University Libraries Collection Development Policy School of Social Welfare
Elaine Lasda-Bergman, Subject Librarian
I. General Purpose
The University Libraries collection of social welfare materials supports undergraduate, Master's and Ph.D. level programs and faculty research. The curriculum is designed for students to gain a broad perspective in assessing social needs and to acquire the knowledge and skills to help in the alleviation of social problems and the resolution of problems of individuals, groups, and communities. Within the department, faculty and students focus on the acquisition of knowledge in the area of human growth and social environment, social functioning and dysfunctioning of individuals and groups, the theoretical bases underlying each of the social work methods of practice, the history and the development of the profession of social work and its relationship to society, the development of basic skills in social work practice, and an attitude of scientific inquiry in areas which expand or verify professional knowledge.
Graduate curricula include two main areas of concentration, MACRO (social welfare management) and direct practice. "The MACRO concentration is designed to prepare students for management, supervisory, and program development positions in public and voluntary social services."1 MACRO students take courses in the following areas: "strategic planning, program evaluation, financial planning, management information systems, staff development, an advanced seminar in the policy and organizational environment of the social agency, an advanced policy course, and an advanced practicum in MACRO practice."2
The direct practice concentration is designed to prepare graduates "to provide direct services that assist in the restoration, maintenance, and enhancement of the social functioning of individuals, families, and other group.... Students acquire advanced and specialized knowledge of human behavior, social systems, and intervention processes that will aid them in assisting clients at the individual, group and community levels."3
The Ph.D. program emphasizes preparation for research, teaching, and leadership. It draws on the strengths of other departments and professional schools on the University at Albany campus and promotes interdisciplinary study. The curriculum is designed to accomplish three objectives: (1) to enable students to acquire a core of advanced knowledge of social work practice theory, social policy, research methods, and statistics; (2) to permit students to obtain specialized knowledge in areas of their own choosing, and (3) to facilitate the contribution of students to knowledge?building in social work and social welfare.
Other degrees from the School of Social Welfare include: two dual master's degree programs in criminal justice and social welfare, one with a direct practice concentration, the other with a MACRO concentration; joint sociology and direct practice M.S.W. program; social sciences and M.S.W. program; combined M.S.W. and J.D. with Albany Law School; certificate program in Women and Public Policy; dual degree program with State University at New Paltz; M.S.W. advanced standing program; joint M.S.W. and Ph.D program in social welfare for both MACRO and direct practice.
The social welfare collections also support the research activities of the Institute of Gerontology, Center for Excellence in Aging Services, Center for Human Services Research, Hartford Internships in Aging Program, Social Work Education Consortium, T.E.C.H. (Technology Education Consultation in Human Services) Center, etc. all of which are housed in the School of Social Welfare. The Ringel Institute of Gerontology provides a focus for research on the aging process and services for the elderly. Also drawing heavily on the social welfare collections is the Professional Development Program of Rockefeller College which offers professional education and training, technical assistance, and consultation to members of the human service community.
The combination of educational, research, and service activities of the various components of the School of Social Welfare and the Professional Development Program place a heavy demand for a variety of informational resources and collections ranging from practice?oriented how?to manuals to narrowly focused research studies, technical reports, and doctoral dissertations.
II. Subiect and Language Modifiers
Languages: The primary language of the social welfare collection is English. Materials in other major languages are acquired selectively.
Geographical areas: The United States, Canada, and Europe form the focus of collection emphasis. Materials treating other areas of the world are acquired more selectively and priority is placed on comparative studies and studies emphasizing research, theory and methodology used in social welfare research.
Chronological periods: The collecting emphasis is primarily materials from the last fifty years. However, selected historical materials are purchased as availability and funds permit.
III. Description of Materials Collected
Types of Materials Collected:
Curricular specific books, journals, public documents, and research and technical reports are the primary components of the University Library's collection in support of Social Welfare. Emphasis is placed on primary sources of information, print and electronic, and the reference sources (e.g. indexes and abstracts in print or electronic formats) that facilitate access to them. Most materials are housed at the Dewey Graduate Library.
