Monday, December 30, 2013

Education: Abstracts and indexes

Abstracts and indexes
CBCA Education [Canadian Business & Current Affairs – Education] (Formerly The Canadian Education Index)
Indexes Canadian Education magazines.

Education Index
From H. W .Wilson. Electronic version. Electronic Full Text covers English-language periodicals, monographs and yearbooks. Full text from 1996, indexing from 1983.

ERIC is the world’s largest source of educational information, with more than 1 million abstracts of documents and journal articles on education research and practice.

Canadian associations
Association of Canadian Community Colleges (ACCC)
Contains a list of members listed by province.

Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities. It represents over 90 Canadian public and private not-for-profit universities and university-degree level colleges. Click on “Canadian Universities” link to access AUCC’s Directory of Canadian Universities, a searchable database containing information about facilities, services and academic programs offered by AUCC member universities.

Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
In Canada, education is the responsibility of each province and territory. CMEC is the national voice for education in Canada. It is the mechanism through which ministers consult and act on matters of mutual interest, and the instrument through which they consult and cooperate with national education organizations and the federal government. CMEC also represents the education interests of the provinces and territories internationally. Site contains information on education in Canada at all levels plus links to other related organizations.

Canadian Education Association
The Canadian Education Association is a network for educators in Canada. The CEA is their source of information about the latest trends in education. It’s the only bilingual organization dedicated to improving education. Publishes School Calendar: Opening and Closing Dates Summarizes all the opening and closing dates (Western Canada and Eastern Canada) for primary and secondary schools in every province and territory.

Encyclopaedias/dictionaries Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Educational Philosophy and Theory

Glossarist: Education Glossaries and Education Dictionaries

Internet sources
Blue Web’n

Blue Web’n is an online library of 1800+ outstanding Internet sites categorized by subject, grade level, and format (tools, references, lessons, hotlists, resources, tutorials, activities, projects). You can search by grade level (Refined Search), broad subject area (Content Areas), or specific subcategories (Subject Area).

Canada’s SchoolNet
Schoolnet is a Canadian education site developed through funding by a variety of agencies (government, industry and educational establishments). Features a large selection of educational sites for students and teachers.

Canadian Education on the Web

The purpose of Canadian Education on the Web was to bring together everything relating to Canada and education that had a presence on the World Wide Web. The page was developed and maintained by Marian Press in the Education Commons of the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.

Canadian Information by Subject: 37 Education
National Library of Canada site arranged in subject order according to DDC.

Canadian Information Center for International Credentials.
Information on foreign credential evaluations, postsecondary education in Canada, specific professions and trades, Learning English (ESL) or French (FSL) as a second language, postsecondary education abroad, exchange and financial aid programs, international mobility in higher education.

Provides access, for both the international education community and international students, to Canadian education resources on the Internet. An information resource of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), the secretariat for the provincial and territorial ministries/departments responsible for education.

Education Virtual Library

The Gateway to Educational Materials
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Consortium effort to provide educators with quick and easy access to thousands of educational resources found on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial Internet sites. Access to high quality lesson plans, curriculum units and other education resources on the Internet!

Manitoba Education Citizenship and Youth. Instructional Resources Library.
Home page with links to publications, etc.

McGill University Library. Education Library. Resources by Subject.
Includes links to sites for teachers and students in art, drama, ESL, history, math, science, social studies, and sports.
Find information on more than 1,400 universities, colleges and career colleges in Canada, including admission requirements, costs, programs, and contact details. View interactive virtual campus e-ToursTM. Search by keyword for programs, schools, careers, and scholarships.

Study in Canada
Includes a searchable database of schools of all types in Canada.

Teacher Librarian Toolkit

From Teacher Librarian magazine. Portal to a variety of materials from the pages of TL and the Internet beyond, plus essential professional resources for teacher librarians.

University of Winnipeg Library, Education

The World of Education: Manitoba Perspective

Monday, December 23, 2013


Education is a topic about which almost everyone has an opinion and on which many consider themselves to be experts.
Richard J. Kraft,
The Reader’s Advisor
Speaking generally education signifies the sum total of processes by means of which a community or social group, whether small or large, transmits its acquired power and aims with a view to securing its own continuous existence and growth.
John Dewey
1. The act or process of educating or being educated. 2. The knowledge or skill obtained or developed by a learning process. 3. A program of instruction of a specified kind or level: driver education; a college education. 4. The field of study that is concerned with the pedagogy of teaching and learning. 5. An instructive or enlightening experience: Her work in the inner city was a real education.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000
1. The act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgement, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life.
2. The science or art of teaching.
Random House Dictionary of the English Language.
Education may be:
  • An institution or the structure of education in a particular place at a particular time, e.g. Canadian education vs. British education
  • An activity, i.e. the continuous process of learning
  • The methods, techniques, psychological aspects of teaching or dealing with students
  • Content, i.e. curriculum
  • A pro duct, e.g. an employable person
1. The art or profession of teaching. 2. Preparatory training or instruction.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Copyright © 2000

An older name for the profession of teaching.

Education and the social sciences
  • Seen more as a profession than a social science
  • An applied art which sometimes uses scientific approaches
  • Interdisciplinary e.g. research in history of education, sociology of education, educational psychology, economics of education
  • Educational history, philosophy, sociology, economics, demographics
  • Educational specialities
    • Early childhood
      • Infant
    • Elementary
    • Secondary
    • Higher/postsecondar
      • Community/vocational college
        • 2-year (junior)
        • 4-year
      • University
    • Adult and continuing (lifelong, recurrent, informal)
    • Distance
    • Special
    • Guidance
  • Educational administration and supervision
    • Out of the classroom, e.g. principal
  • Curriculum and instruction
    • People making suggestions and changes
  • Educational psychology, measurement and guidance
  • Education for occupations
    • Professional pedagogies, e.g. music, art, phys ed
      • specialities
    • Professional education, e.g. medicine, nursing, law
    • Vocational, cooperative, or distributive
      • e.g. mechanic in colleges, co-operatives can last 3-4 months at a time with pay
    • Teacher education
  • Multicultural education
  • Special education
    • For exceptional students (physical, mental, behavioural disabilities)
    • Gifted and talented often included
  • At-risk education
    • Less than half of aboriginal students graduate from high school, set up schools to help keep them in education
  • Urban education
    • Inner city (U.S.) with core problems, immigrants, places to help
  • Comparative and international education
    • Looking at education in another place and see if changes, improvements can be made
  • Traditionally ‘schooled’ at home with emphasis on training as opposed to education
  • Compulsory, free education a relatively recent phenomenon (Ontario 1891; Manitoba 1916)
  • Education in Canada a provincial responsibility
  • School organization and funding
    • Reduce number of school boards
    • Budget constraints
  • Accountability
    • Increased emphasis on evaluation and assessment
      • provincial exams, standardized tests
  • Responding to needs
    • Especially re disabilities, literacy, aboriginal students, visible minorities, at-risk students
  • Expand services
    • Extend day/daycare, conflict resolution, health, safety, tolerance
    • Not everyone is the same, different people require different services
  • Technology
    • Computers
  • Curriculum
    • Strengthen core subjects
    • New subjects, e.g. technology, html
  • Second languages
  • Outcomes based
    • Co-op, work study, internships
    • Employability skills
  • Globalization
    • International students
      • Exchange students
    • Distance delivery
      • Market programme around the world, open to anyone
  • Lifelong learning
    • Refreshers’ course
  • Teacher retirements
  • Number of years in school increasing
    • Due to amount of information needed to be learnt
  • Increased interest in alternatives to public school system
    • Homeschooling
    • Private schools
    • Independent schools
  • Wide variety of users with variety of needs
  • Teachers (K-12)
    • focus on curriculum and instructional material
    • Practical tips, handbooks, guides
  • Home schoolers
    • Will use public library may request materials outside of normal scope of public library
  • Parents
    • Possibly popular material on major issues in news
    • Material for student reports e.g. science fairs
  • Adult learners
    • Test preparation, G.E.D., self improvement, how-to
  • Children/teens
    • School assignment driven

Monday, December 16, 2013


• The scientific study of human and animal behaviour (text)
• Science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interaction with the environment

