The subject consists of materials pertaining to the Earth as humanity’s home from a physical, historical, social, and cultural perspective. Although geography as a discipline is not part of Cornell's academic program, the Library's collections support research in many areas. In addition to traditional works about the earth as man's home from a physical and historical aspect, the scope of geography now extends to topics such as: human organization of space; non-material aspects of space (language, literature, religion); and patterns of living, including uses and social values of the landscape. We are also guided by some new trends – the application of mathematics, simulation, and graphics to spatial data has spread from political geography to subjects such as architecture, ecology, and conservation.
Geography materials are acquired to serve the general requirements of the University community as well as the general public.
The overall strength of the collection is on the Basic Level, i.e. collecting is highly selective; collection serves to introduce and define the subject and indicate the availability of resources elsewhere. The core of the research level collections in Olin are those titles acquired as monographic series from scholarly societies and institutions; German-language holdings are particularly strong. These works are not limited to historical geography but cover the field in all its aspects. The geography selector covers general geography, historical geography, and works on exploration. Titles are added more selectively on the Arctic and Antarctic, geography as a discipline, and toponymy. Travel books are purchased selectively.
Although emphasis is on contemporary publications, material portraying all periods is collected.
Materials covering general geography, historical geography, and works on exploration; subscriptions to a range of standard periodicals and proceedings of scholarly societies worldwide. The formats include print, audio-visual, electronic resources.