Communications Collection - Collections

The collection is maintained by the Communications Library.

The collection supports the teaching and research needs of the College of Communications, including the Media Studies Program, the Departments of Advertising and Journalism, the Division of Broadcasting, and the Institute of Communications. Comprised of approximately 70,000 volumes, 16,000 are located in the Communications Library and the rest in the Bookstacks. One of the special collections is the D’Arcy Collection of approximately 2 million clippings of newspaper and magazine advertisements from 1890 to 1970.

Version Date: February, 2007


I. Collection Description


To support the teaching and research needs of the College of Communications, including the Media Studies Program, the Departments of Advertising and Journalism which offer the B.S. and M.S. degrees, the Division of Broadcasting, and the Institute of Communications, which administers the Ph.D. program for the College.

History of Collection:

In 1933, a half-time assistant hired by the School of Journalism was charged with organizing the office collections into a library. She was transferred to the library’s budget next year and by 1935, the library was housed in four rooms in University Hall. In 1936, she became a full-time librarian and supervised the move to temporary housing in the main library in 1938. In 1940, the collection was moved to its present location in Gregory Hall. The librarian, Eunice Parker, had a part-time assistant hired in 1943, and the collection had grown from 400 uncataloged books, 18 daily papers, 8 weeklies, and 39 magazines to over 3,500 cataloged books and many serials. Three years after Ms. Parker’s retirement, Dr. Eleanor Blum was appointed in 1953. Under her direction, the library continued to grow to be one of the largest, and perhaps the best, communications library in the country. The fact that the Communications Library was directed essentially by two librarians between 1933 and 1978 no doubt had a positive effect on the collections and services of the Library.

Estimate of Holdings:

70,000 volumes.

State, Regional and National Importance:

The Communications Library’s importance is exemplified by the following: G. K. Hall published the “Catalog of the Communications Library.” Its collections have been represented in a regular column in every issue of “Journalism Quarterly” since 1952 and a quarterly, annotated acquisitions list for the library is sent to over 350 individuals and organizations worldwide and is extensively used as a selection tool by other libraries. One of the special collections is the D’Arcy Collection of approximately 2 million clippings of newspaper and magazine advertisements from 1890 to 1970. An article describing the Communications Library appeared in “Illinois Libraries” in September 1986.

Unit Responsible for Collecting:

Communications Library.

Location of Materials:

16,000 volumes consisting of recent and core monographs, serials, newspapers, and approximately 1,000 videos are located in the Communications Library. The bulk of the collection, consisting of older research material and foreign language publications, is located in the Bookstacks. The Business, Library Science, and Education and Social Science Libraries also have relevant holdings. There are also special collections in the University Archives.

Citations of Works Describing the Collection:

Carothers, Diane Foxhill. “The University of Illinois Communications Library: An Overview.” Illinois Libraries, 68:7 (Sept. 1986): 460-463.

Allen, Nancy and Robert Carringer. Unpublished Film and Television Scripts in the University of Illinois Library at Urbana-Champaign. Urbana: The University of Illinois Library, 1983. (Robert B. Downs Publication Fund, no. 7)

Aspen Handbook on the Media. Ed. by William Rivers and Wallace Thompson. New York: Praeger, 1977.

Catalog of the Communications Librarv. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1975.

“New Books in the Communications Library.” Urbana: University of Illinois College of Communications, 1946-present.

“Other Books and Pamphlets.” Journalism Quarterly, 1952-present

II. General Collection Guidelines


Standard statement.

Chronological Guidelines:

No restrictions, although most communications literature concerns the twentieth century.

Geographical Guidelines:


Treatment of Subject:

The range of treatment extends from the scholarly to the popular. In fact, textbooks and popularizations are collected selectively in all subject areas of interest and even a small number of comic books are acquired.An effort is made to acquire all non-technical trade publications and research literature related to communication theory and to mass media. The Engineering Library collects in the technological aspects of many of these areas. Selective acquisitions in related, interdisciplinary areas are made in such fields as interpersonal communications, copyright, writing, photography, graphic arts, cartoons, public opinion, public relations, marketing, popular culture, film, printing and typography. Other libraries collecting in these areas are Law, Library and Information Science, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Education and Social Science, Business, and English.

Types of Materials:

Literature about communications is collected in all formats and kinds of material. Government documents are important in communications research, especially publications of Congressional committees, the FCC and other agencies regulating the media.

Date of Publication:

Standard statement.

Place of Publication:

No restrictions, but this is clearly affected by the emphasis on English language publications. Thus, the primary sources of publication are the U.S., Canada, the U.K., and to some extent, Australia.

III. Collection Responsibility by Subject Subdivisions with Qualifications, Levels of Collecting Intensity, and Assignments

Below is a table that lists specific subject subdivisions within the collection. Each row in the table lists a specific subject subdivision, followed by three columns noting: Collection Strength, Primary Assignments and Secondary Assignments. The Existing Collecting Strength column notes how well the existing collection covers that topic on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being very strong. The Primary Assignments column lists departmental libraries that have the greatest collection intensity of subject materials, respectively. In the case of 2 or more libraries listed, the collection intensity is comparable. The Secondary Assignments column list departmental libraries where additional materials may be found.

Communications Collection
CARTOONS (including political cartoons, film and television animation, comic strips, comic books) 2 Communications English
COPYRIGHT (especially as it relates to mass media, but also as most published works and many creative works are distributed via media, most areas of copyright are included) 3 Law Communications / Library Science
Business and Organizational Communication 2 Business Communications
Cognitive Aspects 2 Psychology Communications
Human Speech 4 Speech Communications Communications
Language and Linguistics Aspects 2 Linguistics Communications
Non-verbal Communication 3 Psychology Communications / Linguistics
Public Address and Rhetoric 2 Speech Communications Communications
Advertising 5 Communications
Methods 3 Communications
History 4 Communications
Book Publishing 3 Communications Library Science
Communications Satellites(non-technical works on satellite systems andsatellite-related systems, including multi-point distribution systems, direct broadcast systems, cable, etc.) 3 Communications
As Mass Medium 5 Communications
Cinematography 2 Cinema Studies Communications
Film Scripts, Film Theory and History 2 Cinema Studies
Magazine journalism 3 Communications
Economic aspects 3 Communications
History 4 Communications
Skills 4 Communications
Mail (non-technical aspects of the post office and electronic message systems) 2 Communications
Newspaper Journalism 5 Communications
Economic Aspects 4 Communications
History and Theory 5 Communications
Skills 4 Communications
Photojournalism (as a medium of communication,such as documentary photography, news photography, advertising photography, television film photography) 3 Communications Art
Radio 4 Communications
History 4 Communications
Business and Economics Aspects 3 Communications
Broadcasting Skills 2 Communications
Program Content, Effects, Theory 3 Communications
Telegraph 3 Communications
Telephone 3 Communications
Television 5 Communications
History 3 Communications
Effects, Social Aspects, Content 4 Communications
Economic, Legal Business Aspects 3 Communications
Television Journalism 4 Communications
Other television media including video, videotex, teletext, cable, tele-conferencing, non-broadcast television, etc. 3 Communications
POPULAR CULTURE (especially as related to media, but including other literature on contemporary culture) 3 Communications Undergraduate
Propaganda 3 Communications / History
Public Opinion Polling, Media and Elections 4 Political Science Communications
Public Relations and Other Forms of Persuasive Communication 3 Communications


Version Date: February 2007