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Sociology collection policy

Liaison librarian

  • nikki [dot] tummon [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-7644


History of the Collection

The Sociology collection dates from the 1920s, following the founding of the Department (the first in Canada) in 1922. The strengths of the collection reflect the trends and schools of sociology which prevailed in the Department. Throughout its early years the Department followed the tenets of the Chicago School of Sociology, introduced to McGill by Carl Dawson. The scope of the collection broadened in the 1960s with publications covering new trends and new methodologies. Areas of particular strength in the collection are 19th century German and European sociology, industrial sociology, the sociology of science and knowledge, social psychology, ethnic studies, Quebec studies, history of the family and criminology.

Current Collection Development

The goal is to build a sociology collection which is as broadly based as possible. An attempt is made to keep abreast of current schools of sociology as well as current research trends. There is a wide diversification in the field, with considerable overlapping with related disciplines. At present, there is increasing interest in the family, child abuse, women's studies, gender studies including LGBT material, criminology, drug abuse and the study of Canadian society in general and Quebec society in particular.

Academic Programmes and Liaison

The Sociology Department provides a full range of coverage for graduate and undergraduate studies with special emphasis on: Industrial Sociology, Social Psychology, Social Problems, Ethnic and Community Studies, Social Change, Health and Society, Political Institutions, Research Methods, Sociology of Knowledge. A master's degree (thesis and non-thesis options) and a Ph.D. programme are both offered.

Collection development is the responsibility of the Sociology Bibliographer. Liaison with the Department is maintained through the departmental coordinator and, on occasion, through other faculty members. Regular contact with other subject bibliographers is maintained through the sharing of relevant review material.

McGill Resources

The Humanities and Social Sciences Library is the major location for the University's sociology collection. The HRAF electronic files, acquired in 2000 through a major gift from the SSMU, are a valuable resource for sociological research. 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.

In addition, the following McGill Libraries hold material of interest to the study of sociology:

Birks Reading Room: beliefs, religions and cults.

Blackader-Lauterman Library: urban planning and housing.

Centre for Developing Areas Studies Documentation Centre: society in developing countries, development and labour issues. Much of the material is reports which are not currently in the library catalogue.

Education Library: sociology of education, research methods, child development, and adolescent behaviour.

Government Documents Department: Demography, population studies, and statistics. McGill is a depository for Canadian and Quebec government publications and those of the European Union, and a partial depository for those of the United Nations, ILO, and related bodies.

Life Sciences Library: sociology of medicine, medical care and health systems.

Management Collection: institutional organization, management, leadership, work behaviour, labour issues, technology and work, and the role of business in society.

Law Library: human rights, intercultural, ethnic and gender aspects of legal systems, family and socila law, and technology and society.

Schulich Science and Engineering Library: technology and society.

Regional Resources

Women's Studies collections in Montreal are described in Les femmes: guide des resources documentaires à Montréal edited by Thérèse Leblanc. Montréal, Comité de travail sur les resources documentaires sur les femmes, Montréal 1987.

Concordia University's Simone de Beauvoir Institute has an important documentation centre devoted to Women's Studies. It is especially strong in its holdings of specialized periodicals in the field of Women's Studies and feminism.

Université de Montréal Bibliothèque des lettres et sciences humaines has an extensive collection of sociology monographs and periodicals. Some English and French language serials held there are not held at McGill. It is especially strong in criminology, demography, and the sociological aspects of Quebec studies.

Université de Québec à Montréal Bibliothèque centrale has strong collections in women's studies, sexology, immigration, ethnic relations and labour relations.

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 Canadian Research Knowledge Network, of which McGill is a member, facilitates purchasing access to many bibliographic and full-text databases and collections.

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

OCLC membership gives McGill users access to a vast bibliographic database and an efficient document delivery system 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. 

General Collection Guidelines

Languages: English is the primary language of the collection, but works published in other Western European languages, primarily French, German and Italian, are purchased selectively, especially French-Canadian publications. Works published in other European languages are purchased selectively according to need.

Chronological Coverage: In general the emphasis is on contemporary issues and scholarship. A strong historical collection already exists.

Geographical Coverage: Major emphasis is on the study of society in North America. Secondary interest is in Europe, followed by South East Asia, Latin America and other Third World areas.

Treatment of the Subject: Scholarly treatment of the subject is emphasized. Textbooks and working papers are not normally acquired.

Date of Publication: Emphasis is on current publications. Retrospective material is acquired as needed to build up previously neglected areas, and to replace important books which have been worn out 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 outline from Sociological Abstracts has been used as a basis for the organization of this section.

