Philosophy Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • The Philosophy collection encompasses works of prominent philosophers in the original language and in translation, critical monographs and secondary sources, and periodicals. The collection covers major subfields: General Philosophy; History and Systems of Philosophy; Modern Philosophy; Logic; Aesthetics; Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Science, and Ethics. Biographies of philosophers, as well as personal papers and memoirs are included. Because of the collection’s wide geographic and temporal scope, many selectors are involved in the acquisition of materials. Area selectors are responsible for selecting philosophy works in their specific subject areas.


  • The collection is intended to support the teaching and research needs of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in the College of Arts & Sciences, with particular consideration for the departments of Philosophy; Classics; Comparative Literature; Science & Technology Studies; German Studies as well as several related interdisciplinary programs, specifically: Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies; Medieval Studies; General History; and the Society for the Humanities.


collection strength

  • Overall, the collecting goals for Philosophy are suitable for dissertation-level research and undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate education.

collection level

  • research 

geographical guidelines

  • The area comprising Western Europe as a region, North America, plus philosophical works that originate in multiple regions around the world.

areas of significant geographic coverage

    transnational region

    • northern America 
    • western Europe 

language guidelines

  • Material in English is collected extensively, as are major scholarly publications in German and French. To a lesser extent, academic studies and original philosophical works in other languages are selectively acquired.


  • English 
  • French 
  • German 

chronological guidelines

  • While studies of major philosophical movements and theories from all regions and periods of history are regularly acquired, emphasis is on the movements most relevant to the University's current programs. Emphasis is placed on current publications, but there are no restrictions regarding specific publication dates or periods.


  • Generally excluded publication formats include textbooks (if designated as such by the publisher); popular material; self-published or vanity press books (unless the author has a direct connection with Cornell); and non-Cornell theses and dissertations (except when requested).

material types

  • Traditionally the collection comprises mostly of print materials. In recent years the emphasis shifts towards acquiring the first available format whether it is in print or in electronic form. For academic journals, electronic access is preferred. Audiovisuals are acquired primarily at the request.


housed in

  • Albert R. Mann Library 
  • Mathematics Library 
  • Olin Library 

related library subject collection


  • library contact

  • Cosgrave, Tony - Instruction Coordinator, Research & Learning Services