Because the curriculum is directed toward developing knowledge, skills, and abilities required by highly specialized professionals, collection emphasis has been and remains on current materials; however since the criminal justice program has been a major program for so long, the collection also contains a fair amount of retrospective materials which may be supplemented from time to time if special opportunities arise.
English is the primary language of the monograph and serials collection. Materials in other languages are selectively ordered in consultation with area studies bibliographers.
The major focus is on the United States, but sources are collected from a wide perspective of different regions. A special focus is placed on books from the perspective of the global south and underrepresented communities.
All appropriate formats, including print, electronic, and audio-visual are collected. Films and documentaries play an important role for Criminal Justice and should be collected to support the curriculum. Monographs and serial publications are the most commonly acquired types of publications. This includes indexes, abstracts, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and specialized bibliographies. Textbooks by MSU faculty or in primary emphasis areas may be acquired. Because of the many online Masters degree options in the School of Criminal Justice, a preference is given towards ebooks where appropriate and available. Electronic databases at present include Criminal Justice Abstracts, Criminal Justice Periodical Index, and NCJRS, as well as a number of additional databases covering gray literature. Numeric datasets and statistical sources are collected; preference is given to electronic formats. Faculty produced digital datasets may be collected in a variety of formats; primarily text and numeric based data are expected.