What is psychology?
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. The discipline embraces all aspects of the human experience – from the functions of the brain to the actions of nations, from child development to care for the aged. In every conceivable setting from scientific research centers to mental health care services, “the understanding of behavior” is the enterprise of psychologists.
  • Modern psychology emerged from philosophy in the last quarter of the nineteenth century
  • Strong links to other social sciences especially sociology, anthropology, education, business
  • More than any other social science has strong links to biology (especially physiology and comparative) and medicine
  • Not only a discipline but also a profession
  • American Psychological Association (APA) , the largest >150,000 members worldwide, and oldest founded 1892
  • American Psychological Society (APS) c. 12,000 members worldwide, split from APA in 1988 to meet the perceived needs and interests of the scientific, applied, and academic psychologists as opposed to psychologists whose sole or primary interest is in clinical practice
  • Psychologists constitute over half of all social scientists in the United States (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook: 1996-97
  • Major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar illness, eating disorders, anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses frequently impair normal daily activities such as working, sleeping and caring for oneself and others
  • In Canada, mental disorders accounted for the second most hospital days in 1995-96
  • 1996-97 National Population Health Survey results indicate that 2% of Canadians consulted a psychologist during the preceding year
Notable schools of psychology
  • Structuralism: interested in structure or elements of the mind or consciousness
  • Gestalt psychology: the whole (gestalt) is seen as more than the sum of its parts
  • Functionalism: studies the function of the mind and consciousness as they help the organism to adapt to the environment
  • Behaviourism: focuses on the observable, measurable behaviour of organisms
  • Psychometric research: design of tests, really began with Binet
Major divisions of psychology
  • Experimental
  • Physiological/biological
  • Developmental
  • Social
  • Clinical: largest and most popular
  • Educational/instructional
  • Industrial/organizational
  • Psychometrics
  • Psychiatry: closely related to psychology but is a medical speciality and requires an MD
For information on areas of specialization see:
Lloyd, M. A. and Dewey, R. A. (1997, August 28). Areas of specialization in psychology. [Online]. Available:
  • World Wars created an enormous demand for psychology, especially during and after World War II
  • Greatest growth in subfields of
    • Clinical
    • Counseling
    • Educational
    • School
Empirical Research Methods
  • Direct observation
  • Experimentation
  • Case studies
  • Questionnaires
  • Interviews
  • Standardized tests
Ethical problems
  • Use of humans
  • Use of animals
  • Use by advertisers
Literature use
  • Journal articles predominate
  • Collaborative research, multiple authorship common
  • Articles seen as primary sources (report research results)
  • In U.S. overwhelming reliance on recent articles by students in the field
  • Books often in form of collection of readings aimed at undergrads
  • Trend in late 1980s towards more publishing as chapters in books
  • In general psychologists rarely use the literature of other social sciences with the following exceptions:
    • Educational and school psychologists use ERIC
    • Social psychologists use sociological literature
  • Psychologists do use medical literature via MEDLINE
  • Psychologists frequently create and use a variety of tests
Reference needs
  • Practitioners: current awareness materials; state of the art summaries, hot topics, mental health problems associated with work, school, home
  • Teachers: popular summaries of common problems, material on tests and measurements
  • Students: materials for class assignments, periodical articles (Psychology Today)
  • Vertical file material popular
  • Lay persons: overwhelming amount of material in print and on the web a problem (problem of identifying authoritative sources)
    • Popular topics: recovery, self-help, depression
  • Children/teens
    • Fastest growing segment of the depressed population
    • Popular age appropriate, authoritative material on topics as for lay persons
    • Material to help understand selves and relationships with family members
    • Sexuality, addiction, suicide current issues
    • Censorship a concern
    • Realistic fiction often useful

Monday, December 9, 2013

Psychology resources

Indexes and abstracts
Psychological Abstracts 1927- print; PsycInfo (formerly PsycLit) 1967- electronic
American Psychological Association
The most comprehensive index to psychological literature. Provides access to articles and books on topics in Psychology and related disciplines contained in periodicals published throughout the world, covering over 1300 journals in 35 languages. Use of the thesaurus, containing a list of subject words which describe the contents of the articles and books as well as broader, narrower, and related terms, facilitates the search process. Indexes books and book chapters in English language books published from 1987 to present. Indexed to provide citations with abstracts in psychology and behavioral sciences from the American Psychological Association. Topics covered include psychology, sociology, anthropology, education, pharmacology, physiology, linguistics, and more.

ERIC is the world’s largest source of education information, with more than 1 million abstracts of documents and journal articles on education research and practice.

PubMed (Medline)
Produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, this database provides access to the major biomedical literature including references to articles from more than 3200 journals. Virtually every area in biomedicine is covered, including Psychiatry and Psychology, Clinical Medicine, as well as Behavioural and Mental Disorders. The thesaurus, containing a list of Medical Subject Headings (MESH) which describes the contents of the articles, facilitates and enhances access to the information contained in this database.

University of Winnipeg. Psychology (Print-only)

Internet resources
From APA. Created to provide quick access to quality content in the field of psychology.

Athabasca University Psychology Resources (AUPR)
The Academic Content Sites contain links to a large number of psychology web sites organized by the different sub-fields within psychology. Other useful sites are listed at the bottom.

Canadian Psychological Association. Web Links.
Links to provincial psychological associations.

Internet Public Library. Psychology Resources.

Psychology Topical Index
Keeps track of online information. Topics are listed in narrower subfields for easier reference.

Psychological Research on the Net. American Psychological Society
Supplies links to known experiments on the Internet that are psychologically related.

ETS Test Collection: Test Link
The collection is the largest in the world. It was established to make information on standardized tests and research instruments available to researchers, graduate students, and teachers. The tests contained in this collection were acquired from a variety of U.S. publishers and individual test authors. Foreign tests are also included in the collection, including some from Canada, Great Britain, and Australia.

BBC: Science & Nature: Human Body & Mind: Surveys and Psychology Test
Links to various tests on the WWW, including “fun” tests.

Tests and Measures in the Social Sciences. Tests Available in Compilation Volumes.

An index, compiled by a librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington. To obtain any of these resources, you can:
1. Check the library closes to you to determine if it has the source volume.
2. Contact YOUR library Interlibrary Loan department or other services available at your institution.

Buros Institute. Mental Measurement Yearbook: Test Reviews Online
Fee based service.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Sociology resources

Abstracts and indexes
Sociological Abstracts
Provides access to the world’s literature in sociology and related disciplines, both theoretical and applied. The database includes abstracts of journal articles selected from over 2600 journals, abstracts of conference papers presented at various sociological association meetings, relevant dissertation listings from Dissertation Abstracts International, enhanced bibliographic citations of book reviews, and abstracts of selected sociology books. Approximately 2600 journals in 30 different languages from 55 countries are scanned for inclusion, covering sociological topics in fields such as anthropology, economics, education, medicine, community development, philosophy, demography, political science, and social psychology. Records added after 1974 contain in-depth and non evaluative abstracts of journal articles. See 

Print titles
University of Winnipeg. Library. Sociology (print-only)

WWW Resources for Sociologists 

From Dept. of Sociology, University of Colorado.

WWW Virtual Library: Sociology 

WCSU List: Sociology Internet Resources

Compiled by Western Connecticut State University, Dept. of Social Sciences. Links grouped by topics, i.e. Culture & Society, Ethnic, Women’s, Family, Criminology, Social Theory, Social Research & Evaluation, U.S. Census, General, Miscellaneous.

Alcohol Studies Database

Contains over 70,000 citations for journal articles, books, book chapters, dissertations, conference papers, and a-v materials.

Glossarist: Sociology Glossaries and Sociology Dictionaries

Dead Sociologists Index

The Sociology Page
Sponsored by sociological textbook publisher. Of most interest is the Sociological Links Library and Sociologists’ Gallery.

BUBL LINK/5:15 Catalogue of Internet Resources: Sociology
BUBL LINK is the name of a catalogue of selected Internet resources covering all academic subject areas and catalogued according to DDC. All items are selected, evaluated, catalogued and described. Links are checked and fixed each month. Created by librarians in the UK.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sociology essay

Herron, Nancy L. The Social Sciences: A Cross Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources, 3rd ed. Greenwood Village, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 2002. Z7161 S648 2002 pp. 259-261

