Communication collection

Main content


The Annenberg School for Communication stands at the forefront of research, education and policy in the field of communication, focusing often but not exclusively on the processes, nature, and consequences of existing and emerging media. A variety of theories and methods across the humanities and social sciences are employed in the research and teaching that goes on at the School. The resource environment that supports the School's work is equally broad and deep. 

Collection description

Penn Libraries collects widely across the field of communication with special emphasis in the following areas: political communication; critical, cultural and historical media studies; global and comparative communication; communication neuroscience; critical journalism; digital media and networks; health and risk communication; visual communication; media institutions and systems; media and communication effects; peace communication/conflict resolution.

Areas of Emphasis
Communication resources at the Annenberg School and Penn Libraries support the research and teaching of the field as defined at the School in the following general, often overlapping categories: political communication; critical, cultural, and historical media studies; health communication, media institutions, international communication, new media, children/family and media, visual communication, journalism, new media, and non-verbal communication. All forms of media are in play but emphasis falls heaviest on print, broadcast, and new media over film which is more fully supported by Cinema Studies.

Areas Not Emphasized at Annenberg
There are a few areas in the field that are not directly pursued at the Annenberg School. However, most of these areas touch on other fields and departments at the University so they are not without research support. They include: organizational communication, public relations, public speaking, communication disorders, and training for journalists. Resources in these areas can be found in the business, education, psychology, biomedical and general social science collections.

Physical location of materials
As communication is arguably the most interdisciplinary field of all, likewise its resources reside throughout Penn Libraries--in all corners of the virtual Library system and in many departmental libraries on campus. The Annenberg School Library serves as both a destination and a gateway into the broader research network on campus and beyond. In addition to the Van Pelt Dietrich Center which houses the Humanities and Social Science collections, communications students must often turn to the Biomedical Library, Biddle Law, Fisher Fine Arts, Lippincott (business) and the University Museum Library (anthropology, ethnography). The Annenberg Library's document delivery service to faculty and graduate students regularly sends staff to these locales.

Collections in the Annenberg Library

The ASC Library maintains a journal collection of over 300 titles and two monograph collections -- over 5,000 reference titles and about 1,500 reserve titles. The Library also maintains of a dvd collection of over 700 titles and several special collections.

Journal Collection
The Library houses a journal collection of over 300 titles and many of these are available online as well. E-journal titles under the umbrella of "Communication" number well over 600. The collection is strong in all of the established areas of emphasis (see above) and Annenberg is committed to subscribing to most new academic titles. The is also committed to retrospective growth where there are historical gaps. Holdings for titles all the way back to their inception provide researchers access to the field in its formative years. The University's holdings of the Quarterly Journal of Speech go back to 1928 and historians of broadcasting can consult ASC's collection of Broadcasting dating back to 1931. TV Guide begins with its first edition in 1953. These retrospective acquisitions compliment the Annenberg Library's commitment to "hot" new journals, despite exponential growth in journal pricing. Access to journal literature that is both broad and deep, historical and cutting edge, is vital to the program at the School. In the last few years the Library journal collection has especially expanded its holdings in the areas of international communication and cultural studies (English language titles).

Reference Collection
Materials that comprise the reference collection include: methodologies on qualitative and quantitative social science research practices, historical public opinion compendiums, consumer profiles that include related media practice, and indexes and bibliographies on all media, though for film only key general sources are collected as well as those dealing with media stereotypes, audience phenomena, communication theory and the like. Deeper film reference, including foreign, can be found in Van Pelt Reference under the watchful eye of the Cinema Studies bibliographer in conjunction with the Cinema Studies department.

Reserve collection
The Reserve collection is a permanent collection of monographs used in ASC graduate courses past and present. Communication "classics" can be found here as well as ASC faculty publications. The collection grows as items are requested by faculty or when it is determined a title is core to the field and/or ASC endeavors. Many of these titles are also available elsewhere on campus. They reside at Annenberg for the convenience of the local community but may be borrowed on a limited basis by the University community as well.

DVD Collection
This is an eclectic collection of DVDs--over 800 films, television shows, documentaries, political speeches, advertisements--some used in ASC courses, some collected by the librarian. The items in this collection may saliently pertain to media topics or the connection may be more subtle.

Special Collections

Annenberg School for Communication Library Archive (ASCLA)

The Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives (ASCLA) is comprised of materials in three core areas: history of the field of communication research, broadcast television scripts, and journalism.

History of the field collections include the papers of George Gerbner, Elihu Katz, Kurt and Gladys Lang, the International Communication Association (ICA), the Communication Scholars Oral History Project, the historic journal Studies in Visual Communication (published at the Annenberg School), and a History of Communication Bibliography and Archive Directory.

The Television Script Archive includes over 35,000 prime-time scripts from TV Guide (1976-1994) and over 15,000 Agnes Nixon soap opera scripts (1955-1998).

KYW I-Team Reports 1978-1984, the Masson v. Malcolm papers and the Neil Hickey papers populate the journalism section of the archives.

Special collections

The Annenberg School for Communication Library Archives (ASCLA) is comprised of materials in three core areas: 

History of the field   |  Broadcast television scripts   |  Journalism

Links to policies will go here if they exist.

Doing research

Start with the Annenberg Library's homepage for a breakdown of key resources and services. Contact Sharon Black or Lauris Olson for further consultation.


Communication Source / EBSCO MegaFILE  |  LexisNexis  |  Oxford Bibliographies: Cinema and Media Studies  |  Oxford Bibliographies: Communication  |  Vanderbilt Television News Archive  |  Sage Research Methods  |  Sociological Abstracts  |  Web of Science  |  More databases...

Reference works

Major journals

Research guides