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Philosophy Library Collection Development Policy

1. Purpose of the Collection

The Casimir Lewy Library is the primary source of printed and electronic material needed for the study and teaching of philosophy and related subjects in Cambridge. The primary focus is on resources required for undergraduate and taught graduate courses, with supplementary material complementing these teaching areas, and research-level material to serve graduate needs and the wider academic community. The library collection extends well beyond philosophy itself to cover the interdisciplinary subjects related to philosophy taught and researched in the University.

2. Aim of the Collection Development Policy

2.1. The aim of the Collection Development Policy is to provide a framework for the maintenance and development of the Casimir Lewy Library's collections, to indicate priorities, to establish selection criteria for the subjects, and to create a consistent and coherent basis for the future development of the collection.

3. Scope of the Collection Development Policy

3.1 The policy is an inclusive statement of aims. Implementation is dependent on the availability of resources.

3.2 The policy provides guidance to staff engaged in selection. It is not exhaustive in its provisions and not every item considered for acquisition will be unambiguously included or excluded by the policy. In the past much has depended on an individual's knowledge, experience, common sense or intuition and this will continue to be so. The collection development policy complements these qualities.

3.3 It is intended to provide information to staff, suppliers and to readers about the principles on which the collections are acquired, to create an awareness of the objectives and to form the basis for future developments and modifications as circumstances require.

4. Book selection and recommendations

4.1. New titles are selected by the Librarian, based on the Faculty official and unofficial reading lists. The Librarian also selects and buys books published by the major British and American publishers in the field of philosophy and related subjects. The Librarian prepares lists of possible titles published by less mainstream publishers for consideration by subject specialists in the Faculty.

4.2. Recommendations for books are automatically accepted if they are made by teaching members of the Faculty or if they are clearly relevant to the teaching of the tripos. Recommendations for very expensive items are considered and accepted if funds are available and if they are believed to be essential and a long term enhancement of the collection.

4.3. Books recommended by undergraduates are accepted if they are within the mainstream of the subject and are published by and written by reputable scholars. Books recommended by students, based on suggestions made by lecturers during lectures or seminars are also accepted.

4.4. Books recommended by graduate students are accepted if they are relevant to the collection. Books on borderline or more obscure topics would be accepted if no other copy is available in the University and if they are considered essential to the research of the student who has recommended them.

4.5. Book recommendations from other library users are considered and accepted if within the framework of the collection and if they are of scholarly nature. Recommendations for very expensive, but very relevant items may be refused in the first instance but reconsidered at the beginning of a new financial year when new funds are made available.

5. General Principles

5.1. Most purchases are made on the basis of the reputation of the author and/or the publisher (plus any other clues helping to determine its quality, level and depth of coverage).

6. Language

6.1. Almost all books in the collection are in the English language unless a seminal work is only available in another language. Some original works are purchased in parallel texts, especially in German, French and ancient Greek.

6.2. Some donations of foreign material are added to the library stock. Library users who want to consult philosophical works in the original language, except for the few cases described earlier, have to rely on the University Library collection.

7. Categories of material

7.2 New editions

New editions of works already held in the library may be acquired, in particular if there has been a substantial revision, or if the previous edition has been heavily used.

7.3 Reprints

Reprints are not normally purchased if the original is already in stock and duplicate copies are not needed.

7.4 Hardbacks and paperbacks

Paperback editions are preferred if hardback versions are substantially more expensive. Hardbacks are bought when the difference in price is less than twice the cost of the paperback. Hardbacks are purchased without waiting for the paperback edition to be published if the book is an essential addition to the collection.

7.5 Offprints

Offprints are not purchased by the library. They are often donated by teaching officers in connection with their courses. Photocopies of articles included in reading lists that are published in journals not held in the library but somewhere else in the University are also added to the offprint collection. These are also digitized and added to the Philosophy Tripos Camtools area (restricted to staff and students of the Faculty of Philosophy).

7.6 Electronic Resources

Although the majority of the present stock is in print format, electronic material is of increasing importance. Collections of works of major philosophers may be bought in electronic format if they are considered to be useful to a reasonable number of readers and the aim is to build a comprehensive collection of writings of the great philosophers.

The Library contributes to the University’s ebook project and makes suggestions for titles which should be added to the ebook collection. These recommendations are generally titles on reading lists or where the print copy is in high demand, but may also be from user requests.

Provision of philosophy ejournals is improving and the aim is to increase the range of titles available as funding permits.

