Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy: Maps & Geospatial Data

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 agencies and 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 so that purchase is necessary; or will halt publication/depository distribution altogether (for individual products, not as a whole). At the same time, the skill and cost barrier to desktop cartography will increase the availability of 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 Other Resources

MSU Libraries: Along with history and philosophy, one may study the geography of nearly every other topic across the disciplines. 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.

Campus resources: Remote Sensing & GIS, housed in the Geography Department, manages the Aerial Image Archive the state's largest repository of historical aerial photography.  The archive is available by appointment.  Non-MSU affiliated patrons are charged for access.  The Center for Global Change & Earth Observations studies social, land and climate systems in global environmental change studies using advanced geospatial tools, models, and observations.

Regional resources. Michigan State University has the top geography department in the state. 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 19 faculty. Central Michigan University has undergraduate and graduate programs in GIS taught by 20 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 does not have a geography department.

Other important library collections in Michigan: The University of Michigan has a large research map collection held in several locations (Hatcher, Bentley, and Clements).  Central Michigan University's Clarke Historical Library has a large collection of antique Michigan maps.  The Library of Michigan and the Archives of Michigan have excellent resources relating to Michigan's history.  Local libraries may have resources relating to their area.