General History Collection Policy


subject description and guidelines

  • General history consists of the factual study and analysis of the political, social, intellectual, cultural, diplomatic, military, ethnic, or gender history of multiple countries. It also includes the field of World History, the historical discipline that examines transregional and transcultural developments. Materials in General History transcend single states, regions, and cultures, such as cultural contact and exchange and movements that have had a global or at least a transregional impact. Because of the geographic scope of General History, many selectors are involved in the acquisition of materials. The General History selector has primary responsibility for the acquisition of works that document the general political, social, intellectual, cultural, diplomatic, and local history of multiple nations in Western Europe as well as works that cross multiple areas. Area selectors are responsible for transnational studies in their specific region.


  • The General History collection primarily serves the needs of faculty and students in the Departments of History Department and Government as well as the European Studies Program. Other disciplines for which this collection may have relevance include Peace Studies, Sociology, and Literature.


collection strength

  • This collection is strong on World Wars I and II with published official records and many memoirs of important participants. Its primary strength is modern Western Europe from 1485 to the present; there are a number of major journals and multi-volume sets in this area. A special focus has been the intellectual history and especially historiography of Western Europe. Large microform sets have not been purchases recently due to budget constraints.

collection level

  • research 

geographical guidelines

  • The area comprising Western Europe as a region, plus studies that examine multiple regions around the world.

areas of significant geographic coverage

transnational region

  • western Europe 

language guidelines

  • Material in English is collected extensively, as are major scholarly publications in French and German. To a lesser extent, academic studies on General History in Italian and Spanish are selectively acquired.


  • English 
  • French 
  • German 
  • Italian 
  • Spanish 

chronological guidelines

  • Works relating to the post-1485 period.


  • 1. Works identified by the Library of Congress as relating primarily to a single geographical or political unit 2. Juvenile literature 3. Genealogy (except for some broad resources and works on New York state families) 4. Rare books 5. Newspapers 6. Textbooks 7. Unrevised doctoral dissertations (except when requested) 8. Popular histories 9. Items dealing with the period before 1485 10. Eastern Europe and other regional areas (i.e., Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East) 11. Developing countries 12. Jewish Holocaust 13. Documentaries and other audiovisuals (except when requested) 14. Major microfilm sets of primary research materials (except at the request of faculty)

material types

  • The collection consists of all formats, though the emphasis is on print. For academic journals, electronic access is preferred, though the major journals are acquired in both print and electronic formats. Audiovisuals are acquired primarily at the request of an instructor.


housed in

  • Olin Library 

related library subject collection


associated with organization

academic department

  • Government (GOVT)


  • History (HIST) 


library contact

  • Cole, Virginia A. -  Classics, History, & Medieval Studies Librarian