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Introduction to the Collections
The New York Public Library has a wide range of materials available for
sociological research, including books, journals, indexes, and databases.
The Humanities & Social Sciences Library's General Research Division,
accessible in room 315 and the Rose Main Reading Room, is primarily responsible
for sociology materials and collects extensively in sociology, social history,
and social problems.
These materials have been a priority for NYPL since its early years. Additionally,
the library's collections focus on many specific topics studied within sociology,
such as child abuse and child welfare, civil rights, homelessness, minorities,
and popular culture, among others. Recommended searching skills for locating
these materials in CATNYP, the online catalog of The New York Public Library’s
four Research Libraries, are listed in the Using
the Library’s Catalogs section.
Given the interdisciplinary nature of sociological research, it is important
to consult the resources for other fields, such as psychology, anthropology,
political science, and statistics. The Humanities and Social Sciences Library
is only one of the four Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.
Researchers in sociology, depending on their research topic, may need to
consult one of the other centers, which are the Science, Industry, and Business
Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Library
for the Performing Arts. The collections of these other centers are included
If you need further assistance, visit our reference desk, or e-mail us
Using the Library’s Catalogs
CATNYP is the online catalog of The New York Public Library’s research collections. It
is easily accessible via the Internet at http://catnyp.nypl.org. For general
instructions on using CATNYP, please consult Using the Library's
Online Catalog. The following information is specific to the subject
CATNYP allows searching by author, title, keyword, and subject. A keyword
search is recommended, and the catalog defaults to this option.
The most salient keywords for sociology include the following:
Works by and about prominent sociologists can be found by searching their
names in the author and/or subject fields, entering the last name first:
When performing a multiple word search, be sure to use the word "and" between
sociology and crime
sociology and race
anthropology and religion
sociology and religion
sociology and Durkheim and school
After retrieving the results of a keyword search, the researcher is advised
to examine the subject headings listed in the entry. Clicking on the appropriate
subject heading will bring up titles specifically linked to that topic.
Although keyword searching is recommended, some researchers may also wish to
employ a subject search. A subject search might yield more precise results,
but only if the appropriate Library of Congress subject headings are utilized.
A list of these subject headings is available at www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/lcco.
When visiting the Library, the researcher may wish to consult the Dictionary
Catalog, most of whose entries now appear in CATNYP. Please consult a librarian
about the appropriate subject and author headings to employ.
The items listed below are meant as a starting point for your research, and
are by no means comprehensive. General reference works such as encyclopedias,
dictionaries, handbooks, and directories offer background information, and
quick answers to specific questions.
Encyclopedias | Dictionaries | Directories
| Handbooks & Guides | Bibliographies
| General Works
Encyclopedias can be useful for overviews
of areas of research, for bibliographies of standard works, and for biographical
The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology,
edited by George
Ritzer (Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2007), 11 vols. *R-RMRR HM425
.B53 2007 A significant and comprehensive analysis of sociological
themes, schools, theorists, concerns, and research. A lexicon in volume
one provides a guide to the articles arranged under major concepts or
Encyclopedia of Social History,
edited by Peter N. Stearns,
(New York: Garland, 1994), *R-RMRR HN28 .E53 1994 Good
for the overlap between historical and sociological research. Covers
the issues, paradigms, and topics of social history.
Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences,
edited by Edwin
Robert Anderson Seligman, (New York: Macmillan, 1937), Various call numbers
(see CATNYP). Seminal work from the formative era of the social science
disciplines. Good for historical research and biography of 19th-century
figures. The contributors include the major figures in 20th- century
social science research.
Encyclopedia of Sociology,
2nd ed., edited by Edgar
F. Borgatta and Marie L. Borgatta, (New York: Macmillan Reference USA,
2000), 5 vols. *R-RMRR HM425 .E5 2000 Fairly recent
major encyclopedia; good for contemporary perspectives and research.
International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences,
by David L. Sills, (New York: Macmillan, 1968-79), 19 vols. JFF
. Complements the earlier Encyclopedia of
the Social Sciences and updates the research and perspectives
through the 1970s
International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences,
by Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes, (Amsterdam; New York: Elsevier,
2001), 26 vols. *R-RMRR H41 .I58 2001 The successor
to the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. This
new work also provides a comprehensive and advanced approach to disciplines,
subjects, issues, schools, and methodologies in the social sciences.
The International Encyclopedia of Sociology,
by Michael Mann, (New York: Continuum, 1984), *R-RMRR HM17 .I53
1984 Selective, one-volume encyclopedia, strong on the relation
between sociology and psychology.
