematics, military and aerospace science, modern languages and literature, music, performing arts, philosophy, physical education, physics, political science, psychology, and sociology. The branch libraries serving the Schools of Architecture, Business, Divinity, and Social Work house extensive holdings in those subjects and related fields. Health sciences materials and the law collection are housed in the Health Sciences Library and the Law Library, which are autonomous units. The Moorland-Spingarn Research Center is also a separately administered unit which has extensive research collections pertaining to people of African descent.  Librarians welcome suggestions for purchases from faculty, staff, and students. Users may submit recommended titles on the Suggested Purchase Form

Basic Collection Development  Policy  

Purpose of the Collection  
The library collections are developed collaboratively to support the instructional and research programs  in  the colleges and schools at Howard University.   Although the primary emphasis is on access  rather than ownership, the library will identify, acquire, and provide access to balanced and relevant   physical and virtual resources. Highly specialized materials are purchased sparingly since scholars and researchers are encouraged to use interlibrary loan for items that are likely to be used only once or twice. The libraries at Howard University are best seen as one of many library sites on the information superhighway.  

Scope of Coverage 
Languages:  English, French and Spanish, in that order, are the primary languages of the collection.  Materials in other languages are also acquired to support courses taught in the Departments of African Studies, Modern Languages and Literature, History, and Political Science. 

Chronological Limits:   The emphasis in acquisitions is on current imprints.  Most requests for pre-1990 publications are satisfied through interlibrary loan.  If the demand is of a continuing nature, however, a retrospective title is considered for acquisition. Reprints of classical works may also be purchased when needed.  

Types of Materials

Individual titles as well as numbered monographic series are purchased. 

Both domestic and international serials are purchased. The emphasis is on core journals to satisfy curricular interests. Electronic access will be provided when economically feasible. 

Major material from international associations, societies, and other learned institutes is acquired. 

Reference Materials 
Subject dictionaries, encyclopedic works, handbooks, and biographical sources are updated regularly. 

Textbooks are acquired minimally, especially at the lower division level. 

Electronic Resources 
One of the primary goals of the Howard University Libraries is to increase access to full-text scholarly information over the campus network.  Thus, electronic versions of  major abstracts, indexes, other voluminous sets, essential multidisciplinary resources, and frequently consulted materials are acquired whenever it is cost effective to do so. In addition to the criteria used for judging print materials (authority, content, etc.), other factors considered include:  

  • Method of access: World Wide Web access is preferred for general and multi-disciplinary databases

  • Availability: access to the entire campus is preferred to library-only access

  • Licensing requirements

  • Availability of archives

Popular books, pamphlets, and ephemeral material are generally excluded.  

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