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Social Welfare Guide Survey




Updated by ELAINE LASDA BERGMAN, February 2009

This guide is an introduction to basic sources of information in Social Welfare. More information about Social Welfare resources and access to databases, guides, and web resources can be found at the University Libraries Social Welfare page ( Information about all University Libraries resources and services (including access to the online library catalog, databases, and journals) is via the University Libraries homepage ( Most of the university's books and print journals on social welfare as well as those in criminal justice, public administration and policy, and library and information science are located at the DEWEY GRADUATE LIBRARY on the downtown campus. Books and print journals in related subjects such as psychology, counseling, education, and sociology are at the UNIVERSITY LIBRARY or SCIENCE LIBRARY on the Main Campus. Please do not hesitate to ask the REFERENCE LIBRARIAN for help with your library research. Contact the reference desk by phone at 442-3691 or by email at Ask a Librarian.

[Background Information] [Definitions and Terms] [Books] [Indexes and Databases] [Internet] [Statistics] [Legal Information] [Directory Information]


COMPREHENSIVE HANDBOOK OF SOCIAL WORK AND SOCIAL WELFARE. Edited by Karen M. Sowers and Catherine N. Dulmus. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. 4 volumes. This handbook covers the Profession of Social Work, Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Social Work Practice, Social Policy and Policy Practice. DEW REF HV 40 C635 2008

THE CONCISE CORSINI ENCYCLOPEDIA OF PSYCHOLOGY AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE (Online). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. Fulltext general encyclopedia for psychology and behavioral sciences. Go to the encyclopedia.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SOCIAL WORK. 20th edition. Edited by Terry Mizrahi and Larry E. Davis. New York: Oxford University Press,2008. 4 Volumes. This encyclopedia provides an overview of more than 400 social welfare topics and definitions for social welfare and related terminology. It is an excellent place to begin research in social welfare because it lays out the background, scope and issues for each topic. There are useful bibliographies at the end of each article. Volume IV includes biographies of prominent persons in the social work field, the NASW code of ethics, a chronology of the field, and acronyms. DEWEY REF HV 12 E53 2008

Dewey Library also has several psychology and mental health encyclopedias including the Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology and Behavioral Science (W. Edward Craighead and Charles B. Nemeroff, eds. 3rd ed., New York: Wiley, 2001) at DEW REF BF 31 E52 2000, the Encyclopedia of Mental Health Health (Howard S. Friedman, ed., San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1998 ) at DEW REF RA 790.5 E53 1998, and the Encyclopedia of Psychology (Alan E. Kazdin, ed., Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association, 2000) at DEW REF BF E523x 2000.


Barker, Robert L. THE SOCIAL WORK DICTIONARY. 5th ed. Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers. 2003. Definitions for more than 5,000 terms, concepts, organizations, laws and historic events in the areas of social work administration, research, policy development, planning, community organization, human growth and development, health and mental health, clinical theory and practice. Also included are the NASW Code of Ethics, state boards regulating social work, etc. DEWEY REF HV 12 B37 2003

Knapp, Sara D. THE CONTEMPORARY THESAURUS OF SEARCH TERMS AND SYNONYMS: A GUIDE FOR NATURAL LANGUAGE SEARCHING. 2nd edition. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press, 2000. This excellent resource is exhaustive for terms used in all the social sciences. DEWEY REF ZA 4060 K58 2000

THESAURUS OF PSYCHOLOGICAL INDEX TERMS. 11th edition. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2007. A thesaurus of terminology for psychology and related social sciences. It can be used to find terms used in the PsycINFO database or as a general guide to terminology. Included are references to broader, narrower and related terms. DEWEY REF Z 695.1 P7 T48



