Quick Links

Social work

On this page: Sources for Background Information   | Searching the Library catalogue | Databases  | Film and Video Databases  | Data and statistics  | Selected Internet Sites |

Liaison librarians

  • Social work

    robin [dot] canuel [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-4698
  • Couple and family therapy

    Maya [dot] Kucij [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-3702
  • McGill users only
  • Open access resource
  • Free resource
  • In-library-use only
  • Catalogue record

Sources for background information



Handbooks, companions, guides

Searching the Library catalogue

McGill Library currently has two catalogues, the newer McGill WorldCat and the older Classic Catalogue, both of which list and locate items in McGill libraries, but each having some unique features. The Classic Catalogue only searches print and physical circulating materials (books, DVDs, print journals). E-resources are not searchable, or accessible, from the Classic Catalogue.

Keyword searching

In the Classic Catalogue, use the Word(s) anywhere or Advanced search/keyword options for exhaustive keyword searches. "Basic keyword(s)", the default search option, will search for your word(s) only in the author, title, and subject heading fields of records in the catalogue.

In WorldCat, all-field (titles, notes, abstracts, summaries, descriptions, authors, and subjects) keyword searching is the default search option.

Searching with subject headings

In either catalogue, searching by subject heading is possible, but words and phrases you use must conform to the 'controlled vocabulary' used by library cataloguers. A good way to determine the exact subject word or phrase to use is to first do a keyword search and then look at the subject headings assigned to relevant results and redo the search by subject. It is very possible you may obtain more results by either keyword searches or by subject heading searches. Thorough searching should encompass both search methods.

Truncation, phrases and Boolean operators

These search features used in keyword searching are available in both WorldCat and Classic Catalogue. See notes for exceptions.

Truncation symbol ?or * e.g. teen? or teen* will retrieve catalogue records containing the words teen, teens, teenager, etc.
Phrase searching "___" e.g. "public welfare" will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase public welfare
Boolean operators: AND, OR, NOT
default: AND
e.g. "social policy" and (Canada or "United States") will retrieve catalogue records containing the phrase social policy and either Canada or the phrase United States.
Note Terms linked with or should always be enclosed within parentheses
Note When searching WorldCat, Boolean operators AND, OR, and NOT should be capitalized.

Browsing the shelves ... virtually (Using the catalogue)

In the Classic Catalogue only, you can also virtually browse library shelves for print items by doing a "Call Number begins with ..." search. In the examples below, subject heading equivalents are also provided—and that's another great way to search (in either catalogue).

CALL NUMBER begins with ... SUBJECT begins with ...
HN1-HN995 Social history & conditions; social problems; social reform
HV1-HV9960 Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
HV1-HV696 Social service
HV10.5 Social workers - Professional ethics, Evidence-based social work, etc.
HV40- Social case work
HV45 Social group work

Headings beginning with Social work with, e.g.
Social work with alcoholics
Social work with children
Social work with gays
Social work with immigrants
RC475-RC569 Psychotherapy, family therapy, group work, etc.
CALL NUMBER begins with ...
**Life Sciences collection only**
MEDICAL SUBJECT MeSH begins with ...
**Life Sciences collection only**
W322 Social work
WA546 Community Health Services
WM430 Family therapy, Group therapy

Finding articles in the catalogue

In WorldCat only, a search will yield not only books and other media, but also many articles taken from databases such as ArticleFirst, British Library Inside Serials, ERIC, MEDLINE, JSTOR, OAIster PapersFirst, ProceedingsFirst and Elsevier, as well as any other additional library subscription-based databases selected by you on "Advanced Search - Add/Remove Databases".

