Purpose or Scope of Collection
A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
The MSU Libraries support the research and teaching needs of faculty and students in the biological or biomedical subject areas of biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, immunology, microbiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, physiology, and virology. These areas are of particular interest to the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, which offers an undergraduate program and graduate Ph.D. program, the Department of Physiology, which offers undergraduate, masters, and Ph.D. programs, and the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, which offers an undergraduate program, a masters program in industrial microbiology, and a Ph.D. program. In addition, three interdisciplinary Ph.D. programs in Genetics, Cell Biology, and Neurosciences train graduate students and include faculty from the above departments as well as faculty in other departments with research interests in these areas. The subjects of plant biochemistry, physiology, and genetics are also of interest to many in the Department of Plant Biology and in the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory. Besides these departments and programs, the biological areas covered by this policy are also of interest to researchers with a molecular focus in the Zoology Department, the departments of the College of Agriculture (particularly Animal Science, Crop and Soil Science, and Plant Pathology), the College of Veterinary Medicine and the College of Human Medicine. Biological subjects in the areas of natural history, ecology, environmental science, fisheries and wildlife, zoology, entomology, evolution, and botanical sciences other than those listed above are covered in another Biological Sciences/Natural History collection development policy.
Michigan State University participates with Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, and the Van Andel Institute to form the Michigan Life Sciences Corridor, a state-funded program to increase biotechnology and biomedical research in Michigan. The Core Technology Alliance, funded by Life Sciences Corridor money, established collaborative research centers of different specializations at each of these institutions. The Michigan Center for Structural Biology is housed at Michigan State University.
In addition, two national research centers on campus also use the library collection in these subject areas: the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory and the National Science Foundation-funded Center for Microbial Ecology. Other research centers and support facilities using library resources include the Center for Advanced Microscopy, the Center for Biological Modeling, the National Food Safety and Toxicology Center, the Genomics Technology Support Facility, the Macromolecular Structure, Sequencing & Synthesis Facility, the MSU Core Flow Cytometry Facility, the MSU Mass Spectrometry Facility, and the Max T. Rogers NMR Facility.
B. History of the collection/Existing strengths and emphases
Early collection development in these biology areas reflected the agricultural orientation of the institution, with the microbiology and physiology collections included in the Veterinary Medicine Library until 1978. At that time, when a separate Veterinary Medical Center Library was established, most of these materials moved to the Main Library, while some of them remained in Giltner Hall to form the beginnings of the reading rooms in the Microbiology and Physiology Departments which were not part of the university library system. In 2002, these Departments moved into the new Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building and gave up these reading rooms because of the presence in that building of the new Biomedical and Physical Sciences Library, a branch of the university library system. A few materials from the old reading rooms were used to fill gaps in the university library collection, but most materials were duplicates of journals in the Main Library and were discarded. The Biochemistry Department also gave up its reading room at this time. Books and recent years of the most frequently used journals in these biological areas were moved from the Main Library to this new library.
The current collection in these areas is split between the Main Library and the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Library. More recently published and purchased monographs of interest to graduate students and researchers are housed in the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Library, while older materials and materials specifically geared towards undergraduates or popular readers are housed at the Main Library. The print journal collection at the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Library was specifically chosen to include the journals used most by the departments associated with that building: the Physiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics Departments. The volumes of these biological journals are split so that current volumes going back to 1990 are housed at the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Library, while older volumes before 1990 are housed in the Main Library.
Emphases in current collecting decisions follow the emphases of research and teaching on campus. The majority of the budget in this area of the collection is spent on materials at the graduate and research level. Materials at the undergraduate level are also purchased, although fewer materials are needed at this level. A few materials are purchased at the popular science level. Special areas of research strength at MSU that are reflected in collecting decisions include biochemistry of the cell nucleus; protein structure, function & design; cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal and muscle physiology; neurophysiology and neuronal structure; microbial pathogenesis; functional and comparative genomics; cancer biology, cell growth & differentiation; plant biochemistry and physiology; and microbial physiology, ecology, and evolution. A special emphasis has been made recently to purchase materials covering molecular and genetic research, techniques, and information, including emerging research areas of genomics and proteomics. This reflects the rise and importance worldwide of molecular and genetic research for biology, agriculture, and medicine at the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century.