Collections Information

  • Collections Area Contacts

    This page provides contact information for the subject liaison librarians who select resources for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library, and provide research support for students, faculty, and visiting researchers.  They also offer instruction, workshops, and other services.  General questions about the selection of resources for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library may be directed to Andy Corrigan, Associate Dean of Libraries.  See also the library's collection policies.

    The librarians listed below are responsible for the following areas of the collections and their related subjects.

    Collections Contacts
    Collection Area Librarian Email Phone
    Anthropology Melissa Chomintra (504) 247-1872
    Architecture Sean Knowlton (504) 314-7823
    Art Michelle Gibeault (504) 247-1821
    Asian Studies Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Biomedical Engineering Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Cell and Molecular Biology Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Chemical Engineering Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Chemistry Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Classical Studies Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Communication Michelle Gibeault (504) 247-1821
    Comparative Literature Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Computer Science Courtney Kearney (504) 865-5687
    Earth & Environmental Science Courtney Kearney (504) 865-5687
    Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Economics Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    Education Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    English Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    French & Italian Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Gender and Sexuality Studies Melissa Chomintra (504) 247-1872
    General Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    German & Slavic Studies Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    History Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    Hogan Jazz Archive Melissa A Weber (504) 247-1807
    Jewish Studies Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    Latin American Studies Hortensia Calvo (504) 314-7828
    Linguistics Melissa Chomintra (504) 247-1872
    Louisiana Research Collection Leon Miller (504) 314-7833
    Mathematics Courtney Kearney (504) 865-5687
    Media Lisa Hooper (504) 314-7822
    Music Lisa Hooper (504) 314-7822
    Neuroscience Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Philosophy Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Physics and Engineering Physics Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Political Science Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    Psychology Raquel Horlick (504) 865-5643
    Rare Books Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Slavic Studies Jane Marie Pinzino (504) 247-1560
    Social Work Eric Wedig (504) 865-5644
    Sociology Melissa Chomintra (504) 247-1872
    Spanish and Portuguese (Iberian) Hortensia Calvo (504) 314-7828
    Theatre and Dance Lisa Hooper (504) 314-7822
    University Archives Ann Case (504) 314-7821

  • Collections Policies

    Tulane logoThe following are collection development policies for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library at Tulane University, including those for the general collections that support Tulane's academic departments on its uptown campus.  Each subject area policy below is a detailed statement outlining selection considerations in relation to subject scope and to preferences for publication types, formats, language, geographic origin, and more.  These policies are maintained by the librarians who do the selecting, based on regular communication with faculty in their liason departments.  For more information contact Andy Corrigan, Associate Dean of Libraries.

    Interdisciplinary General Collection Areas

    Program Support

    Tulane University offers undergraduate and graduate courses through departments and programs (which are sometimes named centers). While departments have their own faculty and offer large numbers of courses on their own, the structure of programs varies widely. Most programs are interdisciplinary and cross-departmental, drawing participating faculty and their courses from a variety of departments. A few programs, however, offer relatively large numbers of courses independently.

    Therefore, to organize collection support, programs with significant numbers of courses independently listed in the catalog will, like departments, have their own policies and funds. Not counted are courses such as introductory level courses, independent study courses, special topics courses, and thesis seminars.  Another factor weighed is whether a program has its own faculty not associated a department. (Historically this has often indicated the transition of an established program into eventual department status.)

    Otherwise, programs are covered by the library's regular support for departments and monitored by librarians assigned to the departments most closely associated with them. 


    Special Collections Policies

    These Special Collections departments also have collection policies.

     Manuals and Guidelines

    These documents are internal guidelines used by the library to assist with its collection management.

    Collection Development Manual Preservation Policy Gifts Guidelines for the General Collections Policy on Open Access Materials

    See also: Guidelines for Withdrawing Materials from the Collections

    Collections Tools

    A wealth of information and data for collections-related planning at Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is maintained in a research guide for the library's Collections Group that includes all librarians with general collections responsibilities as well as department and unit heads from related areas in Special Collections, the Latin American Library, Technical Services, and User Services and Library IT.  

