Political Science/ International Relations

Collection Selector

Susan Wishinsky

Susan Wishinsky


Mugar Memorial Library

General Purpose of the Collection

The Political Science/International Relations collection supports both the undergraduate and graduate curriculum in American government and politics, comparative politics and government, international relations, diplomacy, and political theory. Consisting primarily of monographs and serials representing not only individual countries and political systems, but also the interrelationships of those systems in areas such as foreign aid, immigration, defense, and contemporary and historical political theory, the collection is by necessity selective and broad-based. Currently the collection reflects interest in Russia, the Middle East, Latin America, China and Western Europe, as well as American political behavior and foreign policy.The International Relations major is very popular among undergraduates, resulting in heavy and extensive use of the collection.

The Departments of Political Science and International Relations in the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) provide the majority of courses within the field. The Graduate Program (GRS) offers both MA and PhD degrees. The Department of International Relations offers five interdisciplinary Master of Arts Programs, including joint degree programs with the Center for Energy and Environmental Science or the College of Communication, and dual degree programs with the School of Law or Graduate School of Management. Other centers offering related coursework include the Center for Latin American Development Studies; the Center for Asian Development Studies; the Elie Wiesel Center for Judaic Studies; the Institute for Economic Development; the Institute for the Study of Conflict, Ideology and Policy; the Center for Defense Journalism; the Center for International Relations; the Division of International Programs; the Division of Military Education; the Frederick S. Pardee Center; the Institute for Democratic Communication, and the African Studies Center.

Scope of Coverage

Languages collected or excluded
English-language materials are primarily collected, with very selective coverage of French, Spanish, and German. Material in Russian is acquired on a very selective basis, and usually is the result of faculty donations.
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 for consideration, although acquisitions are extremely selective in the case of Africa. Material regarding Africa and African countries is collected primarily by Political Science when covered as part of a broader world view, or regarding diplomacy and/or U.S. policy toward Africa and African countries. The United States, Russia, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia receive particular attention. Works dealing with very specific geographic areas – the detailed voting breakdown of a particular U.S. county, for example – normally would not be acquired.
Chronological periods covered by the collection in terms of intellectual content, movements or schools, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
Material is collected in all chronological periods. However, in cases where the primary distinction between History and Political Science is the date of the covered event, Political Science will acquire items covering events occurring within the last twenty years.
Chronological periods collected in terms of publication dates, and specific periods excluded, as appropriate
The collection emphasizes current material, with the primary purpose of supporting faculty and student research and coursework. 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 following Library of Congress call number ranges.


  • HX : Socialism, Communism, Anarchism and Utopias
  • J 1-981 : General Legislative and Executive Papers
  • JA 1-98 : Political Science (General)
  • JC 11-607 : Political Theory, Theory of the State
  • JF 20-2112 : Political Institutions and Public Administration
  • JK 1-9993 : Political Institutions and Public Administration: United States.
  • JL 1-3899 : Political Institutions and Public Administration: America Outside the U.S.
  • JN 1-9689 : Political Institutions and Public Administration: Europe.
  • JQ 1-6651 : Political Institutions and Public Administration: Asia, Africa, Australia, Oceania.
  • JS 3-8500 : Local Government, Municipal Government.
  • JV : Colonization; Emigration and Immigration
  • JX 101-115 : Diplomatic Relations
  • JX 1305-1598 : International Relations
  • JX 1625-1896 : Diplomacy; The Diplomatic Service
  • JZ 1-6350 : International Relations
  • Z 7161-7166 : Political and Social Science Bibliography
  • Z 8001-8999 : Personal Bibliography

*The JZ and KZ call number ranges are now used instead of JX.

Collected Selectively:

  • D-F : History
  • H 1-99 : Social Sciences (General)
  • Z 1201-4980.A-.Z : National Bibliography

Collected Very Selectively:

  • HV 6431-6433 : Terrorism (see Comments/Notes, below)
  • K-KZ : Law (see Comments/Notes, below)

All items in these ranges are housed in Mugar Memorial Library.

Related subjects and Interdisciplinary Relationships

Political Science takes responsibility for all items within the J-JZ and HX call number ranges except as specifically noted below. As a secondary subject classification, material pertaining to Political Science and International Relations can fall in the following areas:

African Studies
The African Studies Selector collects material that pertains specifically to politics and government within and among African countries. Political Science acquires material regarding U.S. policy toward Africa, and works covering North Africa if the focus of the work is the Middle East.
Responsibility is determined by call number range; items falling within the J classification are acquired by Political Science, items falling in the H classification are collected by Economics.
Government Documents
Political Science does not acquire government documents per se, although reference sources repackaging government data would be considered. United Nations publications (JZ 4935-5230) are primarily acquired by Law.
In general, the 20-year rule applies in questions of overlap, both within the D-F and the J-JV ranges. Biographies of judges, diplomats and political figures are acquired selectively. Works having diplomacy and foreign relations as a primary focus are collected regardless of time frame.
Military Affairs
Responsibility is primarily determined by call number range; Political Science does not collect in the Military Science (U) and Naval Science (V) classifications. However, material on world peace and peace movements is acquired selectively, avoiding duplication with the collection at the Pappas Law Library.
Works dealing with the lives and works of individual philosophers working in political theory and falling within the B-BD and BH-BJ call number ranges are collected by Philosophy as appropriate.
The subject of immigration and emigration is covered by Sociology as it relates to particular ethnic groups, although material falling in the JV classification is primarily acquired by Political Science. Sociology also collects in related areas such as terrorism (HV), race relations, and criminology, all of which may have political aspects.

Types of Materials

Books, major periodicals, and reference material, such as atlases, indexes and abstracts, bibliographies, and encyclopedias.
Collected Selectively
Dissertations and theses, electronic resources, biographies, proceedings, government documents, and microforms.
Not Collected
Audiovisual material, popular material,newspapers, textbooks, maps,and juvenile literature.

Other On-Campus or Local Resources

The Pappas Law Library‘s collection of over 500,000 volumes is a scholarly collection developed to meet the needs of the students and faculty at the Boston University School of Law. The collection is located in two buildings: Pappas and the Annex, in the basement of Mugar Memorial Library. Most primary sources and finding tools (federal and state case reporters, digests, citators, statutes, and regulations), American academic law reviews, looseleaf services, and microform materials are located on the two floors of Pappas; cataloged and classified treatises (items with a call number), foreign and international materials, topical journals, and duplicate copies of federal primary materials are located in the Annex.

The Boston Public Library is a full regional United States depository for technical reports and documents supplied by various government agencies. In addition, the BPL has the best local collection of international newspapers.


International Law and Law (K-KF; KZ) are collected by selectors at the Pappas Law Library. We do not generally duplicate this material, except in the areas specifically pertaining to diplomacy. Items suitable for the undergraduate collection falling in the K-KF classifications occasionally are acquired for subject collections with specific interest in the area discussed; libel law, for example, might be considered by the Communication Selector.