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Collection Policies

Collection Policies by Subject

Classics: Classical Studies Collection



Subjects covered.  All aspects of Roman and Greek civilization, including the Bronze Age in the eastern Mediterranean region:  

  • History
  • Archaeology
  • Ancient art and architecture
  • Language and literature
  • Numismatics
  • Epigraphy
  • Papyrology
  • Religion and cults
  • Science and technology
  • Early Christian studies and patristics


Research focus, grants, special funding.  The Burnam Classical Library relies extensively on the Semple Fund for support for its collections.  The continued generosity of that support has made the library a major international research collection in the area of Classical Studies.
General level of collecting.

For most subject areas an attempt is made to secure copies of all academic publications, regardless of language.  Areas that have less thorough coverage are: 

  • Medieval Latin language and literature: Thorough, but not exhaustive coverage of academic level materials
  • Ancient Near East: Thorough, but not exhaustive coverage of academic level materials - primarily to support the Aegean Prehistory Program
  • Patristics: Thorough, but not exhaustive coverage of academic level materials.  The emphasis on collecting is literary, historical, and linguistic - not materials that are purely theological
  • Latin and Greek Paleography: Thorough, but the purchase of expensive manuscript facsimiles is now limited to those of classical texts.

Specific aspects of collection.

  • Current and retrospective collecting. Selection of current materials is as exhaustive as possible.  Retrospective purchasing is actively pursued. When new serials are added, backsets are usually also purchased when feasible.
  • Levels and treatments. Most material purchased is of an upper-division and graduate/research level, with several exceptions: 
    • Lower-level Greek and Latin language and literature texts
    • Illustrated popular guide-books for archaeological sites. 
    • Lower-level textbooks in the general field of Classical Studies—especially when used in classes offered by the Department of Classics
    • Lower level materials in subjects appealing to undergraduates
  • Languages.  Research materials are purchased in all languages. Approximately 30% of the collection is English language, with remaining 70% dominated by, but not restricted to,  European languages
  • Geographical areas.   The Greco-Roman world and related areas in the Near East.
  • Types of resources and formats.  Journals, monographs, conference proceedings are equally important in the field and all are collected.  The collection mainly consists of book materials.  However, electronic databases and full text resources are increasingly purchased, as are multi-media titles. As a rule, microforms are purchased only when electronic or paper versions are not available.


Acquisition processes
Approval plans supply part of the materials for German, Italian and Spanish materials, while title notification slips are used for other German, Italian, and Spanish titles, as well as for U.S. and British English materials and Greek and French resources. We secure a significant number of new acquisitions through firm orders. There are approximately 2000 standing orders in effect for monographic sets, series, periodicals, and annuals. Because of the importance placed on retrospective purchasing, there is much contact with out-of-print dealers.  Direct requests for foreign dissertations are regularly made by Classics Library staff.  Finally, exchange programs exist with several organizations—mainly Eastern European. These exchanges are handled directly by the Classics Library.

Jacquelene W. Riley

August 2014

University of Cincinnati Libraries

PO Box 210033 Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0033

Phone: 513-556-1424

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