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Jesus Alonso Regalado, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The history collection supports an undergraduate degree program, a Master of Arts degree, a Certificate of Advanced Study in History, a Doctor of Philosophy degree, and faculty research. In addition, it also helps support interdisciplinary programs such as social studies, liberal studies, and the area studies programs. In this statement "history" is taken to mean political, economic, social, military and intellectual history, and biography. Special topical areas such as the history of education, history of religion, and history of literature may be touched upon incidentally but are systematically addressed in other collection development policy statements.

On the M.A. level, the History Department offers concentrations in United States history, modern European history, local and regional history, Latin American history, African history, Asian history, international history, public policy, gender and society, culture and society, work and society, and social/economic history. The program leading to the Certificate of Advanced Study in Public History has three areas of emphasis: historical agency studies, historical records administration, and history and public policy. The Ph.D. program offers concentrations in public policy, history, international history, society and work, society and gender, and society and culture.

An effort is made to build collections in most of these areas on at least the Instructional Support Level. Fiscal resources simply cannot support Research Level collections in many areas. However, through the Capital District Direct Access Program, which allows access to collections at other institutions in the Capital District, and Interlibrary Loan, the Library is able to provide Research Level support in all of the above areas of concentration.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: The primary language of the collection is English; in the case of European history, French and German are collected selectively. Materials in the Slavic languages are acquired by the Slavic Studies Subject Librarian; works in Spanish and Portuguese are selected by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Subject Librarian. Items in other languages are acquired on a very selective basis.

Geographical Areas: Areas of key importance are the United States, Great Britain, Europe and Eastern Europe. Latin American and African materials are generally collected by the Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Africana Studies Subject Librarians. Materials on South Asia and the Far East are acquired by both the History and the Asian Studies and East Asian Studies Subject Librarians. All other geographical areas are covered on a very selective basis.

Chronological Periods: No chronological periods are excluded, though ancient history is collected under the rubric of classics. Emphasis is placed on the seventeenth century until the present; materials on the medieval and renaissance periods are acquired more selectively.

Works dealing with the current political administration of the United States are acquired by the Political Science Subject Librarian; those dealing with previous administrations are acquired by the History Subject Librarian.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: Monographs and serials comprise the bulk of history acquisitions. Other important materials include government documents, association and society publications, and historical atlases. Dissertations, newsletters, sound recordings, slides and videorecordings are acquired on a very selective basis, usually in support of specialized, clearly defined areas. Microforms are collected as appropriate. Many of the relevant U.S. government documents are selected by the Government Documents Subject Librarian and housed in the Government Documents area.

Major historical reference works -- indexes, library catalogs, bibliographies, biographical encyclopedias, atlases, etc. -- are housed in the Reference area of the Library. General works are normally selected by the Reference Subject Librarian; specialized reference works are selected under the guidelines of the History collection development policy.

Types of Materials Excluded: No attempt is made to collect basic textbooks. Collections of articles which have been previously published elsewhere are acquired only on a very selective basis. Works on military history are collected only when they deal with the social or political aspects of military history; descriptions of battles or campaigns, regimental histories, and works on military technology are generally not collected.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

Medieval and Renaissance Europe
(including Russia)
Instructional Support Level,
Modern Europe
(including Russia)
Instructional Support Level,
Great Britain Instructional Support Level, Advanced
Middle East Basic Information Level
United States Instructional Support Level, Advanced
New York State
and Local History
Instructional Support Level,
Asia Instructional Support Level, Basic

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

It should be remembered that publications of interest to historians which deal with particular geographical areas are collected in accordance with other collection development policy guidelines, e.g., Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Asian Studies, and Africana Studies. Furthermore, there is considerable overlap between "history" and other disciplines such as political science, economics, religion, women's studies, anthropology, and various ethnic studies programs. Other statements, therefore, should be read in conjunction with this one to obtain a broad overview of materials collected in support of teaching and research in the field of history. In addition, the University Libraries' history collections are both complemented and supplemented by the collections of the New York State Library which are particularly strong in New York State and local history, the Albany Institute of History and Art which is also strong in local history, Siena College, which has a strong military history collection, and the collections of other colleges and institutions in the area.

December 2003

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