SFU Library Humanities collections policy


The Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University is multidisciplinary, covering classical, medieval, renaissance, and modern cultural studies The Department offers a range of courses that are drawn from art, classical studies, history, literature, philosophy, religion, science, and social and political thought.

The Department offers several undergraduate programs: a Major, five Joint Majors (with English, French, History, Philosophy, and Women's Studies), a Minor, and an Extended Minor. It also offers a Certificate in Religious Studies, a Certificate in Medieval and Renaissance Studies, a Chinese Studies Certificate, and a Post Baccalaureate Diploma. Since 2010, it offers an M.A. program with an emphasis on cross-disciplinary research projects.

The Department is affiliated with the Asia-Canada Program, the David Lam Centre for Intercultural Communication, the Institute for the Humanities, the J.S. Woodsworth Chair, the Language Training Institute, and the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

Faculty Research Areas

Faculty research areas are available on the Department’s web site, and this includes: 

Asian Studies: Modern eastern civilizations; Chinese culture; Japanese culture, politics and economy; Asian thought and literature; the Asian experience in Canada; Chinese literature, film, media, and popular culture; Chinese diaspora culture and ethnic Chinese media in Canada;
Classical Studies: Ancient Greek and Roman worlds; classical mythology; ancient Greek law; Roman law; Latin & Ancient Greek;
Medieval and Renaissance Studies: Carolingian civilization; enlightenment; Renaissance art and literature; Italian humanism; history of the book;
Modern Thought and Culture: Modern Western and Eastern civilizations; philosophy of literature; 
phenomenology; Frankfurt School of critical theory; Canadian social and political thought; Canadian intellectual history;
Religion: Asian and Western religions; Chinese religious institutions in Canada; Buddhism; Daoism;

Collection Development

Collection development is the responsibility of the Humanities Liaison Librarian. Liaison with the Department is maintained through the Departmental Representative as well as through other faculty members when required. Regular contact with other liaison librarians, subject specialists, and teaching departments is nurtured through the sharing of relevant resources. Expensive items may be purchased with monies from two or more different subject funds.

Scope of the Collection

Two areas are exclusively collected on the Humanities fund: Classical Studies, and Religion. The Classical Studies collection consists of materials on classical tradition; by and around classical Greek and Latin authors; ancient Greek and Latin languages; classical mythology and religion; Greek and Roman art, history, and literature; Greek law, rhetoric, oratory, and theatre.  The collection in Religion includes core resources for the study of Buddhism, Confucianism, Christianity, Early Christian Church, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Shinto, Taoism, as well resources for the study of selected sacred texts. Materials are selectively collected around Chinese and Japanese culture, thought, and literature, Asia-Canada cultural interaction, and Chinese diaspora culture.

Coordination and Cooperation with Other Library Collecting Areas

Because of the multidisciplinary nature of the field, there is a wide overlap with other SFU Library collections and funds, such as Archaeology, Arts, (Italian Renaissance), Communications (Chinese popular culture and media), English (medieval literature), History (Medieval and Renaissance, history of the book), Philosophy (ancient, social and political philosophy), Political Science, and World Literature (ancient Greek and Roman, Chinese and Japanese literatures). These areas are being carefully developed in cooperation with the related subject liaison librarians, so they can meet the needs of researchers in the Humanities.

SFU Resources

The W.A.C. Bennett Library is the main location for the University's collection supporting courses in the Humanities. 

Regional Resources

The University of British Columbia carries a significant collection relevant to the studies and research of the Humanities Department.

Consortia and Document Delivery

SFU belongs to three consortia (Electronic Library Network, Council of Prairie and Pacific University Libraries, and the Canadian Association of Research Libraries). Document delivery agreements exist with all three of these consortia, allowing for delivery of journal articles and books from these libraries in a timely manner. Holdings information and direct requests from over 40 libraries are available through the Interlibrary Loan web page and from library databases.

General Collection Guidelines

Methods of acquiring materials: The Library maintains a collections profile with our book vendor for collecting suitable monographs from a wide range of North American and European publishers. The Liaison Librarian also selects key books from publishers’ catalogues, often with the input of the Humanities’ library representative, other faculty members in the Department, and students.