Sociology essay
Diane Zabel and Christine Avery

As its name clearly implies, the social nature of the human animal is the focus of sociology. Although such an interest has been a subject of philosophical contemplation since ancient times, the modern discipline of sociology emerged in the nineteenth century. The origin of the term is attributed to the nineteenth-century French philosopher Auguste Comte. Comte is generally regarded as the founder of modern sociology. Lee Braude’s 1994 bibliographic essay on the emergence of sociology is a good choice for those who wish to know more about the development of sociology as a discipline. 1 This essay discusses some of the major developments in sociology from the mid-nineteenth century to 1930, with an emphasis on the development of American sociology. More than eighty works are cited in this essay, making it a valuable tool for any librarian needing a summary of the most seminal publications in the field. Braude’s coverage concludes with 1930, because by that date American sociology had firmly established itself as a discipline. A symbol of this, according to Braude, was the 1929 construction of the Social Science Research Building at the University of Chicago. In 1999, Braude published a follow-up bibliographic essay in Choice, tracing developments in sociology since 1930. 2 The phenomenal growth in sociology since 1930 is evidenced by the increase in the number of works that Braude cites in his analysis of the discipline’s progress. Braude’s critical evaluation of key contemporary works is useful to librarians, graduate students, and others needing to become conversant with the core literature in sociology. Choice also publishes bibliographic essays on subfields of major disciplines. One example is Harry Gold’s article on the development of political sociology, a subspeciality that emerged in the post-World War II era. 3 It is particularly important for academic librarians to browse this feature of Choice because these bibliographic essays are outstanding and provide an easy means of gaining familiarity with the literature of a discipline or subdisclipine.  
Sociology is a social science, using empirical methods to study human group behaviour. It is the broadest of the social sciences, overlapping with psychology, anthropology, education, political science, business, history, communication, statistics, law, and economics. Some subfields of sociology, notably the sociology of work, the sociology of law, political sociology, the sociology of welfare, the sociology of the environment, and the sociology of work conflict, illustrate this overlap. Sociology has distinguished itself from these related fields by developing a unique perspective. Both psychology and sociology study behaviour, but whereas psychology concentrates on individual behaviour, sociology is concerned with collective behaviour and how groups influence individual behaviour. Historically, anthropologists have primarily studied tribal peoples and pre-industrialized societies. Consequently, anthropological methodologies were developed primarily for the study of non-Western societies. However, since World War II, anthropologists have increasingly studied urban societies in Western countries and in the Third World. Like sociologists, many anthropologists have researched many relevant contemporary topics ranging from drug abuse to unemployment. In contrast, sociological methodologies were developed primarily for the study of modern Western societies. 
Sociology has affected other disciplines. For example, history traditionally studies prominent people and important events in the past. Historians have adopted a sociological perspective with their increased interest in the daily life of average people, the family, and work. Sociology has also had an impact on librarianship. Leigh Estabrook’s 1984 study using citation analysis to measure library researchers’ use of sociological materials found that 8 percent of library citations were sociological references. 5 She concluded that this was not insignificant and projected that in the future, library researchers would probably increase their use of sociological works, especially those publications relating to computing and technology issues. 
Sociology has been applied to the study of society’s problems. Topics under sociological investigation include alcohol and drug abuse, family violence, homelessness, crime, and racial discrimination. In 1994, Neil J. Smelser, a prominent sociologists, accurately predicted that in the future more research would focus on subjects such as step-parenting, dual-career couples, commuter marriages, telecommuting and home-based work, the economic and ethical consequences of medical technology, the social epidemiology of AIDS, and the social aspects of environmental threats. 6 These were important themes in the late 1990s and continue to be in the twenty-first century. Social work developed as a practical response to social problems and is based in sociology. Along with teaching in universities, sociologists work in industry, government, human services, and private social agencies. 
A range or research methods characterizes the discipline of sociology. Sociological conclusions are not based on common sense but are the product of systematically collected data. After developing a hypothesis, sociologists select a research method and collect data, which are interpreted, reviewed, and sometimes replicated. The most heavily used research method in sociology is survey research. Survey research uses questionnaires, interviews, or both to determine what people think, predict behaviour, or to measure public opinion. This technique uses a sample, a representative number of people from the population studied. Generalizations about large groups of people are based on the samples. 
Sociology shares the tradition of fieldwork with anthropology. Fieldwork uses direct observation to collect data. Some sociological studies involve the participation of the observer, who becomes part of the group studied. Case studies analyze a community, a family, or an occupation. The collection and analysis of statistical data are important in sociology. Sociologists require statistics on the demographic and social characteristics of special groups. Instead of generating their own data, they may rely on statistics already collected. Sociologists in the United States make heavy use of data collection by the Census Bureau and other government agencies. 
Many sociologists make use of machine-readable data files. There are several repositories of machine-readable social science data. The most well-known archive in this country is the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR), which is centred at the University of Michigan The Consortium receives, processes, distributes, and archives large datasets. It also sponsors workshops and training sessions that are useful to data users and data librarians. 
A large number of scholarly books are published annually in the area of sociology. Approximately 41,000 academic titles in sociology were published or distributed in the United States or Canada in 1997 alone. 7 Only two other subject categories in the social sciences surpassed this publishing output: history and business/economics. However, this figure from The Bowker Annual excludes the number of popular titles published in sociology. Herbert Gans authored a fascinating study on fifty-six best-sellers written by American sociologists during the period 1950 through 1995. 8 Each of these titles sold more than 50,000 copies; included were the 1950 classic The Lonely Crowd (which topped 1 million in sales), Artie Hochschild’s groundbreaking study, The Second Shift (documenting the chore wars between men and women); and three works by Lillian Rubin (World of Pain, Intimate Strangers, and Just Friends). Gans’s insights about these best-sellers suggest the impact that sociology has had on the public. These best-sellers have addressed issues such as loneliness, poverty, racism, social injustice and gender inequality, topics that obviously struck a chord with many Americans. 
Collection development in sociology can be a challenge given the large volume of monographic output. Fortunately, there are selection tools that can help librarians evaluate new titles in sociology. Although it dates from the 1980s, Sharon Quist’s article on the value of book reviews in sociology is still relevant reading for beginning sociology librarians. 9 Quist outlines the importance of reviews and lists journals in sociology where book reviews can be found. Another article that should be required reading for sociology selectors is Judith Fox’s critical comparison of Choice and Contemporary Sociology as book selection tools. 10 This evaluative article reiterates the importance of not using Choice exclusively for collection development decisions given only moderate overlap between Choice and Contemporary Sociology, a premier scholarly review journal in sociology. 
Citation analysis has been employed as a tool to study the literature of sociology. James Baughman conducted one of the earliest studies in 1974 11. Baughman’s research resulted in a list of most frequently cited sociology journals. A few years later, William Satarino conducted a readership analysis, examining journals that socialists reported reading. 12 Both of these early studies laid the foundation for subsequent studies of sociology literature by establishing core lists of journals relevant to sociologists. In 1984, Beth Shapiro examined several citation and readership studies in the social sciences in order to profile sociologists’ use of book and journal material. Her reviews of the research found that sociologists make greater use of monographic literature than many other social scientists, and there is an emphasis on recent English-language material. Her reviews of the research found that sociologists make greater use of monographic literature than many other social scientists, and there is an emphasis on recent English-language material. A synthesis of Shapiro’s findings indicates that 
  1. 50 to 62 percent of all citations from scholarly research in sociology are from nonserial publications (e.g., monographs, documents, reports);
  2. 90 to 93 percent of all citations are from English-language sources; and
  3. 50 to 70 percent of all citations are from sources less than ten years old. 13 
Blaise Cronin, Herbert Snyder, and Helen Atkins have conducted the most recent citation analysis in sociology. These authors analyzed tens of thousands of references from scholarly monographs and academic journals for a nine-year period (1985-1993). Their findings suggest that there may be two distinct populations of highly cited authors: one in monographs and the other in journals. 
The literature of sociology is widely dispersed across related disciplines and the numerous subfields of sociology. Major subfields include criminology, social work, marriage and the family, demography, gerontology, ethnicity, women’s studies, and urban studies. Sociological Abstracts, the major database in the discipline, identifies approximately thirty broad subfields, ranging from group interactions to feminist/gender studies. Sociological research is highly interdisciplinary. There is only a small core of reference literature relating to general sociology. However, there are many specialized works relating to the numerous subfields of the disciplines.

Monday, November 18, 2013


The study of social life, and social change, and the social causes and consequences of human behaviour. Sociologists investigate the structure of groups, organizations, and societies, and how people interact within these contexts.
American Sociological Association. “What is Sociology?”

For general overview see Encarta Encyclopedia article: Sociology.
  • One of the broadest social sciences
  • Originated in Europe but primarily an American subject up to the 1960s
    • From 1800s what we associated, focus on Chicago – different ethnic groups, crime, deviants, social activism; make things better, become involved to do so
  • Auguste Comte generally considered to be the founder of modern sociology
  • History of interest in solving problems associated with urbanization and industrialization, e.g. poverty, inequality, family breakdown, crime/deviance, racial/ethnic minorities, and other topics socialists would be interested in
  • Methodologies developed primarily for study of modern Western societies
    • Questionnaires
    • Surveys
  • Research methods include
    • Fieldwork: direct observation
    • Quantitative methods
      • Statistics; look at numbers related to groups
    • Survey research
      • Questionnaires, interviews, polls, focus groups
    • Heavy reliance on primary statistical information
      • Census, vital statistics, employment statistics, immigration statistics, crime stats …
  • Numerous areas of specialization
    • 50+
  • Sections of the American Sociological Association
  • Sociological Specialities
Topical areas
(featured areas of both non-public and public interest)
  • Crime and deviance (Criminology as a separate discipline/profession)
  • Demography
    • population study using government statistics
  • Ethnic and racial relations
  • Gerontology
  • Marriage and the family
  • Women’s studies
  • Men’s studies
  • Urban studies
  • Rural studies
  • Closest relationship with anthropology
  • Traditional division based on pre-industrial (anthropology) and industrial societies (sociology) breaking down – anthropologists looking more at urban, industrialized societies
  • Traditionally, sociology was anthropology in an urban, industrial setting
  • Sociology the social science discipline most likely to lend to other social science disciplines 
  • Sociologists often concerned with reform and are frequently critical of the status quo
  • Has led to reputation of “pusher of unpopular causes,” sociology department may be seen as a “centre of radicalism”
  • Sociological literature jargon filled (Sociologese) see Jargon Free Sociology
Structure of sociological literature
  • 50 – 62% of all citations from scholarly research are from nonserial publications
    • Sociologists use monographs more than many other social scientists
  • 90 – 93% of all citations English language
  • 50 – 70% of all citations from sources less than 10 years old
User needs
  • Academics: interest in “hot” problem areas, topics, issues, statistical sources
  • Postsecondary students: popular works summarizing state of the art, subject dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks
  • Social workers: “how to do it good”, info on types of clients, regulations, laws, licensure
    • Few practitioners read research periodicals or use research findings
  • Lay persons: interest in problem solving literature with step by step format; local sensational social problems (careful selection of popular material required)

