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University of Connecticut University Libraries

Collection Development and Access Plan:
School of Social Work

Prepared by Jan Lambert, March 2001.
DRAFT for review by theSchool of Social Work, January 2002.


The purpose of this Information and Data Management and Access Plan is threefold. First, it is a tool for the Library to become better informed of the information and data needs of faculty and students in the School of Social Work. Second, it will outline how existing local collections, networked electronic services, and document deliveries are being utilized to meet the bibliographic needs of this clientele. Third, it may provide the faculty of the School of Social Work and the library staff a base for dialogue concerning future information needs and areas for cooperation. This plan follows the broad guidelines established in Ownership and Access in a Global Information Market: A Framework for the University of Connecticut Libraries, issued by the Chancellor's Library Advisory Committee in March 1999.


  1. Characteristics of the Community
  2. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns
  3. Current Patterns of Information Service
  4. Emerging Choices

I. Characteristics of the Community

Degree and Professional Programs:

The School of Social Work offers a program of graduate study leading to a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree.


The School of Social Work program offers a course of study that includes generalist and specialist methods skills. The curriculum is comprised of foundation, methods, and elective coursework. The foundation curriculum includes study in the following areas: values and ethics; diversity; promotion of social and economic justice; populations at risk; human behavior and the social environment; social welfare policy and services; social work practice; research; and field practicum. Social Work methods include the following five areas of study: Administration, Casework, Community Organization, Group Work, and Policy and Planning. Students select one methodology as their major method of study and one as their minor. Additionally, the curriculum includes coursework in the following substantive areas: Aging; Family and Children’s Services; Health; Mental Health; Women’s Issues; Puerto Rican/Latino Studies; The Black Experience and Social Work Practice; Forensic Social Work: Socio-Legal Practice; International Issues; and Urban Issues.

Social Work faculty are engaged in research and advocacy at local, state, national and international levels. Their scholarly interests and research encompass the methodological and substantive areas of the profession. Some significant areas include primary prevention; violence reduction; cross-cultural issues; social work practice with refugee, immigrant and vulnerable populations; substance abuse and addictions; mental health; gender and diversity; HIV/AIDS; women’s and children’s health; aging; and international social welfare issues.

The School of Social Work is regularly awarded social services training and research grants. Current research grants cover the following topics: adult and youth criminal justice, alcohol and other drugs, youth violence, ethnic studies and child welfare. Most are directed to the evaluation of programs in these areas. Recently, the School of Social Work was funded by the Casey Foundation to evaluate a model family reunification program for returning abused or neglected children to their biological families.

Other programs:

In conjunction with the University of Connecticut Schools of Business, Law and Public Health, the School of Social Work offers three dual degree programs:

A joint program with Yale Divinity School offers the MSW/MDiv degree.

STEP (Staff Training and Education for the Profession) is the continuing education program within the School of Social Work. The STEP program offers credit courses and non-credit professional programs. Through the credit extension program, students who have earned a bachelor’s degree as a minimum, and who are considering Social Work as a profession, may take up to 14 credits on a non-matriculating basis. STEP also offers workshops and courses to social workers in the field, giving them the opportunity to add to their knowledge base while satisfying requirements for post-MSW continuing education credits. The STEP program has offered classes at various times at all regional campuses.

The School has also established the following specialized institutes, which serve to broaden the experience of its students by focusing on contemporary social issues and professional challenges. Through the Institutes and the Center, the School hosts conferences, workshops, and other educational programs.

Institute for Violence Reduction investigates the causes of violence and brings together key groups to work to achieve positive change.

Institute for the Advancement of Political Social Work Practice has as its stated goals working to increase the number of social workers choosing politics as a career and to exploring ways social workers can contribute to the political empowerment of clients through voter registration, mobilization, and education. Creating a specialization in Political Social Work Practice is another goal of the Institute.

Center for International Social Work Studies was established to promote and support student and faculty interest in international social work through initiatives such as international curriculum development, faculty exchanges, international field placements for students, and cross-national research. The Center facilitates the school’s partnership with the University of the West Indies, Jamaica, and works to bring together other international relationships.

New programs:

The School of Social Work has established a research-based social work doctoral program which will emphasize a strong core of courses in social work research theory and methods, history and philosophy, policy and planning, and comparative social work theory. A generous endowment from the Zachs family spearheaded this effort. As the only doctoral social work program in Connecticut, it will fill a need to have this level of study available to professionals who have frequently expressed interest in a doctoral program in social work at the University of Connecticut. Fall 2002 is the projected date for enrolling the first class of doctoral students.