Materials owned by the University Libraries can be accessed through the MINERVA online catalog (with terminals on both floors of the Dewey Library). You may search MINERVA by author, title, subject, etc. Subjects may be searched by using either the LIBRARY OF CONGRESS SUBJECT HEADINGS (the red books near the catalog terminals) or by keywords. MINERVA lists books, journals, reports, audiovisual materials, etc. for all three libraries: Dewey Library, the University Library and the Science Library. The location "DEWEY" is for Dewey Library, the location "ULIB" for University Library and the location "SCIENCE" for the Science Library. MINERVA also indicates if an item is on order or on loan (and when it is due back). If a book you need is on loan, you may request that it be returned for you by selecting "Recall This Item" next to the record in the MINERVA catalog. You may also use your MyMinerva Account to check on what books you have checked out and renew them. Please ask for instructions or help at the reference desk (442-3691).

All journals are now listed in the MINERVA online catalog. This includes fulltext electronic journals. (Hint: Search for journal articles by the title of the journal.)


Information on the holdings of other capital district libraries is available through CaDiLac, the Capital District Library Council Union Catalog (electronic). WorldCat database offers author, title and subject access to books owned by libraries throughout the United States and world. PsycINFO, AGELINE and POPLINE (discussed below) also provide subject, author, title and other access to books.

Note: Items not owned by the University Libraries can be requested through Interlibrary Loan. Books which are owned by the University Libraries (but which are on the other campus) and articles (which are not available in electronic format) can be requested through UA Delivery Service. Please inquire at the reference desk for assistance.


For most social work topics it is useful to begin research using the basic indexes in the field, SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS, SOCIAL SERVICES ABSTRACTS or PsycINFO. All of the electronic sources listed below can be used in the reference areas of all three libraries and, by the University at Albany community, from outside the libraries. To access indexes and databases click on Go to Databases & Indexes and type in the name of the resource.

AGELINE (Electronic). Washington, D.C.: AARP. Coverage: 1978 to the present, with some earlier material. AGELINE, the database of the American Association of Retired Persons, provides coverage of journals, books, book chapters, reports and audiovisuals on the psychological, health-related, social and economic aspects of aging. Abstracts are included. Go to Databases & Indexes

CINAHL Plus with FULLTEXT (Electronic). Birmingham, AL: EBSCO. Coverage: 1937 to the present. CINAHL is a comprehensive index to health literature. It contains fulltext articles from 3100 journals. Go to Databases & Indexes

EBSCO ACADEMIC SEARCH PREMIER (Electronic). Birmingham, AL: EBSCO. Coverage: 1984 to the present, fulltext varies by title. EBSCO covers 8000 journals in all subject areas. There is fulltext material for 4600 journals. Some early indexing dates to the 1970's. Searching can be done by author, subject, source, etc. Updated daily. Go to Databases & Indexes

LEXIS-NEXIS ACADEMIC (Electronic). Dayton, OH: Mead Data Central. Coverage: Varies by database. Updated monthly. This is a group of databases. Among them are full-text articles (found under "General News Topics" and "Medical and Health" and "Law Reviews"). "General News Topics" includes newspaper and journal articles. A very extensive collection of fulltext legal materials is under "Federal Case Law," "U.S. Code, Constitution & Court Rules" and "State Legal Research." Most items are from the 1990's, although some law materials date back into the 19th century. Go to Databases & Indexes

MEDLINE (Electronic). Bethesda,MD: U.S. National Library of Medicine. Coverage: 1966 to the present. MEDLINE offers comprehensive coverage of the journal literature of medicine. Included among its more than 4000 journals are hundreds related to psychiatry, mental health, psychopharmacology , etc. MEDLINE is available at University Libraries in two versions, direct from PubMed and from EBSCO. The EBSCO version is easier to use. Go to Databases & Indexes

MENTAL MEASUREMENTS YEARBOOK (Electronic). Ipswich, MA: Ebsco Pub. Coverage: 1985 to the present. MENTAL MEASUREMENTS YEARBOOK includes descriptive information and edited reviews of tests. It can be searched simultaneously with Tests in Print, a bibliography of commercially available tests currently in print in the English language. Information provided includes test purpose, test publisher, in-print status, price, test acronym, intended test population, administration times, publication dates, and test authors.

