CRL Collecting Areas

CRL preserves and makes available to researchers a wide range of information resources and primary materials, with an emphasis on four major domain areas.

Collections by Domain


CRL holds more than 16,000 newspaper titles from countries in all world regions, and from every US state, including more than 1,800 U.S. ethnic titles and some of the earliest African American papers. CRL currently subscribes to newspapers from 50 countries and to more than two dozen US general circulation titles and ethnic press papers.

CRL microfilms current issues of selected foreign newspapers on an ongoing basis, in addition to the back files of important foreign newspapers identified through collaborative programs like the Area Materials Projects, part of the Global Resources Programs

Law and government information

CRL collects broadly in the area of primary legal and government resources, with an emphasis on serial publications from central governments including legislative, administrative, financial, and statistical reports. CRL purchases government archives and records through CRL's cooperative collection building programs.  

Foreign government documents: CRL holds several hundred thousand volumes of publications from the government agencies of more than 100 countries, including more than 1,750 official gazettes. CRL frequently augments its historical collections of original format government documents with microform collections either purchased or acquired through its cooperative programs.  

US state government documents: CRL has collected more than a half million volumes of deposited and purchased monographic and serial publications of US state government agencies and legislatures from the earliest period through 1950, including financial reports and research studies. Excluded content includes internal agency newsletters, agricultural station publications, maps, and state court reports. Most of the collection is not cataloged; to identify resources, consult state publications checklists or contact CRL’s Access Services

CRL also maintains an extensive collection of state legislative journals from the U.S. and Canada through 1990, many of which are digitized and available to researchers at CRL libraries through its Global Resources Law Partnership with the Law Library Microform Consortium.

Science, technology, and engineering

CRL's collecting in STE includes foreign-language science and technology periodicals, emphasizing titles not commonly collected by other major North American research libraries. CRL has developed rich historical holdings of US and foreign scientific and technical publications, and extends access to more than 50,000 current and historical journals through its Global Resources Partnership in Science, Technology, and Engineering with the Linda Hall Library.

History and economics of agriculture

CRL's collections related to the history and economics of Agriculture represent an area of strength. Extensive holdings of journals, census data, and historical monographs include materials not widely held by major academic research libraries. CRL extends its historical collection through its Global Resources Agriculture Partnership with the United States Agriculture Information Network (USAIN) and the Agriculture Network Information Center (AgNIC). 

Collections by Resource Types

Materials supporting research and teaching in the four major domain areas described above, as well as in a variety of other subjects, include:


Millions of pages of documents, including:

  • Major sets from the US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), The National Archives of the UK, and other national and intergovernmental bodies. 
  • Extensive archival sets from federal and state agencies and commissions; nongovernmental organizations; and scholarly and missionary societies.
  • Many special collections of archival and primary source material (such as the 100,000-plus-page archive of Cambodia's notorious Khmer Rouge regime). 


Rich historical collections, as well as current subscriptions to more than 7,000 titles rarely held in North American libraries, including the following categories:


CRL holds more than 500,000 monographs in all formats. Ongoing acquisitions include:

  • Major microform sets in literature, art, theater, music, science, and other fields.
  • Unique publications from South and Southeast Asia produced by governmental and nongovernmental organizations in those regions. 

Foreign doctoral dissertations

CRL acquires about 5,000 non-US, non-Canadian doctoral dissertations a year to add to its 800,000+ collection of dissertations. Acquisitions are primarily through the demand purchase program

Other Collections

CRL holds many specialized groups of materials, acquired primarily through deposit from member libraries.  These  include: