Michigan State University

Collection Development Policy Statement: Political Science/Public Policy

Chronology of the subject

Because the curriculum focuses on developing knowledge, skills, and abilities required by administrators and public policy makers, collection emphasis has been and remains on, primarily, current materials.


English is the primary language of the monograph and serial collections. However, materials relating to this subject area for Western European countries published in other languages will be considered. Additionally, materials in other languages are selectively ordered primarily by area studies librarians.


The major focus is on Western Europe, the United States, and Michigan. Because policy issues for these regions are impacted by foreign and international developments, a fair amount of materials are collected in these areas as well.

Types of materials and formats

Monographs and serial publications are the most commonly acquired type of publication. This includes dictionaries, indexes, abstracts, encyclopedias, and specialized bibliographies. Transactions and proceedings are acquired selectively, as are major microform or print collections as funding permits. Antiquarian materials and manuscripts from other countries, films or videos, and introductory textbooks are not collected. Popular treatments are selectively collected when they represent interest groups, policy directions, or practical applications. Government documents and maps are selected by librarians who deal with these special formats, although legal materials and reports of private and quasi-public foundations or citizen groups are sometimes collected when they deal with breaking or traditional public policy topics. All MSU PhD dissertations and masters theses are collected, as well as publications of MSU faculty or research centers. Databases are acquired as appropriate.


The subject librarian purchases appropriate datasets to aid researchers. Examples of acquired datasets include Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections and Gallup Microdata.

Date of publication

Although there is older materials in the collection, most of the materials in the library were acquired since the 1960s when Michigan State became a major national university. Current materials are emphasized; retrospective acquisitions are very selective.