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Disability Studies: A Guide to Library Resources

Disability Studies focuses on the political and cultural identity of disability; studying the interaction between these forces that underlie and shape perceptions and experiences. This guide in intended to help you begin your research in this area. If you need further assistance, please ask at any reference desk.

Table of Contents:

Bibliographies & Guides
  • A Celebration of Diversity: An Introductory, Annotated Bibliography about Disability Culture
    "According to Dr. Steven E. Brown, Co-Founder of the Institute on Disability Culture, in the United States, the idea of disability culture has gained momentum in the early 1990s leading to many examples of the culture in articles, books, music, and film. This is an annotated description of those Brown believes are most significant. In: Disability Studies Quarterly 15 (4), (Fall 1995), 36-55. (PDF, 125 KB.) Internet publication URL: www.independentliving.org/docs3/brown95a.html and www.independentliving.org/docs3/brown95a.pdf"
  • Clothing for Special Needs : An Annotated Bibliography
    By Usha Chowdhary. Columbia, MO : Textile and Apparel Management, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2000.
    • Location(s): TC Magrath Library Quarto TT648 .C46x 2000 Regular Loan
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Disability Rights Movement: From Deinstitutionalization to Self-Determination
    By Duane F. Stroman. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2003.
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library HV1553 .S77 2003 Regular Loan
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
  • Doing Disability Research by Colin Barnes and Geof Mercer
    Leeds: Disability Press, 1997.

    This classic work is out of print but available online freely. Thoughtful essays provide a good background in the issues, theoretical arguments and perspectives that marked the field then, and often now.

  • Encyclopedia of Disability Online
    General editor, Gary L. Albrecht. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2006. This 5-volume set "presents current knowledge of and experience with disability across a wide variety of places, conditions, and cultures to both the general reader and the specialist."
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library Authentication Required
    Reference titles from various publishers in many subjects, including art, biography, business, cultural studies, education, the environment, history, religion, science, and social science. Includes such reference titles as: Encyclopedia of the Life Course and Human Development, Dictionary of American History, Encyclopedia of Religion in America , and Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • Investigating a Culture of Disability
    This 242-page PDF book by Steven Brown was originally published in 1994 by the Institute on Disability Culture.

    ""Investigating a Culture of Disability" is both the culmination and the beginning of a scholarly passion and a lifelong obsession. Like many people, I have struggled with the need to belong within a community of my choosing and to be able to express my need for individual character. I have found such a role in the disability community."