Monday, November 11, 2013


Herron, Nancy L. (ed) The Social Sciences: A Cross-Disciplinary Guide to Selected Sources. 3rd ed. Greenwood Village, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 2002.
Joyce L. Ogburn
Nature of the Discipline 
Anthropology holds a fascination for many people, and with good reason. It explores the entire spectrum of human experience: its past and present physical and cultural makeup, its history and evolution. As the study of humans, it encompasses the social, cultural, historical, and physical aspects of human life. This broad scope allows anthropologists to investigate the human experience from the perspective of the humanist, the social/behavioral scientist, and the natural scientist. 
The field is usually considered a social science because of its unifying concern for human culture and life, and the dominance of cultural anthropology in the history of the discipline. Anthropologists conduct their studies as they relate to culture, for culture does not function separately from biology, behavior, language, social structure, and history. Anthropologists employ the comparative method, which allows them to study behavior and biology across a wide array of traits and conditions. Anthropologists consider all peoples and cultures valuable to study and do not pass judgment on what they find. Anthropology is a holistic discipline, governed by the idea that all human groups are of one species, have a common history, and have culture and language. To obtain a full understanding of the human species, anthropologists study humans from all perspectives, often utilizing a cross-disciplinary approach. 
As a social science, anthropology shares methodology and theory primarily with sociology, psychology, history, and geography. These disciplines emphasize fieldwork, surveys, behavior, and the social life of humans. But anthropology also has strong ties to the natural sciences, such as medicine, biology, and geology. These disciplines focus on fieldwork, laboratory studies, and measurement of natural phenomena. In addition, anthropologists who are interested in the arts, and the literary and oral traditions of societies study the humanistic discipline. 
From its very beginnings anthropology has been associated with museums, academia, institutes, scientific associations, and governmental bodies. Many museums, such as the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Harvard University), the American Museum of Natural History (New York), and the Field Museum of Natural History (Chicago), have departments of anthropology. A few libraries have significant collections of anthropological literature, with the Tozzer Library at Harvard University housing the premier anthropological collection since the nineteenth century in such institutions as the Smithsonian, the Bureau of American Ethnology, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are institutions and organizations devoted solely to anthropology (the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Archaeological Institute of America) and laboratories for anthropology (the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at Indiana University). All major American academic institutions have a department of anthropology, some founded as early as the late nineteenth century. Anthropologists enjoy membership in large scientific associations (section H of the American Association for the Advancement of Science) and have had their own association since Anthropology’s inception (the American Ethnological Society, the American Anthropological Association, the American Association of Physical Anthropologists). Anthropologists are also eligible for membership in the National Academy of Sciences. 
Anthropology in the United States traditionally has comprised four subdisciplines: sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, physical anthropology, and linguistic anthropology. Each has its own distinct theory and methodology, but they overlap in many areas of study, such as mortuary studies (physical conditions of the remains of the dead and funereal rituals and artifacts), medical anthropology (the place of medicine within a culture and biological aspects of health, disease, and nutrition), sociobiology and ethology (the convergence of studies of behavior and biology), and culture change (how and why cultures, societies, material remains, and peoples have changed in historic and prehistoric times). 
The emphasis on four subdisciplines in anthropology has a very long history. In recent years, however, a great amount of tension has arisen between the subdisciplines, leading to an extended discussion among anthropologists as to whether there are still four subfields. The perceived rift is primarily between sociocultural and physical anthropology. Some anthropologists argue that there are no longer any common elements in theory, method, or study between the two disciplines. Moreover, it has been suggested that since an increasing number of physical anthropologists are now working within biological or medical organizations and departments, they may indeed have more in common with natural scientists than with other anthropologists. Many anthropologists, however, still prefer to think of anthropology as a unified field and argue that the discipline is strengthened by its diversity. 
The subdisciplines have developed their own literatures, based on their own specific data and research needs. 
Sociocultural anthropology
This subdiscipline maintains the closest relationship to other social sciences. Sociocultural anthropologists study social relationships, the structure of society, and the function of individuals and cultural variables within a society. Sociocultural anthropologists are concerned with such things as social organization, culture change, and acculturation. 
The major methodologies of sociocultural anthropologists are ethnography, survey, and oral history. Key concepts and components of sociocultural anthropology include kinship studies, ethnology, ethnography, folklore, ethnomusicology, ethnohistory, comparative religion, area studies, ethnic studies, economic anthropology, cultural ethnology, and educational anthropology. 
Archaeologists investigate the history and development of an entire culture or groups of peoples over time and space. Archaeology can be perceived as a bridge between physical anthropology and sociocultural anthropology, as a link between physical characteristics, human behaviour, and culture. Archaeologists seek an understanding of cultures based on their material and physical remains. To achieve this end, archaeologists describe and classify artifacts, study the relationships among sites, and build cultural chronologies. Archaeologists reconstruct the history of cultures, how they lived, and how or why they changed. 
Archaeology relies primarily on the methods of excavation, survey, sampling, collection, and relative and chronometric dating. The field encompasses aspects such as historical archaeology, classical archaeology, ethnoarcheology, archaeoastronomy, archaeozoology, prehistory, salvage archaeology, conservation and resource management, underwater archaeology, biblical archaeology, and amateur archaeology. 
Physical anthropology
Physical anthropology (sometimes called bioanthropology or biological anthropology) has the closest ties to the natural sciences, especially to primatology, human biology, and branches of medicine. Physical anthropology investigates the relationship of the human physical condition to human culture over time and space. Physical anthropologists analyze skeletal material collected from archaeological sites for age at death, cause of death, general health and nutrition, ethnic affiliation, and sex. Physical anthropologists also study other primates, the genetic relationships of human groups, health of historic and prehistoric populations, and change in human anatomy and behavior over time. Many physical anthropologists serve as advisors in forensic matters by determining the identification of human remains. They generally work most closely with archaeologists; indeed, often anthropologists specialize in both archaeology and physical anthropology. 
Physical anthropologists use such methodologies as laboratory work, anthropometry, biochemical analysis, comparative anatomy, trace analysis, and taxonomy. Biological anthropology, medical anthropology, skeletal biology, paleopathology, forensic anthropology, dental anthropology, primatology, human variation, human adaptation, human evolution, and human ecology are fields of speciality within physical anthropology. 
Linguistic anthropology
This may be considered the more humanistic of the branches of anthropology. Linguistic anthropologists study the origins, evolutions, and nature of language; relationships among human languages; and the history, development, and structure of languages. As it relates to anthropology, linguistics functions as a social science: the function of language within a society, culture as revealed through language, and the relationship of cultures through language. Fairly recent applications of linguistics involve the investigation of the capacity for language in other animals, particularly nonhuman primates. 
The standard methodologies of linguistics are phonetics, phonemics, structural analysis, semantics, morphology, syntactics. Linguistic anthropology includes philology, psycholingustics, sociolingustics, lexicography, paralingustics, cognitive anthropology, semiotics, symbolism, dialectology, and bilingualism. 
Structure and the use of literature
Anthropology has a body of literature that includes scholarly and popular material. Scholarly literature includes all branches of anthropology, while most of the popular literature is written about archaeology, human evolution, and human cultures. In addition, anthropologists communicate their research through government reports, applied literature, and more recently, advocacy literature. Advocacy literature embraces the concept of working for the survival of cultures or nonhuman primates, not merely studying them. 
The greatest sources of raw data for anthropologists are field notes and material collections. For cultural anthropologists, field notes include ethnographic observations, films, photographs, and drawings. Physical anthropologists rely on skeletal material, medical records, genetic data, and fossils. Linguists employ field notes, tape recordings, written historical records, and sound spectrograms and synthesis. Increasingly, anthropological data are being encoded in electronic format and databases for analysis and synthesis. Some of these databases have been made available to other researchers.  
Dissertations are primary sources of data that often do not get published elsewhere. Anthropological collections, usually housed in museums and laboratories, constitute a valuable resource for research. Descriptions or catalogs of some of these collections are accessible over the Internet, for example the Collections at the Peabody Museum of the Yale University Peabody Museum of Natural History ( 
The secondary literature, or the results of anthropological investigation, exists in several published forms. Although dissertations include valuable raw and synthesized data, the primary reporting of research results occurs in journal articles and reports issued by laboratories, museums, and departments of anthropology. Monographs are major vehicles for publishing syntheses of anthropological research and concepts; however the journal literature is increasing dominating the dissemination of anthropology research. 
Some of the major journals for communicating research results are American Anthropologist, Current Anthropology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Man, Anthropological Lingustics, American Antiquity, American Journal of Archaeology, American Ethnologist, and Anthropos. Many more specialized journals exist. To understand current developments in their fields, anthropologists can turn to several sources, including newsletters such as Anthropology Newsletter, Science News, History of Anthropology Newsletter, Physical Anthropology News, and also major journals such as Current Anthropology, Science and Nature. One online source, Anthropology in the News, follows news stories about anthropology and stays current (  
Anthropologists tend to rely on both current and older literature. Sometimes older literature offers the only source of data on cultures, collections, languages, and sites that have disappeared or changed over time. Early, seminal works still have much to offer researchers in terms of data, synthesis, and theoretical approach.
More anthropology resources are appearing online, some freely available and some for fee only. The discipline has not made as many significant and innovative advances in the use of the Internet in delivering resources as it might. This said, the reference resources listed below demonstrate that a lot has happened in the past five years in terms of converting, duplicating, or presenting new information in electronic formats. Online full text of the journal literature lags behind other disciplines, but fortunately some key journals are available in various aggregator packages and in JSTOR (E-60). Some seminal monographic works are being reproduced online, but the growth in this area is slow. Online, digital exhibits are increasing in number, and intellectual access to special collections is growing through the conversion of finding aids to digital format. 
The reference environment
Although the body of reference literature for anthropology has grown far richer in recent years, the eclectic nature of anthropology compels anthropologists to use the literature and reference sources from many other fields. Cultural and general anthropology has the greatest number of resources, however, relevant literature for the other subdisciplines of anthropology has improved and is also supported by reference sources for other disciplines. For example, physical anthropologists can use the medical and biological literatures, which have extremely good reference bases. Numerous bibliographies exist, primarily covering particular geographic areas; however, they are less useful in the general reference environment than other reference works. Because of the international scope of anthropology, researchers use published literature from all over the world. Finding or accessing this literature can be challenging because indexing of that material may not exist, may not be widely available, or may not be current. 
Depending on the focus of an anthropologist’s study, reference service must be prepared to cover the full spectrum of reference literature. Several indexes and abstracts are devoted to anthropology, but other subject literature should be consulted to cover all the relevant sources. Although Anthropology Literature … and Anthropological Index … are now available online, researchers may still need to consult other non-anthropology databases to be thorough. The reference librarian who serves anthropologists must be familiar with a wide range of reference tools. 
The classification of anthropology in the Dewey Decimal System or Library of Congress schedules presents access challenges. In Dewey, anthropological material can be classed in the 300s (sociocultural anthropology), the 500s (physical anthropology), the 600s (medical anthropology, paleopathology), the 800s (linguistic anthropology), or the 900s (archaeology). The Library of Congress classification presents equal difficulty. Although primarily assigned to the GN classification, a great number of anthropological materials are also classed in CC (archaeology), D (cultures as part of world history), E/F (history of the Americas, Native Americans), GR (folklore), P (linguistic anthropology), Q (human evolution and biology, primatology), and R (medical anthropology, paleopathology). Clearly this great spread of anthropology among so many classifications demonstrates both the breadth of anthropology and problems of access, reference, and bibliography. 
Anthropology bibliography
The subject of anthropology bibliography and reference tools dominated the library literature in the late 1970s and 1980s, and reference publishing increased markedly in the 1990s. The anthropology bibliography literature addresses problems of information and access as well as the value of specific printed and online sources to some of the subdisciplines of anthropology. A review of these articles reveals that access to anthropological literature has improved in the last several decades. Several groups are trying to address the problems of anthropology bibliography and reference. Anthropologists and librarians concerned with the state of anthropology bibliography and reference sources founded the Library-Anthropology Resource Group in Chicago in 1971 and has published several important reference works. The Anthropology and Sociology Section (ANSS) of the Association of College and Research Libraries has a Bibliography Committee that works on problems of bibliography and gathers information on sources and developments in subject bibliography. ANSS (G-5) publishes a newsletter called ANSS Currents, manages an informational Web site called ANSSWeb (, and sponsors a list service called ANSS-L ( that supports the exchange of information among its members and other interested parties. The Internet now supports numerous anthropology-related list services and a growing number of sophisticated World Wide Web sites that point to a variety of information sources. 
Reference sources
Sources included in this chapter represent the best reference literature available in anthropology. The list is slanted toward more recent titles, and in general bibliographies have been included only when they present the lone or main access to a body of literature. Electronic and CD-ROM databases are included among the titles. Older resources that have been superseded or are terribly dated have been excluded. 
As mentioned previously, the reference literature for anthropology is not nearly as extensive as that for the other social sciences, although the reference base has improved tremendously since this chapter was first published in 1989. Several new and comprehensive encyclopaedias have been published, and more guides, dictionaries, and biographical sources have appeared. The conversion of Anthropological Literature (G-46, G-47, G-48), Anthropological Index (G-45), and the Human Relations Area Files (see G-97n) to electronic formats signaled a major step forward in providing electronic access to anthropological research. Despite these advances, anthropologists will still want to consult the reference publications available in allied subjects.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Social sciences-General sources of information: representative titles

