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Hispanic studies collection policy

Liaison librarian

History of the Collection

In 1968 the Department of Spanish Language and Literature, as it was then called, established a Master's programme, recruited new staff, and fostered an accelerated development of library holdings. However, the library had already acquired an interesting and sometimes even exciting range of pertinent publications, and it appears that no small measure of thanks for this is due to the efforts of R.M. Sugars, an Associate Professor of Spanish and Head of the School of Commerce in the 1920s and 1930s.

Current Collection Development

The policy at the moment is to build a balanced collections in the field represent the best of current scholarly work and literary production.

Academic Programmes and Liaison

The Department of Hispanic Studies offers courses in language as well as the literature and civilization of Spain and Latin America at the undergraduate level, as well as the M.A., with or without thesis and the Ph. D. . In both the Major and Honours programmes students may emphasize Peninsular or Latin American Literature. Literature is also sometimes taught in translation.  At present elementary and intermediate Portuguese are taught in alternate years.

Collection development is the responsibility of the Hispanic Studies Bibliographer. The Bibliographer works closely with the Faculty Co-ordinator. Contact with other bibliographers and teaching departments is maintained by the sharing of relevant review and other material. Such contact is especially vital in the fields of Art, Anthropology, History, Political Science, Islamic Studies, History of Medicine (Osler Library) and Comparative Literature. (It is the English and Comparative Literature fund which purchases English translations of the literary output of Spain and Latin America.)

McGill Resources

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library is the major location for the University's Hispanic Studies collection. Strong supporting documentation is also to be found in:

The McLennan Reference Department has a good range of dictionaries, handbooks and indexes and an extensive section of bibliographies covering countries, authors, periods, genres etc.

The Department of Rare Books and Special Collections has books, maps and prints relevant to Hispanic literary studies in its general collections.

The Language Laboratory has taped materials for language learning.

The Islamic Studies Library collects extensively in the area of Moorish culture in medieval Spain.

The Osler Library has excellent holdings related to science and medicine in medieval Spain. Much of the growth in this area has taken place recently.

The Government Documents Department is a depository library for the publications of the European Union and the United Nations. It also has extensive holdings of other relevant publications such as those of the World Bank.

Consortia and Document Delivery

The Center for Research Libraries is a consortium to which McGill belongs. Its Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese newspapers are of particular interest. Microfilm collections include Spanish Drama (16th to 19th centuries) and Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Books before 1601. CRL will acquire European and Latin American theses on request.

OCLC memberships provide access to vast bibliographic databases and to efficient document delivery systems based on the holdings of North America's most eminent research collections.

Journal articles and books not owned by McGill libraries are available free of charge to McGill students and faculty via the Document Delivery Service in the McLennan Building. Faculty and graduate students can order journal articles directly through the Canadian Institution for Science and Technology Information. Articles not owned by CISTI itself are obtained from the extensive collection of the British Lending Library. Articles are delivered in a timely fashion at no charge to the user.

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: For primary materials Spanish, and to a small extent Portuguese texts are acquired. English language translations of primary literary material are referred to the English and Comparative Literature Bibliographer. Translations from other languages into Spanish and Portuguese would be acquired only according to the reputation of the translator (e.g. Calderón's translations of Shakespeare). As far as secondary material is concerned, the preferred languages are Spanish, English and French, but secondary material in Italian, German, etc. is acquired if deemed sufficiently important or interesting.

Chronological Coverage: From the Middle Ages to the present.

Geographical Coverage: Iberia and Latin America. North American Hispanic Literature is not a collecting priority, although the occasional work is added to the collection as needed.

Date of Publication: Emphasis is on current publications. Wherever possible, retrospective acquisitions are made to upgrade specific areas of the collection--and to serve as replacement for important books that have deteriorated or have gone missing.

Subjects and Levels of Collection

Definitions of collection levels are from the American Library Association's Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2nd. edition, 1996.

Definitions of Collection Levels

History of the Spanish Language 2 3a
Portuguese Language and Literature 2  
Brazilian Literature 2  
Literary Periods - Spain    
   Mediaeval period (ca1000 - 1500) 3a  
   Renaissance: prose 3a 4
               poetry 3b 4
               drama 4  
   Golden Age: prose 4  
               poetry 4  
               drama 4  
   Neoclassicism (18th century) 4  
   Romanticism (19th century) 4  
   20th century: Generation of 1898 3a  
              Generation of 1914 3b  
              Generation of 1927 3b 4
              Generation of 1936 3b  
              Contemporary Literature 3b  
Literary Periods - Latin America    
Colonial Period    
   Renaissance: maps, chronicles, discovery, exploration 3b  
    prose (fictional and non-fictional) 3b  
    Poetry 3b  
    Drama 2a 3b
   Baroque (mid 17th - 18th century) 4  
   Neoclassicism (late 18th century)- ca. 1810 4  
National Period    
   19th century: Romanticism 3a  
              Modernismo 3b  
   20th century: prose, fictional 3b 4
             prose, non-fictional 3a 4
             poetry 3b 4
             drama 3b  
Contemporary Literature 3b  

Coordination and Cooperation

The English and Comparative Literature bibliographer regularly buys translations into English of primary materials (fiction etc.). Suggestions are often made by the Hispanic Studies Bibliographer who tries to ensure that if a translation is present, then the original also is.

Recommendations for purchase are forwarded to the following libraries and library departments:

McLennan Reference Department, Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Blackader-Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art, Osler Library (History of Medicine), Islamic Studies Library, and to the Humanities and Social Sciences Library bibliographers for Anthropology, Economics, Geography, History, Political Science, Sociology.

Descriptions of the Collection

List of relevant current serial subscriptions and standing orders held by the library are available from the Hispanic Studies Bibliographer.

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