  • New Paradigm of Disability: A Bibliography
    "This is an annotated bibliography of books organized by categories: Community/Culture, Disability Studies, Family, Children, & Relationships, History, Identity, Policy/Civil Rights, Children/Young Adults, and separate categories for Radio, Movies, WWW (Internet), Publications and Videos. The list is a compilation of recommendations from a diverse group of disability scholars and activists and other bibliographies. All of the entries illustrate an authentic view of disability using the new paradigm. Included is disability experience, identity, pride, passion, intellect, and community as we define it. The focus is on disability in the United States, but it also includes international perspectives."
  • Sage Knowledge Authentication Required
    SAGE Knowledge is the platform for accessing all subscribed content from Sage and and selected companion publishers CQ Press and Corwin. Sage Knowledge includes an expansive range of SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more. The Libraries have purchased all Sage Handbooks and Encyclopedias through 2011. This includes: Encyclopedia of Disability, Disability Through the Life Course, Handbook of Disability Studies, and Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice.
  • Way with Words: Guidelines and Appropriate Terminology for the Portrayal of Persons with Disabilities
    Ottawa: Status of Disabled Persons Secretariat, Dept. of the Secretary of State of Canada, 1991.
    • Location(s): TC Wilson Library Gov Pub (Canadian Docs) S2-216/1991E Regular Loan
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
Core Scholarly Databases
The Universiy of Minnesota Libraries has over 200 online indexes and databases available - as well as hundreds more on CD-ROM and in print. Depending on your topic, the following may be some of the best places to start your research. If you have any questions, or want assistance in picking the best database for your topic, ask at any reference desk.
  • ABLEDATA
    ABLEDATA contains information on assistive technology products, from white canes to voice output programs, including detailed descriptions of each product, price, and company information. By selecting the "Library" option you are able to access fact sheets, news links and "a searchable listing of articles, books, papers and other paper and electronic publications about assistive technology."
  • America: History and Life Authentication Required
    This index provides historical coverage of the United States and Canada from prehistory to the present with over 2,000 journals including all key English-language historical journals.
  • Anthropology Plus Authentication Required
    Anthropology Plus brings together into one resource the highly respected Anthropological Literature from Harvard University and Anthropological Index, Royal Anthropological Institute from the UK. Anthropology Plus provides extensive worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies. The index offers excellent coverage of all core periodicals in the field in addition to local and lesser-known journals. Coverage is from the late 19th century to the present.
  • AnthroSource Authentication Required
    Current and archival journals from the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Current coverage includes 15 of the AAA's most critical peer-reviewed publications; including American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly. The archive includes all AAA journals.
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete Authentication Required
    Find academic journal articles on topics in mass media, film, television, marketing, and communications in business, health, and other communication studies.
  • ERIC (Access via CSA) Authentication Required
    United States and Other Countries: For Education Topics use ERIC CSA for Find It access to U of M e-journals; ERIC is the Education Resources Information Center. It provides access to education-related journal and non-journal literature. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, it provides full citations and abstracts for journal articles, books, curricula, government documents, dissertations, reports, and other educational materials.
  • History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Authentication Required
    Indexes articles, books, proceedings, reviews, and dissertations on the history of science and technology. Includes indexing to Sexuality and Disability, Disability and Rehabilitation, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, Technology and Disability, Journal of Disability Policy Studies and Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability.
  • NCEO Data Viewer
    Data Viewer is an interactive data Web site developed by the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University's Institute on Community Integration. It contains research data that NCEO has collected on the state policies and the participation of K-12 students with disabilities in public education assessments nationwide, offering it in multiple databases that allow users to create customized reports based on criteria they select. Currently there are two data sets users can access: 1) State Policies on Assessment Participation and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities; and 2) data from the Annual Performance Reports submitted by states to the U.S. Secretary of Education.
  • NARIC Databases
    From the National Rehabilitation Information Center, you are able to search three databases together or separately: REHABDATA ("This database contains approximately 69,000 abstracts of books, reports, articles, and audiovisual materials relating to disability and rehabilitation research. Each abstract includes bibliographic information, a 250-word abstract, and, when appropriate, information regarding the project that produced the document. The index spans research from 1956 to the present," NIDRR Project Database, ("NARIC collects data on every project funded by NIDRR in a given fiscal year. Each record includes institutional and contact information, funding data, and an abstract of project goals and activities. The database includes projects funded from 1993 to the present," and NARIC Knowledgebase, which "represents 25 years of collecting resources for information and referral. The database includes agencies and organizations, directories, databases, journals and other periodicals, and online resources."

    This is not linked to FindIt for full text content, you will have to use MNCAT or other means of accessing full-text.

