Navigation Aids

Collections Development Policies


Main Content

Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies

Bibliographer: Lauris Olson
Telephone: 215.898.0119

I. Program Information

The Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies Program at Penn offers an undergraduate major, minor, and dual degree. It is an interdisciplinary program, offering many cross-listed courses. The graduate program offers a Graduate Certificate, which provides opportunities for graduate students to integrate their thinking about gender and sexuality using a variety of methodological approaches such as critical feminist, race, and legal theory, cultural studies, and French psychoanalytic theory, as well as traditional disciplinary methodologies.

II. Collection Description

Because of its interdisciplinary nature, the size of the gender, sexuality, & women's studies collection is difficult to assess. Levels of collecting are incorporated within the policies of specific disciplines. Many bibliographers participate in developing the collection in the course of their work.

The collection contains a wealth of relevant published material in the fields of anthropology, education, folklore, literature, political science, social work, and sociology, with a growing component in sexuality. The library holds several relevant microform collections including British Birth Control Ephemera in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries, Herstory, Mary McLeod Bethune Papers, Witchcraft in Europe and America. Historical diaries are strongly represented, through American Womens Diaries, New England women and their families in the 18th and 19th Centuries, Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century, and Women's Language and Experience, 1500-1940: Women's Diaries and Related Sources.

The Penn Library Web provides access to two complementary licensed networked online fulltext databases relevant to gender, sexuality, & women's studies, Contemporary Women's Issues and GenderWatch. In addition, the Penn Library Web's subject-based "gender, sexuality, & women's studies" pages provide excellent coverage of web pages worldwide germaine to the curricular and research interests of Penn readers.

Bibliographic access to the journal literature in gender, sexuality, & women's studies is provided through the fulltext databases above, through several printed indexes held at Van Pelt Reference: Studies on Women Abstracts, Women Studies Abstracts, and Women's Studies Index, and through free online databases linked from the Penn Library Web.

Although the majority of the collection is in English, other languages are represented as well. Textbooks and dissertations are not collected unless specifically requested.

III. Guidelines for Collection Development

  1. Chronological

  2. Formats

  3. Geographical

  4. Language

  5. Publication Dates

IV. Principal Sources of Supply and major Selection Tools

V. Subjects Collected and Levels of Collecting

All subjects are included; as mentioned above, most of the gender and women's studies materials are collected by the appropriate subject bibliographers.

VI. Subjects Excluded

VII. Cooperative Arrangements and Related Collections