Olin Library houses the core anthropology collection for Cornell University Library. The Department of Anthropology at Cornell offers courses of undergraduate and graduate studies in Sociocultural, Biological Anthropology and Prehistoric Archaeology. The library collections are focused on these areas with sociocultural and prehistoric archaeology collected primarily in Olin by the anthropology selector. Material related to human evolution and primatology is primarily collected at Mann Library. Area selectors in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Eastern Europe, are responsible for anthropological material in their specific region. The libraries for Music (ethnomusicology and dance), Fine arts, Engineering (paleontology) and Law (especially indigenous rights) also add to the Library’s store of anthropological materials.
While the principal users of Cornell University's anthropological collections are the faculty and students of the Anthropology Department, anthropological literature is potentially boundless in its scope and in its readership. It is of particular interest to the area studies programs including, American Indian Program, Institute for European Studies, Latin American Studies, Near Eastern Studies and the Asian Studies programs.
Materials related to sociocultural anthropology and prehistoric archaeology are the strengths of the collection and are covered at the research level in Olin.
Anthropology potentially covers all world regions. However, the responsibilities of other library selectors, cited in the description above, allow the Anthropology selector to focus on the United States, Canada, and Western Europe, and Oceania. The anthropology selector is also responsible for works related to the Romany people outside of Eastern Europe.
Material in English is collected extensively, as well as major scholarly publications in French and German. Material in Italian and Spanish are very selectively acquired. Works in other languages will be purchased on request but are not actively selected.
Subject material from prehistory to the present is collected.
Generally excluded publication formats include textbooks (if designated as such by the publisher); non-Cornell theses and dissertations (with rare exceptions), and reprints.
The collection consists of all formats including journals, monographs, reference sets, microfilm/microfiche collections and online databases. For academic journals, electronic access is preferred, though some major journals are acquired in both print and electronic formats. Audiovisuals are acquired primarily upon request.