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Department of Political Science

R. Irving, Subject Librarian

I. General Purpose

The political science collection supports undergraduate and graduate teaching and research through the Ph.D. level, as well as individual faculty research. Degree programs include the B.A., M.A., combined B.A.-M.A., and Ph.D. in Political Science. The Political Science faculty and curricula are organized according to the following areas of concentration: American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Politics, Political Theory, Public Policy and Public Law. The Department of Political Science and the Department of Public Administration and Policy comprise the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy. The Center for Legislative Development, Center for Women in Government & Civil Society , Center for Policy Research, Center for Technology in Government, and Intergovernmental Solutions Program, are affiliated with the Rockefeller College. Some materials are acquired to support the activities of these research units. The department works closely with the Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government. Although it is not part of the University Libraries' mission to support the specific research needs of the Rockefeller Institute, researchers at the Institute make use of the University Libraries' collections.

II. Subject and Language Modifiers

Languages: The primary language is English though materials in Slavic languages, and to a lesser extent materials in other European languages, are collected. Almost all foreign language materials are selected by the appropriate language specialists (Subject Librarians).

Geographical Areas: Materials dealing with the United States are of principal concern. Materials pertaining to Western Europe, Eastern Europe, countries emerging from the former Soviet Union, Latin America, Africa, China, Pakistan, and India are collected at lower levels. Much of the collection concerning Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the countries emerging from the former Soviet Union are selected by subject librarians with collection development responsibilities for those geographic areas. Significant works on other countries or geographic areas may be selected.

Chronological Periods: Emphasis is on the acquisition of contemporary materials. The History Subject Librarian selects most materials dealing with the historical treatment of politics and government. In some areas, such as political theory, there are no date restrictions.

III. Description of Materials Collected

Types of Materials Collected: Monographs and serials comprise the bulk of acquisitions in support of political science. Other important materials include government documents of the United States (municipal through federal) and the United Nations, association and society publications, newspapers, maps, and atlases. The University Library is a selective depository for federal government publications. Dissertations, newsletters, and audiovisual materials are acquired on a highly selective basis. Microform collections are added as appropriate. The ASI Microfiche Collection includes non-depository federal documents and the Major Studies and Issue Briefs of the Congressional Research Service is available on microform.

Major political science reference works -- indexes, bibliographies, encyclopedias, atlases, handbooks, etc. -- are housed in the Reference area of either the University Library or Dewey Library and are selected by the Reference Subject Librarians for the University Library and the Dewey Library. Many of the major indexing/abstracting sources such as PAIS, International Political Science Abstracts, and International Bibliography of the Social Sciences are available electronically and can be accessed from off-campus. More specialized reference works may be selected by the Subject Librarian for Political Science and are generally kept in the circulating collection.

The University Libraries subscribe to Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO), LexisNexis Academic, LexisNexis Congressional, LexisNexis State Capital, and Westlaw Campus, electronic databases which provide access to the full-text of primary and secondary materials of interest to political science researchers.

Types of Materials Excluded: No attempt is made to collect introductory textbooks or casebooks.

Interdisciplinary Factors: However one defines "political science," there is considerable overlap with history, urban and regional studies, economics, public administration, and various other strands of the social and behavioral sciences. Other statements should be read in conjunction with this one in order to acquire a reasonable understanding of materials collected in support of political science. The relationship between political science and public administration is a special case. As the two departments that make up the College of Public Affairs and Policy, Political Science and Public Administration have closely related academic needs and interests. It is impossible to describe with precision the collection development profile for one without reference to the other. In addition, the collection development statements for government documents, the law collection at Dewey, and the law collection at the main University Library are pertinent to any description of the "political science" collection.

IV. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]

American Politics
Research Level
Comparative Politics
JLs, JNs, JQs
>Advanced Study or Instructional
Support Level
International Politics
JX, UA, HF 1370, E 870
>Advanced Study or Instructional
Support Level
Political Theory
Advanced Study or Instructional
Support Level
Public Policy and Public Law
H 97, K, KF
>Advanced Study or Instructional
Support Level

V. Other Significant Collections and Resource Sharing

A portion of the coordinated collection development fund received by the University Libraries is designated for the acquisition of materials to support public policy research. Materials purchased with these funds may support the research efforts of students and faculty within the Department of Political Science. The New York State Library has extensive holdings in the area of political science, especially primary and secondary documents dealing with New York State government.

October 2003

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