Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Medieval and Renaissance/Early Modern Studies

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

A. Anticipated Future Trends

The subject librarian expects interest in this period and usage of the materials in print and online to continue. Given the amount of medieval manuscripts and the vast amount of printed material about the Middle Ages not under copyright, some of it in 19th century, inaccurate editions in poor physical condition in the U.S. and European libraries, works of and on this period offer a fertile field for the creation of electronic wares. Electronics also offers indexing and access capabilities never before possible for this material. Electronics also assists neophyte users unfamiliar with Old and Middle English in finding primary material in EEBO, Early English Books Online. We will continue to attract researchers in the Middle Ages and Renaissance/early modern periods because as we are offering EEBO and other electronic databases. The community of users also needs and uses traditional print material, both books and serials, as well as indexes to current scholarly literature.

We anticipate collecting electronic research "data" subsets created by faculty and graduate students from our electronic resources.

B. Relationships with Other Resources

  1. On campus branch or format collections, if any

    Special Collections collects facsimiles of medieval and Renaissance/early modern manuscripts.  Special Collections contains materials published prior to 1800 about the Middle Ages and Renaissance/early modern periods.  Fine Arts collects materials on medieval and Renaissance/early modern art and music.  Maps collects atlases that are 50% maps or more on these periods.
  2. Regional or network resources, if any

    Western Michigan University has a graduate level medieval studies program, hosts the annual International Congress on Medieval Studies, and has the Institute of Cistercian Studies Collection. Part of the University’s rare book collection, the Institute of Cistercian Studies Collection contains medieval manuscripts, incunabula (books printed before 1501), and other pre-1800 books on permanent loan from American Cistercian (O.C.) and Trappist (O.C.S.O) monastic communities. The Cistercians originated in France in 1098; the collection includes all aspects of Cistercian history.

    University of Michigan Libraries’ Special Collections contains 10,000 papyri dating from 1000 B.C. to 1000 A.D., the largest and most distinguished such collection in the Western hemisphere. They also have about 250 manuscripts, mostly written on vellum, in Greek, Latin, Coptic, Hebrew, Ethiopic, Armenian, and Syriac from the periods of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. These include early printed editions of the Bible tracing the English text until the King James Version was published in 1611. Their Special Collections also contains 450 incunabula, specimens of the earliest examples of printing using moveable type, dating from 1456-1500.

C. Relationships to Resources Treated in Other Policy Statements

Fine Arts, Art collects works about medieval and Renaissance/early modern art

Fine Arts, Music collects works about medieval and Renaissance/early modern music

Maps collects atlases that are 50% maps or more. Medieval and Renaissance/early modern studies subject librarian may collect atlases containing less than 50% maps

Special Collections collects manuscript facsimiles and works published prior to 1800

Slavic studies/Eastern European, and Central Asian subject librarian collects works about the Middle Ages and Renaissance/early modern periods  in Central and Eastern Europe and Byzantium

*Latin American/Iberian subject librarian collects works about the Spanish Middle Ages and Renaissance/early modern periods

*Subject librarian for Germanic studies collects works about the German Middle Ages and Renaissance/early modern periods.

*Linguistics subject librarian collects re language development and history.

*Philosophy subject librarian collects works about medieval and Renaissance/early modern philosophy

The medieval and Renaissance/early modern studies studies subject librarian may collect, or recommend, any English language resources in the starred (*) disciplines/areas above.

Michigan State University