There are no chronological restrictions.
The emphasis is on English-language materials. Although some pamphlets and materials of broader appeal may be published in languages other than English, there is little substantive publication in languages other than English.
There is no geographical restriction. Highly specialized material for states other than Michigan are sometimes not selected.
Appropriate publications and resources will be selected regardless of format. Appropriate CD-ROMs and DVDs will be selected regardless of the Libraries' ability to run the disks or provide software. Because many CDs and DVDs circulate, patrons who have more advanced or specialized needs are still able to use these materials. If the CD or DVD is deemed appropriate for use in the Libraries, efforts will be made to acquire the equipment necessary to mount the product.
Digitization of retrospective material is being conducted by agencies, libraries, vendors, and the GPO. Acquisition of such materials or bibliographic records for such materials can be time-consuming and/or costly. The MSU Libraries acquires such materials or collections on a case-by-case basis based on perceived need by its user communities. With the growing number of digitization projects, duplication of publications in multiple formats is increasingly likely. Where possible, format duplication will be avoided, but multiple formats may be necessary to ensure both preservation and archiving and increased ease of access to materials.
Primarily current materials are collected. The Government Information Librarian has in the past occasionally monitored state and national Needs and Offers lists to acquire print materials to fill collection gaps, as government publications are seldom available for acquisition through other means. However given space considerations and greater emphasis on electronic publications, retrospective collecting has effectively ceased. Gifts continue to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.