Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Medicine

Analysis of the Subject Field

A. Chronology of the resources collected
Emphasis is almost exclusively on current practice and health policies. Recently published history of medicine materials are purchased on topics such as reproductive rights, vaccinations, and minorities in medicine. Although MSU does not have a history of medicine program, these texts may have interest for undergraduate or graduate researchers in fields outside of medicine.

B. Languages of resources collected: exclusions/emphases/translations
All material collected is in English. Only major translations are collected. Foreign language materials in the collection were added much earlier. Publications in non-Roman alphabets are not collected. There is a burgeoning DO literature scene in Germany but any works from that region will be collected in translation only, not in their original language.

C. Geography of the subject: emphases/restrictions
Primary interest is on practices of the U.S. with secondary interest in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Commonwealth Countries. Medical material on Third World/Developing countries is collected in accordance with MSU's involvement with overseas programs/projects and by the Public Health fund. Materials on non-Western systems of medicine are acquired selectively.

D. Format of the resources collected
Because of the distributed nature of medical education at MSU, whenever possible the online version of professional medical journals and monographs will be purchased. Materials collected in physical format tend to be updated editions of the most major classic textbooks, materials used in allied health and other undergraduate programs, and materials on medical topics but not clinically oriented, such as health economics, health policy, medical ethics, medical history, and the like. The exception are print clinical psychiatric materials on special populations and new techniques which are heavily utilized through ILL.

Included in the collection are serials, textbooks, databases, point-of-care tools, online video and image resources, encyclopedias, dictionaries, medical atlases, directories, proceedings, government publications, bibliographies, board and exam preparation study materials, and materials relating to United States-based certification, licensure, and specialized education/training.

Research data

Research data particularly data that is not already openly available or that cannot/will not be placed in existing research data repositories - may be collected.  HIPAA privacy laws may preclude the collection of clinical data. For additional guidelines, please see MSU's Digital Research Data Collection Development Policy

Images, Streaming Media, and Audio-Visual Materials

Image banks and streaming media may be purchased, if available, upon faculty request. Streaming media is given priority when it will be used in a classroom setting for an educational purchase. Popular films and documentaries are acceptable genres if they fit a predetermined curricular need. Physical format AV materials are collected rarely.


Medical textbooks for undergraduate and graduate medical education are collected mostly in electronic formats. A small number of core print textbooks are purchased based on the Brandon-Hill list of medical textbooks, from the Med Fund. Print textbooks outside of the approval list are rarely purchased unless for accessibility accomodations.

Not Collected

The following are usually not collected: theses, catalogs, programmed texts, laboratory manuals, spiral bound works, pocket-sized books, ephemera, self-published works, and materials appropriate only for Murray and Hong Special Collections.

E. Date of publication of resources collected
Emphasis is on current publications, preferably the latest two years. Older material is considered for unusual or sparsely covered subjects or in the case of replacements for missing or classic items. On occasion older material may be added to complete a series of editions of an important title or complete a journal run.

F. Special Topics Collected & Diversity/Inclusion Considerations

Consumer Health

Select consumer health books are collected in print on broad topics such as cancer, mental health, pregnancy, contraception, and other topics of interest to a University community with a large undergraduate population. Informational and evidence-based books are preferred. Memoirs, patient autobiographies, graphic novels, young adult or children’s books are not collected. A separate collection development policy exists for the Student Health and Wellness Collection.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility

Purchasing materials by and about diverse population is a core collection concern for medicine. Collections decisions place importance on who is being represented in medical literature, cultural competency in medical practice, and encourage purchasing materials that introduce the unique perspectives and needs of underserved, racialized, minoritized, and marginalized communities. Diversity in medical collection development foci encompasses, but is not limited to, the areas of underrepresented: races, ethnicities, sexualities, ages, gender expressions and identities, abilities and disabilities, cultural and religious identities, socioeconomic class, US geographical location, and nationality or immigration status.

DEIA issues that are unique to medicine include purchasing or subscribing to materials that:

  • show diversity in race, ethnicity, gender expression, and ability in images, case presentations, question banks, and video content.
  • remove outdated or scientifically incorrect language and medical ideas rooted in bigotry, classism, and racism in new editions. And when inaccuracies are found contacting the publisher of the work to remedy the issue promptly.
  • demonstrate a commitment to showing the lived experiences of physicians from underrepresented in medicine groups

Regarding accessibility, we recognize that the primarily electronic collection does not meet the learning needs or accommodation requests of all patrons. We strive to have one print copy of major medical texts used in the MD and DO programs in the collection. We work with publishers to include license language that allows for quick remediation of electronic texts to support accommodations for disabilities.