Collection Selector

Susan Wishinsky

Susan Wishinsky


Mugar Memorial Library

General Purpose of the Collection

Geography is a rich, diverse, and interdisciplinary field which has expanded beyond the traditional divisions of physical geography and human geography. While the scope of this collection is shaped by Library of Congress call number ranges, other collections with similar interests — geology, engineering, and economics, to name a few — supplement and enhance the Geography collection. The ultimate goal in our combined efforts is to fully support the undergraduate and graduate curriculum, the research needs of faculty across disciplines, and the general research needs of the university community. Toward this end, particular attention is given to acquiring monographs and periodicals which reflect the latest developments in the field.

The Department of Geography coursework emphasizes traditional geographic theory, quantitative techniques, and environmental and policy studies. Three subfields within the discipline are given particular emphasis: Energy and Environmental Policy; Remote sensing and Geospatial Technologies; and Physical Geography (including Hydrology, Biophysical Ecology, & Climate). The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the Graduate School (GRS) offers BA, MA, and PhD degrees in Geography. Interdisciplinary degree programs are available at Boston University through department faculty participation in the Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, the African Studies Center, and the Center for Remote Sensing.

Agencies sponsoring faculty research include the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the World Bank, and the United Nations.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected (primary and selective) or excluded
English is the primary language of the collection, although atlases are acquired in other languages if there is no alternative text.
Geographical areas covered by the collections in terms of intellectual content, publication sources, or both, and specific areas excluded, as appropriate
No area of the world is excluded from consideration, although most material on Africa and countries of Africa is collected by the African Studies Selector.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
While there are no restrictions with respect to intellectual content, movements, or schools, the collection emphasizes new developments in the field. Works on the history of geography and cartography are also acquired.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Emphasis is on current publications. Items more than ten years old are acquired selectively, usually as replacements for classic works, or at the specific request of a student or faculty member.

General Subject Boundaries and Library Locations

The subject scope of this collection is primarily determined by the Library of Congress call number ranges:

  • D-F : Geography and Description of Individual Countries; Travel Guides (very selectively)
  • G : Geography – General
  • GA : Mathematical Geography and Cartography
  • GB 5000-5030 : Natural Disasters
  • GC : Oceanography (with the exception of GC 377-399 – Marine Sediments, which is acquired by Geology)
  • QC 851-999 : Meteorology. Climatology
  • Z 6001-6028 : Geography Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

All items in these categories are housed in Mugar Memorial Library. Due to the diversity in the field, however, those with interests in remote sensing, biogeography, environmental sciences, or hydrology will find items primarily in the Science and Engineering Library; those with interests in economic geography may find material housed in Pardee Management Library.

Geography is highly dependent upon the following collections to supplement and enhance the material in this collection. In particular, theme atlases (such as an atlas of military history or atlases of classical history) are acquired by the appropriate subject selector. The cross-disciplinary topic of remote sensing might be collected by the Engineering, Biology or Archaeology Selector, depending upon the Library of Congress classification, and might be located in either the Science and Engineering Library or Mugar Memorial Library.

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

African Studies
The African Studies Selector collects atlases of Africa and African countries, as well as materials on environment, economic geography, and geography of development as each pertains to Africa.
Items in agriculture (S) and forestry (SD) are acquired by the Biology Selector.
Items on population and demography (HB) and land and agriculture (HD) are acquired by Economics.
Environmental protection, environmental pollution, water supply for domestic and industrial purposes, special types of environment (soil, air and noise pollution), and hazardous substances all fall within the TD classification and are acquired by Engineering. While Geography collects remote sensing material falling in the G classification, items classed in TA 501-625 are acquired by the Engineering Selector.
General Science
Works that fall in the environment (GE) call number range are acquired by this Selector.
This collection covers polar regions (G 575-890),coastal geomorphology (GB 450-460), hydrology, water(GB 651-2598), and marine sediments (GC 377-399).
Some travel and tourism marketing materials fall in the geography call number ranges G149-G180, Travel, Voyages and travels (General). Current materials of immediate interest to students of and practitioners in the hospitality industry that fall in this range are acquired by the Hospitality Selector.
Works in transportation (HE) are acquired by the Management Selector.
Sociology acquires material in urban sociology and regional planning.

Types of Materials

Books, periodicals, and reference materials, such as indexes and abstracts, atlases, bibliographies, encyclopedias, and dictionaries.
Collected Selectively
Microforms, electronic resources, government documents, proceedings, dissertations and theses, travel guides (very selectively), and textbooks (very selectively).
Not Collected
Maps, newspapers, juvenile literature, popular material, videos and film.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Stone Science Library, located at 675 Commonwealth Avenue, includes a small collection of related materials.

The Boston Public Library is a full regional United States depository for technical reports and documents supplied by various government agencies.