Collection Development Policy

BARD GRADUATE CENTER LIBRARY

2014 COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT POLICY

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

II. MISSION OF THE LIBRARY

III. COLLECTING GUIDELINES

  • Methods and Criteria
  • Subject Matter Collected
  • Geographic Scope
  • Languages
  • Multiple Copies
  • Editions and Reprints  

 

IV. MATERIALS COLLECTED: PRINT FORMATS

  • Reference Sources
  • Monographs and General Books
  • Collection and Exhibition Catalogues
  • Sale Catalogues
  • Dissertations
  • Periodicals

 

V. MATERIALS COLLECTED: DIGITAL AND OTHER FORMATS

  • Research Databases
  • E-books
  • E-periodicals
  • Video
  • Microforms and CD-ROMs

 

VI. MATERIALS COLLECTED: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

  • Rare Books and Periodicals
  • Ephemera
  • Bard Graduate Center Theses
  • Bard Graduate Center Publications

 

VII. DE-ACCESSIONING

VIII. GIFTS AND DONATIONS


 

I.             INTRODUCTION

The Bard Graduate Center: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture is a graduate research institute of Bard College that opened in New York City in 1993. Today the BGC offers Degree Programs that lead to the MA and PhD in the history of the decorative arts, design history, and material culture studies; a Research Institute that has aimed to become the leading institute for the study of the cultural history of the material world; and a Gallery that presents four exhibitions a year curated by members ofthe faculty, staff, or curatorial consultants with specialized expertise.

 

 

II.           MISSION OF THE LIBRARY

The Bard Graduate Center Library is committed to supporting the research and informational needs of the students, faculty, and staff of the BGC’s Degree Programs, Research Institute, and Gallery. To this end, the Library collects materials that support the curriculum and research interests of its constituencies. The Library also serves, by appointment, outside researchers who demonstrate a need to use our collections.

 

 

III.          COLLECTING GUIDELINES

Methods and Criteria

The Library acquires material through purchase, exchange, and donation. The majority of the acquisition decisions are made by the Library’s professional staff.  Librarians rely on published reviews in scholarly journals, specialized vendor and publisher’s catalogs, and newsletters of professional organizations to inform their purchasing decisions. The Library also relies upon the expertise of faculty members and scholars in determining what to acquire. Maintaining currency in the Library’s core subject areas is the top priority. The basic criteria for acquisitions are as follows:

  1. Relevance to the BGC teaching curriculum and the research interests of BGC Degree Programs, Research Institute, and Gallery, and to the research interests of BGC students, faculty, and staff.
  2. Appropriateness to the subject areas and material types collected by the Library.
  3. Scholarly content and relevance to graduate-level study, and/or inclusion of high-quality images of difficult to find objects.

 

Subject Matter Collected

The Library collects printed and electronic materials to facilitate research in the five main concentrations offered by the Degree Programs:

  • New York and American Material Culture
  • Modern Design History
  • Early Modern Europe
  • History and Theory of Museums
  • Comparative Medieval Material Culture (China, Islam, Europe)
  • Archaeology, Anthropology, and Material Culture
  • Other areas such as those studied in the doctoral program’s field concentrations

 

Other subjects collected include those studied in the doctoral program's field concentrations, those supported by the Research Institute, and those presented in the Gallery.

Geographic Scope

The geographic scope of the collection similarly reflects the focus of the Degree Programs and Gallery, with the United States, Europe, and China being of primary interest.

Languages

The majority of our collection is comprised of works in English and major Western European languages; however, the Library does not exclude publications by reason of language. For publications available in English as well as another language, preference is given to the English, even if the first instance of publication is in the foreign language. Translations are not automatically acquired for books already cataloged in another language. For books published in languages known to few of the Library’s users, an effort is made to acquire them with English summaries.

Multiple Copies

The Library generally acquires one copy of any given publication, with the following exceptions: three copies of BGC exhibition catalogues and other BGC publications, two copies of publications by BGC faculty members, duplicate copies of core material that is regularly put on course reserve, and duplicate copies of some frequently used reference titles.

Editions and Reprints

The Library generally attempts to acquire the latest edition of a given title, unless a specific edition is called for. New editions are acquired when they include significant changes or additions. Depending on the title, we will retain the previous edition if it contains important historical content. To broaden access to our collections, we make efforts to acquire e-book versions of the titles held in our print collections when they are available.

 

 

IV.          MATERIALS COLLECTED: PRINT FORMATS

Reference Materials

The Library strives to collect comprehensively reference titles in the areas of decorative arts, design history, and material culture, and selectively to collect titles in other complementary areas of the humanities. Materials include, but are not limited to, encyclopedias, dictionaries, indices for provenance and collection history research, and bibliographies.

Monographs and General Books

The Library makes every effort to acquire relevant titles that fall within the parameters of its collecting scope. In general, books are chosen for their scholarly content and/or for their publication of high quality images of little reproduced or newly restored objects. The Library also makes a point of collecting selected books by visitors invited to lecture or speak at the BGC.

Hardcover editions are usually purchased over paperbacks for their durability.  A concerted effort is made to back-buy material in our core areas, which includes searching for out-of-print and non-current books.

In cases when there are no available printed copies of patron-requested titles, and when free, legal electronic copies of books exist (such as through Google Books or Project Gutenberg), users are directed to those resources. The Library does not support copyright infringement or piracy, and will not purchase unauthorized printed editions of any works.

Collection and Exhibition Catalogues

The Library acquires catalogues of exhibitions held in museums around the world.  English-language editions are preferable when available.  Priority is given to museums whose primary mandate is the decorative arts, design history, and material culture.           