    Links to Information About Using the Collections

    September 2019

  • General Collections Information

    Photo of books on a study table in Howard-Tilton Memorial LibraryHoward-Tilton Memorial Library is Tulane's main library and its general circulating collections are among the largest in the Gulf region of the United States.  Collection development at the library is tightly focused in support of Tulane's academic programs, while its collections have still grown to include nearly 3.9 million volumes housed in the main Howard-Tilton building and an off site storage facility—exclusive of the materials held in the library's archival Special Collections in Jones Hall.  Howard-Tilton spends about $5.6 million annually on digital resources. As a result, Tulane's students and faculty have access through its main library to a large array of library databases, including digital facsimile collections of important scholarly material, and to articles in about 64,000 journal titles, most of them online.  The library has acquired more than 1.2 million eBooks.  Over the past ten years or so it has rebuilt large collections in music, media, and government documents.  Today its Media Center houses more than 40,000 audio recordings and more than 25,000 audio/visual recordings. 

    The general collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library also include an the Math Library  in Gibson Hall. 

     Information About Using the Collections

    Collection Development

    Collection development for Howard-Tilton Memorial Library's general collections is carried out through a program described in a regularly updated Collection Development Manual. The library's general collections are managed by liaison librarians who are assigned to the academic disciplines that the collections support. Through liaison program contacts with Tulane's academic departments, these librarians select books, journals, and other materials. Their work is coordinated by the library's associate dean who is assisted by three coordinators for scholarly resources: for the humanities, for science & engineering, and for social sciences & government publications. The coordinators for scholarly resources are subject liaisons themselves and collectively function as a working group for collection projects and provide individual librarians with guidance in collection development.

    Comprehensive Collection Policies

    The library has formulated a comprehensive set of collection development policies that include detailed statements for each discipline supported. The framework for these policies is designed to reflect the academic department and cross-departmental academic program structure of the university.

    Book and Journal Selection

    Faculty participation in the selection process is welcomed.  Direct communication with liaison librarians is encouraged, as are requests for new materials.  The selection and receipt of many current books is expedited through the use of approval plans for domestic and foreign publications. These plans provide books based on detailed, pre-determined subject profiles to ensure regular timely receipt of scholarly materials at a discount.

    Because subscriptions involve both current and future funds, all journal requests are scrutinized with extra care and preferred online access to new and existing subscriptions is sought routinely.

    Collection Development requires sound collection management practices, which may occasionally involve the de-selection of physical items such as ones that are no longer used and in poor condition.  In these instances, the librarians follow a set of guidelines for withdrawing materials from the collections.

    Standards and Ethical Principles

    • Standards: The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library maintains its collections in accordance with the standards and membership criteria of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). The library's collections must also meet criteria defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and numerous other accrediting agencies to which the university's degree granting programs are subject.
    • Intellectual Freedom and Censorship: The library recognizes that free access to ideas and freedom of expression are fundamental to the educational process. Consequently, the library purchases materials that represent a wide variety of viewpoints and the library subscribes to and complies with the American Library Association (ALA) Library Bill of Rights. The library does not add or withdraw, at the request of any individual or group, material which has been selected by the library.
    • Confidentiality: The ALA Code of Ethics states that "Librarians must protect each user's right to privacy with respect to information sought, received, and materials consulted, borrowed, or acquired." In addition, the library adheres to the ALA Policy on Confidentiality of Library Records and Confidentiality of Library Users.
    • Copyright: The library complies with the provisions of the U.S. Copyright Law (17 U.S.C.) and its amendments. The library strongly supports the "Fair Use" section of the Copyright Law (17 U.S.C. 107) which permits and protects the rights to reproduce and make other uses of copyrighted works for the purposes of teaching, scholarship, and research.


