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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy -  Journalism and Mass Communications

Last Updated: 2018

Programs Supported

Selection for this subject discipline is designed to support undergraduate teaching leading to B.S. degrees in Advertising, Public Relations, or one of four concentrations in Journalism: Photojournalism, Electronic Media, Reporting-Editing or Magazine.  All majors are required to complete a core requirement in the field of mass communications.  The School operates a daily newspaper, a broadcast news center, two magazines, a public affairs news program, and an advertising agency.

The School of Journalism and Mass Communications offers a 30-unit, three-semester Master’s of Science (M.S.) degree program that culminates either with a thesis or project.  The 24-unit core curriculum was designed to help students understand the theories and master the skills that are driving emerging communication technologies, whether they be in public relations, advertising or journalism.  The other six units are electives students choose that are tailored toward their thesis (Plan A) or project (Plan B).

Existing Resources

The University Library serves as the University’s main resource for Journalism and Mass Communications materials.  The entire run of The Spartan Daily, the University's daily paper published by the Journalism and Mass Communications Department, is held in the Library's Special Collections area, and is also available online through the library's ScholarWorks database.  SJSU has extensive holdings of print and online materials in Advertising, Journalism, Mass Communications, and Public Relations, which can be accessed through the library's OneSearch catalog.


Some overlap exists between Journalism and Mass Communications and other disciplines in the SJSU curriculum.  Materials on photojournalism are also collected by Photography, while production aspects of broadcast news are collected by TV-Radio-Film-Theatre.  Aspects of media law and ethics are collected by Political Science, Philosophy, Business, Law, Sociology, Psychology, TV-Radio-Film-Theatre, Women's Studies, and Communication Studies.  Materials on world affairs are also collected by most of the Social Science areas.  Public opinion materials are also collected by Political Science, Public Relations, Psychology, Sociology, Statistics, Communication Studies, and Business.  Materials on Advertising are also collected by Business, Law, and Art and Design.  Public Relations materials are also collected by Business and Photography.  The entire Mass Communications program has some interaction with Art and Design, Psychology, Sociology, Engineering, Communication Studies, Economics, Political Science, and TV-Radio-Film-Theatre.

Since the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opened in August 2003, SJSU Journalism and Mass Communications students have benefited from access to San Jose Public Library’s collection as well as the SJSU collection.  Thousands of additional books, sound recordings, and videos are now available in the same building as the SJSU collection.

Materials Collected

Languages – Materials will be limited to English language only, except for occasional materials in photojournalism, where the pictures, not the text, are of primary interest.

Geographical Areas – The collection is generally limited to United States materials.  However, because of the need to support courses concerning international press, world affairs, and intercultural communication, some international materials are also collected.
Chronological Periods – No exclusions.
Online materials – The vast majority of the journal collection is online.  The library will also purchase ebooks instead of hard copy when available and based on the suitability of the format for its expected use.

Video Recordings - In recent years the library has moved towards streaming services to provide students and faculty with videos that support the curriculum.  DVDs may still be purchased in rare cases if the video is not available in a streaming format.  DVDs, and in some cases even VHS videotapes purchased by the library over the last few decades are shelved in the Instructional Resource Center, though most of these items no longer have corresponding catalog records.

Collection Strengths

The primary purpose of the collection is to support teaching at the undergraduate level.  Secondary support is directed to faculty research.

The curriculum prepares students for careers as news writers, reporters, feature writers, sports writers, magazine and newspaper editors, television and radio news directors, photojournalists, advertising specialists, and public relations specialists.  The collection’s strengths are in materials encompassing the development of mass communications in America, including the social and political factors, the various functions of journalism in the United States, and biographies of noted journalists.  Publications dealing with reporting and journalistic writing, editing, media law and ethics, critical thinking and communication, public relations, style manuals, media planning, advertising, and television and radio production are purchased.  Emphasis is on journalism in the United States, with materials on other countries acquired selectively.  Major emphasis is on developments of the 20th and 21st centuries.  The Library's holdings include a wide sampling of writing from working journalists, essayists, critics, and commentators both historical and contemporary.

Evaluation of Collection

A.    Academic Senate Policy

According to Academic Senate Library Policy S03-5, section 7, periodic evaluations of the print collection are required to maintain the high quality of the academic collection, with the primary goals of improving the effectiveness of browsing and providing space for new acquisitions.  The objectives include relocating materials, and weeding duplicate materials and materials that support discontinued programs or are no longer relevant for current programs.  Journalism does not require frequent revision, thus weeding/replacement is kept to a minimum.

B.    Past, Present and Future Evaluation Plans

Books: Using the Library book selection plan and other information sources, the liaison will continue to order books in accordance with the guidelines listed in Section IV of this document, with a focus on advanced study level materials.  Circulation statistics will be used to compare university and public book usage and loss rates of SJSU materials.

Databases and Indexes: We will monitor online availability of Journalism and Mass Communications periodicals and databases and switch to online access whenever possible.

Future Needs: The landscape of journalism has experienced radical changes in the early 21st century.  The collection should be expanded to include more material on current topics of interest, such as "fake news" and the prevalence of social media.