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Due to the existence of separate American national libraries for agriculture and medicine, the Library of Congress does not collect in the fields of clinical medicine or technical agriculture (LC does, however, collect Russian materials on the history, philosophy, economics, and social aspects of agriculture and medicine).
Categories of print materials collected on a very limited basis or not at all include: textbooks at any educational level; children's literature; translations into languages other than English; offprints, preprints, pamphlets and ephemeral materials; reprints and unrevised subsequent editions; or popular or propagandistic literature (except as needed for reference purposes or scholarly research).
While the Library collects very comprehensively in literary history, criticism, and biography, belles lettres are traditionally acquired very selectively.
As a general rule, the Russian print collections are strongest in the humanities and social sciences, with special and deliberate strengths in language, literature, history, geography, political science, the arts, and economics.
Manuscripts and archival materials in Russian or relating to Russia, for example, are accepted by the Library only if they have a strong American connection.
There are major and often unique collections of Soviet- era posters, prerevolutionary sound recordings, silent motion pictures, news documentaries from the late 1980s, and early 20th century color photographs -- but in general Russian materials are not the high points of the audio-visual collections, nor have Russian materials in these media traditionally been collected at the comprehensive, across-the-board level of intensity that is typical for American materials.
LC's Russian collection is by far the largest and most comprehensive outside Russia itself, even though by policy current collecting over the past fifty years was and remains highly selective, designed to bring in only the most useful and scholarly publications from and about Russia.
The print collections in the hard sciences and technology are much more selective and designed to represent the best of scientific scholarship as published in the monographic and serial literature.
The non-print collections (and particularly collections of unique, as opposed to mass-produced, items) are, in contrast to the print collections, highly focused and very selective.
Leich Russian Area Specialist The Library of Congress currently holds about 700,000 physical volumes (books, sets, continuations, and bound periodicals) in Russian, and approximately the same number of volumes in other languages of the former USSR and volumes in Western languages about Russia and the former Soviet Union.
There are also significant collections of other non-book print materials (music scores, newspapers, microforms and cartographic materials) and non-print materials (sound recordings, motion pictures, manuscripts, photographs, and posters), although statistics on these categories of holdings are less readily available.
Reference materials in all subjects, but particularly those in the social sciences and humanities, are collected as comprehensively as possible.