    This fall and likely through the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the library is unable to accept general gifts of physical items such as books from a personal collection.  Contact an appropriate subject area liaison librarian directly if you believe you have individual items of special research value that might be exceptions.  Otherwise, for alternatives, the American Library Association maintains a useful guide to book donation programs.

    October 2020

    Howard-Tilton Memorial Library is Tulane's main library and its general circulating collections are among the largest in the the Gulf region of the United States.
  • General Selection Guidelines

    bookshelfThe collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library support the educational and research programs of Tulane University. Librarians employ the following general criteria when evaluating titles to be added or removed from the collections and when tailoring profiles for approval plans that automatically ship materials to the library.  For more information about how collections are developed see the library's Collection Development Manual and also its comprehensive collection policies for specific disciplines.

    Relevance to the Present or Pending Needs of Tulane’s Academic and Research Programs

    Librarians who select materials maintain close ties with the departments, centers, and research programs that comprise the primary user group for a particular subject or area.  They also regularly gather information about the degree programs and curriculum for their areas and about faculty research activities or grants received. This information permits librarians to anticipate and provide for the current and changing needs of Tulane University’s students and faculty and it informs the development of collection policies.


    Scope refers to collection emphasis based primarily on the curricular emphasis of a department and secondarily on faculty research or broader use to the Tulane community. Preference is given to titles whose coverage is of sufficient breadth to be of use and interest to an entire department, while those of interest to a small number of individuals are collected selectively.

    Chronological Period

    Many disciplines, particularly in the sciences, require up-to-date information. In those areas, preference is given to titles which report new and revised information in a timely fashion. In History preference is given to specific historical periods. In other areas there may be a variety of demands. Preference for emphasis on chronological period varies and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.

    Imprint Date

    Preference for currency of imprint date (date of publication) and demand for out of print materials varies and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area. Materials that are out of print can require additional costs or steps in ordering.


    Types of materials selected may generally include monographs (books), monographic series, serials, reference works, popular works, conference proceedings, dissertations, manuscripts, course materials (such as textbooks), maps, media (including software or visual items), and recordings. Preference for emphasis on material type varies and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.


    The library selects materials in the formats available that best meet the research needs of students and faculty while balancing considerations of format sustainability.  These formats generally include printed text; digital files that may be online or on CDs; microform; maps, globes; sound and video recordings. Most indexes and abstracts are obtained in digital form online to be widely available outside the library building. Journals are obtained online when available. Online access is preferred over CD-ROM formats. Print is the standard format for monographs, although the Library will consider digital formats as they become available. DVD in NTCS region 1 coding is preferred over VHS tapes; DVDs in PAL or encoded for different regions will be considered as appropriate.

    For additional specific criteria for selection of digital resources see see the library's Collection Development Manual.

    Format Support: The Library does not purchase materials for the general collection in outdated or other formats not supported by equipment to make them readily accessible to users. Examples of outdated formats include filmstrips, floppy diskettes, and eight-track cassette tapes. Preference for emphasis on format may vary and is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.

    Language and Geographic Consideration

    The language of the primary and secondary users is considered as is the geographic origin of a work. Language emphasis and geographic consideration varies and preference for each is described separately in the collection policy statement for each subject area.

    Bibliographic Accessibility

    The contents of periodicals, particularly, require bibliographic indexing and abstracting tools to insure sufficient user access. Inclusion or exclusion from the major index in a discipline is one of tools employed by librarians when evaluating the subscription to a magazine or journal.