Statistical Information (Fall, 2000)

Faculty: 26 Full-time
18 Adjuncts

Students: 389 full-time
235 part-time

Special Characteristics of the Community

Although the Social Work program is based at the Greater Hartford Campus, most School of Social Work students, and some faculty, reside outside this area, including a growing number commuting from neighboring states. STEP courses are currently being offered at the Greater Hartford, Avery Point, Torrington and Waterbury campuses. Course reserve arrangements are coordinated through the Social Work Liaison at Greater Hartford.

II. Collections Budget Expenditure Patterns

Total Budget (2000/2001): $75,000
Typical Breakdown: journals, $50,000 ; monographs, $20,000; videos, $5,000

Networked Services:
Electronic indexing, abstracting, and full-text services purchased by the Libraries’ Networked Services budget (not reflected in the above figures) which significantly support research in Social Work include: Social Work Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, PsycInfo, ERIC, Ageline, Academic Universe, InfoTrac, and Dow Jones Interactive For a more complete list consult the Social Work Resources by Subject page at: /research/bysubject/socwork.htm

III. Current Patterns of Information Service

  1. Characteristics of the Literature

    Journal literature, books, government reports, and professional association papers play a fundamental role in the curricular and research needs of the Social Work program. While currency is important, there is also an expressed need to include materials, which reflect the historical part of the literature in order to conduct research, write grant proposals, and fulfill coursework assignments. Important categories of literature for this field of study include Federal and state documents, publications of professional social work organizations (e.g., Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Social Workers, Child Welfare League), information regarding grants and research, and field-specific print reference material is included (e.g., encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks, bibliographies, directories, standards, statistical sources and policy statements by national social work organizations). The conversion of social work literature from print to electronic media is occurring slowly. For this reason, it will be important to maintain non-journal print collections for the foreseeable future.

    Because of the interdisciplinary nature of social work research, there is continuing reliance on literature in disciplines such as psychology, biology, sociology, anthropology, medicine, political science, business and law.

  2. Collection Development
    1. Areas of Focus

      Materials are collected at the graduate, professional and research levels to support teaching and research in the methodological and substantive areas previously noted. Increasingly, because of the global nature of issues the social work profession addresses, selective research and comparative studies outside the United States are collected. Textbooks, handbooks, and non-research materials are selected on a case-by-case basis.

    2. Acquisition Strategies
      1. Monographs

        Yankee Book Peddler (YBP), the Libraries’ established approval plan, delivers current books and materials. YBP covers all university press and most trade publishing produced or actively distributed in the United States (www. Publishers who refuse to discount to YPB, or who produce less than five titles a year, are not covered. Material from publishers not included in the YBP Plan, as well as videos, is ordered directly. Publishers’ catalogs, and catalogs from organizations such as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) are reviewed regularly for additions to the print research and video collections. Titles reviewed in social work journals, as well as recommendations from faculty, are considered for possible additions to the collection.

      2. Journals

        Trecker Library maintains a core collection of social work journals in print and in microform. New journal subscriptions in Social Work are generally ordered pursuant to a student or faculty request. The Library requires special justification, or evidence of demand from our document delivery statistics, to consider titles from for-profit publishers known for rapidly increasing the subscription costs of their titles. Also, addition of new titles will likely require trade-offs (i.e., cancellations) of currently held titles. (See section Access Development, Acquisition Strategies: Electronic Journals for discussion of electronic journals)

      3. Media and Miscellaneous Materials

        Conference proceedings, dissertations, federal, state and international documents will continue to be ordered at the request of faculty to satisfy programmatic and research needs.

        In recent years, the Trecker Library has made significant video purchases pursuant to faculty requests. The video collection is expected to continue to grow. Titles are added based on recommendations from faculty focusing on topics in such areas as: clinical casework, administration, policy, and historical areas of the social work program. The Library will need to monitor expenditures in this area as they encroach on the monograph's budget.

  3. Access Development

    In order to assist the School of Social Work researchers to locate the research materials they need, the Library will use a combination of local collections, licensed electronic products, subject and program-based web links, current awareness services, and document delivery and interlibrary loan.

    1. Indexes, Abstracts, Library Catalogs and Bibliographic Utilities

      The current compliment of general electronic indexing, abstracting, full-text services, and current awareness services, as well as those specific to Social Work (see section Current Library Expenditures, Networked Services) provided by the Libraries, seems sufficient to meet the above stated objective.

