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Casimir Lewy Library: Collection development policy

Casimir Lewy Library Collection Development Policy

1. Introduction

1.1. Philosophy is the study that aims to answer questions which are extremely general and in some sense 'ultimate', such as the nature of reality, the purpose of human existence, the basis of knowledge and the foundations of value. It also includes inquiring into, and evaluating, methods used to answer such questions. Cambridge University occupies a uniquely distinguished place in the development of recent philosophy. It was here in the early twentieth century, that Bertrand Russell, G E Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Frank Ramsey and others, developed the analytic style of philosophy which is now prominent through much of the world. The Faculty of Philosophy at Cambridge retains a strong commitment to this analytic tradition, though this does not preclude active study and teaching of the history of philosophy from Plato to Heidegger, and of such subjects as aesthetics and political philosophy. The Faculty has a particular commitment to providing a rich and rewarding environment for the study of Philosophy. Its own Library holds an impressive collection of philosophy sources.

1.2. Purpose of the Collection:

The aim of the Casimir Lewy Library is to support taught courses at both undergraduate and graduate level, research students and academic visitors, alongside the supervisors and DoS who teach. The library collection extends well beyond philosophy itself to cover the interdisciplinary subjects related to philosophy taught and researched in the University.  

The Library seeks to maintain and develop its collections in support of the present and future teaching and research activities of the Faculty within existing spatial constraints.

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. Recommendations and selection

4.1 Recommendations for stock are predominantly from the Faculty reading lists, direct requests from academics and from library users, and from material identified by library staff when scanning book catalogues, review materials and CIP information. Almost all requests by library users are accepted and, where recommendations are for out of print works, book searches are initiated.

4.2 In all instances request are weighed against the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the teaching of the Philosophy Tripos
  • Cost
  • Use and availability elsewhere (i.e. held elsewhere within the Cambridge University libraries or online, either freely available or through subscription)

4.3 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).

5. Purchase of books

Books are acquired predominantly at the level of first degree but also in relation to one year graduate courses. Research level works are acquired based on relevant criteria (4.2).

5.1 Increasing interdisciplinarity affects access to resources across faculties and departments as a whole with a concomitant effect upon selection of subject materials for inclusion in the library.

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, Latin 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, it has been some years since the previous edition 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 Rare Books

The library does not actively acquire rare books.

8. Reference works

Quick reference and substantial reference works such as encyclopaedias, dictionaries, compendiums and bibliographies are acquired for the Reference works section of the classification scheme. Large multi volume sets of encyclopedia will be purchased online only where available. The Library contributes to the University's subscription of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

9. Multiple copies-Replacement copies

9.1 The library acquires as many single copies of works as possible and multiple copies for heavily used items. Copies of heavily used books are likely to have a short loan copy rather than a reference copy. An ebook may be purchased if it is available (see 11).

9.2 Missing books (either lost on loan by readers or identified as missing at stock check) are re-ordered as necessary and, when out of print, are sought also by book searches. It is not always possible to replace an out of print item.

10. Journals

10.1 The library relies on access to the University Library holdings, along with its subscription newspapers and journals (many of which are online).

10.2 Recommendations for journal subscriptions are taken to the University Journal Coordination Scheme, which considers specific titles for cancellation and purchase annually. The decisions about titles to keep, purchase or cancel are made at Faculty level but must be approved by the JCS.

10.3. 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. Electronic Resources (ebooks, databases)

11.1 The library benefits from online materials networked by the University Library.

11.2 Ebooks.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.

Choice of ebooks is often constrained by publisher limits, such as editions available etc. However, in principle, books that are heavily used in print will be recommended for purchase as an ebook to provide access 24/7 and when all print copies have been borrowed.

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

12. Offprints

Offprints are not purchased by the library. Photocopies of articles included in reading lists that are published in journals not held in the library but somewhere else in the University are added to the offprint collection. These are usually digitized and added to the Philosophy Tripos Moodle site (restricted to staff and students of the Faculty of Philosophy).

13. Theses

There is no thesis collection. Published theses in monograph form are acquired as books in the usual way.

14. Relationship with the holdings of other libraries in Cambridge

The librarian will purchase materials on recommendation from other departmental, Faculty or University Library staff.

14.1 University Library

The 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 that are very expensive.

14.2 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.

14.3 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.

14.4 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.

15. Donations

The library accepts transfers or deposited material where the material is unique, not already held by the library, and there is the space to house it and staff time to process it.

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.

16. Retention and disposal

16.1 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.

16.2 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.

16.3 Books in very bad physical conditions are disposed of if they are beyond repair or if a new copy is easily available.

16.4 Journal runs of non-current subscriptions are to be kept indefinitely while space permits.


April 2017