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Social Work Portal


Collection Development Policy

Starting point for Social Work Research

Social Work Collection

The SWL serves the needs of the Boston College School of Social Work, as well as the related needs of researchers and students in the other social sciences. The Social Work Library bibliographers select materials based on user requests, curricular needs and knowledge of the discipline. The bibliographers collaborate with the School of Social Work community and purchase requests by faculty and graduate students whenever possible.

In alignment with the School of Social Work's commitment to training students and scholars to serve diverse populations, the Social Work Library pays close attention to materials on historically marginalized groups, including women, racial minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community.

Disciplinary Scope and Collecting Emphases

Teaching and research support for faculty and grad students and curricular support for graduate students are the primary goals. Social work as a discipline cuts across many subject areas including but not limited to:

  • behavioral and developmental sciences
  • psychoanalysis
  • neurosciences
  • clinical psychology
  • social psychology
  • sociology
  • environmental science
  • business
  • ministry
  • epidemiology
  • political science
  • biology
  • allied health
  • culture studies

The depth and breadth of selected disciplinary areas collected depends on the School of Social Work’s areas of research and curricular needs.

Format Selection

Format decisions follow the General Collection Development Policy. We do consider preferences of patrons, curricular needs, and other factors.

  • Journals are purchased with perpetual, electronic access whenever possible. Online backfiles are purchased to augment available content or replace print versions.
  • Monographs are preferably purchased as e-books to support wider access. Exceptions may be made at individual user request.
  • Bibliographic databases or indexes are exclusively purchased in electronic format and purchased for the widest possible audience.
  • Data resources are purchased to serve the School of Social Work community or the broader BC community whenever possible.


The majority of selections are for English language material. Spanish language materials are acquired regularly as well. Acquisitions in other languages are made based on faculty request or a specific need.


Selection focuses on current scholarship, but retrospective acquisitions are made following changes to the curriculum or other specific needs.

Retention of Materials

Retention follows the General Collection Development Policy.

Acceptance of Gifts

Gifts are accepted according to the General Gifts Policy.