The holdings of the University of Michigan Library began with the rather ad hoc arrival of various travel, anthropological, and language materials from the greater Pacific region. Subsequent to this early phase, the presence on campus of the well known anthropologist, Professor Roy Rappaport, in the 1960's,,70's, and 80's saw the collection grow considerably in terms of both importance and size. The contemporary modernization of the collection began in the mid-1980's when faculty members had ties to the Australian consul in Chicago. The formal period witnessed the provision of many potential titles by the consul with the final collection development being undertaken by the Southeast Asia Dvision of the Library. The Library continues to build proper academic collection on this basis. Beyond Australia, the collection on greater Pacific began with the hiring of several faculty members for the American Studies Program. This collection is coming to rival for Australia in terms of depth and scope. Selecting materials for New Zealand lags behind due to the absence of any faculty members with this specialization.
A point of clarification. Pacific Islands is divided in three categories by scholars. Categories include:
Melanesia- compose the islands of Papua New Guinea,Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji--being the bigger islands. The smaller islands includes: New Ireland, New Britain. All the islands have their own language as well as their own forms of social and political organizations. These islands rarely interact with one another.
Micronesia-also called "Little Islands"--compose mostly of Chuuk, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap(the Federated States of Micronesia), Saipan. Kiribarati, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. The Federated states of Micronesia was part of the Trust Territories of the Pacific Islands, part of the United Nations mandate. Teh trust territories was administered by the United States. Each of these countries have gained independence. Different languages pervade in these countries.
Polynesia - the following islands of Cook, Samoa, Tuvalu, Tokelau, Marquesas, French Polynesia, Tonga, Nieu and the Pitcairn compose this grouping.