Philosophy Collection Development Policy

I. Academic Programs Served

A. The main purpose of the philosophy collection is to support current and anticipated research and teaching needs of the Department of Philosophy and its faculty and students, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Because scholastic research is exhibiting greater interdisciplinary characteristics, related disciplines such as religious studies will also be reflected in collection development and collection management decisions for this area.

B. The Department of Philosophy offers a major program leading to a B.A. degree as well as offering a graduate program leading to the M.A. degree. These programs are designed to prepare students for teaching and research in philosophy and for doctoral-level graduate work in philosophy. In addition, for students who elect not to pursue academic careers, these programs also provide a broad liberal arts background emphasizing strong critical, analytical, and writing skills that are prerequisites for careers in government and industry.

II. Clientele Served

A-B. The collection aims to serve primarily the students and faculty in the Department of Philosophy. Faculty and students in other university departments also have specific interests in one or more fields of philosophy. Those departments include, but are by no means limited to English (literature and linguistics), Foreign Languages, History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, Women’s Studies, amongst others.

III. General Collection Policy Considerations

A. Languages collected; languages exclusions: English is the primary language of the collection. Materials in foreign languages will be collected extensively. Special emphasis is on Western languages, particularly German, French, Italian and Spanish. Works in ancient Greek and Latin may be purchased both in the original and in the English translation. For major philosophers of special importance to the Department (e.g. Aristotle, Plato, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant) non-English, especially critical editions, will be collected selectively. Monographs published originally in languages other than those mentioned above will ordinarily be purchased only when translated into English. However, needed titles in any language may be acquired if the budget allows.

B. Chronological emphases: There are no chronological limitations for philosophical thought. Therefore, the Library acquires materials from ancient to modern philosophy.

C. Geographical limitations or priorities; exclusions: Generally, there are no geographical areas excluded from the subject-matter of philosophy. Emphasis is on works of Western philosophers (Russians included) which are collected extensively. Writings of non-Western philosophers (especially Indian, Chinese, African) will be acquired selectively according to the teaching or research emphasis in the Department of Philosophy. A growing interest in Non-western philosophies within the academic community, for example, the growing interest and emphasis on Islam and its philosophical and historical roots, as well as its diverse interpretations, will be taken into consideration by selectively acquiring relevant materials.

D. Formats of material collected; formats excluded: Material collected will consist primarily of monographic and periodical publications with special emphasis on serials. It will also include reference materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, directories, abstracts, etc. Proceedings of philosophical congresses will be acquired selectively in appropriate format. Works written on a popular level as well as lower level textbooks normally will not be sought. Microforms or reprints will be acquired mainly if the original publication is unavailable or prohibitively expensive. Duplicate copies of frequently used materials are of importance and will be acquired if need is demonstrated. Undergraduate and graduate textbooks will not be purchased. Pamphlets and clippings are excluded.

E. Publication dates of materials collected: Current and non-current materials are acquired in the discipline of philosophy with emphasis on current collecting. With non-current publications, microforms or reprints will be sought in cases when original printings are not available or priced too high.

IV. Philosophy Collecting Levels

  • Subject: Philosophy (general)
    LC Class(es): B 1 -108
  • Subject: History - Ancient
    LC Class(es): B 108 - 708
  • Subject: History- Medieval
    LC Class(es): B 720 - 765
  • Subject: History- Renaissance
    LC Class(es): B 770 - 785
  • Subject: History- Modern
    LC Class(es): B 790 - 5739
  • Subject: Logic
    LC Class(es): BC 1 - 199
  • Subject: Speculative Philosophy
    LC Class(es): BD 1 - 701
  • Subject: Aesthetics
    LC Class(es): BH 1 -301
  • Subject: Ethics
    LC Class(es): BJ 1 -2195
  • Subject: Philosophy of Religion
    LC Class(es): BD 573, BL 51
  • Subject: Judaism
    LC Class(es): BM 1 -990
  • Subject: Islam
    LC Class(es): BP 1 - 610
  • Subject: Buddhism
    LC Class(es): BQ 1 - 9800
  • Subject: Christianity
    LC Class(es): BR 1 -1725
  • Philosophy- relation to other disciplines 516 volumes 
    CB 19; D 16.7, 16.8, 16.9; HB 72; JA 71; PN 49; Q 174; Q 174.8

V. Other Resources

A. Several library resources for philosophy are available in the Microforms Department of Founders Memorial Library. The following microfilm sets may serve as examples: The Charles S. Peirce papers; Harvard University Photographic Department, Widener Library, 1966. (33 reels). Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Papers. Cornell University, Photo Science Studios, 1968. (28 reels).

B. Philosophy resources not available at NIU Libraries can usually be obtained through the Interlibrary Loan Service in Founders Memorial Library.

VI. Special Remarks

A. Since this policy was last updated there has been a dramatic change in the way scholarship and research is packaged and made available to students and the professional research community. The large expansion and availability of resources in electronic format has greatly enhanced the ability to locate and access materials, while also presenting challenges, primarily fiscal, regarding collection development and collection management decisions. Feedback related to the acquisition of and licensed access to electronic databases and resources will be sought from the department, but all decisions will necessarily be determined by need and budgetary guidelines.

Contact Us

Dean Fred Barnhart

Phone: (815) 753-1094

Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
217 Normal Rd
DeKalb, IL 60115-2828

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