PAIS INTERNATIONAL (Electronic). Bethesda, MA: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts. Coverage: 1915 to the present. PAIS covers resources in public affairs and policy. Its scope is international, and it includes periodicals as well as books and reports, and federal and state documents. This is an excellent source for social policy research and discussion. Go to Databases & Indexes

POPLINE (Electronic). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University, School of Public Health. Coverage: Primarily 1970 to the present (with some citations dating to the 1800's). POPLINE indexes the international literature on population, family planning and related health issues. Included are citations and abstracts of articles, books, and reports. Go to Databases & Indexes

PsycINFO (Electronic). Boston: Silverplatter Information. Coverage: 1872 to the present, with some material back to 1806. This electronic equivalent of PSYCHOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS, contains summaries of articles from journals and chapters of books in social work, psychology, psychiatry and related subjects. Because of its research orientation and the large number of citations it contains, this database is a very important source for social work research. Go to Databases & Indexes

SOCIAL SCIENCES ABSTRACTS (Electronic). New York: H.W. Wilson. Coverage: 1984 to the present. The electronic version of SOCIAL SCIENCES INDEX, this covers the same journals. Abstracts are also included. Go to Databases & Indexes

SOCIAL SCIENCES CITATION INDEX (Print only). Philadelphia: Institute for Scientific Information. Coverage: Dewey Library has 1974, 1978 to the present. The University Library has 1969, 1973 to the present. SSCI provides comprehensive coverage of the literature of every discipline in the social sciences. Over 4500 journals (1400 fully indexed) and some monographic series are covered. This index can be searched by author, subject (keywords) or by tracing citations. Tri-annual with annual cumulations. It is searchable online on DIALOG. (Volume I of each year contains instructions for searching the print version.) DEWEY INDEX H 1 Z999 S63

SOCIAL SERVICES ABSTRACTS (Electronic). Bethesda, MD: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts. Coverage: 1979 to present. This database provides coverage of more than 1300 journals in the human services and related topics. (For most journals only selected articles are included.) It offers broader coverage by topic and geographic area than SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS (below). SOCIAL SERVICES ABSTRACTS links into SOCIAL SERVICES INFONET which has social policy information, web links and best practices. Go to Databases & Indexes

SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS (Electronic). Boston: Silverplatter Information. Coverage: 1977 to present. This electronic version of SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS includes bibliographic citations and summaries of articles from 100 social work journals and selected articles from more than 350 other journals in the human services. There are also doctoral dissertations and selected books. As it provides the most thorough coverage for core social work journals, this database should usually be the first (but not the only) index consulted for most social work topics. For materials prior to 1977 the print SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS or PsycINFO database may be useful. Go to Databases & Indexes

SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS (Print version) (formerly SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH and ABSTRACTS). Washington, DC: National Association of Social Workers. Coverage: 1965 to the present. Use the print SOCIAL WORK ABSTRACTS for materials dating before 1977. DEWEY REF HV 1 N37x

SOCIOLOGICAL ABSTRACTS (Electronic). Bethesda, MD: Cambridge Scientific Abstracts. Coverage: 1963 to the present. Covers the field of sociology including such topics as the family, sociology of health care, social problems, human services delivery, social policy, etc. It is also available in print at the University Library. Go to Databases and Indexes

Note: There are many other print and electronic resources which are useful in searching for social welfare information. For instance, CRIMINAL JUSTICE ABSTRACTS (electronic) or NCJRS (National Criminal Justice Reference Service; electronic) would be useful for information on juvenile delinquency or domestic violence or ERIC (education database) for social work in schools. SOCIAL SCIENCES CITATION INDEX, SOCIAL SCIENCES INDEX, SOCIAL SCIENCES ABSTRACTS (electronic) or ArticleFirst (electronic) provide broader coverage of the social sciences. Searching electronically is advantageous in that it is fast, terms can be ombined, and new terminology accessed. Each semester Dewey Library offers classes in utilizing library resources.