Academic Search Premier
From EBSCOhost. Provides full text for more than 4,600 scholarly publications covering academic areas of study including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts and literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. This database is updated on a daily basis.

ASSIA: Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts
An indexing and abstracting tool originating in Britain, covering health, social services, psychology, sociology, economics, politics, race relations, and education. Coverage begins in 1987.

BHI: British Humanities Index
An international abstracting and indexing tool for research in the humanities, BHI indexes over 320 internationally respected humanities journals and weekly magazines, as well as quality newspapers published in the UK and the United States. Coverage begins in 1962.

CBCA: Canadian Business and Current Affairs
The electronic aggregate of the print products Canadian News Index, Canadian Business Index and the Canadian Magazine Index. In 1993, the three component print products of CBCA were merged into one product, the Canadian Index, to better reflect online product integration. Since then, the electronic product has evolved. Selective abstracts have given way to fulltext and a multitude of CBCA database formats and configurations. In 1997, electronic images of articles were added.

Ingenta Connect
A multidisciplinary database indexing topics ranging from science, technology and medicine, to the humanities and social sciences. Ingenta merges the UnCover table of contents/document request service with the U.K.-based Ingenta search-and-delivery service. Specific dates of coverage vary by journal title. Basic coverage is 1988-present.

PAIS International (available on OCLC)
Produced by the Public Affairs Information Service, PAIS International contains abstracts of journal articles, books, statistical yearbooks, directories, conference proceedings, research reports and government documents from all over the world. It covers the public and social policy literature of business, economics, finance, law, international relations, public administration, government, political science, and other social sciences – with emphasis on issues that are or might become the subjects of legislation.

Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature
From H. W. Wilson. Covers popular, general interest magazines published in the United States and Canada. Dates back to 1901.

Social Sciences Citation Index
The Social Sciences Citation Index is a multidisciplinary database, with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the social sciences. It indexes more than 1,725 journals spanning 50 disciplines, as well as covering individually selected, relevant items from over 3,300 of the world’s leading scientific and technical journals.

Social Sciences Index
From H. W. Wilson. Covers 529 English-language periodicals. Topics include anthropology, area studies, community health and medical care, criminal justice and criminology, economics, family studies, geography, gerontology, international relations, law, minority studies, planning and public administration, policy sciences, political science, psychiatry, psychology, social work and public welfare, sociology, urban studies, women’s studies, and related subjects.

Dictionaries and encyclopaedias
Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 15 vols. 1930-35.

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 17 vols. 1968. Reference H 40 A215

The Social Science Encyclopedia. 2nd ed. Adam and Jessica Kuper, eds. 1996. H 41 S63 1996
Short, clear articles on most of the topics covered in the Social Sciences. Good bibliographies.

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences. 26 vols. 2001 Reference H 41 I58 2001
Available in both print and online formats. Core disciplines covered are anthropology, economics, political science, psychology, and sociology. “The mission of IESBS is to highlight the integration and interconnectedness of the social sciences with other disciplines. The editors believe the time was right for a work that would reflect ‘the growth and specialization of knowledge since the 1960s,’ the interdisciplinary nature and internationalization of research, and the increasing interconnectedness of social and behavioral with biological science during the last third of the 20th century.” (Choice)

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences. Robert Drislane and Gary Parkinson. Athabaska University.
Has over 1,000 entries covering sociology, criminology, political science and women’s study with a commitment to Canadian examples, events and names.

