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A Guide to Philosophy Resources

Guide to resources for the study of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis.

Collection Development Policy

Washington University in St. Louis

Collection Development Policy

Library: Olin

Subject: Philosophy

Collection: General

Date Revised: February 2014

Subject Librarian: Deborah Katz


1. General purpose:

The primary purpose of the collection is to support the teaching and research of Department of Philosophy faculty and Ph.D. students, as well as undergraduate philosophy majors and minors. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of philosophy, the collection is of interest to many other departments and areas of study; Classics, History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, & History.


2. Subjects excluded:


  • These areas are not collected Cosmology, Religious Ethics
  • Overlap with other collections or subjects
  • Philosophy overlaps in subject with classics, religion, PNP, history, law, history of technology, science and medicine



3. Languages included and excluded:


English is the primary language of collection but German, French, and some Italian works are important to faculty and graduate level research.


4. Geographical limitations:

None, but coverage is very much oriented toward western thought.


5. Chronological limits:



6. Retrospective acquisition:

The purchase of journal back files from JSTOR and other publishers was most important to faculty. However, there are significant gaps in the print collection of critical editions of the core European philosophers.

7. Types of material collected and excluded:

The most important formats to faculty are books and journals in equal measure. Digitized collections like European Books Online are also valued by faculty and graduate students. Films and microfiche as a last resort are purchased upon request.


8. Other factors to consider:

  • The following factors are important considerations when thinking about the collection:
    • Philosophy lacks an endowed fund
    • Many monographs are initially published in hardback format with paperbacks lagging behind for several years thus many important works exceed the approval plan price cap.
    • Presently a German language approval plan is in place - though in past years ones in Italian and French also existed.
    • Emerging trends in the field include applied ethics, philosophy of law, and philosophy of mind


10. Subjects and Collecting Levels:

  • The main subjects of collection are in Philosophy General, Speculative Philosophy, Logic, Ethics, and Aesthetics.
  • Collection levels are Research & Undergraduate. (Choice Reviews definitions).