Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: British History/Studies

Analysis of the Subject Field

A. Chronology of the Subject: Emphases/Restrictions

Our collecting is broadly based and covers all periods at the undergraduate level. Beyond this we pay particular attention to those periods in which there are active campus researchers.

B. Languages of Resources Collected:


English is the language of origin; the materials are almost exclusively in English

C. Geography of the Subject: Emphases/Restrictions

We collect more in-depth for England than for Ireland and Northern Ireland and more in-depth for these three than for Scotland, Wales, and the other smaller islands.

D. Format of the Resources Collected: Restrictions, if Any

We do not collect paper printed pamphlets or ephemera less than 50 pages in length for Main, as they are vulnerable to destruction in the stacks. Significant pieces of grey literature may be collected online in pdf format and cataloged using the free web cataloging request form.   Many freely available online resources are added to libguides.

Paper is preferred for monographs, in order to be able to share our very large collection via ILL. 

The Art Library collects heavily illustrated material, but the Main Library does not as much.

We do not collect dissertations and masters’ theses from other universities.

We collect undergraduate textbooks upon request by faculty, if available via GOBI,  in format requested by the faculty member.

We do collect electronic resources, full-texts of primary and secondary works, and online indexes. We prefer electronic resources accessible on the Internet to software that must be housed in the Digital and Multi Media Center. We prefer to own, rather than subscribe to online resources, whenever possible.

We do collect primary resources in microformat, although full-texts online are preferable, when they are available and affordable online.

We do not collect very many DVDs. Preference today is for streaming services, when desired items are available that way. 

Murray and Hong Special Collections houses British history manuscripts, manuscript facsimiles, and antiquarian works published 1866 or before, whether collected by Murray and Hong Special Collections' rare book librarian or the British history/studies bibliographer or jointly.

E. Date of Publications Collected: Emphases, if Any

We emphasize recently published books and periodicals in the Main Library stacks, but projects are sometimes done to fill in gaps when significant older works that we don't have are identified that will be used by today's scholars. Murray and Hong Special Collections emphasizes valuable cookery, popular, radical, and pre-1866 materials.

F.  Approval Books

We receive many shelf-ready approval books in paper copy  GOBI approval slips are also heavily utilized and also firm orders for materials not available via GOBI. 

G.  Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

We must be attentive to DEI, diversity, equity, and inclusion in our collecting going forward, looking for publications from both mainstream and small independent publishers about racial minorities, religious minorities, LBGTQ+ persons, and other under represented peoples in the British Isles, their experiences and difficulties, in the present and in the past, both primary and secondary sources.  Consider online, open access, as well as traditional paper formats.  Paper works are preferred, as then we can lend our materials via ILL to others. The great challenge is that it takes more time to do the reading to find interesting publications from smaller publishers to select, and then firm orders are needed.  The rich, in-depth collection that we already own provides both primary and secondary sources that can be used to study all-the-now-viewed-as-terrible-things the British have done around the world in the name of progress and civilizing indigenous peoples. We anticipate much more writing in these areas in the years to come and it will be a challenge to keep up with it and afford it.