  • PAIS International Authentication Required
    Since its establishment in 1914, PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) has chronicled issues in the public debate through highly selective coverage of a wide variety of sources, including references to monographs, periodical articles, notes and announcements, government documents, policy reports and analytics. Addition of the Archive to our current PAIS International database extends comprehensive access to public and social policy information.
    Check MNCAT Record for Location and Availability
    • PAIS Int'l Authentication Required
      Since its establishment in 1914, PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) has chronicled issues in the public debate through highly selective coverage of a wide variety of sources, including references to monographs, periodical articles, notes and announcements, government documents, policy reports and analytics. Addition of the Archive to our current PAIS International database extends comprehensive access to public and social policy information.
  • PsycINFO Authentication Required
    Going back to 1806, this is the most comprehensive database for psychological research. With a little guidance from this tutorial, you'll be able to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of scholarly materials.
  • PubMed Authentication Required
    This is the primary source of journal article for the health sciences. You can search MEDLINE and preMEDLINE databases with full text access to all MEDLINE e-journals subscribed to by the University of Minnesota TC Libraries. MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database/article index that contains over 17 million references to journal articles. Coverage is from 1949 to the present. Over 5200 journals worldwide in over 37 languages are accessible.
  • Social Services Abstracts Authentication Required
    CSA Social Services Abstracts provides bibliographic coverage of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development. The database abstracts and indexes over 1,600 serials publications and includes abstracts of journal articles and dissertations, and citations to book reviews.
  • Sociological Abstracts Authentication Required
    This core database for the field of sociology contains information on sociology and social policy worldwide. Sociological Abstracts includes citations from the 1952-present.
  • Web of Science Authentication Required
    Search within a comprehensive interdisciplinary collection of journal article citations. Subjects generally covered are within Science and technology, arts and humanities, and social sciences . Use the citation web to find articles and journals with the most impact. Coverage runs from 1975 to the present. Helpful tutorials can be found on their website.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts Authentication Required
    CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is building on the merged backfiles of Political Science Abstracts, published by IFI / Plenum, 1975-2000, and ABC POL SCI, published by ABC-CLIO, 1984-2000. The database provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international serials literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration & public policy.
Popular Press: Indexes & Databases
  • Academic Search Premier Authentication Required
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database. Includes full text access to over 4,000 scholarly (peer-reviewed) publications back to 1975. A great place to start your research on any topic. Find search tips on their help page.
  • Business Source Premier Enhanced Authentication Required
    This resource is licensed by the MINITEX Library Information Network with state appropriations from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office (MHESO) and the Minnesota Department of Education.
    This version of Business Source Premier provides makes it easy to find articles along with other specialized reports. These inlcude company profiles and industry reports from Datamonitor, country profiles from research advisory services such as the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) and market research from various trade publications. A good resource for business and economic topics and global studies.
  • Factiva Authentication Required
    Full text database of media outlets, trade publications, news sources and websites that has international coverage. Includes daily newspapers, transcripts, newswires, and all editions of the Wall Street Journal. Financial information for publicly traded companies, stocks, funds, currencies, and common market indexes. Limited to 7 simultaneous users.

