Subject Librarian: Liorah Golomb, Assistant Professor, Reference and Humanities Librarian
Phone: 978-5077
Policy created: December 30, 2003  Policy updated: 
November 8, 2004

Purpose    Scope   Summary     Subjects Excluded   Related Collections   Related Policies
Related Evaluations    Other Factors   Appendix A   Appendix B

A.     Purpose of Collection  


  1. Program Information

French is one of the languages taught within the Modern Languages and Literatures department here at WSU.  At the moment, two professors, Dr. Brigitte Roussel (medieval and early modern literature) and Dr. Wilson Baldridge (modern literature) handle the mainly undergraduate level language courses with a few literature classes thrown in.  In addition, Dr. Marat Santallov teaches French language classes.  Undergraduate classes are offered in Elementary French, Intermediate French, Intermediate French readings, Intermediate Conversation and Cooperative Education.  Graduate classes are taught in French Phonetics, Advanced Conversation, French Literature of Africa and the Caribbean in translation, French Civilization: Middle Ages to the Restoration, Contemporary French Civilization, Renaissance French Literature, 17th Century French Literature, 18th Century French Literature, 19th Century French Literature, 20th Century French Literature and Contemporary French Literature.

The main areas of research in this area are late medieval and early modern literature (specializing in feminist literature in this regard) in addition to modern literature.  Once again, the new faculty member’s research area has yet to be determined.

The students taking French are from a variety of disciplines across the WSU campus including English literature, religion, gender studies, old world history, philosophy and political theory.

  1. Collection Description

The French collection consists of paper books, some journals, database access and limited e-book access.


Due to our collaboration with the two professors noted above, the Libraries’ book holdings in this regard are quality selections even if they are smaller than other MCLL areas such as Spanish.  Two analyses illustrated this fact.  The first test compared our holdings to the bibliography in The Oxford Companion to French Literature. In terms of works prior to 1970, we had half of the English language reference items and a few original language entries.  The second test, using the recently published A Short History of French Literature rendered positive results showing that we have 85 percent of the core works written in English for this area.[i]


We tend not to collect dissertations, essay collections or conference proceedings for this area, as it is an undergraduate program.  However, these items are available upon request.

Our journal holdings in this regard are not as strong as they could be.  Interdisciplinary journals as well as those literary journals in English provide the bulk of our coverage.  We do have a few French language journals, which we are still receiving and several historical runs up in the general stacks.  However recent budget cuts have taken their toll on those items.  Running our historical and present-day collections up against the MLA Bibliography reveals that our original language collections are weak in this regard, not even having core journals in most regards and only a few of the English language serials.  As such, researchers rely heavily on Interlibrary Loan/Document Delivery for most of their materials.  These journals need to be protected whenever possible in future serials reviews.


Database access remains limited to mostly English language works.  The only access we have for French language works comes the MLA BibliographyThat database, however, provides citations and abstracts only.  While there are links to full text, they are from other databases and then, only those that we subscribe to.  Full text access to articles in English comes from JSTOR (retrospective coverage) and Project Muse (mostly the last fifteen years’ of publication runs).  Humanities Index and InfoTrac Web’s Expanded Academic provide some additional coverage for English works.  Yet in the latter’s case, only 1 out of every 4 academic works is available in full text.


E-Book coverage remains in flux as well.  Netlibrary does not have a great deal of French literature, historical or cultural works in its holdings.  With the possible addition of the ACLS Humanities E-Book and other packages may offer possibilities in this regard.

  1. Anticipated Trends

As with other areas within the Humanities, two items will drive our collecting efforts for French:  access and budgets.

The balance between print and electronic media may help to bridge several gaps in the future.  Certainly, in terms of electronic journals, we could stand to benefit if publishers provide affordable foreign language journal packages here in the United States.  Even so, French journals would rank behind Spanish in this regard.  The same can be said for French monographs and source materials.  Fortunately, the interdisciplinary coverage in JSTOR and Project Muse does assist in bridging this gap.  Once again, however, this balance can change depending upon budgets and which databases we can acquire/hang on to in the future.  While the Libraries probably will not increase its holdings in foreign language journals or databases in a large way, our access to materials in English could benefit from adding JSTOR’s Arts & Humanities II and III packages to our repertoire.  Cost could determine whether we keep Project Muse beyond 2005 so we need to plan accordingly.  A switch to EBSCOHost Expanded Academic could increase access as well.  In terms of e-book coverage, an increase in Netlibrary, ACLS History E-Book Collection and/or other collections in this regard can only help narrow this gap while providing quality materials to our patrons.


With French, due to the collaboration between Dr. Roussel, Dr. Baldridge and the liaison librarians, we have strong core collections for the most part, emphasizing quality over quantity.  Given the budgetary situation and priorities both for the MCLL department and the Libraries as a whole, this activity will need to be monitored carefully to insure a balance between a general collecting base, meeting faculty research needs and satisfying patron’s needs.  To their credit, these two professors make it a point to balance all three of these components in their requests for books and our discussions.  Also, since French literature does touch on the other subject areas across campus noted above, we do need to keep some literary works (mainly in translation but with some original holdings) available for patron use as well.  These issues are concerns for the French CD area.


B.    B.     Scope of Coverage

  1. Chronological Focus

For French literature, the primary chronological areas are Medieval, Renaissance, Early Modern and Modern.  This could be expanded depending upon the interests of the new faculty hire.


