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Psychology collection policy

Liaison librarian

  • robin [dot] canuel [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-4698

History of the Collection

A number of factors have influenced the direction of psychological research at McGill and as a consequence, the development of our library collections in the field. First, McGill's traditional strength in the medical, natural and physical sciences, and our access to a large number of teaching hospitals and including Montreal Neurological Institute, has created a focus on physiological and neurological research. Second, our location in a setting with two predominant linguistic groups plus many other linguistic populations to be assimilated has resulted in a strong emphasis on the psychological mechanisms of language acquisition, processing, use and dysfunction. Third, research at McGill has been strongly influenced by several prominent psychologists associated with the University, D.O. Hebb, F. Genesee, W. Lambert, R. Melzack and B. Milner among others. Finally, although clinical psychology has traditionally received less emphasis at McGill than has experimental, increasing numbers of doctoral students have been choosing this specialization over the past ten years.

McGill has a decentralized library system, and although some amalgamation of collections has taken place, the result is that material of potential interest is scattered throughout the system. The Humanities and Social Sciences Library, the main location for psychology material, has an extensive collection of monographs, journals and reference tools in print and electronic formats. It also has strong collections in the early literatures of psychology, philosophy, and the natural sciences, with good journal backfiles. The collection of journals is greatly enhanced by a large number of full-text journals now available electronically, notably all journals published by Elsevier, Kluwer, Blackwells, Wiley as well as the American Psychological Association. In addition, the recent purchase of the database Research Library contains many full-text journals of interest for psychology. The Life Sciences and Education libraries have extensive resources for psychology as well.

Current Collection Development

As in other disciplines, there is much blurring of traditional lines between subject areas. Cognitive science, an area of current interest, drawing as it does on such related fields as computer science, linguistics, anthropology, and philosophy, is a case in point. Another interdisciplinary area of interest is the study of language acquisition and development, especially in a bilingual context. Some recent interest in cross-cultural psychology is also apparent, both in the growth of this area in developing countries, and in its application to social issues and policy at home and abroad. There is continued interest in pain research, schizophrenia, the psycho-sociological aspects of deafness and childhood depression.

Since the Department is large, and its interests diverse, it is necessary to purchase representative works across the range of the discipline, rather than concentrating on one or two areas.  However, the observations on research concentrations outlined in the above section are taken into account in purchase decisions.

Academic Programmes and Liaison

The Psychology Department, which is in the Faculty of Science, provides a full range of courses at the undergraduate level including Major, Honours, and Faculty Programme options. All these options require students to complete four basic courses in motivation, learning, perception and cognition, plus a variety of other courses.

The Master's programme is offered in experimental psychology only, and only as a stage in the Doctoral programme for experimental psychology.

The Department offers a Doctoral programme in both experimental and clinical psychology. The clinical programme has a heavy research orientation and is not aligned with a particular "school" of psychology, but provides an eclectic theoretical approach. Resources of various McGill associated teaching hospitals, centres and services are made available to students. Areas of concentration offered in the experimental programme include behavioural neuroscience, cognitive science, social developmental, health, language and quantitative psychology.

Collection development for Psychology is the responsibility of the Liaison Librarian, and communication with the Department is maintained through the Departmental Coordinator as well as with other faculty members. Frequent consultation with other selectors throughout the library system, particularly those for Life Sciences and Education is necessary in order to ensure breadth of coverage.

McGill Resources

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library is the major location for the University's Psychology collection. In addition the following McGill libraries hold materials of interest for the study of psychology.

The Reference Department has a basic collection of reference works on psychology as well as a rich array of bibliographies and other reference works required for research.

Life Sciences Library collects material in the areas of areas of clinical psychology, psychiatry, mental health, psychopharmacology, health psychology, addiction, abnormal psychology, organically-caused language, hearing and speech pathologies, and organically-caused developmental difficulties. It supports the School for Human Communications Disorders programme.

Education Library supports the educational and counselling psychology programmes. Areas of interest are child development from early childhood to adolescence, testing, learning, learning problems, giftedness, memory, the psychology of reading and writing, education policy studies, the education of the handicapped, second language teaching and learning and sports psychology.  Its collecting interests overlap with those of the Humanities and Social Sciences Library to some degree. It also houses a collection of psychological tests which belong to, and is administered by, the Education Faculty. Access to the collection of tests is limited to students in the Master's programme in counselling psychology. OslerLibrary collects material in the history of medicine, including psychiatry and neurology. The history of non-medical psychology is collected by Humanities and Social Sciences Library.

Howard Ross Library of Management collects material on organizational, industrial and consumer psychology, and some works on leadership, motivation, marketing, advertising and the decision sciences.

Physical Sciences and Engineering Library collects material on artificial intelligence, cognitive science, decision sciences and ergonomics.

Life Sciences Library collects materials of interest to comparative psychology, including works on brain organization and function, primate behaviour, ethnology, and evolutionary theories of behaviour.

Edward Rosenthal Library of Mathematics and Statistics collects materials of interest to decision sciences and quantitative psychology.