Languages: The emphasis is on the acquisition of English-language materials, but those materials in other languages, particularly in French, German, Italian, and Chinese, may also be acquired upon request. Primary texts of classical Greek and Latin authors are purchased in their original language and/or in English translations. The SFU Library does not collect translations of classical primary works in languages other than English.

Chronological guidelines: not applicable.

Geographical guidelines: Emphasis is on materials related to ancient Greece and Rome, China and Japan, and North America and Europe. Materials about Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Middle East are not collected.

Treatment of subject: scholarly; popular-level works are not collected.

Types of materials: Collecting is split between books and journals, with one third of funds allocated to journals. DVDs are purchased upon faculty or Liaison Librarian request. DVDs that are important for the Language Training Institute’s teaching needs are also purchased. Companions, journal databases, proceedings, and reference works (mainly dictionaries, encyclopedias and bibliographies), are collected on a selective basis. Excluded Materials: Anthologies, dissertations (already available through Digital Dissertations online or interlibrary loan), museum catalogues, and textbooks;

Date of Publication: Emphasis is on current publications and current English translations of classical Latin and ancient Greek texts, and Chinese or Japanese literary works. Purchase of older and out-of-print materials is considered upon request.  Retrospective acquisitions will be made where funds are available and faculty interests need to be met.

Duplication: Multiple copies of works are usually not acquired, but may be considered in the case of works that are of major interest to students. New editions are selectively purchased.

Gifts: Gifts are evaluated by the same criteria as materials considered for purchase. Only material related to the Humanities Department’s teaching and research areas will be considered for retention. The SFU Library Gifts Policy provides additional guidance.

Subjects and Levels of Collecting

The levels of collection development below describe current collections policies in Classical Studies, Religion, and Asian studies and are subject to ongoing adjustment. Definitions of collection levels are provided on the Library of Congress website and are derived from the American Library Association’s Guide for written collection policy statements, 1989.

0 - Out of Scope (the SFU Library does not collect on Humanity’s fund)
Ancient archaeology; Ancient Egypt and papyrology; ancient Middle East and Macedon; Bible studies; Biographies of Greek and Roman authors; Byzantine history; classical linguistics; Druids and druidism; extinct languages (except Latin and ancient Greek); Hellenistic period of ancient Greece; materials around Christian denominations; metrics and rhythmic in classical poetry;  modern Greek literature and history; mysticism; practical theology; semitic religions; worship & cults; Zoroastrianism;

1 - Minimal Level (peripheral to the curricula and research)
Ancient Greek language – Grammars and exercises; Latin language – Grammars and exercises;

2 - Basic Information Level (material that serves to introduce and define a subject)
Ancient Greek & Roman religion; history of the Peloponnesian War; Hinduism; Judaism; materials around the classical tradition; world religions (general works)

3 - Study or Instructional Support Level (maintains knowledge about a subject in a systematic way and is adequate to support independent study)

Archaic period of Ancient Greece (800 BC – 480 BC): Classical mythology; Homer; Vergil;
Classical period of Ancient Greece (5th-4th centuries BC): Art, especially pottery; Athens, Athenian culture, society and democracy; Classical Greek city; Greek political, social, and cultural history; Greek poetry--History and criticism; Greek drama—History and criticism; Greek theatre; Peloponnesian war; Thucydides; Texts, and literary criticism around particular authors, especially Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Euripides, Sophocles;
Roman Republic (5th-1st century BC): Roman city; Roman political, social, and cultural history; Roman law; Demosthenes; Plutarch; Pliny;
Authors of the Augustan literature: Ovid, Vergil, Horace;
Roman Empire: Apuleius and The Golden Ass;
Late antiquity: Early Church;
Medieval: Early and medieval Christian literature; Carolingian civilization; history of the book;
Renaissance: Italian humanism;
18th century: The Age of Enlightenment
Religion: Buddhism; Confucianism; Daoism; Early Church history;
Asian Studies: Asia-Canada cultural interaction; Chinese, and Japanese culture, thought, and literature; Chinese diaspora culture; Chinese film and media; Chinese religious institutions in Canada;

4 - Research Level (materials required for dissertation and independent research)
Athens, Athenian culture, society and democracy; Greek rhetoric and oratory; Greek political, social, and cultural history; Roman political, social, and cultural history.

5 - Comprehensive Level (exhaustive collection of all significant works; maintains a "special collection")
Ancient Greek law;