Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Religious Studies. Last updated 05-17-2023

Written by: Agnes Haigh Widder Date drafted: Jan. 31, 2006 Last updated 05-10-2023

Purpose or Scope of Collection

  • A. Curricular/Research/Programmatic needs

    Resources in religious studies serve the instructional needs of the Department of Religious Studies, which offers an undergraduate major, a teaching minor for students majoring in Education, and a certificate program on non-profit organization administration. Certain portions of the collection support instruction and research in other departments and programs, e.g. history, medical humanities, literature, philosophy, art, music, African American and African studies, Jewish studies, and Muslim studies.

    This collection is also needed to serve the general information needs and reading interests of our University community and beyond, out there in Michigan,  quite apart from any instructional or research programs on campus. The collection supplements the materials found in church libraries.  There is heavy use of the collection by MelCat borrowers.  Paper works are preferred, in order to be able to lend them on ILL and to local community users.

    From the Religious Studies departmental website: the academic study of religion seeks to describe and interpret the nature of religion and the variety of religious worldviews. In doing so, it draws on the disciplines and interdisciplinary methodologies of the human and social sciences. The study of religious worldviews approaches religion comparatively in a cross-cultural context and free from the biases of particular denominations and doctrines. Moreover, it tries to understand the multiple dimensions of religion: religious texts, myths, doctrines, and rituals; religion and ethics; religious institutions and religious experience. The study of religion explores changes in religious traditions over time and economic and intellectual contexts within which religions have unfolded. Students learn how to think and write about varieties of religious phenomena and experiences. 

    “Bulk” loading of content sub-sets from our electronic resources can be negotiated with vendors such as ProQuest, Adam Matthew, and Gale/Cengage for faculty and students to use for digital projects.  People may also find "data" to use from data repositories such as Registry of Research Data Repositories. The resulting intellectual products can be hosted on our servers for research and teaching.

    Grant funded (NEH, NIH etc) research may be subject to data management requirements, including consideration for publishing and sharing of data.  MSU would like to be considered for consultation and retention of such data, if approached by faculty or students.

  • B. History of the Collection/Existing Strengths and Emphases

    The collection emphasizes historical treatments relating mainly to the Christian West. The present religious worldviews focus of the Religious Studies department is comparatively new. Thus, non-Christian religious traditions are represented more sparsely in the collection (2 level) and began to be collected more recently.