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Types of Materials

Introduction to the Boston College Libraries Collections


Books collected for the Boston College Libraries span virtually all subjects, time periods, and a vast array of publishers.  Titles are purchased to serve the current and future needs of the Boston College community

Many books are ordered on a title-by-title basis based on information from

  • Recommendations received from library users
  • Book reviews
  • Publisher catalogs and notices, and recommendations received from library users.  

Other books are acquired by the Libraries through approval plans with domestic and foreign vendors. These approval plan systems display newly-published books matching profiles by subject, publisher, treatment level (e.g., basic or advanced), and other criteria which have been chosen by librarians to fit the subject areas researched and taught at Boston College.

Our book collection, exceeding 3 million print titles, includes an expanding collection of electronic books.  Ebooks, often offering multiple user access, remote availability 24/7, full-text searching, and, sometimes, enhanced media content, bring enriched content and access to users. We are adding electronic books with careful attention to scholarly needs and user preferences.




We collect print and electronic scholarly journals, popular magazines, and newspapers which support teaching and research at Boston College.  The Libraries gain access to electronic periodicals in three major ways:

  • From the publishers or publisher collections via subscription.
  • From databases which include access to full text articles.
  • From publishers offering open access and listed in DOAJ, the Directory of Open Access Journals.


We subscribe to and purchase a large number of databases. All are intended to support the research and teaching needs of students, faculty and staff here. The databases' range of content is broad: disciplinary specific, interdisciplinary, specialized as well as general. Formats include full-text, citation, image, audio, video, and data/numeric.

As databases tend to be expensive, they are usually trialed before a purchase or subscription decision is made. We almost always subscribe to the electronic format following the same guidelines used for any electronic selection.  We carefully monitors use and employ usage data when making annual renewal decisions.

Any member of the BC community may initiate requests for new databases by contacting a Subject Librarian.