Anthropology Collection Development Policy

Bobst Library, New York University
Timothy Johnson, Selector for Anthropology


The collection supports: B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Anthropology, and the post M.A. certificate program in Ethnographic Film offered jointly by the Cinema Studies and Anthropology Departments through the Center for Media, Culture and History, all within the College or Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Certain aspects of the collection also support: an M.A. and Ph.D. in International Education, in the School of Education; M.A. and Ph.D. programs in Performance Studies, an M.A. in Museum Studies, and an M.A. in Costume Studies, also in G.S.A.S. In general, the Anthropology collection is of interest to faculty and students in various departments and area studies programs throughout the University, including History, Cinema Studies, Africana Studies, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Center for European Studies, and the Center for Near East Studies.

Areas of particular interest from a research and/ or teaching standpoint are: zooarchaeology (animal remains); hominid evolution, evolutionary primatology, fossil primates, human genetics and biological anthropology; Near Eastern prehistory and archaeology; Late Prehistoric/Iron age and Early Medieval Western Europe (especially Ireland and England), Mesolithic Europe; gender and archaeology; the anthropology of women; the anthropology of media/ethnographic film (visual anthropology) cultural studies; linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, particularly pidgin and Creole languages of the Caribbean, Oceania, and Austral-Asia; language and gender; Australian Aboriginal art; social organization, state formation, ethnicity and identity; material culture, including, weaving and the textile arts; Although the Anthropology department currently supports little research in North American ethnology, this area continues to be of interest to scholars in other departments.


  1. Language

    The collection is largely limited to English-language materials. Highly selective purchasing is done in French, German, Spanish and Arabic.

  2. Geographical Areas

    • Physical Anthropology: Africa.
    • Archaeology: Western Europe, Near East.
    • Social/Cultural Anthropology: Oceania and Australasia, the Near East, Africa, the Caribbean, modern Europe.

    Although some geographic areas are, and probably will continue to be, of greater interest than others, the library's objective is to maintain a study level collection in all geographic areas.

  3. Chronological Periods

    Both current and historical accounts are collected.

Types of Materials

Scholarly serials, monographs, collections of essays, are extensively collected. Published conference proceedings and videocassettes (largely to support the program in Ethnographic film) are also collected. Site specific archaeological reports and exhibit catalogs are only collected in response to specific review or faculty requests. Grammars and linguistic dictionaries are acquired selectively in support of current programs. Internet resources in anthropology are selectively added to the Library's gopher, and should reflect collection interests and strengths.

Strengths & Weaknesses of the Collection

The faculty in the Anthropology Department has worked closely with the library to set priorities for the collection with the result that the program is being strongly supported in regard to current acquisitions and periodical subscriptions. Substantial resources have been devoted to collection development in Oceania, Australasia, and Prehistoric Europe. While significant gaps remain most involve titles no longer in print or back runs of journals no longer available from the publisher. In recent years, serial subscriptions have undergone substantial review, the result being that a number of important titles (both new and older journals) have been added. Also, the attempt has been made to fill in significant gaps in important monographic series holdings.

The past few years have seen selective development of the materials analysis and methodology in archaeology, occasionally duplicating key resources previously located only at the Institute of Fine Arts Library or at the Conservation library. These resources, while highly specialized, are needed to support the growing number of graduate students and faculty working in this area, and should continued to be purchased for Bobst on a regular basis. The areas of zooarchaeology, fossil primates, and gender and archaeology, will be undergoing a systematic review and significant gaps will be filled in if available. Visual/media anthropology is another key area demanding special attention which needs to be collected more systematically and extensively. While the core journals and books have been added in visual anthropology, selective but more intensive purchasing in the area of non-print resources is needed to support this new, unique and rapidly growing program at NYU. Access to online resources in Anthropology continues to be of great importance; thus far the library has responded by providing on site and remote access to major online bibliographic resources, such as Anthropological Literature. The selective addition of Internet resources in anthropology and related fields is underway.

Subjects and Collecting Levels

Archaeology (topical)
General (CC 1-70)CC
Methodology (CC 73-75)CC
Excavations (CC 165)BC
Prehistoric (GN 771-786)BC
Animal Remains (CC 79)BC
Archaeological, (geographical)
Americas (E, F)CC
U.S. (E 61, 77-78)CC
Europe (D-DR)CD
Asia (DS, GN 803-845)BC
East and South AsiaCC
Africa (DT)BC
Physical Anthropology
Evolution (QH 359-425)CD
Primates, Fossil (QE 882)CD
Biology of Primates (QL 737)DD
Human Genetics (GN289)CD
Social/Cultural Anthropology, (topical)
Economic Anthropology (GN 489)CC
Social Organization (GN 478-481)CC
Medical Anthropology (GN 296)CC
Political Anthropology (GN 492-498)CC
Cultural Ecology (GF)BC
Urban Anthropology (GN 395)CC
Peasant Studies (GN 378)CC
Ethnopsychology (BF 730-740)BB
Primitive Art (GN 420-432, N 5311)BC
Symbolism (GN 452)CC
Visual Anthropology (GN347)BC
Cultural StudiesBC
Anthropological Linguistics (P35)BC
Material CultureBC
Anthropology of WomenCC
Hunting and Gathering SocietiesBB
(GN 388, GN407)
Social/Cultural Anthropology, (geographical)
United States (E 77-99)CC
Central America (F 1201-1392)CC
South America (F 1049-2000)CC
Caribbean (F 2155-2183)CD
Europe (D)BC
Near East (DS 41-436)CD
Indian sub-continent (DS 335-498)BC
South Asia (DS 500-689)BC
East Asia (DS 700-935)BC
West Africa (DT 431-720)BC
South Africa (DT 730-995)BC
North Africa (DT 43-469)CC
Central Africa (DT 351-469)BC
Oceania and Australasia (DU 80-629)CD
Anthropology Bibliographies(Z 5111-5119)
Z5131-5134; 7000-7122CC
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