Auction and Sale Catalogues

The Library collects catalogues from auctions, dealers, and fairs when they document offerings in the decorative arts, design, and material culture. Most sale catalogues are acquired through donation; however, we actively purchase requested sale catalogues and receive current Christie’s catalogues through exchange. The Library primarily collects catalogues from major international auction houses and smaller regional auction houses in the United States and Europe whose contents conform to the Library’s overall collecting guidelines.

Dissertations

The Library is the official repository for BGC qualifying papers, master’s theses, and doctoral dissertations. Other theses and dissertations are acquired, both published and unpublished, from foreign and domestic universities when the content represents a contribution useful to our core users. 

Periodicals

In general, the periodical titles acquired by the Library correspond to the stated scope of the collecting policy. Where possible, we maintain complete runs of the print periodical titles we collect, and strive to fill in missing back issues through purchase, donation, and exchange with other libraries whenever they are available. Single issues of periodicals not otherwise collected by the Library are generally cataloged individually and shelved in the monograph stacks. In cases where the full-text of a non-core journal is available in a stable electronic format (such as JSTOR), we will not collect the print edition.

 

 

V.           MATERIALS COLLECTED: DIGITAL AND OTHER FORMATS    

Research Databases

The Library subscribes to specialized databases that support our users’ research in the decorative arts, design history, and material culture, and offers access to the many additional databases subscribed to by the Bard College Libraries. In general, the research databases acquired by the Library correspond to the stated scope of the collecting policy.

E-books

The Library acquires relevant e-book titles that fall within the parameters of its collecting scope. In addition, the Library’s users may access the electronic books available to Bard College library patrons, and vice versa.

In general, books are chosen for their scholarly content in non- image-heavy subjects. To broaden access to our collections, we make efforts to acquire e-book versions of the titles held in our print collections when they are available. We will always purchase full print versions of titles whose e-book versions lack images or other content due to copyright restrictions.

In cases when there are no available printed copies of patron-requested titles, and when free, legal electronic copies of books exist (such as through Google Books or Project Gutenberg), users are directed to those resources. The Library does not support copyright infringement or piracy, and will not purchase unauthorized printed editions of any works.

E-periodicals

The Library provides access to electronic versions of periodical titles through TrueSerials, a database that aggregates both our print and electronic periodical holdings. Through TrueSerials, users can access the online editions of journals the Library subscribes to as well as those made available by our subscription resources (such as JSTOR and Project Muse) and others that are freely available online (such as in Internet Archive and Open Access). The Library actively pursues electronic periodical titles, particularly in areas that complement the BGC’s main research areas.

Video

The Library maintains a small collection of VHS and DVD titles that support the teaching curriculum. The majority of these titles have been acquired by gift and the Library does not actively collect these media, although we will purchase relevant titles that come to our attention.

Microforms and CD-ROMs

The Library acquires microforms of relevant titles and collections when the documents are not readily or affordably available in other formats. We maintain a small collection of material published in CD-ROM, but we no longer actively collect in this format.

 

 

VI.          MATERIALS COLLECTED: SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Rare Books and Periodicals

The Library does not actively seek out rare books or periodicals as part of our collecting plan. However, in the course of supporting the research and instructional needs of the BGC, the Library sometimes acquires rare material, which is preserved and cared for in Special Collections. The Library continues to add to this collection when items in our collecting areas become available for purchase or through donation.

Strengths among the rare books and periodicals include nineteenth and early twentieth century books on design and decoration, early European and American art and design journals, domestic manuals, and materials pertaining to various World’s Fairs and Expositions.

Ephemera

Over the course of its collecting, the Library has accrued various groups of ephemera encompassing materials such as pamphlets, gallery flyers and exhibition cards, contemporary trade catalogues, and other small items. These are maintained in vertical file storage in Special Collections.

Bard Graduate Center Theses

The Library serves as the depository for all doctoral dissertations, master’s theses, and qualifying papers submitted in partial fulfillment of BGC degree requirements. The theses are bound and housed in Special Collections for consultation on-site only; reproductions are not permitted, and the theses are not made available digitally or via interlibrary loan.

Bard Graduate Center Publications

In addition to copies in the regular stacks, the Library maintains a discreet copy in Special Collections of each of the BGC’s exhibition catalogues; each issue of the BGC’s journals, Studies in the History of the Decorative Arts and West 86th; and other BGC publications such as those in the Cultural Histories of the Material World series.

The BGC does not yet maintain an institutional archive, so, when able, the Library also collects and retains copies of more ephemeral BGC publications, such as booklets on the Gallery’s Education programs, fundraising auction catalogues, and materials related to BGC symposia and other Research Institute initiatives.

 

 

VI.       DE-ACCESSIONING

The Library may de-accession material if it is a duplicate of an item already owned by the Library, with the exception of heavily used material. Some duplicate material will be selected for inclusion in the Bard Hall Study Center’s collection.

The Library may also de-accession material if it is in a category no longer deemed relevant to existing or prospective components of the collections; if it is superseded by a newer, expanded edition; or if it contains out-of-date information.

 

 

VII.      GIFTS AND DONATIONS

The Library accepts unrestricted gifts and donations of books, catalogues, and periodicals. In all cases, the Library reserves the right to accept or reject gifts and donations according to the collection development guidelines. Accepted items are generally integrated into the collections. The Library also reserves the right to dispose of unwanted materials by sale or donation to other collections. In cases of unique materials, the Library will make acquisitions decisions in consultation with appropriate faculty members.

All gifts and donations will be acknowledged, and the donor will be asked to sign a deed of gift form that will include a statement of these policies and procedures. A list of the gifts and donations will be made in as much detail as necessary, and this list, along with the acknowledgment letter, the release form, and any other paperwork will be filed with the BGC’s development department. No appraisals will be made for any purpose.


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