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Department of Classical Studies

G. Burke, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The University Libraries support the curricular needs and faculty research of the Department of Classics.

Progams of the Classics Department:

The Department of Classics offers courses in three areas of interest that lead to BA and MA degrees: Mediterranean archaeology and art, Greek and Roman civilization, and the classical Latin and Greek languages. The BA degree in Greek and Roman civilization provides two concentrations: 1) Mediterranean Archaeology and Art, and 2) Classical Literature and Culture. The MA degree offers concentrations either in Latin or in Classical Archaeology. The department also offers a combined bachelor's/master's program with concentrations in 1) Greek, 2) Greek and Roman Civilization, 3) Classical Archaeology, and 4) Latin.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Works by major classical authors are purchased in the standard editions. The Libraries also collect modern works of criticism and interpretation as well as works in English about Greek and Roman mythology, religion, law, literature, and history. The art, history, and archaeology of Cyprus are of particular interest. Reports of archaeological expeditions are regularly purchased, e.g. the Swedish Expedition to Cyprus, the British School at Athens, and the Ecole Française d'Athènes.

Languages: Works of major and minor Greek and Latin authors are purchased in the original languages, and in English translation. Works of criticism, history, and analysis are purchased principally in English and selectively other modern languages.

Geographical Areas: The Libraries buy works covering the areas of Alexander's Empire and the Roman Empire, with emphasis on Athens, Attica, and Cyprus for Greek archaeology. For Roman archaeology, Rome, Italy, and the eastern and the western provinces (including Britain) are covered. Ancient Byzantium is also included.

Chronological Periods: Original works from the 8th century B.C. to the 4th century A.D. in Greek, and from early classical to medieval Latin are selectively acquired; works on archaeology cover the Aegean Bronze Age, prehistoric Rome and Italy, and ancient Egypt.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: The Univeristy Libraries collect monographs (including monographic series), reference materials, periodicals, proceedings of conferences, and multimedia material for which the Libraries maintain hardware (including microforms, CD-ROMs, videocassettes, DVDs, computer software, and sound recordings).

Virtual collections of electronic resources available from the World Wide Web by way of the University Libraries' home page are maintained and regularly augmented. These collections include electronic journals and newspapers, reference sources, indexing and abstracting services, and relevant Web sites.

Types of Materials Excluded: The Libraries do not collect school or college textbooks, materials available from the Center for Research Libraries or through other specific resource sharing agreements, collections of previously published articles, or multimedia materials for which the Libraries do not maintain hardware. Books offering popular treatments, and certain formats (including newsletters, loose-leaf materials, and monographs having fewer than 100 pages) are ordinarily excluded, although these may be selectively acquired under special circumstances. Doctoral dissertations written for degrees granted by institutions other than the University at Albany are customarily excluded, but may be ordered upon faculty request.

Interdisciplinary Factors: There is overlap between the materials purchased for the department's programs in classical civilization and archaeology with the programs in philosophy, Judaic studies, art history, history, and anthropology, and teacher education. Therefore, materials and online services purchased to support these programs provide support for the Classics programs as well.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

The Libraries collect materials for Classics at the Advanced Instructional Support Level (Level 3 C), as defined by the Research Libraries Group and the American Library Association. This level provides support for undergraduate courses and graduate courses at the Master's level.

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

The University Libraries make outside resources available to the students and faculty of this department. This is done through interlibrary borrowing, resource sharing agreements, electronic access, and library consortia that were established to facilitate sharing of resources.

Interlibrary Loan and Resource Sharing Agreements. The four University Centers of the SUNY system (Albany, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook) along with Syracuse University have established Empire Express for facilitating interlibrary loans. SUNY Buffalo collects comprehensively in classics and classical archaeology. Thus, books and articles on these subjects can be obtained readily through interlibrary loan.

Students and faculty also have on-site access and borrowing privileges in selected member libraries of the Capital District Library Council and at the New York State Library.