Blackader-Lauterman Library collects some materials on the psychology of the visual arts as well as some on environmental psychology and on creativity.

Marvin Duchow Music Library collects some works on the psychology of music, on auditory perception, and on creativity.

Law Library collects some materials on forensic psychology (expert witness, evaluation of evidence etc.) prison psychology, criminal psychology, psychological treatment of offenders, jurisprudence on insanity, and legal aspects of social issues such as child custody, client therapist relationship etc.

Psychology Department has a microcomputer laboratory and a collection of statistical and word processing software available to McGill psychology students, as well as a small collection of psychological tests available to qualified personnel.

Regional Resources

Montreal Neurological Institute Library has a collection of materials on neurology, and neurological disorders, including materials on language impairment.

Allan Memorial Institute Library historically collected psychiatric and psychoanalytic materials, but now concentrates on mental health. The collection is available for consultation to McGill personnel on a selective basis only.

Teaching hospitals, such as the Douglas Hospital and the Jewish General Hospital's Institute of Community and Family Psychiatry, make available, for consultation, unique journal titles.

Concordia University libraries support an art therapy degree in addition to its regular programmes in psychology.  It has  a strong collections of books and journals.

Université de Québec à Montréal has a sexology collection and has a collection of tests available for consultation by authorised researchers in its Testothèque.

Université de Montréal has a good psychoanalytic collection and an extensive collection of current periodicals in its Sciences Sociales, E.P.C. (Education, Psychologie, Communication), Santé, and Paramédicale libraries.

Consortia and Document Delivery

Membership in large research consortia provides access to vast bibliographic databases and to efficient document delivery systems based on the holdings of North America's most eminent research collections.

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) a consortium to which McGill belongs, has an excellent international collection of dissertations and retrospective journals, holdings of which may be viewed on their Web site.

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 (CISTI). Articles not owned by CISTI itself are obtained from the extensive collection of the British Lending Library and are delivered within two weeks at no charge to the user.

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: English is the main language of the collection. Works published in the other Western European languages are purchased occasionally. We acquire french-language material very selectively as funds permit, and we rely on the Université de Montréal to collect intensively in this language. Works of the French psychoanalytic school are purchased very selectively, both in the original and in translation, in conjunction with the selector for English and Comparative Literature. The historical importance of research in German and other European languages is reflected in the older serial and monograph collection.

Chronological Coverage: The emphasis is on recent developments and contemporary trends.

Geographical Coverage: The field is dominated by North American research. British, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian works are also collected selectively, as are some works on psychology in the developing countries.

Treatment of the Subject: Scholarly treatment is emphasized.  Textbooks and introductory works are not normally acquired unless requested by faculty for the Reserves collection.

Date of Publication: Emphasis is on current publications. The journal literature is a significant method of dissemination of psychological research. Retrospective publications are acquired to fill gaps in the collection or to replace important books which have been damaged or lost.

Subjects and Levels of Collecting


Collection Levels are derived from the American Library Association's Guide for Written Collection Policy Statements, 2nd. ed., 1996.  The subject arrangement is based on that of Psychological Abstracts. 1996.


 

SUBJECTS

 

 

 

 

 

COLLECTION LEVEL:

CURRENT   

DESIRABLE

General Psychology

3a

 

Psychometrics & Statistics & Methodology

3a

3b

Human Experimental Psychology

3b

4

  Sensory Perception

3b

4

  Motor Processes

3b

4

  Cognitive Processes (in conjunction with Education Library)

4

 

  Motivation & Emotion

3a

3b

  Consciousness States

3a

3b

  Parapsychology

1

 

Animal Experimental & Comparative Psychology (mainly in the Blacker-Wood collection)

3a

 

Physiological Psychology & Neuroscience (in conjunction with Life Science, and M.N.I. libraries)

4

4+

  Neuropsychology & Neurology (with HSL)

4

4+

  Psychophysiology

3b

4

  Psychopharmacology (collected mainly in Life Sciences Library)

 

 

 

 

 

Psychology and the Humanities
(referred to appropriate bibliographers)

 

 

  Literature & Fine Arts

3b

 

  Philosophy

3b

 

 

 

 

Communication Systems

3b

4

  Linguistics & Language & Speech

3b

4

  Mass Media Communications (referred to the appropriate selector)

 

 

 

 

 

Developmental Psychology (in conjunction with Education Library)

3b

4

  Cognitive & Perceptual Development

3b

4

  Psychosocial & Personality Development

3b

 

  Gerontology (in conjunction with Social Work)

3a

3b

 

 

 

Social Processes & Social Issues

3b

4

  Marriage and Family (in conjunction with Social Work and Sociology)

4

 

 

 

 

Social Psychology

3b

 

 

 

 

Personality Psychology

3b

 

 

 

 

Psychological & Physical Disorders (in conjunction with Life Sciences Library)

3a

 

  Developmental Disorders & Autism (mainly at the Education Library)

 

 

Health & Mental Health Treatment & Prevention (in conjunction with Life Sciences and Education Libraries, and the Social Work selector)

