Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Music Scores and Recordings

Analysis of the Subject Field

A. Chronology/Restrictions

Maintain general-level collection for music literature prior to 12th Century.

Maintain/increase music coverage from 12th Century to present.

Augment collection of vocal folk music with newer anthologies as available, especially for Latin America.

Musicals will be collected as general-level resources.

Collect music of MSU-related performers, composers, authors.

Popular music will be increasingly collected; in general, recordings collected by other areas/selectors may be housed in Music collections by prior arrangement.

Jazz will be collected in recording and score but not in “charts”, “lead sheets” or instrumental parts since the College of Music administers its own jazz library.

Parts for instrumental chamber music will be collected up to nonets; above that, only scores will be collected.

B. Language

No restrictions.

Vocal works should be collected in original language and, when possible, with English translations; this is particularly true of scores.

C. Geography

No restrictions.

In keeping with strengths and emphases of existing collection and curricular needs, main emphasis will continue to be on North America and Europe.

Increase folk and traditional music as available and within curricular needs, especially for the Americas.

Increase composed music of other cultures when possible.

D. Format

Full scores for chamber music, orchestral, band, and large vocal works.

Piano scores for operas, oratorios and other large vocal works; also for large instrumental works with solo instrument.

Parts, when available, for ensembles up to 9 instruments.

Recordings primarily in CD format, in addition to exploring options for additional streaming platforms and digital audio.

Video recordings in DVD format, in addition to exploring options for additional streaming video platforms. Other formats considered only when the content is otherwise unavailable.


Chamber music parts for more than 9 instruments.

Parts for orchestra, band, string orchestra or other large ensembles.

Choral octavos

Revival hymns (refer to Special Collections)

Solo folk instrument music (harmonica, folk guitar, accordion) unless faculty request.

Cassette tapes, unless the only format available to accompany an essential book or score.

E. Date of publication

No restrictions.

F. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

A majority of the music collection focuses on Western European art music, which is partly a reflection of historical curricular requirements and collecting priorities for academic music libraries in North America. An ongoing priority is to expand the collection beyond the Western European white, male canon, historically typical of many academic music curriculums, and increase holdings of works by underrepresented and historically excluded composers and performers. 

Going forward, it is essential that the collection more accurately reflects the growing diversity of the students and curriculum of Michigan State University and is equitable in its representation of music by marginalized composers, performers, and other artists. Music from excluded populations, musical traditions, and geographic areas will be actively and intentionally sought in a variety of ways, including intentional selecting, updating approval plans and profiles as needed to ensure inclusivity, and continuing to assess the collection for areas of weakness. Additionally, it is important to seek opportunities to collect music through non-traditional publishers, vendors, and other sources, in a variety of formats, both printed and online, especially when those creator communities do not have access to more traditional means of publishing and distribution.