The Social Science Encyclopedia,
3rd ed., edited by
Adam Kuper and Jessica Kuper, (New York; London: Routledge, 2004), 2
vols. *R-RMRR H41 .S63 2004 A compendium with short
entries, covering major social sciences.
Dictionaries are useful for technical vocabulary employed in specific sociological
fields, methodologies, and perspectives. Each dictionary has particular strengths
The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought, 2nd
ed., edited by William Outhwaite and Tom Bottomore, (Malden, MA; Oxford:
Blackwell, 2003), *R-RMRR H41 .B53 2003 Covers major
fields in social sciences: sociology, anthropology, economics, and statistics.
Boudon, Raymond, and François Bourricaud . A Critical Dictionary
of Sociology, (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989), JFE
06-14362 Collection of essays on key concepts and figures in sociological
theory by two major French sociologists.
Brooker, Peter, Cultural Theory: A Glossary, (London; New
York: Oxford University Press, 1999), *R-RMRR HM101 .B775 1999 Dictionary
of terms used in cultural studies, with focus on 20th- century French thought
and critical theory.
The Cambridge Dictionary of Sociology, edited by Bryan
S. Turner, (Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), *R-RMRR
HM425 .C36 2006
Jary, David, and Julia Jary, Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 2nd
ed., (Glasgow: HarperCollins, 1995), JFD 96-76 A thorough
glossary of academic sociology, especially quantitative research and biographical
Johnson, Allan G, The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology: A User's Guide
to Sociological Language, 2nd ed., (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers,
2000), *R-RMRR HM425 .J64 2000 Definitions include suggestions
for further reading. Contains biographical appendix.
Handbooks and Guides
Handbooks have a practical focus that can include orientation within the
current literature, research methodology, and theoretical issues. Most of
the guides recommended here provide selective annotated bibliographies of
reference materials in sociology and social sciences.
Aby, Stephen H., Sociology: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources, 3rd
ed., (Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited, 2005), *R-RMRR HM585 .A24
2005 Guide to resources in sociology and other related social
science fields, with special attention to sub-fields such as criminology, demography,
Annual Review of Sociology, (Palo Alto, Calif.: Annual
Reviews Inc, 1975- present) JFK 96-615, or in JSTOR
for years 1975-2003 or in Academic Search Premier for years 1990 to 2005
available through NYPL Electronic Resources. Reviews developments
and trends in sociology.
Bottomore, T. B., Sociology: A Guide to Problems and Literature, (Boston:
Allen & Unwin, 1987), JLD 87-2371. An outline of the
history of sociology, issues, and perspectives, with reading guides to the
Handbook of Applied Social Research Methods, edited
by Leonard Bickman and Debra J. Rog, (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,
1998), JFE 92-1455. Practically oriented essays
on all phases of qualitative and quantitative research.
International Handbook of Contemporary Developments in Sociology, edited
by Raj P. Mohan and Arthur S. Wilke, (Westport, CN: Greenwood Press,
1994), JFE 95-4346. International coverage of the
history and trends in sociology. Covers both intellectual trends and
The International Handbook of Sociology, edited by Stella
R. Quah and Arnaud Sales , (London; Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications,
2000), JFF 01-4260 A guide to perspectives and issues
Li, Tze-chung, Social Science Reference Sources: A Practical Guide, 3rd
ed., (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 2000), *R-RMRR H61 .L5 2000 Extensive
coverage of the social sciences with focus on databases and web-based resources.
Reader’s Guide to the Social Sciences, edited
by Jonathan Michie, (London; Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001), 2 vols., *R-RMRR
H41 .R417 2001 Reviews literature on a wide range of topics
and concepts from the social sciences.
The Sage Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods, edited
by Michael S. Lewis-Beck et al., (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage, 2004),
3 vols., *R-RMRR H62 .L456 2004 Covers both quantitative
and qualitative research approaches with a clear explanation of one thousand
methodologies. Volume three is an index of names, organizations, concepts,
The Sage Handbook of Qualitative Research, 3rd ed.,
edited by Norman K. Denzin and Yvonna S. Lincoln, (Thousand Oaks, CA:
Sage Publications, 2005), *R-RMRR H62 .H2455 2005 Anthology
of essays on the methodology and theory of qualitative research.
Smelser, Neil J, Sociology, (Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1994), *R-RMRR
HM51 .S636 1994 Topical essays on all aspects of sociology, with
a focus on theoretical paradigms and fields of research.
