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Collection Development @ SJSU Library

Collection Development Policy - Film and Theatre

Last Updated: 2018

Programs Supported

The Film, and Theatre Department offers undergraduate curricula leading to the B.A. - Theatre Arts and the B.A. – Radio-Television-Film.  The graduate program offers an M.A. - Theatre Arts, and a Theatre Emphasis teaching credential.

The B.A. - Theatre Arts degree offers a broadly based liberal arts education and an opportunity for specialized training in acting, directing, playwriting, design/technical theatre and dramatic literature.  The B.A. – Radio-Television-Film degree offers training and experience in radio, television and multimedia production as well as courses in history and aesthetics of these media.  The M.A. - Theatre Arts degree is focused on an interdisciplinary approach to performance that includes seminars and individual studies in theatre, television, dance, radio, film and multimedia.

As new performance technologies emerge, especially computer-based technologies, the FT program has responded with education and training that keep its students on the cutting edge by applying dramatic performance skills to television, radio, film and multimedia.  Students in the program use computer hardware and software to create performances meant for mass audiences.  Students are challenged to consider the theoretical and apply the practical.  Theatre arts students are required to complete an off-campus internship during their senior year in order to gain real world experience and make practical applications of what they have learned in class.

The Department also offers minors in Radio, Television and Theatre.

Existing Resources

The University Library serves as the main resource for this subject.  Films, plays, and sound recordings are available through several online databases and are also available in selected legacy formats.


Considerable overlap exists between FT and many other disciplines, such as Music & Dance, Art, Animation and Illustration, English, Communication Studies, and Kinesiology.  The Radio/Television/Film program does not cover news, which is taught in the Journalism department, so coordination is also important with that area.  Responsibility for acquisition of items in these areas of overlap is decided in consultation with librarians responsible for collection development in the fields noted above.

Since the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library opened in August 2003, SJSU FT 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

Special Materials – Because of the visual nature of the performing arts, some of the materials acquired are not necessarily scholarly but are acquired for their pictorial value, for example, materials on costuming, set design, and makeup design.  Motion picture and television scripts are acquired in addition to play texts.

Languages – Selections shall be primarily in English.  Foreign language texts of theatre classics may be acquired if English-language versions are not available.

Geographical Areas – Coverage includes all geographic areas, with emphasis on the USA.

Chronological Periods – Materials relating to, or originating in, all time periods are collected.

Current / Retrospective Materials – Emphasis is on current material.  Retrospective materials, usually in reprint editions, may be acquired as needed.

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.  The SJSU film library needs to be expanded to support the department’s film history and criticism courses, as faculty frequently must use personal copies of films not in the library’s collection.

Collection Strengths

The collection is fairly strong in basic undergraduate-level general materials in Western drama, film and television.  Radio is less well covered as far as general and historical materials.  The smallness of the budget in comparison with the largeness of the topic (and the amount published) does not allow as much depth in such popular areas as television, film and general media studies as the curriculum warrants.  Collections in Humanities, English, Communications and Art ameliorate this lack slightly.

Evaluation of Collection

A.    Academic Senate Policy
According to Academic Senate Library Policy S15-10 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.  Evaluation of the FT collection involves not only print materials (books and journals) but sound recordings, video, and other media.

B.    Past, Present and Future Evaluation Plans
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.  Circulation statistics will be used to compare university and public book usage and loss rates of SJSU materials.

Databases and Indexes:
SJSU FT students make use of a wide variety of electronic periodicals indexes to complete their coursework.  Some of the titles most used in the discipline include Communication and Mass Media Complete, Film and Television Literature Index, JSTOR, Project MUSE, and Humanities Full Text.

The library acquires academic journals, magazines, newspapers and other periodicals to support the curriculum of the FT department.  While the library acquires books in a mixture of print and electronic formats, the vast majority of the library's recent periodicals are only available online.  Due to the increased quality of full-page image databases of retrospective periodicals from past decades (most notably JSTOR), in some cases the library may decide to deselect print copies of periodicals duplicated in the library's full-page image databases.

The library uses the "Find It @ SJSU" link resolver system to provide students and faculty with links to full text when available.  Articles from journals not available through the SJSU library can be requested through Interlibrary Loan.

Archiving and Long-Term Storage:
One caveat about electronic-only access is the uncertainty of archiving.  The vagaries of the marketplace and private industry mean that we have no assurance that the database providers we currently do business with will still exist years or even months from now.  Unlike the traditional system of individual libraries’ actual ownership of paper copies, electronic-only access gives us no assurance that we will continue to maintain access in the years to come.

Future Needs:
The collection needs to be augmented with materials that support the new emphasis on digital and multimedia.  A recent FT self-study indicates increased emphasis on media theory, criticism and history in the future.