Other areas can be collected depending upon available budgetary resources; the importance of the analyzed work(s) within the scope of French literary history in general and the quality of the scholarship in that work.  In any event, that activity would never exceed C2 or D Levels as explained in Appendix B.


  1. Geographic Focus

The primary geographic focus is France.  Other areas include Quebec, the Low Countries (medieval—see Burgundian holdings) and the Maghrib (Northern Africa).  Once again, the new person’s research interests could affect the geographic coverage as well.


  1. Formats and Materials Collected

For French literature, the collecting efforts include printed works both in English and French.  The following formats are collected:  books, journals and serials.  As noted above, when the appropriate opportunity arises to investigate electronic access for French language journals and electronic works, we will do so.  

  1. Formats and Materials Not Collected

Although the focus will primarily be on those formats and materials noted in Section 3 above, other formats will be considered according to the relevance to the overall major and department (MCLL), courses of study, areas of faculty research/teaching, and overall continuity of the collection.  As mentioned in Section 3, such endeavors will be subject to availability, overall collecting priorities and budgetary constraints.

  1. Publication/Imprint Dates

Most purchases will be recently published works although out of print works will also be considered.  Retrospective projects conducted between faculty members and the subject librarians will be considered as well depending upon available budget, collection priorities, the time involved and the project scope.

6.    Place of Publication

All academic publishers’ works are considered.  However, some publishers’ works will tend to be purchased more than others.  For French, Peter Lang and Librarie Droz are two such cases.  Distributors such as BNA and Schoenhoff’s will also be considered.  In all cases, the work’s overall quality not just the publisher or its reputation will determine a purchase.

7.    Languages Collected

Works in this field are collected in both English and French.  All secondary works (unless requested by the faculty members) are collected in English.  Primary sources can be collected in other languages.  However again, foreign language sources will be collected in translation whenever possible.  If a faculty member requests that a source be acquired in the original language, every effort will be made to get the work as permitted by availability and available funds.

C.     Summary of Subjects Collected and Collecting Levels

Subject LC Class Current Collection Strength
Fr. Language-Provencal PC D
French Dialects PC D
Provencal Language & Lit. PC D
French Literature PQ C2
Collections of French Lit. PQ C2
French Literature-to 1525[2]     PQ D
French Literature-16th century PQ C2
French Literature-17th century PQ C2
French Literature-18th century PQ C2
French Literature-19th century PQ C2
French Literature-20th century PQ C2
French Literature-Other areas PQ D
French Literature-Pop. Lit. PQ C2
French Literature-Canadian PQ C2
French Literature-West Indies PQ D
French Literature-Africa PQ C2



D.    D.     Subjects Excluded

There are no excluded subjects.  Although some may only be collected at a minimal (re: level as spelled out in Appendix B.

E.     Related Collections and Cooperative Efforts

Any French literature collecting effort should interact with those from the other MCLL subject areas for budgetary reasons.  Other subjects affected are: history, English literature, Gender Studies, Philosophy, Religion and other Humanities areas.


F.    F.      Related Collection Development Policies

Any French literature CD Policy should interact with those from the other MCLL subject areas for budgetary reasons.  This occurs due to all foreign languages being under the same fund code (FLN2D).  In addition, comparative literature affects French and can be considered as well.   Other subjects affected are: history, English literature, Philosophy, Religion and other Humanities areas.


G.   G.     Related Collection Evaluations

See E and F above.


H.   H.    Other Factors

Access to French literature sources (largely in English language interdisciplinary sources) is available through Project Muse and JSTOR.  Bibliographic citations can be found in the MLA Bibliography and Humanities Index (WilsonWeb) .

Appendix A—Specific Subjects Collected (with Collecting Levels)

LC Line Divisions, Categories and Subjects Collection & Language Codes
Class Number   CL AC GL PC
PC2001-3761 LLL86 French Language, Provencal Language & Literature    
PC2700-3171 LLL87 French Dialects D   D  
PC3201-3495 LLL88 Provencal Language & Literature D   C2  
PQ1-3999 LLL88.5 French Literature C2   C2  
PQ1-789 LLL90 French Literature - History & Criticism C2   C2  
PQ1100-1297 LLL91 Collections of French Literature C2   C2  
PQ1300-1595 LLL92 French Literature - Old French to Ca. 1525 * D   C2  
PQ1600-1709 LLL93 French Literature - 16th Century C2   C2  
PQ1710-1935 LLL94 French Literature - 17th Century C2   C2  
PQ1947-2147 LLL95 French Literature - 18th Century C2   C2  
PQ2149-2551 LLL96 French Literature - 19th Century  C2   C2  
PQ2600-2651 LLL97 French Literature - 1900-1960 C2   C2  
PQ2660-2686 LLL98 French Literature - 1961- C2   C2  
PQ791-806 LLL99 French Literature - Folk Poetry & Chapbooks D   D  

Appendix B—Explanation of Collecting Levels and Codes


[i] Please see French Language and Literature Collection Analysis for more information.

[ii] This rating can be broken into two parts.  The early period (prior to 1200) would remain a D.  Dr. Roussel and I are working on strategically choosing primary source materials for the era between 1200 and 1525 that would raise that part of this range to a C2.


Written by: David Duncan