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Dragons in the stacks: an introduction to role‐playing games and their value to libraries

Cason Snow (Cataloging Department, Northern Illinois University Library, DeKalb, Illinois, USA)

Collection Building

ISSN: 0160-4953

Article publication date: 18 April 2008




The purpose of this paper is to introduce the genre of tabletop fantasy role‐playing games and provide guidance in building an initial collection.


The first part of the paper is designed to present the development of tabletop fantasy role‐playing games in a historiographic model, tracing the history of these games from the 1970s to 2006. The second portion is a bibliographic essay and critique of several noteworthy fantasy role‐playing games, including analysis of the settings and systems of each game.


The paper provides a history of the development of fantasy role‐playing games and provides guidance on how to start a collection. The study recognizes a lack of academic research on the topic and seeks to provide a brief introduction.

Practical implications

The paper provides a clear concise history of role‐playing game development and balanced advice for librarians who wish to begin collecting role‐playing games.


This paper begins to fill the need for academic study of the subject and provides practical advice for collection development librarians.



Snow, C. (2008), "Dragons in the stacks: an introduction to role‐playing games and their value to libraries", Collection Building, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 63-70.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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