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Collection Development for History in the Boston College Libraries

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Scope and Collecting Emphases

This guide touches on the core collection aspects for history at Boston College.

Guide to the History Collections

This collection serves the needs of the Boston College History Department, as well as history-related needs of researchers and students across the College. The History Bibliographer selects materials based on user requests, curricular needs and knowledge of the discipline. The bibliographer collaborates with the faculty library liaison appointed by the department and acts on purchase requests by faculty and graduate students whenever possible.

Disciplinary Scope and Collecting Emphases

This collection spans all areas of history acknowledged within the Library of Congress (C, D, E, and F) as well as within other call number ranges as needed.  

Given the research interests of the History Department, some of the major current collection points includes geographic focuses such as:

  • North American history 
  • Africa and African Diaspora
  • Asian history with a focus on China, Japan, and Korea
  • Latin American history 
  • Middle East and North Africa

Temporal focuses in:

  • Medieval and Renaissance History
  • Early modern history 
  • 19th and 20th century history

Methodological focuses such as:

  • Environmental History 
  • Historical Archeology
  • History of Gender and Sexuality 
  • History of Science and Medicine
  • Migration History and Border Studies

For a more complete list with sub-lists on the corresponding subpages, see the Libraries' History Research Guide

Materials are also purchased to support all areas of the curriculum.

Collaborative interdisciplinary relationships are seen particularly with disciplines such as Political Science as well as the studies programs including Asian Studies, Gender Studies, Islamic Studies, and Latin American Studies. 

Selection favors materials from high quality scholarly publishers, regardless of country of origin or location of research. To meet scholarship needs, the bibliographer purchases broadly from the major academic publishing houses, including Cambridge and Oxford University Presses; University of Toronto and University of Montreal Presses; Harvard and Princeton University Presses; Duke University and UNC Presses; University of California University of Hawai’i, and University of Washington Presses; Brill, Palgrave MacMillian, and Routledge; as well as other publishers as relevant. 

For popular history, this collection focuses both on texts written by historians for a popular audience (from publishers like Penguin) as well as graphic and visual materials. Graphic material primarily takes the form of comics (Oxford University Press, Boom Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and more) on historical topics (includes historical fiction and graphic histories). 

For primary source collections, acquisition focuses on faculty research and teaching interests. These collections can be purchased in digital format or as physical documents when in connection with Burns Library. Sources for digital collections include Gale, Proquest, the Center for Research Libraries (often through Readex), among others. The bibliographer should also make note of open source collections particularly those made available by state and university libraries and archives.