Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies Database | Reference eReview

Though relatively new, this database offers effective searching options and is full of content that education students and researchers will find extremely valuable, especially those interested in international perspectives and practices.

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CONTENT screenshot of the homepage of the database

A book chapter about the factors shaping the degree paths of black students in South Africa, an entry on the challenges of teacher recruitment in Anguilla, and a piece on friendship and peer culture in Finland are among the many fascinating studies in this well-constructed database that explores education and childhood studies around the world. Readers will find here almost 75 academic ebooks, 60-plus policy reports, various country overviews, and more than 400 articles organized into six levels of education: early childhood, childhood, youth, primary, secondary, and higher education. Also included are the entire contents of the 18-volume “Education Around the World” print reference series, easy-to-view downloadable tables and graphs, and links to external resources, educational data, and statistical information.

Geared primarily toward undergraduate and graduate students in education programs with a global focus, the scholarly content is also somewhat applicable to K–12 teachers. Users will get a strong sense of the common issues, concerns, and challenges facing teachers and students across the globe, from the effects of poverty and war to globalization to gender to special needs.

More than 20 countries are represented; currently, most resources come from Europe (534), and the UK has the highest number of titles (273). By contrast, Central America and the Caribbean (49) and South America (76) have the fewest. Asia (258), Africa (216), the Middle East (137), Oceania (154), and the United States (119) are somewhere in between. The emphasis is on publications since 2008, with a heavy concentration of articles from 2019.

Though the content is strong and varied, with more offerings from the Caribbean, Central America, and the Middle East, as well as additional primary sources, the database would be even more valuable. Bloomsbury will add hundreds of new articles, ebooks, and government policy reports twice a year. The updates will not only improve existing county coverage but also include at least three new nations each year.

USABILITY

The database has a clean look and layout. At the top of the landing page are several useful tabs: “home,” “explore by,” “browse contents” (which allow users to find articles, country overviews, ebooks, and more), “about,” and “for librarians.”

Below the tabs are a general search box and a link for exploring a country in focus (at the time of the review, the country highlighted was Chile). Below that, users will find an interactive world map. A prominent “browse by” feature invites users to click on large icons “education level,” “topic,” or “country.” (Users will find a similar breakdown by clicking on “explore by.”)

Other features on the homepage include an article spotlight, a topic in focus, and recently added sources—accompanied by large photos, these offerings encourages users to dive right in.

The “for librarians” tab offers a link to the administrative portal, where users will find Counter 4 usage statistics, MARC records for downloading, promotional materials, and an accessibility statement.

The user interface, searchability, and functionality in the database are easy to use, with multiple options for searching across content areas; both new and experienced researchers will quickly locate what they’re looking for. Selecting “higher education” under “education level” on the landing page, with a default date range from 2010 to 2019, retrieved a variety of results, including a World Bank Group policy report from 2014 (“Egypt: Inequality of Opportunity in Education”); more than 200 book chapters, almost 200 chapters from the “Education Around the World” series, and 94 journal articles. Search results can be refined by date range, content type, education level, place, and topic.

Entering curriculum in the general search box yielded 1,208 items. Limiting results to book chapters on primary education from Zimbabwe brought back one item: “Building Teachers’ Capacity for Inclusive Education in South Africa and Zimbabwe Through CPD,” from the book Continuing Professional Teacher Development in Sub-Saharan Africa, a look at how teachers can ensure that students who face discrimination (whether because of gender, class, disability, or HIV status) can receive access
to ­education.

Users who would rather search by region will find the interactive world map a boon. Clicking on Asia and then the Philippines pulls up a list of 22 entries, including articles on special needs in primary education and bilingualism and multilingualism in secondary education.

Searches can be sorted by relevance, date, or alphabetically. Retrieved information can be saved, printed, shared, and cited in APA, MLA, or Chicago styles.

PRICING

Bloomsbury Education and Childhood Studies is available for purchase via subscription ($1,077 to $6,100), with fees based on institution size and type. Future platform content updates are included in subscription price. Consortia discounts may apply.

VERDICT

Though relatively new, this database offers effective searching options and is full of content that education students and researchers will find extremely valuable, especially those interested in international perspectives and practices. Hopefully, additional content will make this a more globally inclusive resource; overall, it’s already a strong tool that will only continue to be improved.


Rob Tench is a librarian at Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA

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