Electronic Access to Information and Resources.

The University Libraries provide access to several relevant online bibliographic indexes and databases of interest to the students and faculty of this department. The research guide ELECTRONIC RESOURCES FOR CLASSICS: HOW TO FIND JOURNAL LITERATURE provides descriptive annotations and links to these electronic indexes and databases.

At present, numerous useful journals in the humanities and social sciences are available electronically in full text.

Other information needs can be filled via the Internet electronic communication links on the Libraries' Web site. The subject page for Classics facilitates faculty and student access to useful Internet resources.

Memberships in Library Consortia. The University Libraries maintain a membership in the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), a consortium of North American universities, colleges, and independent research libraries. The consortium acquires and preserves traditional and digital resources for research and teaching and makes them available to member institutions through interlibrary loan and electronic delivery. CRL collects and provides rapid access to expensive and unusual materials that are not used often enough to warrant purchase by individual libraries. Through its "Demand Purchase Policy" the Center will try to acquire titles requested by patrons through a member interlibrary loan office. Among such materials are doctoral dissertations written for institutions outside the USA and Canada. Descriptions of CRL's collections and policies may be found on the Center's Web site.

VI. Notes

Some core materials to support the programs of this department are acquired through an approval and notification plan with Blackwell North America which provides materials from the US and UK using subject profiles and relevant non-subject parameters as selection criteria. Books requested by students, faculty members, and the Classics Subject Librarian are also ordered to provide additional support for the programs and research needs of this department.

The department is focusing increasingly on Cyprus and its archaeological sites. Effort is made to build a collection encompassing all perspectives on ancient Cyprus culture. This emphasis has necessitated intensive purchasing of materials about Cyprus.  The Libraries receive donated material from organizations in Cyprus on an irregular basis. The material may be placed in the circulating collection or in the Cyprus Room (LI320). In the latter case, it does not appear in the Libraries' online catalog.

In the 1980's and 1990's, fiscal restrictions and escalating costs for library materials that often exceeded the rate of overall monetary inflation made it impossible to continue to build the collections at the same level as during the 1960's and 1970's. The strength of the periodical collection, which experienced cutbacks, was affected more than that of the book collection as a consequence of steeply rising prices. Recently, however, many additional journals have been made available in electronic format via the Internet. Along with this capability and various resource sharing arrangements, the Libraries are able to provide almost all of the research materials sought by faculty and students in this department.

Standing orders and memberships supplement the above means of acquisition in order to obtain serial publications and parts of sets as soon as they are published. The institution of new standing orders was curtailed in the 1980's and 1990's and some of the existing standing orders were cut during this period, but many publications relevant to the Classics programs are still received this way as well as through memberships in professional associations. Standing orders include the excavation reports of the British School at Athens, L'Ecole Française d'Athènes, and the Swedish Expedition to Cyprus.

Because of fiscal conditions mentioned above, the institution of new subscriptions to periodicals in traditional print format has been rare since 1980 across all disciplines. Additionally, subscriptions to some less frequently used journals were cancelled in the 1980's and 1990's. The University Libraries have found and continue to seek ways to overcome the problems posed by this situation, e.g. reliance on interlibrary loan and other resource sharing arrangements and the provision of access to electronic journals by way of the Internet.

Selection Responsibilities for Overlapping Subject Areas: Negotiations between the Classics Subject Librarian and other subject librarians regarding areas of overlap may occur occasionally. In general, titles dealing with ancient history and titles about classical mythology are purchased by the Classics Subject Librarian and titles dealing with ancient religions are purchased by the Subject Librarian for Religious Studies. Materials for the teacher education program are purchased by the Subject Librarian for Educational Theory and Practice. Books for the Reference collection are ordered by the Subject Librarian for Reference who welcomes recommendations from the Subject Librarian for Classical Studies.

The Interactive Media Center is separately funded. Subject librarians' and faculty members' requests for non-interactive media are usually funded through program-based annual allocations.

Revised September 2004

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