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Department of Women's Studies

D. LaFond, Bibliographer
dlafond@albany.edu

I. General Purpose

The University Libraries' collection supports a B.A. program, a combined B.A./M.A. program, an Honors program, and a Certificate Program on Women in Government & Public Policy. Graduate courses are also offered in conjunction with the M.A. in Liberal Studies and the D.A. in Humanistic Studies programs. Faculty and student research focuses primarily on global gender studies and feminist perspectives in a variety of fields. The curriculum focuses on inquiry and debate while interrogating how gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nation intersect and impact on women and men in society. Inquiry into promotion of responsible citizenship in a diverse global environment is encouraged. The Department of Women's Studies offers a wide range of courses emphasizing social theoretical criticism, social justice, and trans-disciplinary approaches to the study of women. Primary objectives of the department are the reexamination and reevaluation of traditional disciplines and social inequities using feminist theories and community based internships. Students are encouraged to develop analytic competency through exploring new methodologies, subjects and theories based on multidisciplinary approaches to the study of women, sex roles, race, and gender.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: English is the major language of the collection. Titles in other languages are acquired, if specifically requested for curriculum or related program needs.

Geographical Areas: May vary, but primary emphasis is placed on the development of global feminist thought; selective emphasis is placed on the development of feminist thought in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, India, and the United States.

Chronological Periods: The emphasis in acquisitions depends upon trends prevailing in the academic profile of the program.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: Monographs and serials are acquired to support all levels of the program. Media, primarily in the form of videocassettes, DVD's have been significantly increased to complement the curriculum. Dissertations are purchased when requested by a faculty member. The acquisition of primary sources, documents, etc. needed for research are purchased. Recommendations by faculty are encouraged and supported. Because of the interdisciplinary approach to the study of women and gender issues, materials collected include resources in social sciences, humanities as well as the sciences.

General reference materials on women's studies are housed in the reference collection and are purchased by the Bibliographer for Reference who considers recommendations from the Bibliographer for Women's Studies. In addition to several specialized hardcopy indexes covering women's studies, emphasis on electronic databases pertinent to women's studies research has been initiated. For example, "Women's Studies International" is an electronic index specifically designed for research in women's studies. The "Contemporary Women's Issues" database provides access to selective full-text contemporary sources. "GenderWatch" and "Alt-PressWatch," two electronic databases, provide selective full-text coverage of a variety of publications and newsletters. Selection of reference resources, directories, biographical compilations, general bibliographies, and encyclopedias are the primary responsibility of the Bibliographer for Reference. Specialized reference materials are selected by the Bibliographer for Women's Studies and are acquired with funds allocated to Women's Studies. Recommendations from faculty and students engaged in research are encouraged.

Types of Materials Excluded: Unless required for reserve, textbooks are not acquired.

Interdisciplinary Factors: Because of the interdisciplinary approach to the study of women, several other academic areas also depend upon the acquisition of materials pertaining to women and gender issues. Comparative methodologies are studied in several disciplines, particularly in sociology and cultural studies. Acquisitions by the Bibliographers for Anthropology, Business, Criminal Justice, English, History, Latin and Caribbean Studies, Political Science, Psychology, and Sociology departments complement the Women's Studies collection by collecting resources with a women's studies focus within their fields.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

These levels are clearly defined by the RLG Conspectus. Excluding foreign language definitions the ascribed levels reflect current acquisition decisions at SUNY-Albany.

African-American Women Advanced Instructional Support Level
Feminism Advanced Instructional Support Level
Feminist Theory Advanced Instructional Support Level
Feminist Practice Intermediate Instructional Support Level
Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered Studies Intermediate Instructional Support Level
Women in Education Advanced Instructional Support Level
Women in Literature Advanced Instructional Support Level (Acquired by English Bibliographer)
Global Perspectives on Women Advanced Instructional Support Level
Women in History Advanced Instructional Support Level
Women in Science and Medicine Intermediate Instructional Support Level
Women's Clubs and Societies Intermediate Instructional Support Level

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

VI. Internal Notes

The Bibliographer for Women's Studies endeavors to increase resources for study on women of color, transnational perspectives on women, and Gay and Lesbian studies. Utilization of primary source documents seen in the curriculum have been addressed in guides which emphasize the use of existing collections, on-line collections, and new electronic newspaper collections. While the approval plans provide adequate coverage of the study of women in most academic areas, discretionary funds are primarily used to supplement the approval plan. Funding cuts have impacted negatively on the ability to purchase resources for emerging areas of research. Journals representing these areas have not been afforded due to fiscal constraints. This impacts upon the Libraries' ability to maintain "research level" as defined in the above collection level descriptions requiring a heavier reliance on Interlibrary Loan service to accommodate upper level graduate and doctoral research. However, inclusion of more women's studies topics in mainstream databases and electronic subscription packages offering full-text access, and the addition of databases that address alternative press and women's studies, have ameliorated this to some degree.

The Master's degree program launched in 1999 has been approved and officially began in the Fall of 2001. The Women's Studies Certificate Program on Women in Government & Public Policy emphasizes policy development utilizing feminist theory and methodology.

An undergraduate Honors certificate program includes multi-media final projects. Support for research design arising out of internships may be drawn from several disciplines particularly in social work. However, community based journals which support this work, though represented in indexing sources, are not typically available on site.

There is a great deal of cooperation with the Bibliographer for English and Humanities and the Bibliographers for History and Sociology. Working relationships with other bibliographers in areas such as education, business, history, and political science are imperative to insure diversity in all collections.

An effort is made to acquire materials from small and ethnic presses to insure that racial diversity and diversity of sexual preference is represented in the collection. Use of videos as an instructional methodology has became increasingly popular and important in this area. Discretionary funds are not adequate to accommodate this trend but have been assisted with the implementation of the libraries' "expensive video fund".

January 2004

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