    Depth of the Existing Collection and Local Availability of the Item

    When considering the purchase of a new title, a librarian must also consider the strengths and weaknesses of the existing collection in which the new title will be located. Redundancy is avoided, but duplicates may be purchased where high use is expected. Availability of expensive or tangential titles through censorial arrangements--such as that with the Center for Research Libraries--is also considered and an access instead of ownership option may be considered.Collection policy statements for each subject area address the following:
    • Affiliated Resources within the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library: These include other related subject areas covered within the library including its department or special collections. Also identified are multi-disciplinary online resources such as bibliographic, article, or reference databases.
    • Related Library Collections Within Tulane University: The university has several libraries separate from the main Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. These include libraries for the professional schools of business, medicine, and law as well as special libraries such as the Vorhoff Library and Newcomb Archives. 
    • Cooperative Resources: The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library encourages cooperative resource-sharing arrangements such as the Library's membership in the Center for Research Libraries (in Chicago) whose specialized collections are listed in the library's catalog and accessible through interlibrary loan. These types of formal cooperative collection agreements may have direct effect on collection decisions.
    • Neighboring Resources: Tulane University is one of several universities with libraries in the New Orleans metropolitan area and within the State of Louisiana. A number of special libraries in the region, such as the Amistad Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection, or the library for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, house valuable research materials. The Howard-Tilton Memorial Library maintains and encourages cooperative use agreements that extend borrowing privileges to Tulane graduate students and faculty at neighboring academic libraries. Because selection decisions at these libraries are not made cooperatively, these types of use agreements do not necessarily effect selection decisions for Howard-Tilton collections.


    The quality of a title must be evaluated weighing several subjective factors collectively, including its sponsorship; scholarship; level of creativity; lasting value; the reputation of the author, the publisher, the contributors, the editorial board; the quality and importance of the illustrations; and whether or not bibliographies are included. None of these is the deciding factor alone but each is considered as it contributes to or detracts from the overall quality.


    The value of any item in the collection cannot be measured only by considering its price. The price, however, in addition to the other criteria mentioned here, has to be considered when evaluating a purchase. When evaluating "free" materials or gifts, the cost of acquisitions processing, cataloging, shelving, and preservation must also be considered.

    Links to Information About Using the Collections

    January 2019

    The collections of the Howard-Tilton Memorial Library support the educational and research programs of Tulane University. Librarians employ the following general criteria when evaluating titles to be added or removed from the collections and when tailoring profiles for approval plans that automatically ship materials to the library.  Particular criteria assume greater or lesser importance depending on the material under consideration, the resources available, the acquisitions commitment level, and the subject matter covered.

  • Tulane Libraries Off-Site Library Facility

    Off-Site Library FacilityMore than 700,000 volumes and thousands of linear feet of achival material from Howard-Tilton Memorial Library collections are housed at the library's off-site storage facility at 900 South Jefferson Davis Parkway located about two miles north of Tulane's uptown campus. Archival material from the library's special collections stored at the facility include manuscripts from its Louisiana Research Collection (LaRC), historic architectural drawings from Southeastern Architectural Archive, and newspapers from the Latin American Library. 

    The Tulane Off-Site Library Facility was opened in 2003 and occupies most of a 70,000 sq. ft. renovated warehouse that formerly served as a Coca-Cola distribution center.  The space was first acquired through a lease, but the property as a whole is now owned by Tulane University.

    Circulating library materials housed off-site are listed in the library's online catalog and a courier makes a daily run to the facility each weekday that ensures 24-hour turnaround on off-site requests, excluding weekends.  Users make these requests using the Off-site Materials Request Form .

    On its own the off-site facility would be considered a large library and it is indeed the third largest in Louisiana. It also respresents a wonderful collection: comparative collection analysis has shown that nearly 60 percent of the titles in its holdings are unique among the largest research libraries in the Southeastern United States that also maintain storage facilities for older  or less used library materials.

    The off-site facility housed the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center that was used to process and temporarily store restored or replacment collections after Hurricane Katrina.  The Recovery Center was located in a 14,000 square foot corner of the facility and hosted a multifaceted series of programs organized  to handle more than 1 million items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases that were the library's means to rebuild collections damaged or lost after Hurricane Katrina.  A portion of this area of the facility now houses the library's conservation lab for routinely repairing damaged physical materials from the collections.

