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A Guide to Education Resources

Library resources for the study of education.

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Education Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Education

Collection: General

Date Revised: April 2014

Subject Librarian: Cheryl Holland


1. General purpose:

The education collection supports the undergraduate teacher preparation programs, graduate teaching and research up to the Ph. D level, and faculty research, as well as faculty and students outside the Education Department and the non-major undergraduates who take education courses.

Collecting efforts are aimed primarily at maintaining a well-rounded education collection, with special strengths in areas of current research interest at Washington University in St. Louis; but which provides materials for the undergraduate and graduate in all areas of education and which will in the future provide an adequate basic collection as research interests’ change.  In addition, some resources are directed to materials on higher education, which is not a focus of the Education Department, but rather the basic function of the University itself.

  • Washington University Program
    • The Education Department offers undergraduate programs designed to acquaint students with a variety of approaches to the study of educational institutions and processes and/or to prepare them for careers as teachers. Non-majors are offered a broad introduction to educational issues and policy. Professional education is provided for preschool/primary, elementary, and secondary school certification and/or the Master’s degree. Graduate study is offered leading to the M.A. (non-certification) or Ph.D. Course offerings include curriculum, instructional process, child and  adolescent development, reading and language arts, education for exceptional populations, and educational history, theory, and research methodologies, as well as the following:  philosophy, psychology, and sociology of education.


2. Subjects excluded:

No relevant subjects are excluded.


3. Overlap with other collections or subjects:

  • The main overlaps are with:
    • Philosophy
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • History

4. Languages collected and excluded:

English is the predominant language, although foreign titles are collected to some degree.


5. Geographical Limits:

The emphasis is on the United States, Canada, Great Britain, and to a lesser degree other Western European countries and Japan and Russia.  All countries are represented.


6. Chronological Limits:


7. Types of Material Collected and Excluded: 

  • Included:
    • In-print
    • Print and electronic books/monographs
    • Print and electronic serials
    • Other electronic resources/materials
    • Audio visual materials, DvDs, CDs etc. 
  • Excluded: 
    • Textbooks and most juvenile material


8. Retrospective Acquisition: 

Retrospective purchases are made selectively.


9. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

The policy statements for individual disciplines use a common set of terms to characterize depth of collecting activity. The following descriptors are adapted from work by the Research Libraries Group (RLG).

Level #


Definition of Level


Out of Scope

The Library does not collect in this subject


Minimal Level

A subject area in which few selections are made beyond very basic works


Basic Information Level

A collection of up-to-date general materials that serve to introduce and define a subject and to indicate the varieties of information available elsewhere. It may include dictionaries, encyclopedias, selected editions of important works, historical surveys, bibliographies, handbooks, a few major periodicals, in the minimum number that will serve the purpose. A basic information collection is not sufficiently intensive to support any courses of independent study in the subject area involved. For law collections, this includes selected monographs and loose-leaf titles in American law and case reports and digests in foreign law.


 Instructional /Teaching Support Level

A collection that in a university is adequate to support undergraduate and most graduate instruction, or sustained independent study; that is, adequate to maintain knowledge of a subject required for limited or generalized purposes, of less than research intensity. It includes a wide range of basic monographs, complete collections of works of more important writers, selections from the works of secondary writers, a selection of representative journals, and reference tools and fundamental bibliographical apparatus pertaining to the subject. In American law collections, this includes comprehensive trade publications and loose-leaf materials, and for foreign law, periodicals and monographs.


Research Level

A collection that includes the major published source materials required for dissertations and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It is intended to include all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Older material is retained for historical research. Government documents are included in American and foreign law collections.


Comprehensive Level

A collection which, so far as is reasonably possible, includes all significant works of recorded knowledge (publications, manuscripts, and other forms), in all applicable languages, for a necessarily defined and limited field. This level of collecting intensity is one that maintains a “special collection." The aim, if not achievement, is exhaustiveness. Older material is retained for historical research. In law collections, this includes manuscripts, dissertations, and material on non-legal aspects.

LC Classification


Collection Levels


Education (General)

Minimal Level


History of Education  (United States)

Research Level

Other Western Countries

Instructional/Teaching Support

Non-Western; Africa,  the Middle East

Instructional/Teaching Support

Other Geographical Areas

Minimal Level


Theory and Practice of Education

Research Level


Special Aspects of Education

Research Level


Education (Individual Institutions, U.S. and Foreign)

Instructional/Teaching Support


College and School Magazines and Papers

Minimal Level


Student Fraternities and Sororities

Minimal Level



Minimal Level