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Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Public Health: Analysis of the Subject Field

Analysis of the Subject Field

  1. Chronology of the Subject: Materials on current public health practice and research, as well as the history of medicine and public health, are collected.
  2. Languages of Resources Collected: Most materials are acquired in English. Most non-English language materials on public health topics fall under the purview of Area Studies bibliographers. (See the collection development policies for African Studies, Asian Studies, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Muslim/Middle Eastern Studies, and Russian, Eastern European, and Central Asian Studies.)  
  3. Geography of the Subject: The geographical emphasis is primarily North American, but European, African, Latin American and other areas are covered when they are important to a particular subject. The Gliozzo Fund is used to purchase public health research literature that focuses primarily on industrialized countries outside of the US.
  4. Format of the Resources Collected: As the MPH program is currently online, the primary emphasis is on electronic resources whenever available.  All appropriate formats, including print and electronic, are collected. Some types of publications, such as reprints, dissertations, or audio-visual materials, are generally not purchased unless requested for specific purposes/research by faculty or students. Audio-visual materials tend to be purchased in conjunction with a class and will therefore tend to be purchased in streaming formats. However, DVDs can also be purchased.
  5. Date of Publication of Resources Collected: Emphasis is on current publications at present.
  6. Data Resources: The program in public health makes extensive use of data and statistics. Public health as a discipline incorporates data and statistics into its core research and practice methodologies.  Clinical health data can be hard to access, as it is often covered under HIPAA, but epidemiological data is more likely to be available for research purposes. For additional guidelines on data purchasing, please see MSU's Collection Development Policy for Data Services and Collection Development Policy for Digital Research Data.Virtually all open data in the field is generated by governmental organizations and NGOs, and as a result these data sets are usually freely available to researchers and students. The library tends not to collect or subscribe to commercial collections that collate or reformat freely available data, unless the reformatting adds to the value of the data (i.e., by making it more usable).  The library may also collect or subscribe to data that is sold and packaged by the private company that collected it (for example, polling data may be sold by Gallup).
  7. Diversity & Inclusion: Importance is placed on support, valuing, and purchasing materials that introduce the unique perspectives and needs of underserved and marginalized communities.  This includes material written about diverse communities as well as material written by researchers from underrepresented communities and countries when possible.  Diversity in public health collection development foci can encompass, but is not limited to, the areas of underrepresented: races, ethnicities, sexualities, ages, gender expressions and identities, cultural and religious identities, socioeconomic class, US geographical location, and nationalities.
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