    Links to Information About Using the Collections

    January 2018

  • Tulane Libraries Recovery Center

    Tulane Libraries Recovery Center, 900 S. Jeff Davis Pkwy, NOLAHoward-Tilton Memorial Library created a landmark undertaking called the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center to handle more than 1 million items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases planned as a means to rebuild collections damaged or lost to Hurricane Katrina—principal research collections in the Louisiana | Gulf Coast region and relied upon by a host of users.

    The Recovery Center was based at a space adjacent to Tulane’s off site library storage facility at 900 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway, about two miles from the university’s uptown campus. It directly addressed the exigent fact that each item restored or replaced needed processing similar to newly acquired items at a time when disaster-effected libraries were critically short on staff.

    Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 left the basement of the library's main Howard-Tilton building—an area larger than a football field—filled with more than eight feet of water. The basement housed a music library and very large collections of government documents, newspapers, and microforms. Jones Hall across the parking lot houses the library's Special Collections; its lowest level filled with about four feet of water. After the storm a major operation was quickly staged to drain these areas in order to salvage materials for restoration. Then the library’s monumental collections recovery challenges unfolded, most of them in uncharted territory.

    Tulane was able to cover a portion of the the salvage, restoration, temporary lease, and processing costs associated with its Recovery Center with assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Indeed, by meeting directly with FEMA early on, the library secured promised assitance through a complex  array of interconnected FEMA project work sheets that functioned like grant outlines that addressed many of the Recovery Center's major goals ranging from materials processing to temporary storage.  Each project needed to conform to  complex federal and state procedures and requirements.

    Overall, in the Howard-Tilton building alone more than 750,000 of the library’s print volumes and recordings had been submerged underwater for more than three weeks, as were some 1.5 million individual pieces of microform such as microfilm reels or microfiche cards. In Jones Hall another 700,000 or so manuscript folders and other archival items also needed to be salavaged. No recordings could be saved and only a relatively small amount of microfilm (18,000 reels) could be recovered from title categories selectively chosen.  However, nearly all archival materials damaged were salvaged. So too was about 70 percent of the music library’s printed books and scores, along with important older government documents and foreign language materials that had been waiting to be cataloged.

    BELFOR in Ft. Worth, TXThe restoration process was handled by the disaster mitigation firm BELFOR at a technical facility in Ft. Worth, TX. BELFOR also conducted the initial salvage of these materials, which were selected by the library for restoration in September 2005 immediately after the storm. After the salvage operation, BELFOR began to thaw and restore the library’s salvaged materials at its recovery headquarters in Fort Worth, TX.  For printed material the remediation process involved unfreezing each salvaged item, washing its pages, drying to remove moisture, and radiation treatment to eliminate any residual mold.  Once the materials were individually allowed to thaw, they were identified and moved to a washing table.  Each print volume or document was carefully washed, page by page, with a gentle stream of filtered water and with a soft bristle brush or a foam brush if required.  Carts full of washed materials were then refrozen and later placed into a vacuum freeze-dry chamber, which used vacuum pumps to remove 99 percent of the air that is normally present in the atmosphere. The very low pressure level made sure that the drying took place by sublimation (ice changing to vapor without passing through the liquid phase) and that nothing dried by evaporation (liquid changing to vapor).  This reduced the degradation of the materials during the drying process while avoiding the waving and expansion that normally occurs when wet paper dries. 

    Microfilm was also packed and frozen at the salvage stage.  But once in Ft. Worth, the film was inspected and cleaned by hand.  Then it was reprocessed on a 35 mm microfilm processor using multiple rinse tanks.  After reprocessing the film was placed on new spools and then placed in light resistant black plastic boxes with new labels using information from the original.

