Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Military and Naval Sciences

Factors Influencing Collection Policy

Anticipated future demand

The anticipated demands will require a similar level of support. The University's emphasis on international development programs suggests attention to works on armed forces in other parts of the world. Selected new periodicals should be carefully purchased for breadth of coverage. The post-World War II history of developed nations will require purchase of works dealing with strategy and the military-industrial complex. Trends in warfare such as cyberwarfare, terrorism and non-state actors. and conflict in outer space deserve attention; so do studies of emerging world military powers. A basic level of support for the sciences should be maintained with attention to electronics and biotechnology.

Relationships with other resources

On-campus branch or format collections, if any:

The Department of Defense (DoD) section of U.S. government documents provides a solid addition: many DoD publications are now freely available on the Internet. There are some relevant works in Canadian and UN government publications as well. The holdings of our Special Collections include anti-draft and anti-war materials in the American Radicalism Collection, and there is a small overlap with the Fencing Collection.

Regional or network resources, if any:

For in-depth research on the graduate level, three BTAA  libraries are strong in certain areas, and the shared BTAA collection is a rich resource:

  • Ohio State University for national security studies and military history.
  • University of Michigan for Asian and Slavic vernacular materials as well as marine engineering.
  • University of Illinois (UIUC) for military history.
  • Specialized military needs can be referred to appropriate DoD libraries.

Relationships to resources treated in other policy statements.

The history classifications hold the most works, especially the American and British sections. The area programs (Canada, Latin America, East Asia, and Africa) have basic collections, with deeper collections about the Vietnam War. Treatment of wars is as follows:

  • If a work deals with strictly military aspects of a conflict, it may be purchased with "milmo" funds.
  • If a work deals with broader themes such as diplomacy, the war's impact on a society, etc., then other funds may be used to purchase it. This includes terrorism as an issue for criminal justice.
  • If a conflict involves nations in different regions, e.g., Africa or the Near East, then the selector must decide what country or region is the prime focus of the work. In ambiguous, the "hismo" fund could be considered.
  • This collection is not intended to provide extensive coverage of all historical wars: the emphasis can include outstanding works or works of major scholars (such as John Keegan, Russell Weigley or Robert Citino), or works that rely on historical cases to shed light on military practices. 

Holdings in the other parts of the Humanities are basic with perhaps the exception of philosophy and religion: just war theory, rights of the state, pacifism. Aspects of those three topics are also covered in the social sciences. There is coverage in international relations, domestic politics, and peace movements. The sciences have limited collections with the most related holdings being in aviation.