3a

3b

  Psychotherapy & Psychotherapeutic Counselling (in conjunction with   Life Sciences and Education Libraries and the Social Work selector)

3a

3b

  Cognitive Therapy

3b

4

  Behaviour Therapy & Behaviour Modification

3b

4

  Group & Family Therapy, (collected mainly by the Social Work selector)

4

 

  Clinical Psychopharmacology (collected by Life Sciences Library)

 

 

  Health & Mental Health Services (collected by Life Sciences Library   and the Social Work selector)

 

 

 

 

 

Professional Psychological & Health Personnel Issues

2

3a

 

 

 

Educational Psychology (Collected by Education Library)

3b

 

   Special and Remedial Education

4

 

  Gifted and Talented

4

 

Sport Psychology and Leisure (collected by the Education Library)

 

 

Industrial and Organizational Psychology(at Howard Ross Library)

3a

 

Military Psychology

1

 

 

 

 

Consumer Psychology (collected by Howard Ross Library)

 

 

 

 

 

Engineering & Environmental Psychology

2

 

 

 

 

Intelligent Systems (collected by the Schulich Library of Sciences and Engineering)

 

 

Forensic Psychology & Legal Issues (collected by the Law Library)

 

 

Co-ordination and Co-operation within the Humanities and Social Sciences Library

Communications: Nonverbal communication, advertising, propaganda and persuasion, effect of media on behaviours & behavioral aspects of media design, psychocriticism, interpersonal communication are of common interest.

Economics: Economic aspects of psychology and mental health care are areas of common interest.

English and Comparative Literature: Material on psychoanalytic interpretations of literature and culture; critical and biographical works on Freud, Foucault, Jung, and others whose theories have been absorbed into Western cultural tradition are areas of common concern.

History: Material on the history of psychology is purchased for psychology but material on psychohistory is bought very sparingly.

Linguistics: Psycholinguistics, neurolinguistics, bilingualism and language acquisition are collected by the selectors for Psychology, Linguistics, and Education, but regular consultation is required since parameters are hard to establish. Sign language is of interest to Psychology. Language impairment, such as aphasia, is generally acquired by Linguistics or Life Sciences.

Philosophy: Mental models, reasoning, philosophy of science, language perception, moral behaviour are areas of overlapping interest.

Political Science: Studies of voting behaviours and political leadership are left to this selector. Government policies on mental health and other pertinent issues would be considered for Psychology, in consultation with other bibliographers, such as those for Sociology, or Life Sciences.

Religious Studies selector collects some materials on the psychology of religion and pastoral counselling.

Social Work: Common areas of interest are group and family therapy, aging, mental health services, other therapies and rehabilitation.

Sociology: Deviant and criminal behaviour, social psychology, sex roles, and the family are areas of common interest.

Women's Studies: The Women's Studies selector purchases material related to women and psychology.

Cooperation With Other Libraries Within the System:

Life Sciences: Psychiatry, clinical psychology, and some psychoanalytic, materials are collected by Life Sciences. Health psychology and anthropology of medicine, including traditional mental health treatments, are bought by Life Sciences, as well. Since the emphasis at Life Sciences is on current materials and treatment modalities, historical, critical and biographical material on the "classic" figures in psychoanalysis and psychiatry is bought by Humanities and Social Sciences or Osler. Consultation on serials and standing orders is ongoing.

Physical Sciences & Engineering: Consultation is necessary regarding materials on artificial intelligence, natural language processing, decision sciences, man-machine interaction.

Life Sciences: Comparative and physiological psychology, sociobiology, brain and behaviour, are of common interest, but the Blacker Wood collection concentrates on non-human species.

Education: As with Linguistics, parameters are hard to define. Materials on educational and counselling psychology and testing are collected by the Education Library. Developmental psychology is a shared interest, as are creativity, memory, task performance, psycholinguistics, bilingualism and language acquisition. Mental retardation, giftedness, dyslexia, and A.D.D. are generally collected at Education.

Law: Consultation occurs on material which deals with legal and forensic psychology and ethical issues pertaining to, e.g. psychological experimentation, children as witnesses etc.

Regional Co-operation

The Liaison Librarian for Psychology has been a member of the Psychology sub-committee of the CREPUQ libraries committee on collection evaluation and development. The sub-committee, now defunct, was involved in the rationalization of serials acquisitions and cancellations as well as in the identification of collection strengths in the branches of psychology for each academic library in Quebec.  The CREPUQ Committee on Collections Development (DCVB) has now turned its attention to the identification and acquisition of important electronic resources, including full-text journals at favourable prices for members of the CREPUQ consortium.

Priorities for Further Development

A further attempt should be made to define collection boundaries with the Education Library and Life Sciences Library.

Descriptions of the Collection

Monks, Margaret. Psychology: A Guide to Reference Sources. Montreal, McLennan Reference Department, McGill University, 1986.

Library Guide: Psychology (Brief Guide). McLennan Reference, McGill University, 2000.

Psychological Abstracts, 1985 serials list checked against McGill holdings.

The Mind's New Science bibliography checked against McGill holdings.

Serials List available from the Liaison Librarian.

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