The Social Sciences: A Cross-disciplinary Guide to Selected Resources, 3rd
ed., edited by Nancy L. Herron, (Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited,
2002), *R-RMRR H61 .S63 2002 Well-annotated and
selective. Includes introductory essays on various fields in the social
Sproull, Natalie L., Handbook of Research Methods: A Guide for Practitioners
and Students in the Social Sciences, 2nd ed., (Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow
Press, 1995), *R-RMRR Q180.55 .M4 S67 1995 A practical
guide covering all phases of research design with quantitative orientation.
Webb, William H., Sources of Information in the Social Sciences: A
Guide to the Literature, 3rd ed., (Chicago: American Library Association,
1986), JFF 99-1848 and JFF 07-103 Although
dated, this resource combines an annotated bibliography of reference resources
with clear discussions of the methodologies and perspectives in the social
Bibliographies provide access to books and journals by subject. They are
useful for finding books or journals appropriate to a specific topic, and
for surveying the literature.
Brown, Samuel R., Finding the Source in Sociology and Anthropology:
A Thesaurus Index to the Reference Collection (New York: Greenwood
Press, 1987), *R-RMRR HM51 .B75 1987 Selective bibliography
of the social science reference material with very good subject access. Strong
on locating topical bibliographies.
Current Sociology. La Sociologie Contemporaine, (Paris:
Blackwell, 1952- present), JFL 93-387, current issue
in Room 100, Journal of the International Sociological Association. Topical
issues, each with an extended bibliography.
International Bibliography of Sociology. Bibliographie Internationale
de Sociologie, (London: Routledge, 1951-present), JFL
99-221. Yearly bibliography of the sociology literature
compiled by the British Library, with classified subject arrangement.
International coverage of over 20,000 books and 2,500 journals.
Wepsiec, Jan., Social Sciences: An International Bibliography of Serial
Literature, 1830-1895, (London; New York: Mansell, 1992), *R-RMRR
H85 .W38 1992
——— , Sociology: An International Bibliography of Serial
Publications, 1880-1980, (London: Mansell Pub. Ltd., 1983), JLF
83-289. Subject access to serial publications in sociology and selected
related fields. Includes periodicals, books in series, and occasional papers.
Agger, Ben, Critical Social Theories: An Introduction, 2nd
ed. (Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2006) *R-RMRR HM585 .A46 2006
The Blackwell Companion to Major Classical Social Theories, edited
by George Ritzer (Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003) *R-RMRR HM585
.B527 2003 An analysis of twelve major theorists.
The Blackwell Companion to Social Movements, edited
by Savid A. Snow et al. (Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2004) *R-RMRR
HM881 .B53 2004 Examines all aspects of social movements
including identity, leadership, adversaries, ideology, and cultural ramifications.
Encyclopedia of Social Theory, edited by George Ritzer
(Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, 2005), 2 vols. *R-RMRR
HM425 .E47 2005 Includes major theories (such as pragmatism,
social space, individualism) as well as the principal theorists and schools.
Gordon, Scott, The History and Philosophy of Social Science, (New
York: Routledge, 1991), *R-RMRR H51 .G67 1991 A historical
overview of the development of social sciences from classical and Enlightenment
Levine, Donald Nathan, Visions of the Sociological Tradition, (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1995), JFE 96-1114 Focuses
on theoretical perspectives and their relation to competing accounts of the
history of sociology.
Ross, Dorothy, The Origins of American Social Science, (New
York: Cambridge University Press, 1990), *R-RMRR H53 .U5 R67 1990 History
of U.S. social sciences with a focus on sociology, relating them to developments
in the American experience.
Social Theory: A Guide to Central Thinkers, edited by
Peter Beilharz, (North Sydney: Allen & Unwin, 1991), JFD
07-4057 Review of selected theorists and schools of thought
in social sciences. Provides short biographies and bibliography of primary
and secondary sources.
Sociology in America: A History, edited by Craig Calhoun
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007) *R-RMRR HM477 .U6
Swingewood, Alan, A Short History of Sociological Thought, 3rd
ed., (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2000), JFE 00-5193. Concise
overview and introduction to the field from the Enlightenment to the present.
Westby, David L., The Growth of Sociological Theory: Human Nature,
Knowledge, and Social Change, (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall,
1991), JFE 92-6938. Analysis of the development of sociological
thought from the 18th to the early 20th century.
Locating Journal Articles
Locating articles within the journal literature and collections can be challenging.
A wide variety of indexing and abstracting resources in different formats
can be used to locate articles in periodicals, collected works, and newspapers.
Electronic Resources | Print
All indexes noted below are in electronic format, except C.R.I.S.:
The Combined Retrospective Index Set to Journals in Sociology, 1895-1974.
