Review Update: Sociological Abstracts
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Jessica Sender, MA, MLS
Liaison to the College of Nursing
Michigan State University

This is an update of a review I wrote that was published in the April 2018 issue of Doody’s Collection Development Monthly. You can find the original review here.

As medicine, nursing, social work, and other healthcare fields become more and more interdisciplinary and interprofessional, Sociological Abstracts continues to be an important research tool for many. The database provides subject coverage in predominantly the social and behavioral sciences. Sociological Abstracts database also includes the Social Services Abstracts, which provides coverage on social work, human services, and other related areas. These can include, but are not limited to, social welfare, social policy, health policy, and community development.

Sociological Abstracts is robust in a variety of areas, including international representation, resource type, and language diversity. It indexes over 1,000 journals, but also includes different resource types including dissertations, book reviews, trade journals, working papers, and conference papers and proceedings. Over 40 percent of the titles are published outside North America, and over 20 percent of the content is published in a language other than English.

Sociological Abstracts is available for purchase via ProQuest, and allows for access through the ProQuest platform. It is worth noting that PsycINFO, ERIC, and other well-known databases are available through this platform, making use easy on the end user. On the ProQuest platform, users can set up an account and create a profile through the My Research function, as well as select language preferences. The My Research profile allows for saving searches, creating folders to save searches, setting up alerts, RSS feeds, and even has an option to create a search widget that can be embedded on websites and library guides.

ProQuest has updated its export and saving options to save citations or export to citation managers, including RefWorks, EndNote, EasyBib, as well as a variety of other options to save or export. The exporting and save options are much more user friendly than previously, and options have expanded.

Sociological Abstracts has both a basic and quite robust advanced search function. Searching can be done via Boolean operators and field codes, and ProQuest has a helpful field codes tips section in its help documentation. There are additional advanced search functionalities for source type, document type, and language. The language limiter features over fifty languages, and the document type allows for unique document searching, including back matter, clinical trials, case reports, dissertations and historical articles, among many others.

Sociological Abstracts also includes the Thesaurus of Sociological Indexing Terms, which is the definitive index in the field, similar to MeSH terms in PubMed. It includes main term descriptions and term relationships, as well as scope and history notes. Users can create advanced searches using both thesaurus terms and keyword searching, combined with Boolean operators to ensure advanced level searching.

Sociological Abstracts is suitable for any educational, healthcare, or public institution that supports social work, social policy, community and urban development, and sociology writ large. This database is reliable and robust, and provides access to a variety of national and international journals, suitable for researchers from a variety of backgrounds, including students, faculty, PhD researchers, and general community users.

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