Indexes, abstracts, dictionaries, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc. (in print, electronic and other formats) which pertain to the study of social welfare and serve a reference function are housed in the reference area of the Dewey Graduate Library in accordance with the Reference Collection Policy. A description of social welfare reference materials and links to key websites may be found on the University Libraries Social Welfare homepage: http://library.albany.edu/subject/social_main.html
Electronic access to social welfare information and resources is provided through online databases such as Social Work Abstracts, which indexes and abstracts most major social welfare journals. It is complemented by the PsycINFO (which covers the world's literature in psychology, psychiatry, and allied disciplines such as social work) as well as by several other databases, including SOCIAL SERVICES ABTRACTS (human services), AGELINE (gerontology), MEDLINE (health and medicine), PAIS International (public policy), and various other social sciences and law databases.
The University maintains membership in the Inter?University Consortium for Political and Social Research, an extensive archive of raw survey data housed at the University of Michigan. Faculty and students in social welfare may utilize ICPSR materials. At present, ICPSR materials are ordered and maintained by the Social Science Subject Librarian.
International, United States, state, and local government documents are acquired, with statistical series and the U.S. census being particularly important for social welfare. Many sources of government information can be accessed through the University Libraries Social Welfare homepage (http://library.albany.edu/subject/social_main.html). U.S. government documents are also housed in the Government Publications area of the University Libraries. A very select number of documents are purchased for Dewey Graduate Library on a title by title basis at the discretion of the social welfare and reference subject librarians and cataloged and housed in Dewey Graduate Library.
Types of Materials Excluded: The library does not normally collect textbooks or collections of previously published articles. Popular treatments are acquired very selectively.
IV. Other Factors
The interdisciplinary nature of social welfare necessitates a wide range of supporting materials. Relevant to the study of social welfare are the collections in criminal justice, sociology, psychology, education (including counseling), public affairs, urban studies, political science, women's studies, ethnic studies, management, public health, and public administration. For detailed descriptions of these collections refer to their respective collection development subject statements.
V. Subject and Collection Levels [Collection Level Descriptions]
The following topics pertain to the study of social welfare and form core, curricular- specific areas for which the collection level is almost at the research level. According to the Research Libraries Group a research level collection is one that includes the major published source materials required for dissertation and independent research, including materials containing research reporting, new findings, scientific experimental results, and other information useful to researchers. It is intended to include all important reference works and a wide selection of specialized monographs, as well as a very extensive collection of journals and major indexing and abstracting services in the field. Pertinent foreign language materials are included. Older material is retained for historical research and actively preserved. A collection at this level supports doctoral and other original research.
Declining acquisition budgets and dramatically increased costs in serial subscriptions have made it difficult to maintain an on?site research level collection as defined above. No longer collected are some peripheral journals, newsletters, digests, and extensive foreign language materials. Increased access to fulltext electronic journals and other resources, interlibrary loan and coordinated collection development have, in the case of social welfare, allowed the University Libraries to continue to support doctora1 level research and original research in social welfare.
The following subject areas form the focus of the social welfare collection:
Social science theory, methodology, research technology and statistical procedures.
Social welfare policy and services. Health care systems and social work. Health policy analysis. Community mental health. Community organization and development. Complex organization in social welfare. Social welfare administration. Management information systems in human services. Human behavior and social environment.
Social work practice. Supervision of clinical practice. Group work. Drug and alcohol abuse. Addictions. Family violence. Psychotherapy. Direct treatment. Social work practice with children. Psychiatric Services.
Social gerontology. Social work practice with mature and aging adults.
1 School of Social Welfare, University at Albany (Homepage). (2003). Retrieved October 23, 2003, from http://www.albany.edu/ssw/
M.J. Brustman 12/03