Internet sources
BUBL Link: Social Sciences
Compiled by British librarians.

Cornell Theory Center Science & Arts Gateway for Education (SAGE)
For K-12 students and educators. Resources in the subject areas of language arts, foreign languages, the fine arts, social studies and history are included. aims to engage Canadians in culture life, to educate and entertain Web surfers with the stories of many peoples, and to provide access to the best of Canadian culture online.

Google Web Directory – Science > Social Sciences

H-Net: Humanities and Social Sciences Online
An international consortium of scholars and teachers, H-Net creates and coordinates Internet networks with the common objective of advancing teaching and research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Among H-Net’s most important activities is its sponsorship of over 100 free electronic, interactive newsletters.

Research Resources for the Social Sciences by Craig McKie.
Companion Web site to book of the same name.

Social Science Virtual Library
Organized by the University of Florida. Covers anthropology, history, political science, psychology, sociology and stress. Includes many online journals.

Intute: Social Sciences
A selective catalog of thousands of Web sites in the social sciences, hosted by the UK Resource Discovery Network. Users can browse by topic or search by keyword. Each entry has been reviewed and is annotated. The compilers, an international group, avoid including lists of links but focus instead on sites that can provide information directly. The Intute Website stopped adding new entries in July 2011, but will remain available for three years.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Anthropology indexes, abstracts, internet resources and special subject guides

Indexes and abstracts
Anthropological Index Online
The Anthropological Index Online is based on the journal holdings of The Anthropology Library at the British Museum (Museum of Mankind) which receives periodicals in all branches of anthropology, from academic institutions and publishers around the world. The online index includes all entries from the print index and is updated regularly. It can be searched at no cost.

ARD: The Anthropology Review Database
An extensive and fully searchable database of reviews of anthropological books, films and videos, software and multimedia, on-line resources. From the department of Anthropology at the University of Buffalo.

The Ethnologue is a catalogue of more than 6,900 languages spoken in 228 countries… including alternate names, number of speakers, location, dialects, linguistics affiliation, and other sociolinguistic and demographic data.

First Nations Periodical Index
A searchable index of 20 Aboriginal newspapers, journals, and magazines (including the Saskatchewan Indian).

Human Relations Area Files (HRAF)
Founded in 1949 at Yale University, HRAF is a not-for-profit membership consortium of universities, colleges, and research institutions. Its mission is to provide information that facilitates the cross-cultural study of human behavior, society and culture. In the 1930s, behavioral scientists at Yale’s Institute of Human Relations started to develop a classification of cultural information by subject, providing quick access to research materials. HRAF grew out of these efforts. HRAF has two electronic collections: the eHRAF Collection of Ethnology and the eHRAF Collection of Anthropology. Both are fulltext. Availability of HRAF collections is limited to members of the HRAF consortium.

Print Resources Guide
University of Winnipeg Library. Anthropology Dictionaries, Encyclopedias & Atlases.

Internet Resources
General Guide

BUBL Link / 5: 15 : Anthropology
Gateway to quality resources in anthropology that have been evaluated by a team of experts.

University of Manitoba. Elizabeth Dafoe Library. Anthropology.

University of Winnipeg Library. Anthropology.

WWW Virtual Library: Anthropology
Provides a gateway to an international range of internet resources including cultural anthropology sites, electronic discussion lists, directories, publications and theories.

Special subject guides
Aboriginal Canada Portal
Your single window to Canadian Aboriginal online resources, contacts, information, and government programs and services.

ArchNet WWW Virtual Library: Archaeology
Serves as the WWW Virtual Library for archaeology. Provides access to archaeological resources available on the Internet. Information is categorized by geographic region and subject.

Anthropology Biography Web
Contains brief descriptions of anthropologists and other scientists who have directly influenced the discipline. Developed by graduate students in the Anthropology Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Library of Congress. Resources in Ethnographic Studies A Collection of Resources in Anthropology, Ethnomusicology, Folklore and Folklife
Worldwide Email Directory of Anthropologists (WEDA)
A searchable database of address and research information about anthropologists from around the world.

ANSS-L – The ANSS Listserv
ANSS supports a listserv called ANSS-L (pronounced Ansel), which is a discussion forum for information specialists in anthropology, sociology, and related fields. The list provides information about activities and news of the section. Postings may also include information new publications, Internet resources, and topics of broad interest to its readership. ANSS-L is open to anyone who wishes to subscribe and the contents of the list are archived.

Monday, October 21, 2013


What is anthropology?

“Anthropology is the most humanistic of the sciences and the most scientific of the humanities.”
- Alfred L. Kroeber
Study of Human Kind

“The word anthropology itself tells the basic story from the Greek anthropos (“human”) and logia (“study”)—it is the study of humankind, from its beginning millions of years ago to the present day.”

- American Anthropological Association

“the science of human beings; especially : the study of human beings in relation to distribution, origin, classification, and relationship of races, physical character, environmental and social relations, and culture.”
Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. 10th ed.

Anthropology is the study of humankind. Anthropologists study human physical evolution and the history of culture, as well as provide in-depth studies of specific societies.

Anthropology has four main parts:
  • Physical or biological anthropology
    • Physical anthropology (aka biological anthropology) is human biological diversity and evolution
    • Examines evolution of human anatomy and physiology
    • Includes
      • Medical anthropology (diseases)
      • Paleoanthropology (including some paleontology) 
      • Human genetics and evolution
      • Primatology (studying apes)
    • May be seen as a bridge between the social and biological sciences
  • Archaeology
    • The study of human prehistory and cultural evolution
    • Archaeologists study ancient society and culture through material remains
      • Like human remains and artifacts – bones, money, jewellery
    • Bioarchaeology = study of ancient human remains
      • Paleopathology = study of ancient disease through material remains
  • Cultural (social) anthropology
    • Largest branch in North America
    • Cultural anthropologists study modern, existing human cultures
    • Comparative and holistic
    • Ethnology is the study of particular cultures
    • Ethnography is writing about a culture
    • Social anthropology (which is part of cultural anthropology) focuses more on social structure
    • Closely related to sociology, history, religious studies, art
  • Linguistics
    • Look for patterns and similarities
    • Scientific study of human language
    • Language is the basis of culture
    • Includes historic linguistics, sociolinguistics, morphology, syntax, etc.
  • Very Broad field
    • Runs the gamut from medicine and genetics (pure or hard sciences) to art, religion, drama, and poetry (humanities)
Closely related fields
  • Social sciences
    • Economics
    • Psychology
    • Sociology
    • Political Science
  • Sciences
    • Medicine
    • Genetics
    • Human Biology
    • Physics
    • Chemistry
  • Humanities
    • Arts
    • Literature
    • Ethnomusiciology
    • Religion
    • Ritual
  • Shares methodology and theory with other social sciences e.g. Sociology, psychology, history, geography
  • Ties to natural sciences, e.g. Medicine, biology, geology
  • Emphasizes fieldwork
    • Participative observation the unique anthropological method (borrowed by other social sciences, especially sociology)
  • Focus on non-Western or tribal people until after WWII
    • WWII engaged most of the world; places were placed in contact with others, became aware of most societies
  • Emerged as separate discipline in 19th century
    • Colonization, exploration, navigation
    • Evolution
      • Bones, stone tools
      • Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859)
  • Associated with museums, academia, institutes, scientific associations, governments
    • Anthropologists more likely to use foreign language material than most other social scientists
    • For published material French and German most important
Anthropological literature
  • Scholarly
    • Reliance on both current and older literature
    • Pictorial material important
  • Popular
    • Especially archaeology, human evolution, human culture interest
      • Aboriginal peoples; ancient mysteries; Biblical archaeology; buried treasure; underwater archaeology
    • Problems of reliability
  • Problem of literature scatter
    • Dewey
      • 300’s (social anthropology)
      • 500’s (physical)
      • 600’s (medical)
      • 800’s (linguistics)
      • 900’s (archaeology)
    • LC
      • LC GN (main classification area)
      • CC (archaeology)
      • D (history)
      • E/F (history of the Americas, Aboriginal peoples)
      • GR (folklore)
      • P (linguistics)
      • Q (human evolution)
      • R (medical)
User study
Hartmann, Jonathan. “Information Needs of Anthropologists.” Behavioral and Social Sciences Librarian. Vol. 13 (2) 1995. 13-34.
  • Use their own field data, and use pictorial sources, maps, and interlibrary loan more than other social scientists
  • Prefer having their bibliographical information arranged by geographic area and like more foreign language coverage
  • Reporting may first appear in literature in working papers, association papers, conference proceedings; next theses dissertations, journal articles, and finally in monographs
  • Publications of professional associations and societies, university departments, student organizations, and museums are very valuable
  • Resources of atlases, federal foreign and international government publications, special library catalogs, bibliography handbooks and maps are more important than in the other social science disciplines
  •  Museum literature is also important