Proposals for new resources for Philosophy and related subject areas are discussed and prioritised by the Library Committee and the Journal Co-ordination committee.

8. Reference works

The Library buys most major dictionaries and encyclopaedia on philosophy. A collection of English language dictionaries and at least a copy of a bilingual dictionary of German, French, Spanish, Italian and ancient Greek are also held. All dictionaries are replaced with updated editions from time to time. Large multi volume sets of encyclopedia will be purchased online only where available.

9. Multiple copies-Replacement copies

Multiple copies of books that have proved to be popular are bought. Key texts in reading lists are bought in multiple copies. The number of copies purchased is determined by the number of students attending the course in question, but very rarely exceeds five. When multiple copies are bought, one may be made 'overnight and weekend loan only' and is kept at the Issue Desk.

Replacement copies are usually bought if books are lost and paid for. Replacement copies are also sought if the book in question is in bad condition or has gone missing. No difference between hardback and paperback editions is made if only one option is available. If a book to be replaced is out of print, a search is made with second-hand booksellers.

10. Relationship with the holdings of other libraries in Cambridge

10.1 University Library

The Casimir Lewy Library relies on the University collection for the provision of philosophical texts in their original language. It also relies on the main library for the provision of very specialized books on topics at the fringes of the subject or very expensive. Given the current constraints on available funds the Casimir Lewy Library can subscribe only to a limited number of core philosophy journals and expects the UL to provide a wider collection. Some of the print journals held in the Casimir Lewy Library are also held in the UL, but duplication is considered appropriate and desirable because they are key journals in the subject. Increasingly, these will be available in electronic form only.

10.2 Department of History and Philosophy of Science - Whipple Library

There has been a long-term strong link between the Philosophy Faculty and the Department of History and Philosophy of Science. Some titles in Philosophy of Science are duplicated due to the overlap in the areas of research and teaching between the two Departments. The two libraries share the cost of electronic resources such as the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy which is an essential resource for both departments.

10.3 History Faculty Library, Social and Political Sciences Library

The History Faculty, SPS and the Classics Faculty share an interdisciplinary MPhil. course in Political Thought and Intellectual History with the Philosophy Faculty. The Casimir Lewy Library has extensive sections on political thought, philosophy of social sciences and philosophy of history, all areas relevant to this course. Some material is duplicated because it is relevant to the collections and readership of these libraries.

10.4 Classics Faculty Library

Ancient philosophy, mostly Greek, is important in the study of philosophy as taught and researched in Cambridge, and undergraduates reading Philosophy can take some papers offered in the Classical Tripos as part of their Tripos and vice versa. Hence the collection of books on the subject is quite substantial and new material is constantly added.

11. Journals

11.1. A core collection of major international philosophical journals is held in print in the Casimir Lewy Library. Although old issues of a good proportion of these journals are now available online, hard copies will be retained.

11.2. No cancellations will be made to subscriptions in both print and electronic version without consultation with the Philosophy Faculty and Journals Coordination Scheme.

11.3. The Philosophy library will de-duplicate subscriptions in partnership with libraries in the university also participating in the Journals Coordination Scheme, consulting jointly to judge in which location each title is best made singly available (in print) in future. The prime emphasis of de-duplication will be on titles for which one or more subscriptions include access to the electronic version, but titles for which no electronic version is available may also be considered.

11.4. New titles will be purchased online only where available. If purchased in print as well, the title will normally be held at the UL.

12. Donations

Donations of new publications from members of the Faculty and the University at large are gratefully received. Other donations of collections of books are carefully considered and only accepted when they constitute new relevant additions to the library stock or are duplicates or replacements of books in heavy demand. At the discretion of the Librarian, some donations may be offered to other Cambridge libraries before being discarded. Books in poor physical condition are discarded unless there is a strong reason for their retention. Donations are accepted only if they are made without conditions as to their binding, cataloguing etc. but there may be occasional exceptions.

13. Retention and disposal

The library indefinitely retains at least one copy of most books in the collection. Some rarely used books are put into store, but they remain available for loan or reading in the usual way. Books that are considered clearly out-of date and hence misleading may be disposed of. Before being discarded, they are offered to the UL as any other material to be discarded, as set in the Ordinances of the University. Books in very bad physical conditions are disposed of if they are beyond repair or if a new copy is easily available. Periodical runs of non-current subscriptions are normally kept indefinitely.