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Social Work Center: Resources for clinical practice

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Social Work Reference Center supports clinical practice for social workers, nurses, allied health professionals, mental health professionals and inter-professional health care teams. Content is organized into core areas such as: Diseases and Conditions, Practices and Skills, Assessment Tools, Drugs, Patient Education, Practice Guidelines, and Current Legislation

Located within those areas are

  • Evidence-based quick lessons summarize common conditions, causes and risk factors; contraindications and precautions; assessment and care plans; desired outcomes and outcome measures; best practices and prevention.
  • Evidence-based care sheets detail the best and most current clinical data for specific diseases and conditions. All evidence is evaluated according to a seven-step methodology to ensure the best and most current evidence is presented.
  • Clinical assessment tools are designed for assessing a client through devices used for measuring a given phenomenon (e.g., pain or coping). These can include interviewing, research tools, a questionnaire or a set of guidelines for observation.

Social Work Reference Center also provides access to free continuing education modules that offer CE credits online. Each module includes course material, an interactive review and a competency test along with a certificate of successful completion. New VCU users can pre-register online.

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By Nita Bryant, behavioral and social sciences research librarian

Image: Generations by Christopher Michel

Social Explorer: Current and historical demographic data

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Social Explorer provides quick and easy access to current and historical demographic data. Easy-to-use online tools help users create custom maps and reports to visualize, explore and understand the patterns behind the numbers. The latest version offers new ways to explore and present data from 1790 to the present, from U.S. neighborhoods to across the globe. Users can access more than 220 years of census data with tens of thousands of maps, hundreds of reports, over 400,000 variables and 40 billion data elements.

The core data library includes U.S. Census data from 1790 to 2010 and American Community Survey data from 2005 to 2014. Users can examine this wealth of demographic information at the national, state, county, census tract, metropolitan statistical area (MSA) and block group geographic levels (where available).

Specialized U.S. data resources include the FBI Uniform Crime Report data (2010 and 2012), American election results (1912 to 2014), Religious Congregations and Membership Study (1980 to 2010), Vulcan Project carbon emissions data (2002), and County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Program data (2010 to 2016).

International data resources include the United Kingdom Census (2011), Canadian Census (2011), Eurostat (1990, 2000, 2010 to 2013), World Development Indicators (2013), and Irish religion and population data (1911 to 2001).

Users can create detailed data reports with the Reporting Tools. Export one or thousands of variables and geographies quickly and easily. Excel, CSV, and other file formatting shortcuts allow you to work with data in a variety of software programs for further analysis.

Users are encouraged to create an account so that they are able to save their work and access it for later use.

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by Patricia Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Planning students display posters

Spring 2016 MURP Student Posters

Spring 2016 MURP Student Posters

This fall,  James Branch Cabell Library will showcase a set of posters  from the students of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) Program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Policy.

The posters will be displayed on the long wall on the east side of Cabell Library (the wall adjacent to Suite 121) now known as a Scholarly Display Wall. The posters are examples of the students’ final projects and address pressing local and regional issues. 

The posters will go up the week of Sept. 12.

Interested in displaying scholarly posters in Cabell? Contact the library liaison to your school.

By Patricia Dillon Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles

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Advancing our understanding of the history and present of women’s contributions to the literary, cultural and political life of Great Britain, VCU Libraries provides access to the landmark database, Orlando:  Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Orlando exemplifies digital humanities’ efforts to broaden access to little known or studied texts, provide historical and cultural context for authors and their works and inspire transformative ways of reading and understanding women’s literary engagement with their readers and the world through writing. Created at Cambridge University, Orlando is designed with a “unique structure and searchability,” encouraging researchers “to examine its information and critical comment in a wide range of configurations and to re-form this in new and creative ways. Orlando is open to the serendipities of productive browsing,” and fosters in-depth research through cultural, biographical, and textual discovery. More than 1,300 writers are included, and approximately 30,000 items are available for discovery–a growing list of authors and texts. Orlando will greatly enhance teaching and research at VCU, and foster a dynamic and innovative reading experience.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image:  “A Woman Seated at an Organ (or Writing Desk),” Yale University Art Gallery, public domain.

Race and Violence Research: Charting the Literature

For much of the 20th century, librarians fielding questions relevant to the topic of race and violence guided researchers to historical and general social science resources.

Scholars found articles about people, court cases, or events in databases like America: History and Life, or Sociological Abstracts. Primary evidence might be most easily found in newspapers, and court records. Photographic records, personal and agency records, newsreels, and video have long been available, but until large-scale digitization efforts were underway,  these were not readily accessible outside of individual archives.

In 2016, the range and number of resources on race and violence, and their ease of access, looks quite different.

It’s possible to create quick searches that reveal compelling patterns of growth and change in disciplinary topic treatment. A sophisticated multi-disciplinary database, like Web of Science, allows a search that offers evidence for expanding perspectives. Comparing decades, and using a search on “race OR racial” and “violence”, an effort identifies:

  • 1970-1979, 11 scholarly articles;
  • 1980-1989, 18 scholarly articles;
  • 1990-1999, 381 scholarly articles;
  • 2000-2009, 1,003 scholarly articles.

By the latest half decade, from 2010-2015, the same search identified 1,386 scholarly articles.

This exercise reveals the information explosion in research. But, these sorts of carefully constructed searches can offer evidence to help us  quantify, and pinpoint these “explosions” in a field.  What may be more intriguing, if not entirely surprising, is that while the 11 articles from 1970-1980 spanned across four broad disciplinary areas, notably sociology and ethnic studies, by the most current five years, the 1,386  identified articles spanned 50 broad research areas. These 50 include predictable disciplines like history, psychology and urban studies, but also include research in fields like substance abuse, anthropology and international relations. The largest current disciplinary area for this research appears to be in criminal penology, with emerging  research in areas as diverse as surgery and linguistics.

Today, librarians will want  to understand more about your interests in race and violence to recommend additional databases, but here are some starting suggestions:

Because Web of Science is also a citation-tracing database, it is possible to reveal author connections, disciplinary crossovers and persistence of research findings through citation analysis. This sort of search in Web of Science can quickly identify leading and new scholars in a field like race and violence, or other areas. For help with crafting a search in Web of Science that can reveal a quick picture of growth in disciplines relevant to topics that interest you, contact Sara Williams, liaison to African American Studies.

By Sara Williams, Head, Academic Outreach

Image: Black Panther Demonstration, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1970, Black Studies Center

ICPSR: Source for data in all forms

ICPSR Source

The Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) data contains data collections and data-related tools that can facilitate teaching or working with data in many different forms. Data sets can be downloaded in SPSS, SAS, Stata and ASCII.

In addition to the traditional political and social research data, the database also houses different types of data such as health data. Here are some examples of the data available:

For more information or help with access with the ICPSR data, please contact Irene Lubker at imlubker@vcu.edu or Nita Bryant at nbryant@vcu.edu.

By Irene Lubker, research and education librarian

Image: Measures of Effective Teaching Database