    Library Associates Companies (LAC), based in California, was the contractor that the library hired for its Recovery Center processing and cataloging operations through a competitive bidding process completed in Spring 2007. That summer, thousands of boxes of restored materials were returned by BELFOR to fill the Recovery Center’s freshly renovated warehouse where more than a dozen technical staff, most of them recruited nationally by LAC, quickly got down to business--with direction provided by a small team of Howard-Tilton representatives.

    Storage at the Recovery CenterThe largest and perhaps most critical phase of the Recovery Center’s overall task was the processing of restored materials. This was also the very important process through which the library will be able to make a final determination as to exactly which of the collected works formerly housed in its storm-affected areas were lost and which were saved. This involved the physical handling of each item and two basic categories of work: (a) checking returned items against the library’s holdings to reactivate online catalog records while updating holdings information where needed and (b) basic sorting and inventory of restored uncataloged material such as manuscripts from Special Collections.

    All restored materials were returned by BELFOR to the Recovery Center site in boxes shipped on pallets, generally 32 boxes per pallet and some 400 pallets in all. Several hundred thousand of these returning items would need to be checked against the library’s holdings to reactivate their online catalog records. The rest would need basic sorting, reboxing, and an inventory.

    More than 110,000 returning items were government documents.  Others were music scores, music books or journal volumes, and books from a "protected storage" area and cataloging backlog.  Also returning with the retored materials originally salvaged from the Howard-Tilton building were more than 18,000 restored reels of microfilm--local newspaper and rare Latin American reels that had been selectively fished from the wreckage.

    Restored material from Jones Hall included archival collections comprised largely of historical manuscripts but also other primary source archival materials for research that included registration cards, newspapers, books, posters, matted prints and other art work, cartoons, photographs, lithographs, ledgers, diaries, journals, scrapbooks, and miscellaneous ephemera. A total of 629,711 special collections items were restored to useable condition and reboxed.  A comparatively small amount of archival material was intially salvaged but could not be restored to useable condition, although these were returned to the library at its Recovery Center as well.

    The processing of donations was a project phase of the Recovery Center that was more technically complex in that it required the items handled to be cataloged, including some original cataloging for items such as music scores. This needed a much higher level of expertise different from the processing of materials returning from restoration. The scale of the cataloging phase grew as the library added replacement purchases to the scope of work.  But many important donations were key to the recovery effort; among the first was a collection of some 2,300 mostly new art and photography books given to the library by Edwin Blair, a local collector. This was a much appreciated gift given the large number of similar art and photography titles that were effectively destroyed as a result of Katrina.

    More than a hundred libraries and individuals across North America donated music books, scores and CDs-- some 20,000 titles in all. In 2010, Stan Levenson, a private collector based in Texas, donated to the recovery effort his enormous collection of more than 5,000 LPs, CDs, DVDS, VHS videos, books, and journals documenting a history of contemporary jazz from the 1940s through the early 1970s.   Rather than specifiying that the materials be archived and preserved, he asked instead that it all become part of our general collections, to be used and borrowed by as many library users as possible.

    Eventually, in the targeted priority area of music and media the library was able to build back a collection that today is much larger it was before the storm.

    In an important milestone, the first initial batch of restored music books was delivered to the library from the Recovery Center in a small ceremony on Friday, March 14, 2008. Most of the library’s restored printed music books and scores--a top recovery priority--were back on the library’s shelves, on schedule, by the end of that summer.  Projects at the Recover Center continued into early 2016.  

    In summary, the Recovery Center was a grand innovation born of necessity and through it a great deal was accomplished under challenging and extraordinary circumstances.  It was the foundation for a mammoth library rebuilding effort.

    Andy Corrigan
    Associate Dean of Libraries

    July 2016

    Beginning in 2007, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library created a landmark undertaking called the Tulane Libraries Recovery Center that is a program to handle more than 1 million items from restoration, donations, and initial replacement purchases planned as a means to rebuild collections damaged or lost to Hurricane Katrina—principal research collections in the Louisiana | Gulf Coast region and relied upon by a host of users.