Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Data Services: Data Services

Date Drafted: December 2011 (HM)

Purpose or Scope of Collection

Data Services ensures that the MSU community has access to numeric information needed to support curricular, research, and general information needs.  Numeric information includes both data sets and statistical tables.  Data sets are the primary focus of Data Services, but due to the overlapping nature statistical information is a secondary focus.  Data sets are sometimes referred to as “raw” data or machine-readable data files and are used in analysis requiring the use of statistical software programs such as SPSS or Stata.  Statistics are the human-readable published results of data analysis and may be in either print or electronic format.

Data Services crosses disciplinary boundaries, but retains a focus in the social sciences.  Data and statistical information is collected across all subject areas. 

The collection includes both subscription resources and freely available web resources.

Current and Future Trends

As emphasis on data-intensive research continues to grow, so will the demand for access to data sets and statistics for secondary analysis.  In addition, the burgeoning emphasis on the sharing and publication of research data, as evidenced by the NSF data management plan requirement in grant applications, will likely create demand for new data publication venues.  Many domain specific repositories already part of the collection contain data produced by MSU researchers (e.g., ICPSR).  Current and developing MSU storage and preservation technical infrastructure (including other individual data repositories within the university) should be monitored for possible intersections with the library collection.  The collection of locally produced research data will be considered on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the other criteria within this document for data acquisitions.

Collection Strengths

  • Major subscription resources:
    • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (membership maintained by the Department of Political Science)
    • ProQuest Statistical Insight and Statistical DataSets
    • Roper Center for Public Opinion Research
    • SimplyMap
    • Social Explorer
    • Social Science Electronic Data Library
  • Data and Statistics research guides

Selection Responsibility

Expertise of individual subject librarians is relied upon for collection of subject specific resources, particularly for statistical information.  General interest and multidisciplinary data sets are the collection responsibility of the data services librarian.  The data services librarian works in cooperation with subject librarians to review resources.  Multidisciplinary resources are reviewed by the data services librarian and any other interested parties (e.g., Reference, Business, Social Sciences Coordinator). 

There is no individual fund for Data Services.  A portion of the sociology fund ($1,000) is set aside for firm order purchases.  Additional monies from subject or joint funds may also cover the cost of firm orders and will be used for ongoing subscriptions.

Relationship to Other Collection Areas

  • Business: The Business Library maintains an extensive collection of data and statistical resources that meet the needs of the College of Business including information for marketing, companies, industries, economics, etc.
  • International Documents: Data and statistics from international organizations such as the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and Organization for Economic Cooperation.
  • Map Library: Spatial and GIS data.
  • Social Sciences: Statistical software manuals and research methods texts.
  • Statistics Alcove: This reference sub-collection includes key statistical publications from the U.S. government, Michigan government, reference compilations, and foreign country statistical annuals.
  • U.S. Documents: The U.S. government is a major producer of statistics and data.

Selection Criteria

The following criteria are considered for acquisition decisions:

  • Subject scope: Must be relevant to the curricular and research needs of the University. Data likely to be of wider interest to multiple users is preferred.
  • Chronology: Both current and historical materials are collected.
  • Geography: Materials of relevance to Michigan and the United States, as well as international resources are all collected.
  • Content and Documentation: Quality of the data will be considered and adequate documentation must be included.
  • Format: Machine-readable data must be in a format compatible with software systems in current use, preferably with a proprietary-agnostic format. User-friendly online interfaces are preferred.
  • Cost.
  • Licensing and Accessibility: Considerations include availability of data to walk-in users and remote access. Data must be available to all current MSU students, faculty, and staff. Confidential restricted data is not acquired.
  • Language: English preferred.

Data Formats and Access Types

The following data format and access options are currently included within the scope of the collection:

  • Physical format (e.g., print, CD-ROM)
  • Mounted on library server with IP-access (e.g. Cross-National Time Series Data Bank)
  • Mounted on library server with dedicated terminal access (e.g. Geolytics Census CDs)
  • Online licensed databases with IP-access (e.g. Social Explorer)
  • Online licensed databases with dedicated terminal access (e.g. Simmons OneView)
  • Online data repositories with institutional memberships (e.g. Roper)
  • Freely available online resources

Data sources are included in the collection via inclusion in the library catalog, e-resources, and/or research guides.

Subject Guide

Hailey Mooney
Main Library
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