This post is for information professionals working with architecture collections, as well as proactive architecture and design students who are curious about how their library’s holdings stack up against peer institutions. I personally have at one time represented both of these audiences.
As a student, I was enrolled in a landscape architecture program that at the time was disconnected with the architecture program both physically and through shared resources. The fact that the design periodicals were split between two libraries set on different campuses often caused me to wonder about what a complete collection of journals, magazines, and periodicals in my chosen field actually looks like. I kind of felt bad that the architecture students had limited access to Landscape Architecture Magazine, while LA students had limited access to Dwell, for instance. Luckily, many titles have since added or switched to digital formats and geography is no longer a barrier.
As a knowledge manager for an architecture, research, and planning firm, I’ve since made a point to share my monthly LA magazine with the rest of the office, while also enjoying the pure-architecture focused titles in our reading library. Of the 100+ office staff, several dozen are fresh out of architecture school, and no doubt miss the unlimited access to all those wonderful periodicals provided by their university.
A big topic of discussion in the architecture education circles for the past few decades has been about devising a standard, unified list of periodicals that should be recommended for all architecture school libraries. What titles are essential? What journals and magazines are recommend for certain specialties or regions? Should a library purchase Domus over Metropolis, and why? Talks began on this concept in the mid 1990’s and by 1995 the first core list of periodicals was released by members of AASL [association for architecture school librarians]. This document soon developed into an almost annual exercise, where architecture school librarians around the country were contributing their recommendations. By the early 2000s, the core periodically list was supported by increasingly sophisticated methodologies in surveying of students, librarians, and faculty. Around 2014, the document’s organization of merely “core” and “supplemental” categories was viewed as too binary, and the latter category was replaced with “recommended”, “topical”, and “titles to watch”.
After a few decades of refinement, the latest version, the newly revised fifth edition of the AASL Core List of Architecture Periodicals, was released earlier this month. According to the authors:
“The list which follows is meant as a guideline for faculty and students and as a working tool for collections librarians. New or small schools may only be able to add core titles, while larger institutions may even consider more topical journals or additions from outside the immediate field. Regionally important titles should become part of every collection. Hopefully this list will enable users to become more aware of the breadth of architectural periodic literature.” (Opar, Edwards, and Orcutt 2017)
So there you have it: a wonderful resource for uncovering the essential and worthy periodicals to seek out in the architecture industry, and especially for first professional architecture students. The list showcases a monumental achievement in collective curation as well as a professional collaboration between information professionals. I wouldn’t expect anything less from librarians! BTW, for my British friends, the UK group ARCLIB offers a similar journals list for their members.
The full list of Fifth Edition of the AASL Core List of Architecture Periodicals can be accessed here.
Barbara Opar (Syracuse University), Kathy Edwards (Clemson University) and Rose Orcutt (University of Buffalo). Core or Not: Introducing the Newly Revised Fifth Edition of the AASL Core List of Architecture Periodicals. Association of Collegiate
Schools of Architecture. October 11, 2017. http://www.acsa-arch.org/acsa-news/read/read-more/acsa-news/2017/10/11/core-or-not-introducing-the-newly-revised-fifth-edition-of-the-aasl-core-list-of-architecture-periodicals