Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Geography

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

A. Anticipated Future Trends

Three trends will affect the availability and the desirability of geography and cartographic publications and products, which will affect digital data sets, print maps, and map content. One is a large increase in the availability, quality, and usability of digital data sets. As more researchers create and use digital data sets for work with geographic information systems, more will become available either through sharing or sale. Also, the GIS software has standardized enough that data sets are usually available in a usable format. A second trend is changes in the availability of print map products. On one hand, we will see a decrease in federal government print map products. To save money, government departments may choose to publish their products in electronic format, placing the burden of printing either on the library or the patron; will to some extent privatize their publication to that purchase is necessary; or will halt publication/depository distribution altogether (for individual products, not as a whole). At the same time, the cost effectiveness of large format printing and desktop cartography will increase the availability of plotted maps from other government and inter-government agencies and from the research community. A third trend is the usual shift in areas of current events interest.

B. Relationships to Resources Treated in Other Policy Statements

  1. Along with history and philosophy, one may study the geography of nearly every other topic under the sun. This is especially true in the sciences and social sciences. Therefore, the geography collection necessarily has a tie with several other library collections. In particular, the geography bibliographer will coordinate purchases of geographic materials with bibliographers in African Studies, Agriculture, Asian studies, Business, Canadian Studies, Environmental Science, Park and Recreation Resources, Landscape Architecture, Ethnic Studies, Geology, Government (primarily Michigan, U.S., Canada, UN, and European Union), History, International Studies, Latin American Studies, Law, Linguistics, Political Science, Public Policy, Religion, European Studies, and Sociology.
  2. Regional resources. Michigan State University has the top geography department in the state. University of Michigan does not have a geography department. Wayne State University has a "Department of Geography and Urban Planning" which has about eleven faculty. Western Michigan University teaches Geography to the M.A. level with about 15 faculty. Ferris State University has no Geography Department (classes are taught in the 'Social Sciences Department') but does has an active GIS certificate program in the Technology Department. University of Michigan has a large map collection and collects more deeply in old and rare maps that MSU does.

C. Chronological Factors MSU Libraries' collection development in geography and maps largely focus on contemporary materials, acquiring antiquities only when they intersect with a topic of particular interest to the university, such as the settling and farming of Michigan. Historical treatment of a topic is almost always collected.

D. Languages:
Materials on geographic theory and study are collected with a preference to English.  As works on foreign countries may be published in the vernacular, the geography librarian will consult with the appropriate area studies librarian on some foreign language acquisitions.

Michigan State University