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MSU receives donation, now has largest digital library collection in U.S.

October 21, 2015

MSU library’s digital media collection joins the nation’s elite after an unprecedented donation from the Rovi corporation.

Rovi’s donation adds 681,000 CDs, 143,000 DVDs, and 17,000 electronic games according to Clifford Haka, director of MSU libraries.

The MSU digital media collection now dwarfs that of other schools. 

“One of the most outstanding music collections in the Big Ten was Indiana, they have 64,000 albums presently and our collection is now at least 681,000,” Haka said.

Recording the donated items into the catalog will take time, Haka said.

“A significant portion of the records are available now to students and faculty for the CDs and the DVDs,” Haka said. “We will have the initial records in our catalog by the end of November for the CDs and DVDs we received. However, completely entering all 17,000 games could take years” Haka said..

The electronic games donated by Rovi adds a new dimension to MSU’s library, one not prominently featured in most libraries’ digital media collections. 

“We had only a handful of electronic games before this, most libraries don’t collect those” Haka said.

Over the upcoming winter vacation, game rooms will be built to allow the public to enjoy the games in early 2016 according to Josh Barton, assistant head of technical services for the MSU libraries. 

“Because of the size of this collection, the infrastructure needed to even make the games accessible on site is unprecedented," Barton said. "There are so many games for different platforms spread out over such a long time -- in the future we may look at circulating them."

The new video game collection’s contents span a wide range of platforms, genres, and eras. 

“The collection is from 1980’s to 2014, the bulk of that is from the mid 90s to 2014. There is stuff older than that but it’s in the minority” Barton said.

Much of the video game collection’s contents were featured in a Eras 4 and 5 of a Smithsonian exhibit entitled “The Art of Video Games”.

Becoming the largest U.S. digital media collection came at a minimal cost to MSU. 

“We had to pay $46,000 to have this shipped here by 14 moving vans, but we didn’t have to hire additional staff -- though cataloging may take us awhile” Haka said.

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