    2. Electronic Journals, Books and Data

      User enthusiasm and economic incentives have caused the library to embrace electronic only access to commercial as well as non-profit journal packages. With the subscription year that begins in January 2004, if a cost savings is available, the libraries are generally converting journal subscriptions that currently bring us both print and electronic copies to electronic-only provision.

      We are making this change on a publisher-by-publisher basis. Many of our electronic journals do not come directly by license from the publisher, but instead through aggregator products such as Lexis-Nexis Academic, Dow-Jones, InfoTrac and Wilson Web. The arrangements between aggregators and publishers are constantly in flux. Only when titles are available through multiple aggregators, in a complete and reasonably current version will the cancellation of print be considered.

      We have resisted going electronic-only up to now because of concerns about long-term, archival access. Commercial publishers cannot be relied upon to archive their content once the prospect of additional sales approaches nil. Although a solution is far from in place, we believe that technologies now under examination, with funding from the National Science Foundation among others, will yield solutions whereby the largest research libraries will undertake the distributed archiving of digital content in all our interest. We expect that even the largest commercial publishers will, ultimately, cooperate with such an arrangement.

      One of the primary goals in the immediate future will be to identify the journals for which we have a subscription but not electronic access, and attempt to add said access. Often the stumbling block for doing so is the license agreement. Additionally, many of the society journals are only now being made available electronically. Often, online access to these titles is free with a print subscription. Retaining access to the already respectable menu of online journals provided by the Library is an ongoing library goal although this effort is becoming increasingly difficult. Because of unsustainable inflation of scholarly journals, electronic only access may be increasingly viewed as a viable option. The question of permanent access to reliable archives of this material is not yet resolved, making such a switch a risky venture.

      Furthermore, electronic journals can be hot linked to web based indexes like Web of Science, and the electronic resources listed above. Additionally, the Library’s electronic journal locator, eCompass, facilitates the identification of specific e-journal titles "owned" by the Library (i.e., accessible via the University internet domain, "".)

    3. Other Internet-based resources

      The Social Work Library Liaison maintains a web page that organizes and promotes a wide range of electronic resources for social work study including locally licensed indexing/abstracting services and full-text resources located at: /reserach/bysubject/socwork.htm. The liaison welcomes comments on improvements to the page and/or additional site.

    4. Document Delivery/Interlibrary Loan

      DD/ILL will continue to play an important and timely role in retrieving material not owned in print, nor accessible electronically, to School of Social Work users. This subsidized, automated service plays a prominent role in filling the gaps, providing additional literature researchers need. As the literature continues to expand, no library can hope to own or have direct access to all requested material in a discipline. DD/ILL data is actively considered in relation to both monographic and journal purchase decisions and collection budget planning.

    5. Significant Campus or External Resources

      We will continue to draw on the resources of all libraries within the UCONN system, including the Health Center and the Law Library. A cooperative agreement with the Smith College Library gives our researchers access to additional clinical material in Smith’s social work collection.

IV. Emerging Choices

With the addition of the doctoral program in Social Work, there will be an added emphasis on collecting empirically based material in targeted areas to support research within the program. Collaboration with liaisons responsible for other disciplines will be important as will be continued dialogue with faculty.

The Library has made a commitment to provide desktop access to the online full-text version of journals as licensing agreements and cost permit. Once the archiving of electronic journals can be assured either through the publisher or with reliable access through aggregators --and as licensing agreements permit-- is likely that many journal subscriptions in the future will be retained in the electronic version only. Choosing to rely on professional associations and /or commercial publishers to archive and provide continued access to back issues of journal titles, however, takes the Library into the realm of the unknown. For the first time Libraries will no longer be the guardians of scholarly communications and will in effect become facilitators for accessing these publications. The choices that the Library will be forced to make regarding the retention or discontinuation of print versions of the journal literature will largely be dependent on the trust that can be placed with the vendors who promise to archive scholarly communications and provide access in perpetuity.

The future of collecting to support Social Work in a changing information economy Both continuing inflation in the unit cost of print and electronic publications, and expanding demand for new products and services are anticipated. The Libraries do not expect the University to solve this problem by increasing the Libraries' share of limited University resources. The Libraries hope for a continuation of the current level of support, but cannot regard it as guaranteed. Increasingly though, measures of user behavior: circulation by classification and patron affiliation; database use; and ILL/document delivery activity will play a role in budget decision-making.

The significant evolution in collection development and access patterns requires enhanced communication between library staff and the faculty and students they serve. Ongoing dialogue will help ensure that the best choices are being made and that users are knowledgeable about emerging kinds of library resources in terms of access and judicious use, and of the risks involved in some of these choices. The Library Liaison Program will continue to be the primary vehicle for this kind of contact

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