Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: International Documents

Page Coordinator: Julia Ezzo

Purpose and Scope of Collection

Curricular/Research/Programmatic needs

The International Documents collection serves a very broad spectrum of both the University community and the general public. Because it is centered on the publications of intergovernmental organizations, the collection particularly serves the needs of those working in international studies and international development. However, the spectrum of work of intergovernmental organizations, and the depth of collecting at MSU in these areas, means that many departments, from the arts and humanities, to social and behavioral scientists, to those studying agriculture and public health, will need to use such materials.

Existing strengths and emphases

Although MSU is not (and has never been) a UN depository library, the collection is very strong overall, reflecting MSU’s historic commitment to International Studies. The MSU Library (MSUL) has comprehensive standing orders for the publications of a number of organizations, including the United Nations, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We also have a complete set of Readex microfiche/cards that contain materials never distributed through the depository program with coverage until 2022. Overall, the depth and breadth of this collection makes it one of the strongest International Documents collections in the U.S.

MSUL is also one of 27 European Union depository libraries, so we receive publications on deposit from the European Union and we also have a comprehensive blanket order for Council of Europe publications. The Library also has an extensive collection of materials from other regional intergovernmental organizations such as the Organization of American States, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), and the Economic Commission for Western Asia.

MSUL supplement our comprehensive approval plans with firm ordering from a number of UN specialized agencies such as UNESCO, the UNEP, and UN Development Program; as well as related agencies such as the International Organization for Migration, the World Intellectual Property Organization, and the World Health Organization. In the case of UN agencies, any materials that are sold through UN Sales come through our comprehensive UN blanket order, so firm ordering is generally minimal. Many IGOs issue free publications of very valuable research material. These books and pamphlets do not come on approval plans, but must be requested by the Government Information Librarian. Over the years, MSU has attempted to be comprehensive in obtaining such ‘grey literature’ to make our collection truly unique among research libraries. 

Additionally, MSUL seeks to provide data and statistical resources to aid our community of researchers.  These resources may be from national statistical offices, NGOs, IGOs, or private organizations.  Some data and statistical resources include UNData, World Bank Open Data, and OECD iLibrary Statistics.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The MSU Libraries are committed to advancing Diversity, Equity, Inclusion. The Government Information Librarian selects materials issued through the IGOs and NGOs for and about historically oppressed, underrepresented, and underserved communities. Additionally, purchased electronic materials, such as vendor-supplied databases and ebooks, must meet University standards on accessibility.