Methodology & research technology 3b  
Sociology: history & theory 2  
Social Psychology    
  Interaction within small groups 3a  
  Personality and culture 2  
  Leadership 2  
  Deviance 3b 4+
  Cognitive / interpretive sociologies 3a  
Group interactions (race relations, ethnicity) 3b  
Culture and social structure 2  
  Social organization 2  
  Culture 2  
Social Anthropology see Anthropology Collection Policy    
Complex organization and Industrial Sociology    
  Management collects works dealing with personnel management and industrial relations.    
  Jobs, work organization, workplaces & unions 3a 4+
  Bureaucratic structure / organizational sociology 2  
  Modes of production / employment patterns 3a  
  Social division of labour 3a  
  Social network analysis 3a  
  Voluntary associations (collected in conjunction with Social Work) 2  
Mass phenomena    
  (The study of political sociology / interactions of mass phenomena is highly interdisciplinary, requiring close collaboration among the bibliographers for Psychology, Communications, Political Science, Economics, History, Human Geography, General and Comparative Literature)    
  Social movements 3b 4+
  Public opinion 2  
  Communication 2  
  Collective behaviour 3a 3b
  Sociology of Leisure / tourism 2  
  Mass culture 2  
Political sociology/interactions
 (See also Political Science policy)
 (in conjunction with Law and Social Work bibliographers)
Social differentiation 3a  
   Social stratification / mobility 3b  
   Sociology of occupations and professions 2 3a
(For most of the professions taught at McGill (Medicine, Nursing, Law, Architecture, Management, Education, Agriculture and Music) the subject library collects in depth. McLennan purchases only basic titles needed for teaching sociology courses and general or comparative works)    
Rural sociology and agriculture
  (in conjunction with MacDonald College)
Urban sociology
  (in conjunction with Blackader and Social Work)
Sociology of language and the arts 2  
 Sociology of language / sociolinguistics
   (See also Linguistics policy)  
 Sociology of art 2  
 Sociology of literature (see Comparative and General Literature policy)    
 Sociology of Education (see Education policy)    
 Sociology of religion (see also Religious Studies policy) 3a  
Social control    
 Sociology of Law 2  
(in cooperation with Law Library which concentrates on the social basis of legal systems while Sociology is concerned with their social impact)    
Police, penology (as a branch of criminology) 3a  
 Correctional problems, probation and rehabilitation
 (see also Social Work policy)
Sociology of science and technology 3b  
Demography 3b  
 Human Biology / Sociobiology 2  
The Family and socialization    
(For the areas listed directly below there is considerable overlap with the Education Library. Purchases are decided on the basis of the author's approach)    
 Sociology of the child 1  
 Adolescence and youth 2  
 Sociology of sexual behaviour 3a  
 Sociology of the family 3a  
 Socialization 2  
Birth control, fertility, child bearing etc. 1  
(Life Sciences Library collects this extensively, including abortion and contraception)    
Sociology of Health and Medicine 3a 3b
 (Sociology of medicine (public health) is a responsibility of the Life Sciences Library. McLennan collects the social aspects of disease and health services)    
Substance use / abuse, drugs, alcoholism etc. 2  
 (McLennan collects publications dealing with the above as a social problem. Life Sciences is responsible for the medical aspects, Social Work for therapies and solutions)    
Social problems & social welfare 3a 3b
 (See also Social Work policy, i.e. Social gerontology, sociology of crime and victimology, applied sociology and juvenile delinquency.)    
Sociology of knowledge 3b  
Sociology of community and regional development 2  
 (Blackader-Lauterman covers urban planning and building. Publications on the human use of space are acquired for McLennan)    
Policy, planning, forecasting 2  
 (Urban policy is collected by Political Science, housing forecasts and urban economics by Economics, Urban housing in Blackader-Lauterman)    
Social indicators 2  
Policy sciences 2  
Radical and Critical Sociology 2  
Environmental interactions (sociology aspects only) 2 3a
Studies in poverty see also Social Work policy 2 3a
Studies in violence & terrorism 2 3a
Sociology of Gender (includes works on LGBT issues) 3b 4+
Sociology of business see also Management policy    
Visual sociology 1  

Canada 4 4+
United States 3b 4-
Europe 3a 3b
Former Soviet Union, Eastern/Central Europe 3a 3b
South Asia 3a  
Latin America and the Caribbean 3a 4-
Africa: Central/South/East/West 3a 3b
Middle East, Maghreb and North Africa 3a  
Australia/New Zealand/Southeast Asia/Oceania 2  
East Asia 3a  

Coordination and Cooperation

The Sociology bibliographer communicates frequently with the bibliographers responsible for the following subject collections:

Anthropology: Social studies of ethnicity and ethnic communities are common areas of interest.

Communications: Some overlap in mass media and popular culture.

Economics: Common interest in regional planning, urban renewal and urban economics.

Education Library: Mutual areas of interest include sociology of education, higher education, research methods, gender and muliticultural aspects of education, sociolinguistics, at risk children, and adolescent behaviour.

Geography: Common interest in social problems in Western and Third World countries.

Health Sciences Library: Mutual areas of interest include sociology of medicine, epidemiology, health systems and public welfare.

Howard Ross Library of Management: Since industrial sociology is a major interest of the Sociology Department, the Management Library's holdings concerning labour and industry are of particular interest.

Jewish Studies: Works on the sociology of the Jews are generally covered by Sociology, however publications in languages other than English and French are covered by Jewish Studies.

Law Library: Regular communication is maintained to determine areas of overlapping interests. Law collects materials on the sociology of the legal profession as well as sociological aspects of legal systems in other countries, criminology, human rights, cultural diversity, and technology and society.

Political Science: Common areas are race relations, political sociology, communities, housing in cities, policy studies.

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

Slavic and East European Studies bibliographer purchases works in vernacular and western languages to support general and comparative studies.

Social Work: Areas of overlapping interest are considerable: family problems, child welfare, violence toward women and children, homelessness, gerontology, substance abuse, crime, birth control, abortion and contraception.

Women's Studies bibliographer acts as a resource person for women's studies materials and selects transdisciplinary publications for the McLennan collections.

Descriptions of the Collection

Current serials and standing orders lists are available from bibliographer.

Giffin, M. Sociology: A Guide to Reference Sources. Montreal, Reference Department McLennan Library, McGill University, 1987. (Supplemented by annual summary updates)

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