Coverage varies for the electronic resources, but most are limited to the
twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
A searchable digital archive of major scholarly journals including
many in social sciences, such as American Journal of Sociology
and American Sociological Review.
Electronic publishing of major academic journals, including many
titles in social sciences like Cultural Critique, Social Forces, and Social
America: History and Life
Indexes and abstracts of scholarly literature on the history and
culture of the United States and Canada. Includes books, reviews, dissertations,
Indexes articles and essays in anthropology and related fields, including
sociology, archaeology, religion, linguistics, and art history.
ATLA Religion Database with ATLA Serials
This resource contains citations to articles, books, and book reviews
from journals specializing in religion church history, and theology;
the full text is supplied for many articles. Useful for its inclusion
of materials relating to the sociology of religion and the anthropology
Bibliographic database covering the social sciences and humanities.
Indexes a wide range of politically left and radical periodicals.
Social Sciences Abstracts
Indexes publications covering a wide range of interdisciplinary fields
of the social sciences.
Social Sciences Citation Index
Indexes citations from journals in the social sciences, including
sociology, anthropology, ethnic studies, and cognate disciplines.
SOCIndex with full text is the world’s most comprehensive sociology
research database, which features nearly two billion records covering
a broad spectrum of sociological study.
Indexes and abstracts literature in theoretical and applied sociology,
and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences.
Wile, Annadel, ed., C.R.I.S.: The Combined Retrospective Index Set
to Journals in Sociology, 1895-1975, 6 vols. (Washington, DC: Carrollton
Press, 1978), JLF 86-1798. Retrospective indexing of over
100 major sociology journals, providing subject and author access.
Materials with call numbers beginning with *R are in the open reference shelves
in the Rose Main Reading Room. All others must be requested in the Public
Catalog Room, Room 315.
America: History and Life, (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC: Clio Press, 1954-
IAA+ 98-999. Indexes and abstracts of scholarly literature on the history
and culture of the United States and Canada. Includes books, reviews, dissertations,
Left Index, (Santa Cruz, CA: Left Index, 1982-), JFK 95-79.
PAIS International, (New York: Public Affairs Information Service,
1972-), *R-*D 91-803 for last ten years, JFM 98-382 and JFM 98-383 for previous.
Indexes a wide variety of materials, not just books and articles, relating
to social and public policy issues from many countries.
Social Sciences Index, (New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1974-), *R-*D 75-1211.
Indexes more than 500 periodicals in the social sciences.
Sociological Abstracts, (San Diego: Sociological Abstracts Inc., 1952-),
*RS-SA 91-2187 from 1990 on; JFM 99-210 from 1952-1989. Indexes a wide variety
of sociology materials, including over 2,500 journals, selected books, conference
reports, case studies, and dissertations.
Wile, Annadel, N. C.R.I.S.: The Combined Retrospective Index Set to Journals
in Sociology, 1895-1975, (Washington, DC: Carrollton Press, 1978), JLF
86-1798. Retrospective indexing of over 100 major sociology journals, providing
subject and author access.
Selected Internet Links
Numerous web sites are devoted to sociology and sociological research, including
academic department homepages, associations, student-produced sites, and others.
The following sites have been selected for their authority, stability, and
A thorough guide to sociology resources online, aimed at sociology students and professionals. Good coverage of theorists and sociological issues.
- American Sociological Association
Broad coverage of the sociology field in the United States, including employment,
funding, conferences, publishing, research, and institutions.
- International Sociological Association
Access to the association's activities and good range of links to sociology
Attractive, well-maintained, and thorough guide to sociology resources online,
aimed at sociology students and professionals. Good coverage of theorists
and sociological issues.
Extremely thorough and well-produced guide to internet resources in sociology
with an international perpective. Created and maintained by the Social Science
faculty of the University of Amsterdam.
For World Social Science report, DARE Data Bank, Social Science online periodicals,
Where to Go for More Help
General Research Division,
Humanities and Social Sciences Library
Located in Room 315, the Reference Desk is staffed during all hours the library
General Research Division Telephone Reference: 212-930-0831.
General Research and Reference
Division, Schomburg Center for Research in Black
- E-mail Reference Service is also available.
The New York Public Library's division devoted to African-American, African,
and African diasporic culture. Located at 515 Malcolm X Boulevard.
Science, Industry and Business Library
- Telephone: (212) 491-2200
- E-mail: email@example.com.
Research Libraries of The New York Public
Sociology research relating to economics, industry, law, and government may require
use of this library. Located at 188 Madison Avenue, the Information Services
Desk is on the lower level in the Research Library area.
SIBL's Telephone Reference: 212- 592-7000.
• E-reference form
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