German material is collected in the largest quantity after English-language material. This reflects the large publishing output of German-speaking countries, and the predominant importance of German for certain academic disciplines. Original academic works in most subjects in the humanities and social sciences are collected.
The library also aims to build on the historic strengths of its collections. For example, material on the Reformation and church history in Germany is acquired extensively to complement the Acton Collection and works on the history of psychology and studies of individual psychologists are acquired to complement the Hunter collection.
The Library's Collection development policy offers a detailed insight into acquisition policies. What follows is a summary of that document, in as far as it pertains to German, Swiss and Austrian materials.
Material on all religions is acquired extensively in German. The philosophy of religion is an area of particular importance. Material relating to church history, particularly to the Reformation and the Roman Catholic Church, is acquired to complement the Acton Collection. Original works on philosophy, important works by modern philosophers and studies of individual philosophers and philosophical schools are also collected strongly. Historical precedent makes Hegel an author of particular importance for the main library's collections.
German, Swiss and Austrian history (including their cultural history) is covered in considerable depth. The following areas of acquisition are of particular importance (several of them once again building on the Acton Collection): the Thirty Years' War; Bavaria, Hanover, the Hansa and Prussia; German Jews; the Kulturkampf; First World War; Nazi Germany; German Unification; and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Works on the former German colonies, mostly now members of the Commonwealth, are also acquired. Materials relating to these subjects are acquired extensively in English and German and more selectively in French and other languages. Works on Switzerland and Swiss history are mainly acquired in English, French and German, covering French and German Switzerland. Local studies down to the level of individual cantons and major towns are collected. Similarly, material is acquired about Austria covering all historical periods.
Although the collection of German literature has historically been uneven, the current Collection Development Policy is to acquire literary texts, critical studies and works of reference covering all periods of German literature with particular emphasis placed on the areas of research and teaching at the university. The library acquires works on and about established authors as well as collecting works by contemporary authors of emerging importance. Critical works on established authors are considered particularly important to acquire. Scholarly works in any language on authors of classic status, such as Goethe, are given full consideration.
Scholarly works of art history, biography, and the theory and philosophy of art are acquired extensively in German, covering developments not only in the German-speaking world but also in an international context. Catalogues of exhibitions held in institutions of national importance are also collected. The Collections also include works on the performing arts, with a growing emphasis on cinema and film studies that reflects the University's teaching and research interest in this subject.
Major theoretical works and works on contemporary topics such as migration and gender studies are systematically collected. Economic history is a subject collected strongly in German, reflecting the research and teaching areas of the university. Education and the history of universities are also important areas of acquisition for the social and political sciences.