Article Databases

Core Social Work databases

  • Social Work Abstracts
    Produced by USA National Association of Social Workers, 1968-present, from 500+ core social work and related journals in all areas of the social work profession: theory and practice, areas of service (gerontology, welfare, public health, criminology, education, etc.), social issues, social problems. Includes books and dissertations (USA only). 
  • Social Services Abstracts
    Abstracts of current research articles and book reviews from over 1600 journals on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development. Includes dissertation abstracts.
  • SocINDEX with Full Text
    Comprehensive sociology research database with 2.1 million+ records, including full text for 860+ journals (1908-present), 830+ books and monographs, and 16,800+ conference papers. Search tools include 20,000+ term thesaurus. Indexes many social work journals from North America and beyond.
  • Sociological Abstracts
    Abstracts and indexes of international literature (articles, book reviews, books, book chapters, dissertations, conference papers and working papers) of sociology and related disciplines including social work, 1952-present. Over 5,000 journals covered. Monthly updates. "Cited by" references included for many articles. "Documents with shared records" option.
  • ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts)
    Indexing of over 500 journals from over 16 countries in the fields of health, social services, psychology, sociology, economics, politics, race relations and education, 1987-present.

Multidisciplinary databases

  • Campbell Collaboration Library of Systematic Reviews
    Free online access to systematic reviews in the areas of crime and justice, education, international development, and social welfare.
  • Cochrane Library - Includes the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, and other databases to find systematic reviews, clinical trials and economic evaluations
  • CBCA Complete Canadian resource
    Multidisciplinary Canadian content.
  • Google Scholar - Searches scholarly literature across disciplines and sources and includes some grey literature. Search commands differ from those in academic databases, so use the Google search tips here: google_tips_handout.pdf.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences: IBSS
    Two million+ references to journal articles from 2,800+ journals with abstracts for over half, books (ca. 7,000 per year), reviews and selected book chapters 1951- in all social sciences including social work related topics;over 100 languages and countries covered. Full text indicated when available.
  • Scopus A major multidisciplinary database that includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts.
  • Web of Science - A major multidisciplinary database for the Social Sciences, Arts & Humanities, as well as the Sciences. Includes backward and forward citation linking as well as citation counts. 

Additional databases

  • AgeInfo
    Bibliographic database of over 50,000 books, articles and reports from the specialist collection on Social Gerontology held at the UK Centre for Policy on Ageing.
  • AgeLine
    Produced by AARP, focusing exclusively on population aged 50+ and aging issues; premier source for literature (1978-present) of social gerontology including aging-related content from health sciences, psychology, sociology, social work, economics, and public policy. 600+ journals indexed, plus books, book chapters, reports, dissertations, consumer guides, and educational videos.
  • AoA Administration Database
    Abstracts of materials produced by AoA (Administration on Aging) grantees funded under Title IV of USA Older Americans Act (OAA) supporting demonstration, research, and training projects designed to promote use of innovative ideas and best practices in programs and services for older adults.
  • APOS Clinical Database
    American Psychosocial Oncology Society's annotated bibliography on research and clinical interventions in psycho-oncology, to address educational needs of psycho-oncologists in private practice, agency, and academic settings.
  • Autochtonia
    Index of 12,000+ references including books, articles, Masters and Ph.D. theses, reports, texts and documents from aboriginal organizations and public sources, relating to aboriginals in Quebec on many subjects, e.g. Health and Social services, Mental Health, Families, Youth, Child Protection, Urban area, etc.
  • Canadian Research Index Canadian resource
    Index with abstracts of Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal documents issued by the federal government, provinces, and two of three territories (not Nunavut); non-depository publications issued by government agencies and departments; scientific and technical report literature issued by research institutes and government laboratories; policy, social, economic, and political reports from 'think-tanks', etc.; Statistics Canada monographs, and serials, 1982- . McGill Library has all provincial titles (listed in CRI as Provincial Collection)on microfiche 1989- ; municipal collection on microfiche 1998-2003, and Education Collection on microfiche 1979-2003. Federal titles are likely available in print in McGill Library or online on a government website.
  • Catalog of Nonprofit Literature
    Foundation Center's searchable database (1997-     ) of approx. 28,000 citations to: articles from 100+ periodicals, books, media resources, and 'grey' literature from the nonprofit sector covering philanthropy, fundraising, nonprofit management and leadership, voluntarism, etc. Formerly known as The Literature of the Nonprofit Sector.
  • Canadian Public Policy Collection Canadian resource
    Collection of monograph publications from Canadian public policy institutes, government agencies, advocacy groups, think-tanks, university research institutions and other public interest groups.
  • CINAHL Plus with Full Text
    Comprehensive nursing & allied health research database, with full text for 760+ of journals indexed (4,175+) and 275+ books/monographs, 1981-     in all areas of nursing and allied health literature, including social work.
  • Famili@ Quebec resource
    Près de 8000 fiches bibliographiques des documents écrits et de langue française, publiés depuis 1980 concernant la recherche sur la famille au Québec. Multidisciplinaire (administration, anthropologie, architecture, communications, criminologie, démographie, droit, éducation physique, éducation, études littéraires, études urbaines; géographie, gérontologie, histoire, médecine, nutrition et diététique, orientation scolaire et professionnelle, philosophie, psychiatrie, psycho-pédagogie, psycho-éducation, psychologie, récréologie, relations industrielles, santé publique et communautaire, science économique, science politique, sciences infirmières, sciences religieuses; service social, sexologie, sociologie).
  • First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada Database (FNCFCS) Canadian resource
  • WHO MiNDbank
    Links to a range of country and international resources, covering mental health, substance abuse, disability, general health, human rights and development, including policies, strategies, laws, and service standards.
  • NDAR (National Database of Ageing Research)
    Aims to be fully comprehensive on-line resource of research in progress and forthcoming research within the UK on all non-medical aspects of older age.
  • PAIS International 
  • P.E.P. Archive
    Full text of 29 premier journals in psychoanalysis (1871-2006), 56 classic psychoanalytic books, and all 24 volumes of The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud.
  • PILOTS Database
    Index of world literature on PTSD, from US Dept of Veteran Affairs National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Repère Quebec resource
  • Revue française des affaires sociales CAIRN
    Revue thématique trimestrielle pluridisciplinaire, interrogeable, 2001-     , dans le champ sanitaire et social, publiée par la Documentation française. Chaque numéro comporte un dossier thématique. La revue publie également des articles hors dossier.
  • Social Care Online
    UK's "most complete range" of information and reseach—indexing of journal articles from approx. 350 periodicals, websites, research reviews, legislation and government documents, and "service user knowledge"—on fostering, mental health human resources, etc. 1980-  and some "defining texts" from 1960s, 1970s.
  • Social Sciences Full Text (Wilson)

