Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Notable E-Book: APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Industrial and Organizational Psychology (often abbreviated as I/O psychology) is a multi-faceted and ever-changing branch of psychological research. As the Penguin Dictionary of Psychology (which we have on Credo Reference) defines it, it covers "organizational, military, economic and personnel psychology and including such areas as tests and measurements, the study of organizations and organizational behaviour, personnel practices, human engineering, human factors, the effects of work, fatigue, pay and efficiency, consumer surveys and market research." And not just in the classic corporate environment, either. I/O scholars conduct research into the operational and human dynamics of hospitals, prisons, universities, public-service agencies--any and all types of organizations!

That's a lot of territory. And it deserves an extensive and up-to-date reference handbook. It has one now through the APA Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology.

Although we also purchased the paper copy, most users will be interested in the electronic version of this three volume set. Click a link--you will authenticate through the proxy server off-campus--for one of the three volumes. Each numerical chapter is presented in order as a PDF. (You are supposed to be able to click the abstract link to the right to read a summary, but this does not work for these ebooks. You only get a page linking to the three volumes and a description of the entire reference work...which is not particularly useful.)

You can, however, use the search option in the upper right of any page to search within the handbooks.

And, since this handbook set is from the American Psychological Association, the publisher also indexes the chapters in their PsycINFO database. Which is useful, but not as much as it should be. Because handbooks like this one are expensive extra content, beyond what is contained in the PsycBOOKS database (to which we also provide access), the chapters do not directly link in PsycINFO--although we are currently working with both APA and Ebsco to see if we can make that happen. For now, when you find a chapter in PsycInfo (as in the example below), just go to our online catalog (or one of the links in this blog) to get to the ebooks and their content.

This is a valuable handbook that will benefit not only psychology majors, but also those in the management, public management, government and even the sociology/criminal justice fields. Take a look at this latest handbook for I/O psychology. But remember that others are available. We also own the Sage Handbook of Industrial, Work and Organizational Psychology on Sage eReference, and we even have a respected older print handbook which is still quite useful for some topics. The four-volume Handbook of Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the Consulting Psychologists Press is now located in the circulating collection on the 4th floor, along with many of our other I/O psychology monographs.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Database: Biological Abstracts

Interested in exploring journal literature "in virtually every life sciences discipline, including biology, biochemistry, biotechnology, botany, pre-clinical and experimental medicine, pharmacology, zoology, agriculture, and veterinary science"? Then a database that we've just added will be a valuable tool!

Biological Abstracts (aka BIOSIS) is considered the definitive index to life science literature, and has been so for generations. Over 250,000 records from journals worldwide are added annually to Biological Abstracts. Over 4,200 journals from 100 countries are indexed. And "every item included in Biological Abstracts has met the high standards of an objective evaluation process that eliminates clutter and excess and delivers data that is accurate, meaningful and timely."
Unfortunately, with the word "Abstracts" in the title, you know that this is an index that provides citations, useful controlled vocabulary (subject and other limiting terminology) and summaries....and nothing more. That is the main reason that we got BioAbs on our familiar EbscoHost platform. Ebsco provides direct-linking to many articles available in its proprietary databases like Academic Search Complete. But it also allows us to make use of Custom Linking and our Serial Solutions 360 Link (look for the green 360 dot-link below results list records).

It's not unusual to have more than one access option on some articles. Although with indexing as extensive as this, not all articles will be available through our collections.

The really admirable thing about Biological Abstracts is the great many precise "Limit Your Results" options that you have from the opening search screen or from the Source Type and Subject limits in the left frame of any results list after you perform a search. There are also many clickable link terms attached to individual article records.

Below is an example of the kind of index links that are available on a single record about shad in the Merrimack River:

In addition to publication level limiters such as: Date Published, Journal Name, Abstract Available, Language, Publication Type and Document type, the updated Biological Abstracts database also offers a host of additional limiters designed to support complex relational indexing, for example:

* Taxa notes
* Type of Organism Name
* Disease Affiliation
* Organ System
* Chemical Role

If a particular term or concept looks promising, click it to explore the entries that use that term or code. Or do what I usually do: perform a simple keyword combination search (like myotis lucifugus and echolocation) and then browse through multiple records, decide if there is better terminology available, and then use those terms in a fresh "advanced" search for more precise results. To get a sense of BioAbs terms, you can also search or browse the "Major Concepts," which is a link in the upper left frame of any screen, as seen below.

If you wish to see a more extensive list of the Controlled Vocabulary (Authority File) for the Biological Abstracts and BIOSIS databases, you can also take a look at this website from the publisher.

Biological Abstracts
is an expensive database, with older segments based on purchase instead of lease. We could not afford to add very deep backfile to the index yet. However, we did all coverage years back to 1995. This dovetails nicely with the kind of fulltext access we have through other databases and publisher aggregates.

Those of you interested in the life sciences should definitely make this professional-level abstracting service a regular research stop.

[FIND Biological Abstracts on the Sciences page of the "Database by Subject" Lists.]

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Notable E-Book: Encyclopedia of Research Design

We are adding new content to our Sage Reference Online database this autumn. And one of the recent adds is a fairly unusual resource called the Encyclopedia of Research Design. The 3 volume set self-describes as "a collection of entries written by scholars in the field of research design, the discipline of how to plan and conduct empirical research, including the use of both quantitative and qualitative methods."

Entries cover everything from "Chi-Square Test" to "Krippendorff's Alpha" to "Semipartial Correlation Coefficient" to "Zelen's Randomized Consent Design." Not all topics are quite so esoteric, of course. Want to read an essay on the "Case Study" technique? You can do that here. And this encyclopedia also has a couple of useful entries that help explain the differences between "Qualitative Research" and "Quantitative Research." Editors point to "two topics [that] are especially interesting and set this collection of volumes apart from similar works: (1) a review of important research articles that have been seminal in the field and have helped determine the direction of several ideas and (2) a review of popular tools (such as software) used to analyze results."

As with all Sage eReference, you can do a quick search and see entries that relate, or you can browse through an A-Z presentation of entries. As you read one essay, a list of "See Also" entries will be listed in the left the frame, offering other articles to peruse. And below that, you'll even see cross-links to other Sage eReference titles that might be worth exploring. In the left side frame there are tools to format for printing, email, or create a citation, too.
Research Design is a complex matter. The over 500 entries included in this encyclopedia are only a starting place. But for a short introduction to a variety of complicated concepts, this resource might be quite useful.