The Social Work subject pagehomepage connects to a page of internet resources located at The homepage is divided into sections-- General Sties, Children, Youth and Families; Evidence-Based Practice; Gerontology; Government Resources; Health; International Social Work and Human Rights; Mental Health and Therapy; Social Policy; Substance Abuse; Statistical Sources, Tests and Measurements, Professional Associations, Library Guides, etc. There is a separate Social Welfare Career Resources page for accreditation and job hunting materials.

Other homepages linked to the University Libraries homepage which may be of interest to social welfare students are: Criminal Justice, Law, Psychology, Social Sciences, etc. For links to these subjects, select the Research By Subject left section of the homepage (on right side of website.) For United States, New York State, other states, and International government links choose Government Information.


AMERICAN STATISTICS INDEX. Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service. Coverage: 1973 to the present. ASI is an index with abstracts to the statistical publications of the U.S. government, as well as selected state and organization publications. Fulltext, 2003 to the present. (The University Library also owns many of the documents described in this index in microfiche and other formats. Please ask for assistance at the reference desk.) Go to Databases & Indexes

FedStats. Washington, DC: Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy. This website links to statistical series from 100 different federal government agencies. Searching can be done by topic or agency.

STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office. Annual. This book provides useful tables and charts from thousands of federal statistical publications. Included are statistics on social welfare expenditures, federal food programs, child support, child abuse, household and family data, etc. Also useful is a guide to sources of statistics. DEWEY REF HA 202 (year) Also,

STATISTICAL REFERENCE INDEX. Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service. Coverage: 1980 to the present. SRI is an index (with abstracts) to the statistical publications of private organizations and U.S. state government agencies. It contains national, state, foreign and a small amount of local data. Arrangement is by source organization. The index volume allows access by subject, category, issuing source and title. Monthly (except January and February combined) with annual cumulations. DEWEY INDEX HA 195 Z999 S78X

Note: On the University Libraries Social Welfare homepage there are other Internet sources which provide statistical information for social work related research.


Dewey Library provides federal and state court decisions, laws, bills and regulations. Access is through print sources, online services like Westlaw Campus , and LexisNexis, and the Internet. For federal legislative information on the Internet also consult THOMAS: Legislative Information on the Internet ( from the Library of Congress. Indiana University School of Law ( offers access to state government and topical law servers. The New York State Information Locator Service provides links to useful New York State cases and laws ( Meta-Index for U.S. Legal Research ( is a gateway to a host of resources in law. Also, consult the law resources section of the University Libraries homepage(

NOTE: Dewey Library has many guides and handouts for legal research as well as online or print access to hundreds of law reviews and journals through Westlaw and LexisNexis. Please consult the reference librarian for assistance.


Dewey Library contains numerous directories of individuals, government agencies and private organizations involved in the delivery of human services. A few examples of these follow:

GREATER CAPITAL REGION HUMAN SERVICES DIRECTORY. Albany, NY: Council of Community Services. Annual. This is a listing of public and private social services agencies in Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren, and Washington counties. Online, access fulltext via MINERVA catalog.

NATIONAL DIRECTORY OF CHILDREN, YOUTH & FAMILIES SERVICES. Salt Lake City, UT: Contexo Media. Annual. Addresses, phone numbers, and selected staff of public and private agencies throughout the United States. DEWEY REF HV 741 N3157

PUBLIC HUMAN SERVICES DIRECTORY. Washington, DC: American Public Welfare Association. Annual. State and county services throughout the United States and Canada are listed with selected staff, addresses and phone numbers. Also includes some information on the organization of human services within each state or province. DEWEY REF HV 89 A55

REGISTER OF CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKERS This database provides electronic access to clinical social workers by name, address, agency, education, license, practice code, or area of specialization. Online, access fulltext via MINERVA catalog.

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Last updated by ELB 2/09