Monday, October 7, 2013

General social sciences

General social sciences
Christine A. Whittington
Defining the Social Sciences in the 21st Century
In the introduction to this chapter on general social sciences in the first edition of this guide, we endeavored to pin down a definition of the social sciences and to define the disciplines they encompass. We cited the 1930 definition by R. A. Seligman, editor-in-chief of Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (A-52) as “those mental or cultural sciences, which deal with the activities of the individual as a member of a group.” 1 Seligman divided the social sciences into three groups. The older, purely social sciences are political science, economics, history, and jurisprudence. Those “of more recent origin” are anthropology, penology, sociology, and social work. The semi-social sciences are social in origin or have acquired a social aspect: ethics, education, philosophy, and psychology. A third category consists of natural and cultural sciences with recognized social implications: biology, geography, linguistics, and art. 2 In the second edition of the Social Science Encyclopedia, Raff Dahrendorf presented a more contemporary definition:
The social sciences include economics, sociology (and anthropology) and political science. At their boundaries, the social sciences reach into the study of the individual (social psychology) and of nature (social biology, social geography). Methodologically, they straddle normative (law, social philosophy, political theory) and historical approaches (social history, economic history). In terms of university departments, the social sciences have split up into numerous areas of teaching and research, including not only the central disciplines, but also such subjects as industrial relations, international relations, business studies, and social (public) administration. 3
Although reference book editors continue to include different disciplines and fields of study within their definitions of the social sciences, the importance of trying to reach a consensus about which disciplines are or are not included seem inconsequential next to the new theoretical approaches, applications and methodology, and the social dimensions and implications of a vast array of other disciplines, from genetics to spatial engineering. Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper have noted that “[m]any fields have moved on from the preoccupations of the 1980s.” 4 It no longer seems as crucial to establish whether business, philosophy, or demography are indeed social sciences as it is to examine new or freshly approached fields of study such as post-modernism, subcultures, sex and gender, environmental and resource economics, media studies, and culture studies.

Scholarly Communication in the Social Sciences
The 1989 edition of this guide included mostly print resources. The 1996 edition included relatively few new print titles but listed electronic equivalents of print sources and resources available only in electronic format. This edition includes more resources available electronically only (such as the World Bibliographical Index and FedStats) and focuses on electronic, rather than print versions, because those are the versions that most researchers are using. Although all librarians should be aware of the existence of the print versions of Dissertations Abstracts or the Monthly Catalog of Government Publications, for example, not many librarians or researchers chose to perform comprehensive searches in those indexes if an electronic version is available. At the time the 1996 edition of this guide was being written, use of the World Wide Web in the reference environment was still in its infancy. Librarians depended on electronic discussion lists such as LIBREF-L and GOVDOC-L to keep in touch with developments in the world of electronic information. Librarians watched in fascination while an image of a butterfly loaded on the Web browser Mosaic over a period of several minutes. At the turn of the millennium, electronic versions of reference sources not only replicate their print versions but also use interactivity and hyperlinking features to link to resources elsewhere on the Web. For example, Statistical Universe, the electronic equivalent of the American Statistics Index, not only provides the SuDocs numbers needed to retrieve publications in government but also links to full-text publications available on the Internet. The Catalog of Government Publications is more than the Web version of the Monthly Catalog of Government Publications, providing links to full-text publications and to agency Websites. Librarians and social scientists still share information on e-mail and electronic discussion lists but also routinely check portals like FedStats, the Scout Report, and the Librarians’ Index to the Internet to keep up with technology.

Electronic publishing has not completely superseded print publishing in the social sciences. The 1996 edition of this guide noted the continued use of print classics such as the Dictionary of the History of Ideas, the Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, and the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, and this guide retains those classic sources. Although it has not yet been published as of this writing, the new International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences (IESBS) (Elsevier, 2001) has the potential to become the social sciences encyclopedia of the new millennium. Like many other massive reference works (the Dictionary of Art, for example), the IESBS is preceded by and accompanied by a Web page that includes plans for publication, abstracts of articles, several sample articles, and a list of topics. After the print version has been published, the Web site will continue to offer updates and special features.

Internet resources have given research not so much an electronic substitute for print resources as additional options. Librarians still serve as leaders, teaching their users how to determine whether their information needs will be best served by using print sources, electronic sources, or a combination of both. Because university professors and high school teachers have expressed dismay at student papers citing only Internet sources—and not always good ones—librarians have also begun to teach their users to evaluate critically material they find on the Internet. In the second edition of our book, we mentioned the freewheeling nature of and lack of quality control on the Internet and the various tools used to gain access to it. The tools mentioned—Gopher, Archie, Veronica, and Mosaic—have long since gone to the Internet vocabulary graveyard, replaced by Google, Northern Light, Yahoo, and Inference Find, as well as a number of specialized portals, such as University of Michigan’s Document Centre.

One thing that has not changed is the assumption among many library users that all information needed is free on the Internet and that all the librarian (or user) needs to do is “punch it into the computer and get it from the Web.” Although a great deal of information is indeed free, database vendors, periodical publishers, and producers of market research and financial records are not about to make their expensive products available for free to all Internet users. On the other hand, scholars are exploring refereed electronic publishing venture s and ownership of their own work to address the high price tag that information often carries. Initiatives such as SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) hope to “return science to the scientists” by using technology to bring quality research to a broader audience at a lower cost. Social science initiatives include electronic publications such as the Electronic Journal of Communication (EJC/REC), e-published by the Communication Institute for Online Scholarship.

Much research in the social sciences is recorded in unpublished papers; in conferences whose proceedings are not always published; and in materials produced by national and international organizations, research centers, and corporations. As information has become increasingly available on the Internet, librarians and other information professionals have created sources that identify and control this information. Because many social science disciplines depend on recent information, prompt access to these materials is essential. Primary sources and review articles are usually more useful to the social scientist than books, which may not be as up-to-date or as specialized. Reference sources provide access to both types of materials, and if the source is online on a commercial database or the Internet, information is usually even more timely. A need for very recent materials often involves online database searching or identifying people or organizations that the researcher can contact to initiate networking activity.

The interdisciplinary nature of much social science research requires the use of sources involving several disciplines both within and outside the social sciences. For example, an economist working on valuation of natural resources will study human needs for recreation and scenic areas. The social sciences librarian must be aware of reference sources covering tangential disciplines so users will not miss relevant materials that may not be included in reference sources specific to their disciplines.

Research in the social sciences is complicated by terminology that varies to discipline, reference sources, chronological period, geographic location, and individual author. Controlled subject headings exist for many sources, but others, such as the Social Sciences Citation Index (A-23), Dissertation Abstracts International (A-39), NTIS Database (A-48), and the online periodical index CARL UnCover (A-17), have little controlled vocabulary, and access is dependent upon the titles and abstracts authors have written for their papers. Even when controlled vocabulary is present, as in online public access catalogs or general periodical indexes, many users do not use it, preferring to search by keyword ds. The “softness” of social science terminology, although not as problematic as in the humanities, can be a challenge for reference librarians.

Once information has been located, its delivery is the next issue to be addressed. The Internet has revolutionized document delivery. Most periodical articles can be faxed or delivered to a researcher’s computer desktop, if the researcher is willing to pay the price of document delivery through databases such as UnCover. Material retrieved on the Internet can be e-mailed, downloaded, or printed. Some “chat” reference services offer technology that enables a librarian to “push” a Web page to the person at the other end of a “chat”. In the second edition of this book, it was noted that “the delivery method has become part of the total reference environment” and, at the turn of the millennium, this is more true than ever.

Information strategies
In the first and second editions of this guide, it was noted that reference strategies varied according the problem to be explored, the sophistication of the researcher, and the resources within the person’s reach. Previous volumes discussed differences among “laypeople,” undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, and professional researchers. Many of these distinctions are beginning to blur. Library users once though of as laypeople are beginning to take undergraduate and graduate level courses, often at a distance from the academic institution with which they are registered, connecting with their own computers. Computers that can provide access to e-mail and the Web are being marketed to students and their families. Resources within reach extend around the world. “Traditional” undergraduate students may come to their university libraries with inadequate preparation for writing research papers, having discovered the wealth of information available at their fingertips on the Internet but not having mastered the tools for critical analysis of those resources. Graduate students may be returning to the research environment after many years away at a time when only a few months away may drastically change resources available at their libraries. Thus, it is more reasonable to define information strategies by the type of problem rather than the type of library user.

