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Social Work: A Search for Sources

Search Terms

 The Library of Congress sections for social work topics are:


  • 11  Social work schools, education, research methods
  • 40-45 General work, group work, case work
  • 91-95.1.1 US social welfare history, policy
  • 640-645.1.1  Refugee problems
  • 687  Social work in health care
  • 689-699.1.1  Social work with families
  • 700-713.1 Child abuse
  • 741 Child welfare, general
  • 875-883 Adoption, foster care
  • 1442-1448 Women and social work
  • 1449 Gays & lesbians
  • 1450-1493 Social work and the elderly
  • 1551-3024 Disability and social work
  • 3176 Multicultural issues, cultural competence
  • 4045 Poverty
  • 4505 Homelessness and homeless persons
  • 4998-5825 Drug abuse, alcoholism, substance abuse
  • 6545 Suicide
  • 6885-6626 Rape, violence against women, domestic violence
  • 9000 Criminology, gangs, juvenile delinquency, prisons


Terms can be checked within dictionaries, encyclopedias, and subject-specific indexes (Social Work Abstracts).

Subject and Keyword Strategies

Once you know your topic, when choosing keywords it's always a good idea to start broad and pare down. An excellent strategy for this is to take the exact words directly out of the table of contents. As an example, try cutting and pasting these keyword/keyword combinations into the Molloy Catalog.

  • family violence
  • substance abuse
  • suicide

Can you think of more? If you have found keywords that have worked please add them to the comments section below!

TIP #1: once you have your results, sometimes it is helpful to set the SORT BY dropdown to Date (Newest First)

TIP #2: changing the format on the left hand side to ALL FORMATS will bring up available articles within the same subject area

What if we don't have it?

There are several ways to obtain material that Molloy does not have:

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Research Loan Program (RLP)*: RLP allows the student to borrow books from participating local institutions. View a list of Long Island Libraries participating in the RLP program. Ask a librarian for details if you are considering this service.

This program is currently suspended due to COVID19.  Academic libraries are limiting access to their buildings to ensure the safety of their campus populations.  Some academics are allowing curbside pickup; contact the individual institution for details.

*For both ILL and RLP, a librarian should be consulted prior to determine if attaining the material from another institution is the only option. Valid I.D. card required for both.


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  •  A WorldCat zip code proximity search will show both public and academic institutions that have the  material and are the closest in distance to your location.

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  •   Did you know that any person who lives, works, attends school or pays property taxes in New York State is eligible to receive a New York Public Library card free of charge? See if you qualify, or apply now.


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  • The New York Online Virtual Electronic Library offers a wide array of access to newspapers, databases and reference resources. Most schools, colleges and universities already provide access to NOVELNY, however, any New York resident can also log in with their NY State Driver's license number.