    Due to licensing restrictions for academic subscriptions, not all of the news sources in Factiva are available. See this list of Excluded Titles. If you need assistance using Factiva, please contact the Journalism Librarian.
  • LexisNexis Academic Authentication Required
    LexisNexis Academic is a full text databases of business, legal, news, magazines, and wire services. It includes sources for accounting, environmental studies, health and medical care, government and politics, people, and consumer information. Legal publications include law journals, federal and state statutes, codes, cases, agency rules & regulations, patents and legal reference materials.
  • ProQuest Newsstand Authentication Required
    ProQuest Newspapers provides indexing and full text access to 1,270 newspapers and wire feeds. Full-text titles include major U.S. daily newspapers such as the New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.
Government Information & Statistics
These database will provide you with general access to US and UN information. For more detailed information or specific information relating to some agency, survey, census or law, contact the Government Publications Library on the basement level of Wilson Library or the Law Library in Mondale Hall.
  • AccessUN Authentication Required
    AccessUN provides access to bibliographic citations of current and retrospective United Nations documents and publications including:
    • the UN collections of the Government Publications Library
    • articles appearing in UN periodicals
    • the bilateral and multilateral treaties in the UN Treaty Series
    • full text documents from the:
      • General Assembly - resolutions from 1981-
      • Security Council - resolutions from 1974-
      • Economic and Social Council - resolutions from 1982-
  • Disability Statistics - Online Resource for U.S. Disability Statistics
    An indispensable guide and set of data from Cornell University. "The estimates provided on this website are based on analyses of three different data sources: the American Community Survey (ACS), Current Population Survey (CPS), and Census 2000. Each data source has different strengths and use different questions to identify disability. The data source you should use depends on the type of information you are interested in." This helps you select the best data depending on your specific needs.
  • Disability Statistics Center
    From the University of California, San Francisco, the "Disability Statistics Center produces and disseminates policy-relevant statistical information on the demographics and status of people with disabilities in American society. The Center's work focuses on how that status is changing over time with regard to employment, access to technology, health care, community-based services, and other aspects of independent living and participation in society."
  • Disability.gov
    "Disability.gov is the federal government website for comprehensive information on disability programs and services in communities nationwide. The site links to more than 14,000 resources from federal, state and local government agencies; academic institutions; and nonprofit organizations."
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR)
    Located within the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, ICPSR provides "access to the world's largest archive of computer-based research and instructional data for the social sciences. The data archive includes a broad range of disciplines, including political science, sociology, demography, economics, history, education, gerontology, criminal justice, public health, foreign policy, and law. ICPSR's entire collection is online and available for downloading. However, many of the studies in the ICPSR archive are restricted to faculty, staff, and students at member institutions" including the University of Minnesota.
  • Injury Data and Resources
    The purpose of this Web site is to provide an overview of injury morbidity and mortality data and statistics available from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and to provide details on injury surveillance methodology and tools to assist in data analysis.
  • Institute for Community Inclusion
    "YOUR RESOURCE FOR DATA ON EMPLOYMENT AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES - This website is a resource for people who need data on employment of people with disabilities. We offer information on employment services, employment outcomes, and population information for people with disabilities. Users can generate customized charts and tables, download raw data from one of the many data sources on the site and use it to conduct their own analyses, and can read and download publications that discuss and analyze critical issues in the area of employment of people with disabilities." Includes the PDF of the 2011 National Report on Employment Services and Outcomes is now available. The book provides national and state level statistics spanning a twenty-year period. Its sources include several data sets that address the status of employment and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with ID/DD.
  • ProQuest Statistical Insight Authentication Required
    Index to statistical publications from US and state government agencies, international intergovernmental organizations, professional and trade organizations, business organizations, commercial publishers, independent research organizations, and universities.
  • Rehabilitation Research & Training Center on Disability Statistics & Demographics (StatsRRTCDSD)
    "The StatsRRTC’s research and outreach activities draw upon data from major national survey data (such as the ACS, CPS, NHIS, and SIPP) and the administrative records of government programs (such as SSDI, SSI, federal/state VR programs)...[facilitating] evidence-based decision making in many different service and policy arenas to benefit persons with disabilities, leading to improved social outcomes." From the website you are able to download data from various government programs, national surveys and some international disability statistics.
  • Resource Guide to Disability Statistics - American Foundation for the Blind
    A very useful guide to sources of data on disabilities. "This page is intended to provide advocates with tools and information in the larger disability policy arena. These resources are listed in alphabetical order within each of the following categories: General, Listservs, Journals (including special issues of journals), Professional Associations, Centers and Studies Specific to Assistive Technology." Acronyms"
  • World Report on Disability
    Published in 2011, "the first ever World report on disability, produced jointly by WHO and the World Bank, suggests that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability. The report provides the best available evidence about what works to overcome barriers to health care, rehabilitation, education, employment, and support services, and to create the environments which will enable people with disabilities to flourish. The report ends with a concrete set of recommended actions for governments and their partners. This pioneering World report on disability will make a significant contribution to implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. At the intersection of public health, human rights and development, the report is set to become a "must have" resource for policy-makers, service providers, professionals, and advocates for people with disabilities and their families."