Some library users need to find information about real-life issues that concern them. This can range from a need to find information about immigration and naturalization, to whether a news story is real or a hoax or “urban legend,” to the types of decorations associated with Mardi Gras. Library users looking for this type of information may have limited time to spend looking for it in a library. They may phone the library to get advice on how to search for this information on the Internet or ask that it be mailed, e-mailed, or faxed to them. They may be best served by references to government Web sites, online almanacs, online encyclopaedias, or general periodical indexes that include full-text articles that can be printed out quickly, downloaded, or e0mailed. Library users looking for this type of information especially appreciate electronic resources because they often provide information that is immediately accessible, rather than having to decipher and round up a list of sources from a bibliographic database. Many popular magazines include columns on Internet resources, and publications such as Wired (1993- ) and Yahoo Internet Life (1996- ) are devoted to the Internet. In the second edition of this guide we mentioned that Newsweek had a regular feature on the “Net,” now the New Yorker has a regular Web column and Martha Stewart Living includes references to Web sites.

Undergraduate research supporting term papers and coursework is often similar to the information needs described above in its urgency and the desire of undergraduate researchers for full-text and immediately usable information rather than a list of sources. An additional characteristic of undergraduate research is that material retrieved usually must be scholarly in nature, and undergraduates’ professors often require—with good intentions—that a certain number of resources be in print rather than Internet resources. This last criterion is often the result of faculty members having received too many papers citing only Internet resources or looking suspiciously as though they had been downloaded from the Internet. Individuals researching undergraduate papers or projects still need to identify important books and articles in their disciplines and critically evaluate what they find, whether or not they acquired their articles full text on the Internet. They may need an electronic or print source that will help them choose a topic or design a research project. Undergraduate students may also be faced with designing a research project for the first time. They will also need to identify measures, tests, and scales used in social science research. They will require clear and concise discussions of abstract concepts, such as postmodernism, semiotics, existentialism, or teleology, that they may hear in class or find in their readings but not completely understand.

Undergraduate researchers need to find discussions of major thinkers in their fields—Foucault is popular in social sciences these days—definitions of specialized or technical terms, and statistics to reinforce their arguments. The second edition of this guide noted that undergraduates’ use of the electronic sources consisted of “online public access catalogs and general periodical indexes.” Five years later, undergraduates use the Web search engines more than public access catalogs and almost certainly use public access catalogs on the Web. Students doing undergraduate research should be encouraged to become more familiar with specialized resources in their fields—both electronic and print—and critically evaluate what they find on the Internet. They can increase the quality of Internet sites they use by applying standards for evaluating resources and becoming familiar with portals that exercise some control over the Web sites they include, such as the Scout Report for the Social Sciences, or the library’s own refereed lists of Web resources.

Graduate students, university faculty, and practitioners such as psychologists, social workers, economists, and those working in public policy or criminal justice are usually involved in very specialized research. Like people researching real-life problems or involved in undergraduate coursework, this user group seeks to locate articles, facts, books, and specialized Web sites on their topics, but intense professional networking, resource-sharing behavior, and the practice of identifying materials through lists of references in articles rather than indexes or abstracts often cause them to come to the library already knowing what materials they need to support their research. Some may feel little need for “finding” tools and may not be aware of indexing and abstracting sources in their fields. Some enjoy conducting research themselves and make an effort to discover all ways of finding information, including electronically.

Others may be suspicious of information available on the Internet, especially if it dominates their students’ papers. On the other hand, professional practitioners are usually problem-oriented and generally prefer the Internet or database searching to searches of print indexes to save time when pursuing information on elusive, specialized topics. Practitioners with corporate libraries may rely completely on fee-based electronic database searches. Because social sciences research often involves scientific method, including controlling the variability of human behavior, graduate students, university faculty, and practitioners often need access to information about research design and social measurement. They need detailed information about various research options (surveys, questionnaires, and the like) and test and scale construction more than do the undergraduate or practitioner. Graduate students, faculty, and practitioners may all need data of the type that can be found on the Internet and in commercial electronic sources.

All types of users may be interested in electronic subject-oriented discussion groups, but such groups have revolutionized the communication of academic and professional researchers. News of archaeological discoveries often appears on the archaeology discussion list (ARCH-L) before it appears anywhere else in print. Novices can post questions on discussion lists or Ask-a-Librarian sites and receive advice from the top experts in the fields within days, if not hours. Web sites such as Government Documents in the News or Anthropology in the News make news and discoveries easier to find.

The type of information needed to satisfy these types of research activities varies according to the specific problem, the discipline, and the level of research required to satisfy the information need. The needs of the social science researcher will further depend on whether the problem requires current or retrospective information, whether there are other disciplines within or outside the social sciences that should be considered, and the geographic and chronological parameters of the problem. The reference interview can uncover these parameters, help the researcher define questions that need to be answered, and match reference sources to individual questions.

Many libraries subscribe to suites of licensed databases that their users have access to within the library and remotely from home. The growth of distance education—students completing coursework via interactive television or courses on the Web—has created a demand for licenses for even more full-text databases.

Area studies
In an article in the International Encyclopedia of Education, P. Foster defined area studies as “academic programs of study focusing upon particular nation-states or clusters of states characterized by contiguous geographic location and usually exhibiting common characteristics in terms of social structure, culture, or linguistic and historical traditions.” 6 During the 1930s, U.S. colleges and universities began to develop academic programs around the study of particular regions of the world. These programs came to be known as “area studies” in course catalogs and bulletins were often linked to disciplines in the social sciences as well as studies of language, culture, and humanities. During World War II and the postwar period, wariness toward other countries and a heightened demand for information about distant places left urgency to the development of area studies programs. Bryce Wood, in his article on area studies in the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences (A-55), wrote that area studies programs in U.S. universities were “largely created on a ‘know-your-enemy’ basis.” 7 The phrase “area studies” was first used in a military intelligence context. 8 Western governments, including that of the United States, felt that the expertise was not available to inform international relations policymakers and military personnel about the languages, ethnic groups, cultures, and geographic characteristics of areas about which important military, political, and economic decisions would have to be made, especially Soviet bloc countries and developing nations, such as those in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. 9 At first, individuals were trained in language programs within the armed forces, then academe provided expertise through faculty specialists who focused on specific regions of the world. After World War II, grants from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Rockefeller Foundation funded Russian studies centers at Harvard and Columbia universities, which served as models for area studies centers at other academic institutions, many of which were supported by the Ford Foundation. 10 The National Defense Education Act, Fullbright-Hayes Act, Foreign Area Fellowship Program, and private foundation awards provided for expansion of area studies programs. 11

Although sometimes called a discipline, area studies can be more accurately described as an interdisciplinary program that takes advantage of the expertise of faculty in a wide range of programs in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The Committee on World Area Research listed the most desirable features of area programs as intensive language instruction; joint seminars; group research; combined study in humanities and social sciences; participation of foreign students and faculty members; and the availability of specialized materials such as newspapers, official records, maps, and other sources. 12 Research and publication in area studies began to increase steadily, and by the 1960s three research councils—the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Research Council, and the Social Science Research Council—were all providing leadership in some aspects of area studies. Implication for college and research libraries increased substantially as the proliferation growth brought new problems for libraries associated with institutions that were trying valiantly to collect comprehensively in all areas. This challenge was heightened by staggering new printing costs, changing world alliances, and diverse user populations with more complex information needs.

The American Library Association’s focus on area studies began as a project conceived and developed by the Collection Management and Development Committee, Resources and Technical Services Division. Its first volume, Selection of Library Materials in the Humanities, Social Sciences and Sciences (American Library Association) was published in 1985. From that publication grew the idea for a series of three volumes, the second of which was titled Selection of Library Materials in Applied and Interdisciplinary Fields (American Library Association, 1987). The third and final volume of the series was devoted exclusively to area studies, covering the entire world except for North America. Because of scheduling difficulties and potential manuscript length, it was decided to issue this volume in two parts, with Asia, the Iberian Peninsula, the Caribbean and Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, and the South Pacific grouped together in the first part, and Australia, Canada and New Zealand making up the second part of the publication, titled Selection of Library Materials for Area Studies (1990-1994). Other scholars, including members of learned societies and area studies departments, defined the world (excluding North America) in the following seven geographic regions: Africa, Latin America, South Asia, the Middle East, the Far East, the Slavic and Eastern European countries, and Western Europe. All helped to define a structure to the literature and access to the humanities.

Cecily Johns noted that while academic institutions and research centers developed a studies programs, public, school, and academic libraries are also interested in collecting material for area studies. All types of libraries now serve diverse communities, including Spanish-speaking users and immigrants from Asia and former Soviet countries. 13 In their introduction to a collection of essays about area studies in U.S. libraries, Marianna Tax Chodrin et al. wrote that “this nation’s ability to deal successfully in strategic, political, economic and cultural spheres with important parts of the world depends to a significant extent on our ability to provide access to information from and all those parts of the world.” 14

In the reference environment, area studies resources present additional challenges because of time lags in obtaining information, erratic indexing, and bibliographic control. The Internet eased research in areas studies because many resources are now available on the Web that would have been impossible to gain access to even a few years ago. National organizations and national libraries have Web sites and Web-publishing initiatives, such as Unesco’s directory of social science In nations, that make communication and networking easier than ever.