Film and video

  • Counseling and Therapy in Video
    Online collection (vols. I & II) of over 600 hours of streaming 400 (standard) and 800 (full-screen) kbps video—with searchable synchronized transcripts--available for the study of counseling, social work, psychotherapy, psychology, and psychiatric counseling. Includes filmed footage of actual therapy sessions, re-enacted therapy sessions, scripted sessions designed by counseling professionals to illustrate common issues and scenarios, consultations among expert therapists, documentaries, and lectures, presentations and interviews of prominent therapists. Downloadable ZIP files of teaching and discussion guides, video clip-making tools and annotated playlist capability also available. Browse searching by video title, subject, themes, therapists, and therapy types.
  • Films on Demand
    Streaming video—Flash Video, Windows Media and QuickTime—of selected educational programs, from Films Media Group, high school to college level; 6,000+ titles in Humanities, Social Sciences, and Science, including Social Work, Health, Family, Guidance and Counseling.
  • National Film Board (NFB) Canadian resource
    McGill subscription to NFB streaming service includes films marked "Campus" as well as those accessible to the general public. NOTE Some films are not available through the streaming service.
    Streaming video of 300+ hours of psychotherapy demonstrations featuring 95 renowned North American therapists: 200+ topics, 65 therapeutic approaches. Searchable, with transcripts; playlist capability.

Data and statistics

Selected Internet sites

Accessible to anyone with an Internet connection.

McGill selected Internet sites



Associations - Canada, Québec

Associations - Other


Alzheimer's disease, aging

Code of ethics


Social policy


Longitudinal studies


Domestic/family violence

Other Internet sites

Other resources

Collection policy

Course-related library guides

  • SWRK 723 – Advanced seminar in social policy
    Annotated list, with links, of major sources for government information, compiled for SWRK 723 (Prof. W. Thomson, School of Social Work) by Megan Fitzgibbons, Liaison Librarian, January, 2010.

Related subject guides


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