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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy -  History

Last Updated: 2018

Programs Supported

The History Department offers courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, designed to enable students to comprehend the forces that have shaped and influenced the United States and other nations of the contemporary world.   Undergraduate courses are designed for students who wish a general liberal education, for those who want a broad foundation for any one of the social sciences, for those who desire advanced degrees in the field of history, and for those who wish to secure the teaching credential.    An undergraduate minor is offered in Ancient and Medieval, Asian, European, Latin American, Military, United States, and Women's history.

The History Department offers a Master of Arts program with specializations in American History, Ancient/Medieval History, and Modern European History.  It also may be possible, depending on faculty and course availability to arrange a program focusing on Latin American History, Asian History, or Military History.  The Department also offers a Masters in History with a concentration in History Education.

The MA in History, Concentration in History Education is designed for middle and secondary school social science teachers. The curriculum broadens the candidate's knowledge of U.S. and World history.  The diverse participants in the M.A. program include active and prospective social studies teachers, Silicon Valley business people pursuing a personal interest or looking for a career change, and Ph.D. bound historians.

The library collections of the History Department also support the Aerospace Studies (Air Force ROTC) and Army ROTC programs on campus.

Existing Resources

Faculty and students conducting research depend upon the special resources of the University Library, noted for its strong collections in California, U.S. and military history.  Primary source materials, scholarly journals, and monographs are especially important.  A variety of primary sources are available in the main collections of the SJSU Library, Special Collections, and in the Sourisseau Academy, also housed at SJSU.  All other departments at the University rely on the collection in History for maintaining the historical record of the individual disciplines. Other research facilities located in the immediate area are the History San Jose, the California History Center at DeAnza College, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, the National Archives in San Bruno, the Sutro labor archives in San Francisco, and the Doe and Bancroft Libraries at the University of California, Berkeley.


Considerable overlap exists among many humanities and social sciences disciplines. Collection development in Jewish Studies is shared primarily between History and Religious Studies.  The History Department also makes use of materials in the history of philosophy, world religions, literature, science, and medicine.   Responsibility for acquisition of titles in areas of overlap is decided in consultation with librarians responsible for collection development in fields such as literature, humanities, business, political science, multicultural studies, women's studies, sociology, and art history.

In some areas the collection also duplicates materials found in the main branch of the San Jose Public Library. With the 2003 move to the King Library, SJSU began to coordinate collection development with the SJPL.  An analysis of overlapping titles provided by OCLC in 2001 found that for the history collection only about 8 percent of history titles owned by SJSU were also in the SJPL collections.  Thus, the history collections are largely complementary.  Areas of overlap, which appear to have the most potential for cooperation, are: history of civilization and culture, general history of Europe, general overviews of United States history, history of ethnic groups in the United States, history of California and the Pacific Coast, history of Mexico, history of East and Southeast Asia, and history of Africa.   Titles in other categories marked D in “Subjects collected” (Section IV.I below) will also be carefully reviewed.

Materials Collected

Matrerials are purchased of the type and in the format(s) that most effectively deliver the information required by the discipline, or that are specifically requested by members of the department faculty.

Collection Strengths

The collection is noted for its strength in California and military history. The Military History collection was started in 1957.  It has been developed into a collection of unique materials of great interest to specialists in the field, particularly in the area of British and German unit histories from 1870 through 1945.  A large collection of microfilm containing copies of official German military documents from WWII is of particular interest to researchers both inside and outside the University as it is the only such set in the western United States.  At the present time, the Library is collecting more selectively than in the past, with emphasis on the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War II, and the Vietnam War. 

This department, perhaps more so than any other in the University, relies heavily on printed materials.

Evaluation of Collection

It is the goal of the liaison and Library to build and maintain a balanced collection of monographs, academic journals, electronic resources, instructional media, and related materials to support the curriculum of the department.  Special attention is paid to the areas of study currently being focused on within the department.  Selection is made through Faculty recommendations as well as by consulting professional journals and other appropriate resources.