The Semitics/ICOR Library Collection Development Policy [draft]
Mission & History | Academic Programs & Research | Responsiblity
Collection Development Guidelines | Principal Sources of Supply & Selection Tools
Subjects Collected & Levels of Collecting
Subjects Excluded | Collection Review & Maintenance | Funds & Gifts
The Semitics/ICOR Library supports the teaching and research activities of the Department of Semitic & Egyptian Languages & Literatures and the Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR). Library holdings reflect their interests: the languages and thought of the Bible and the ancient Near East and the languages, literatures and history of the Christian Near East. When the Catholic University of America was founded in 1887, the study of Semitic and Egyptian languages and their associated literatures and cultures was designated an area of special concern. From the start modest "departmental" library collections were supplemented by access to the 20,000 vol. private library of Henri Hyvernat (1858-1941), founder of the department. Hyvernat was concerned that there would always be a place at this university for the scientific study of the languages and literatures of the Christian Near East. In 1931 he arranged for the establishment of what is now the university's Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR), to which he bequeathed his own library, and other possessions. Today the collections of the Semitics departmental library and the Institute of Christian Oriental Research have grown to some 45,000 classified vols. of books and periodicals, along with other unclassified materials and research collections (manuscripts, antiquities, photographs, working papers, etc.) The Semitics/ICOR Library functions along the lines of an academic seminar, with resident department faculty, students and Institute fellows. Semitics department classes are taught in its rooms. It is one of the CUA Libraries special collections.
CUA was founded as a graduate center for instruction and research , and the Semitics department in the School of Arts and Sciences has remained primarily a graduate department. Major programs (M.A. and Ph.D.) in ancient Northwest Semitic philology (with concentrations in Hebrew and Aramaic) furnish the linguistic training and other auxiliary studies needed for a scholarly grasp of the text of the Holy Scriptures by a biblical exegete. Major programs (M.A. and Ph.D.) in early Near Eastern Christian languages and literatures (with concentrations in Syriac, Coptic, and Arabic) make possible firsthand knowledge and interpretation of the corresponding Christian literatures of the Near East in their historical setting. The department provides instruction supportive to programs in other departments and schools, primarily Biblical Studies and Theology in the School of Religious Studies, and Early Christian Studies, an interdisciplinary program. Library resources are used by the faculty, students, researchers in the Semitics department and ICOR, as well as other CUA faculty, students, and outside researchers who work in these subject areas. A special effort is made to assist the work of the Catholic Biblical Association at CUA.
The curator is charged with collection development responsibilities for the Semitics/ICOR library. The curator reports to the Director of Libraries, and works in liaison with the Semitics department faculty.
Near and Middle Eastern materials also are acquired by other subject-area librarians (e.g., Religious Studies, Philosophy, Humanities, Anthropology, History, Politics) for other parts of the CUA Libraries.
Ancient and medieval Near East; modern Muslim-Christian relations & diaspora Christian Near Eastern communities, especially Syriac.
Monographs, monographic series, serials, conference proceedings, festschriften, pamphlets, Semitics department dissertations and theses, department faculty and alumni publications, maps and atlases, facsimiles, manuscripts, realia, antiquarian and rare books, microforms, audiovisual media, other library materials that support teaching and research within Semitics/ICOR.
By subject: Near East; Ethiopia; Armenia and Georgia; south India and China (as sites for Syriac Christianity); diaspora Christian Near Eastern communities (especially Syriac) in Asia, Europe, and America.
By publication venue: United States; Canada; Europe; Middle East; south India.
Ancient languages of the Near East, with an emphasis on those regularly taught and studied in the Semitics department and the Institute of Christian Oriental Research.
Modern languages of the Near East (reference works, periodicals, some monographs): Arabic, Hebrew, Syriac and Neo-Syriac; to a lesser extent Armenian, Georgian.
Modern European languages (reference works, periodicals, monographs): English, French, German, Italian; to a lesser extent Dutch and Spanish.
Other languages: antiquarian and rare book materials in Latin and Greek; Malayalam materials pertaining to Syriac studies.
5. Publication Dates
Current and recent; retrospective and antiquarian.
The Semitics/ICOR Library does not participate in the general CUA Libraries approval plans. Book orders are checked in the online bibliographic information service of YBP Library Services, the CUA Libraries approval plan vendor. Vendors significant for this library are listed in the publishers section of the Semitics/ICOR Internet Researcher Guide.
Selection tools include: vendors catalogs and lists; reviews, notes, advertisements in scholarly publications in the field; faculty and student recommendations; ongoing and retrospective subject bibliographies; OCLC and RLIN databases.
1. Ancient Near East
Semitic philology; Hebrew Bible; ancient Aramaic dialects.
Akkadian language & literature within Mesopotamian historical, cultural context.
Northwest Semitic languages & literatures within Syro-Palestinian historical, cultural context.
2. Christian Near East
Coptic language & literature; Christian Egypt.
Syriac language & literature; Syriac studies.
Christian Arabic literature; Arab Christianity in its historical context.
3. Islamic Near East
Classical Arabic language.
Qu'ran; early Islamic theology & philosophy; kalam.
Muslim-Christian dialogue in its historical context & today.
A detailed list of collection subjects and levels can be found in the CUA Libraries Conspectus in the care of the Reference Librarian for Collection Services.
The library does not collect systematically in these areas:
art & archeology of the Near East; non-Semitic languages of the ancient Near East; Islamic studies.
The library does not collect routinely in these areas:
Judaica & modern Jewish studies; late medieval, modern and contemporary Hebrew language & literature; Middle East area studies; modern Arabic literature; modern Arabic dialects.
Collection review and maintenance issues include bibliographic control and physical condition of the collections; regular review of the reference and serial collections for relevance and currency; regular review of the standing orders and subscriptions for relevance and slippage.
Materials are acquired through purchase, gift or exchange.
The Semitics department receives an annual departmental library book allocation. The allocation is based on a formula developed and endorsed by the Academic Senate Library Committee. This formula takes enrollment into account as a significant criterion in determining the allocation. ICOR books and serials are purchased with funds from the ICOR endowment.
Gifts intended for the Semitics collections are acknowledged and processed by the CUA Libraries Technical Services. Gifts intended for the ICOR collections are acknowledged and processed by the curator.