Religious Studies Collection Development Policy


The Davidson Library's Religious Studies collection provides support for the undergraduate and graduate level curriculum of the UCSB Department of Religious Studies. It also supports the research of the graduate students and faculty of the department.


Subject Areas The Department of Religious Studies encourages an interdisciplinary approach to the study of religious traditions incorporating materials and theories from folklore, history, literary criticism, sociology and philosophy. Therefore the Religious Studies collection reflects this interdisciplinarity and subject specialists in these other areas are consulted when materials are selected.

One of the strengths of the Religious Studies department is its comprehensive analysis of religious traditions in the United States with a particular focus on the diversity of new religions and new interpretations of older religions seen in California. Some of these materials are housed in the Ethnic and Gender Studies Library in Davidson Library since they are part of collections selected in consultation with the specialists for Asian-American Studies, Black Studies, Chicano Studies, and Native American Studies. Primary source materials that document non-mainstream religions in the United States are located in the American Religions Collection in Davidson Library's Special Collections.

Other focuses of the Religious Studies collection include:

  • Biblical commentary
  • Buddhism (special emphasis on Tibetan traditions)
  • Christianity
  • Greek and Roman religions
  • Hinduism
  • Islam
  • Judaism
  • Native American religions
  • Sikh studies

Geographical coverage
There is no restriction on geographical areas provided that the material is relevant. Overall equal attention is given to the geographic regions of interest to the department.

Materials are collected from all continents. However, the majority of the publications are produced in the United States and western Europe.

Most of the materials selected are in English, German and French. Materials are selected in the original language of publication often with translations into English acquired as well. Primary source material is collected in the original language sometimes in bilingual editions also containing English translations. These primary source materials are in Aramaic, Hebrew, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Tibetan. Materials in Chinese, Japanese and Korean are selected by the East Asian Studies specialist. Materials in semitic languages are selected in consultation with the Middle Eastern Studies specialist.

Chronological limits/Period coverage
There are no chronological limits applicable for this collection.

Publication dates
Most publications acquired are published in the 20th and 21st centuries. Earlier works are usually acquired in facsimile format. Occasionally an original pre-twentieth-century work will be selected in consultation with UCSB's Special Collections.


The following formats are collected: serials; monographs; conference proceedings; and Festschriften. Reference materials, research monographs, and academic journals have a high priority in acquisition. North American university press titles are received on approval. Both scholarly and mainstream works from academic and trade publishers are acquired.

Hard copy (paper) publications of monographs are emphasized with an occasional electronic book. Journal access may be print or electronic To maximize limited resources, most journals will NOT be available in more than one format; in general, electronic versions are preferred, so long as they have reliable and perpetual access.

Reprints are generally not acquired unless augmented, revised, or containing some other new intellectual material. Unpublished theses and dissertations are not actively selected. Textbooks are not acquired. Electronic subscriptions without support for IP-recognition based access (subscriptions that require the distribution of specific passwords) are not selected.

Devotional, catechetical works, inspirational literature and spiritual self-help books are generally not selected for acquisition. Nor are local histories of specific congregations.


Students, faculty and staff of UCSB have access to Interlibrary Loan services for obtaining materials from other campuses.

Click here for a complete list of UCSB Collection Development Policies


Author: abarnhar [at] library [dot] ucsb [dot] edu (Anne C. Barnhart)
Policy Last Updated: October 2004