Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: International Development

Purpose or Scope of Collection

  • A. Purpose

    The international development fund is used to acquire general materials about “development” in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. “Development” is one of those efforts that is hard to define but easy to recognize. Essentially, every society not a member of the “club” of rich, “developed” nations defines most of its public and foreign policy as development, as the route to increased wealth and power. This directs collection development activity towards what is somewhat anachronistically called the Third World, although the former Second World (Soviet sphere) is also in search of this elusive goal. (Note: the Library of Congress subject heading is “developing countries.”)

    It is clear that the field is thus essentially interdisciplinary and international. In defining it it is not always easy to draw a definite line to separate it from the larger discipline of economics, or from agricultural economics, political economy, area studies, globalization, business/management, labor studies, international relations, and current events. It is in part a subdivision of economics—both the MSU departments of Economics and Agricultural Economics offer degree programs in international development—but it necessarily involves social, political, geographical, historical, and cultural factors to a greater extent than economics per se. Most area study material has at least a subtext of development, but the IDV field deals specifically with theory, policy, implementation, and evaluation.

  • B. Scope

    MSU Libraries have over the past few decades accumulated an excellent collection in this field, one comparable to richer libraries such as Harvard or California-Berkeley. This is of course one result of MSU’s long-standing commitment to international teaching, research, and contracting efforts. MSUL’s major commitment to area studies collections of Africana and secondary commitment to Asia and Latin America has been complemented by attention to development theory and practice and assisted in recent years by Title VI grants to CASID (partly written by the librarian) which have contained generous library funding. CASID’s core faculty comes from many departments and programs, including economics, anthropology, natural resources, agriculture, geography, languages, education, environmental studies, business, political science, medicine, etc., and library material suitable for research and teaching must be sought and acquired in all these fields.

    All available material by MSU-affiliated authors will be collected.

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Michigan State University