Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Analysis of the Subject Field

  • A. Chronology of the Subject

    No restrictions.

  • B. Languages of Resources collected

    English language resources to support all levels of instruction in Latin American studies are a collecting priority. When available, translations of vernacular works into English are acquired. Good coverage of current books published in English is ensured through trade and university approval plans with appropriate profiles. Additional monographic resources in English are identified and acquired through firm orders, particularly the publications of academic research centers and institutes, and European presses. Serial literature published in English is also prioritized.

    Resources in Spanish and Portuguese are collected to support advanced study and research in all the disciplines of importance for Latin American studies, with the exception of Brazilian Portuguese language and literature, which is collected to support study through the advanced undergraduate level only. Resources in the vernacular languages afford students and researchers an area perspective that cannot be adequately ensured through solely English language publications. Also, much of the published primary sources for research on Latin American subjects is in Spanish, or when pertaining to Brazil, in Portuguese. Selection is guided by the same standards of quality and appropriateness for a research library collection that is applied to English language acquisitions. Significant scholarship in French pertaining to the French-speaking Caribbean and to Guyane, is also collected. Some indigenous and Creole resources are selected for language and linguistic studies. A very small number of resources are collected in German and other European languages.

  • C. Geography of the Subject

    Resources are acquired about all of Latin America and the Caribbean area. Geographic emphases reflect local interests, as discussed in section I, above.

  • D. Format of the Resources Collected

    Most Latin American studies resource purchases, both monographic and serial, are in print format. A small but increasing number of desirable resources are electronic publications. Caution is exercised however, as no digital format is considered archival, and electronic resources published in Latin America have been discovered to be incompatible with computer hardware considered to be the industry standard only a few years later. Web based subscription databases are very desirable for reasons of accessibility and currency, but current funding levels have permitted access to only one key subscription database for Latin American studies, HAPI Online. Non-MSU dissertations and theses are generally not collected. Music on compact disk is acquired rather selectively, as are videos. Researchers value primary resource collections in micro format, but current funding levels permit little in the way of such acquisitions. Faculty and student requests for specific works in special formats are encouraged.

  • E. Date of Publication of Resources Collected

    Current materials emphasized, with limited retrospective selection. An exception is in the Spanish American literature collections, where there is a need for on-going retrospective acquisition of important primary works as well as some key secondary works. The need is strongest in prose literature of the last 10-15 years.

Michigan State University