Sociology Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • Sociology is the study of social life and behavior, especially in relation to social systems, how they are organized, how they work, how they change through history, the consequences they produce, and their complex relation to people’s lives. The Cornell Sociology Department has long been highly regarded for theoretically driven empirical research. Our library collections reflect the importance of social theory and quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The Department’s focus on basic science is complemented by a deep commitment to informing public and educational policy, particularly on issues related to gender and racial inequality, income inequality, poverty, drug use, economic development, school funding, organizational practices, and race and ethnicity. The collection also reflects the different fields that are represented in the department including: comparative and historical analysis, computational sociology, culture, deviance and social control, economic sociology, education, family, gender, inequality, mathematical sociology, organizations, small groups research, political sociology, public policy and public opinion, race and ethnic relations, science and technology, social movements, social network analysis, rational choice scholarship, social movements, social psychology, immigration, and work and occupations.


  • The primary constituency for the collection is the Sociology Department in the College of Arts and Sciences, including faculty, graduate students in the PhD. program, and undergraduates. Materials in the Olin collection are also of value for members of the Department of Development Sociology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Give the intensively interdisciplinary nature of this research area, the collection is also of interest to several other fields and departments.


collection strength

  • Historically, material for sociology and related disciplines was collected at a research level. Due to budget constraints, current acquisitions are generally at the study and teaching level. However, targeted purchases in selected areas of special focus, such as sociological theory and methodology, or in response to emerging areas of emphasis, such as social network analysis and immigration, are approaching the research level.

collection level

  • research 

geographical guidelines

  • Sociology materials held in the Cornell Library are global in scope. The Sociology Liaison for Olin library selects publications on sociological theory published in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Oceania. Also acquired are descriptive materials pertaining to those countries, with the exception of Western Europe which is covered by the Western European Studies Liaison. The level of collecting for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania is increasingly limited. The Area Studies Liaisons, including Asia, Latin America, Middle Eastern Studies, Central European and Slavic Studies, and Africa select sociology-related literature published in and about their countries.

areas of significant geographic coverage

subnational region

  • Wales 

country (self-governing)

  • Australia 
  • Canada 
  • England 
  • Ireland 
  • New Zealand 
  • Scotland
  • United States of America

transnational region

  • Oceania 
  • western Europe 

language guidelines

  • English language materials are collected as close to the research level as possible for core subject areas. Western European languages are selected at a basic level in French and German and at a minimal level for other European languages.


  • English 
  • French 
  • German 

chronological guidelines

  • The sociology collection encompasses “modern” social history from the post-medieval period onward.


  • Textbooks (unless requested for reserve), unrevised dissertations (unless requested for purchase or written at Cornell), juvenile literature, popular literature (unless it documents and is reflective of popular culture), newsletters (unless requested by faculty).

material types

  • The collection consists of all formats including print monographs, journals and microforms, Increasingly, journals are available online or online only. Core print journals published by the American Sociological Association will be retained, based upon faculty request. eBooks are acquired selectively. The video collection is out of date and needs to be improved. Selection is based upon faculty request. Conference proceedings, working papers and festschrift are acquired selectively.


housed in

  • Albert R. Mann Library 
  • Olin Library 

special collections or noteworthy resources in the field

  • The Rare and Manuscript Collections maintain the papers of eminent, past members of the Sociology Department faculty, such as Rose Goldsen and Donald Hayes.

related library subject collection


academic department

  • City and Regional Planning (CRP)
  • Communication (COMM)
  • Development Sociology (D SOC)
  • Economics (ECON)
  • Government (GOVT)
  • Institute of European Studies, Cornell University
  • Labor Relations, Law, and History (ILRLR)
  • Organizational Behavior (ILROB)
  • Psychology (PSYCH)
  • Sociology (SOC) 

academic unit

  • Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (FGSS)


  • Anthropology (ANTHR)
  • History (HIST)


library contact

  • Morris, Maureen - Anthropology & Sociology Liaison