Boston College Libraries Faculty Newsletter


FALL 2004

Communication Library Support

The Boston College Libraries began a major effort in 2004 to enhance library support for the Communication Department, which is now the largest undergraduate department at BC with more than a thousand students. The effort began with the hiring of a new Communication Librarian, Ken Liss, dedicated solely to the department and charged with: expanding and improving the Communication collection; providing research and teaching support; and developing other services for faculty and students to reflect the growth of the major.


Here is a Subject Area Highlight on some of the collections work that Ken has been involved in since his appointment:


During the summer and early fall, a major effort was made to enhance the Libraries' collection of communication journals. As of this fall, the Boston College Libraries have, in print or electronic form, 80% of those journals identified as essential by Boston College faculty and by authors of textbooks on communication research. Subscriptions to additional journals will begin with the 2005 issues.


Also this fall, the Libraries added two key new communication databases - Communication Abstracts and Communication & Mass Media Complete - to the electronic offerings available for the Boston College Community. These databases significantly enhance research access to the communication literature and integration with both the Libraries' print collections and with electronic and print resources in related disciplines (i.e psychology, sociology, gender studies, political science, etc.).


The Libraries' growing communication monograph collections are on a par with those at leading graduate programs at other institutions. A survey conducted this fall compared recent titles in the areas of Communication & Mass Media, Rhetoric & Discourse Analysis, Interpersonal Communication, and Broadcasting in the collections of Boston College, Wake Forest University, and the University of Delaware. There were significant differences in the individual titles collected by each library (possibly reflecting variations in curriculum and research interests of their faculty), but in scale and scope Boston College matched well with the other institutions.


Enhancements to the journal collections and electronic databases put into effect this year will ensure these library resources are in place to support the research needs of Communication faculty and students. Ongoing pressures on book purchasing budgets, which are being felt in all disciplines due to the growing need for electronic resources and rapid increases in journal prices, may require additional support to ensure that the monograph collection remains strong. But as 2004 comes to an end, this growing academic department is well-supported by the collections and services in the BC Libraries.


Questions, comments? Contact the BC Libraries Newsletter Review Board.