Key Web Sites
  • Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies (CHPLDS) - Syracuse Univ.
    This Syracuse University center "brings together various programs and centers of the University to engage in research that explores the social, economic, political, public policy, artistic, and legal dimensions of inclusion and equality of children and adults with disabilities in the United States and around the world. Such research results in books, policy development by government agencies and legislative committees, lawsuits, published studies in academic journals, and community education and media presentations." Site includes useful information and links.
  • Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law
    Home page for the American Bar Association's Commission on Mental and Physical Disability Law web site. Although many of the links are for subscribers, many of these documents and reports will also be available through the Law Library.
  • Disability History Association (DHA)
    "The DHA offers its members a community of active and interesting historians; access to our resources page, which includes a newsletter, conference information, sample syllabi, and helpful links; as well as an opportunity to help build an exciting field."
  • Disability History Museum
    "The Disability History Museum aims to provide all site visitors, people with and without disabilities, researchers, teachers and students, with a wide array of tools to help deepen their understanding of human variation and difference, and to expand appreciation of how vital to our common life the experiences of people with disabilities have always been."
  • Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement
    This University of California library website covers "the Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement. Discover our rich collection of primary sources exploring the social and political history of the disability movement from the 1960s to the present." The site includes an introductory section, access to their oral histories and archives and a section of additional resources and links.
  • Institute on Community Integration
    The Institute is a federally-designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, housed at the University of Minnesota. It is home to over 70 projects and 6 affiliated centers that carry out research, training, and information sharing in fulfillment of its mission: Improve policies and practices to ensure that all children, youth, and adults with disabilities are valued by, and contribute to, their communities of choice. On its Web site are over 400 resources addressing disability-related topics across the lifespan.
  • Leadership in the History of the Developmental Disabilities Movement: A Web-Based Instructional, Discussion, and Wiki Program
    "This multimedia website profiles the experiences of key leaders in the developmental disabilities movement from 1845 through the present through historical trends and public and professional perceptions. This includes the evolving context of acceptance of and services available to persons with disabilities, the features of effective leadership, and the different styles of leadership required for sustainable change. This website was created by the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota."
  • My Voice, My Vote
    This Web site is for young adults with disabilities who want to make a difference by getting involved in our local, state and national elections and making their voices heard on issues they find important. It includes a video about voting rights and processes in Minnesota (including how to register to vote, and voting accommodations), and resources for teachers, program leaders, and young people with disabilities around the country on what it means to be a engaged citizen and get involved with the political process. It was created by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota.
  • National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research
    "Outcomes of disability research should offer great utility to people with disabilities and their families, practitioners engaged in various types of disability service delivery, scientists and researchers, policymakers, journalists, healthcare providers, employers, and many others. The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education funds a variety of high-level research and knowledge dissemination projects that are making significant contributions in advancing knowledge related to disability issues."
  • National Disabled Students Union
    "The National Disabled Students Union (NDSU) is a national, cross-disability, student organization dedicated to social justice for all. Our mission is to mobilize and organize students with disabilities throughout the nation in order to continue the legacy of empowerment and community solidarity that is our heritage."
  • National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
    Part of the US Department of Education, "The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) provides leadership and support for a comprehensive program of research related to the rehabilitation of individuals with disabilities. All of our programmatic efforts are aimed at improving the lives of individuals with disabilities from birth through adulthood." Links to research databases, statistics and other links are given.
  • Quality Mall
    Quality Mall is an online clearinghouse operated by the Research and Training Center on Community Living in the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration. It shares information on nearly 2500 resources from around the country addressing positive practices that help people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live, work and participate in our communities, and that improve the quality of services and supports they receive.
  • Society for Disability Studies
    "The Society for Disability Studies (SDS) is an international non-profit organization that promotes the exploration of disability through research, artistic production, and teaching. Disability Studies encourages perspectives that place disability in social, cultural, and political contexts. Through our work we seek to augment understanding of disability in all cultures and historical periods, to promote greater awareness of the experiences of disabled people, and to contribute to social change." The site includes an excellent set of links to organizations, resources and other web sites.
More Guides to Help You Find the Information You Need
  • Law
    This subject covers: the legal systems of the Federal government and the State of Minnesota (with an emphasis on primary sources e.g. statutory law, case law and administrative law), legal education and the legal profession in the United States generally.


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