A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic Needs
The English and American Literature collection supports the instructional and research needs of many programs at Michigan State University. Though the core of the collection supports activities of the English Department (which has the greatest enrollment of undergraduate majors in the College of Arts and Letters), studies in programs such as Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures, and James Madison College are also centrally located in the study of Literature, as well as programs in IAH, African American Studies, and others. The university’s commitment to interdisciplinary study makes this collection central to much undergraduate education across all colleges. Also, because of the University’s philosophy and emphasis on interdisciplinary education, and because interdisciplinary study is important to “Postmodern” education, there are faculty publishing and doing research that touch this collection area in nearly all colleges.
New to the subject areas having to do with English and American literature is the field of digital humanities and its attendant practices of text and data mining (TDM), and more broadly text manipulation of various kinds. TDM requires existing materials to be "served" in new and alternative ways, so "bulk" loading of resources such as EEBO (Early English Books Online) and ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online) are now being negotiated with companies like Proquest and Gale in order to host the data on local, library servers.
Also, grant funded (NEH, etc.) research may be subject to data management requirements, including consideration for publishing and sharing of data. MSUL would like to be considered for consultation and retention of such data. For guidelines see Digital Research Data Collection Development Policy Statement . For other possible depositories/repositories consult DataBib.
B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases
Including what exists in Special Collections, the collection of English and American Literature at MSU contains materials much older than the library itself. Primary texts and editions of those texts span the entirety of Western literature in print, as well as criticism and literary theory. Through approval programs and individual selection responsibilities across the library, the collection has been kept current and contemporary.