Caulking the Cracks: Scholarly Social Science Resources on the Web

By McDermott, Irene E. | Searcher, January 1998 | Go to article overview

Caulking the Cracks: Scholarly Social Science Resources on the Web


McDermott, Irene E., Searcher


Only four years ago, the World Wide Web still only smoldered, giving little indication of the white-hot heat of the information explosion that would follow. Today, when I search for information, I often turn to the Web first. I can't imagine doing reference work without it.

Still, I routinely teach my university students that the Web lacks the scholarly resources that they will need for their academic work. This is especially true in the Humanities, I explain, because information in that area changes slowly. They will have better luck finding Web resources in the Sciences, because scientific information changes very fast. I tumble when I talk about the Social Sciences, though. Social science information tends to have a middling rate of change. What is the state of academic social science information on the World Wide Web today?

I know that some collections of scholarly Internet resources exist, such as Infomine, developed by Kurt R. Heidelberg, Steve Mitchell, Margaret Mooney, and Carlos Rodriguez at the University of California at Riverside. Infomine http://lib-www.ucr.edu/

Interestingly, Heidelberg et al. categorize all of the Social Sciences and the Humanities on one page (http://lib www.ucr.edu/search/ucr_sshsearch.htm 1), as if the Web resources available for these two major sections of knowledge were not sufficient to warrant having a page for each of them. To pad out the holdings, Infomine even throws in its general reference collection. So, unless you know what you are looking for, you can browse down a subject page that includes "Abused Children" and "Accounting Firms."

Not enough. I need to talk to some experts. So I interviewed Linda McCann, Reference Librarian at the Doheny Memorial Library at the University of Southern California, and Betsy Lindsley, an instruction librarian who divides her time between the Santa Monica Public Library and the Leavey "cybrary" at USC.

I talked first to Lindsley, to see what social science Web resources she uses when teaching undergraduates. "What I look for is driven by the assignment," Lindsley stated. "And I found that it really turns the students on if you can walk in there and give them some sites." For instance, for a class of social workers on the verge of graduation, Lindsley demonstrated sites that she thought might help them in their work. "I show them government sites or child welfare sites, or show them how to find community foundation support, or their local congressman."

Lindsley has a couple of favorite sites that she always uses when she offers Web classes to students interested in social work.

Social Work Access Network (SWAN) http://www.sc.edu/swan/

This site features listservs and newsgroups and a searchable index of social work Web sites in such areas as adoption, youth violence, and even Nate Prentice's "Social Work Joke Page" (http://dolphin.upenn.edu/~prentice/swj okes.html). SWAN also serves up a heaping helping of political information and the skinny on relevant government regulations.

National Association of Social Workers: California Chapter http://naswca.org/

This site has advocacy and legislative information, links to other relevant Web pages, and job postings.

"This is the kind of stuff you can find just doing keyword searching under `social work' in Yahoo!." Lindsley continued. "I like the way that Yahoo! is organized, although I am aware that it covers fewer things than some of the other Web indexes. So, if I can't find something on Yahoo!, I look elsewhere. If I know any experts, I ask if they know of any sites."

Lindsley pointed out that this way of searching the Web works particularly well for finding practical social science material. "In academic research," she commented, "we still have to deal with the limitations of the Web." In the arena of political science, for instance, Lindsley thinks that a licensed periodical database like PAIS would prove much more effective than freely available resources available on the Web.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Caulking the Cracks: Scholarly Social Science Resources on the Web
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.