Journal Spotlight: Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology

3.coverThe Journal of Survey Statistics and Methodology is not brand new but it’s new enough to perhaps not be in everyone’s radar. Sponsored by the American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the American Statistical Association (ASA), the quarterly began in 2013 (only two issues in the startup year). Its stated objective is “to publish cutting edge scholarly articles on statistical and methodological issues for sample surveys, censuses, administrative record systems, and other related data….to be the flagship journal for research on survey statistics and methodology” with topics of interest including “survey sample design, statistical inference, nonresponse, measurement error, the effects of modes of data collection, paradata and responsive survey design, combining data from multiple sources, record linkage, disclosure limitation, and other issues in survey statistics and methodology.”

Editors Joseph Sedransk and Roger Tourangeau point out “of course, there are already journals devoted mainly to survey topics, such as the Journal of Official Statistics and Survey Methodology. However, valuable as these journals are, both are sponsored by government agencies. We believed that the flagship journal for our discipline should have the backing of the largest, most prestigious professional organizations for survey researchers [AAPOR and ASA]  (from A Statement from the Editors).

What makes the journal  multidisciplinary is the broad topical areas of the surveys under the microscope, from business and economics to the environment and health sciences. Here is a sampling of articles from the JSSAM’s first two years:

Item Sum: A New Technique for Asking Quantitative Sensitive Questions
Representative Surveys in Insecure Environments: A Case Study of Mogadishu, Somalia
Bridging Psychometrics and Survey Methodology: Can Mixed Rasch Models Identify Socially Desirable Reporting Behavior?
Real-World Eye-Tracking in Face-to-Face and Web Modes
Comparison of Three Modes for a Crime Victimization Survey
Mobile Web Survey Design: Scrolling versus Paging, SMS versus E-mail Invitations
Distractions: The Incidence and Consequences of Interruptions for Survey Respondents
Language Ability and Motivation Among Foreigners in Survey Responding

Communication researchers interested in this journal probably also keep an eye on Communications Methods and Measures.  All things considered, JSSAM looks like a seriously good read for survey method geeks!


International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition

I want to riff off a news item from Penn Libraries News earlier this Spring posted by the Social Science Bibliographer and my good colleague Lauris Olson on the International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, Second Edition. Aavailable to the Penn community online, online (James D. Wright, editor-in-chief, 26 volumes, Elsevier, 2015)  this second edition is, as Lauris explains, a “14-year update to a reference work whose first edition was called by its reviewers, ‘the largest corpus of knowledge about the social and behavioral sciences in existence’ and “the atomic bomb of reference works.’” While there are a few “legacy articles” in the second edition, most of the articles are updated or totally rewritten.

000aab3f_mediumThere are over 50 general subject areas in which once can find communication or communication-related topics distributed. I only had to mine a few sections–Anthropology, Applied Social and Behavioral Sciences, Contemporary Cultural Concerns–to come up with the following examples:  Internet and Social Media: Anthropological Aspects;  Organizational Culture: Anthropology of; Popular Culture;  Cyberbullying; New Media, Political Mobilization, and the Arab Spring; Oral and Literate Expression;  Oversharing: The Eclipse of Privacy  in the Internet Age;  Surveillance Studies;  Tattoos and Body Modification; Social network analysis, Systematic reviewing and meta-analysis. The most consolidated area for the field can be found in Media Studies and Mass Communication.  Articles in this section: Advertising Agencies; Advertising and Advertisements; Advertising, Control of;  Advertising effects; Advertising: General; Agenda Setting, Media Effects on; Audience Measurement; Audiences, Media; British Cultural Studies; Broadcasting: Regulation; Celebrity; Citizen Journalism; Communication, Twostep Flow of; Community and Media; Computer Mediated Communication; Documentary and Ethnographic Film; Entertainment, Film and Video Industry; Film History; Film: Genres and Genre Theory; Freedom of the Press; Hegemony and Cultural Resistance; Human–Computer Interfaces; Identity Offline and Online; Information Society; International Advertising, International Communication: History; Journalism; Journalism and Journalists; Libraries; Mass Communication: Normative Frameworks; Mass Media and Cultural Identity; Mass Media and Sports; Mass Media, Political Economy of; Mass Media, Representations in; Mass Media: Introduction and Schools of Thought; Media and Social Movements; Media Effects; Media Effects on Children; Media Events; Media Imperialism; Media Talk Shows; Mobile Communication; Moral Panics; Narrative, Sociology of; New Media and Democracy in the Arab World; New Media and Social Capital; New Media and the Digital Divide; New Media, News Production and Consumption; News Interview; News: General; Online Dating; Photography as a Medium; Political Advertising; Political Communication; Postal Systems; Printing as a Medium; Public Broadcasting; Public Sphere and the Media; Publishing as Medium; Radio as a Medium; Religion and New Media; Reputation; Rhetorical Analysis; Science and Media; Science Communication; Semiotics; Social Media, Social Protest and New Media; Telegraph; Telephone; Television: General; Television: History; Terror and the Internet; Textbooks; Visual Images in the Media.

A New Era for Communication Booknotes Quarterly


Communication Booknotes Quarterly, the field’s annotative bibliographic nonpareil since 1969, has changed editorial hands for the first time.  Forty-five volumes later, founding editor Christopher Sterling (emeritus professor of Media and Public Affairs at George Washington University) has passed the baton to Weiwu Zhang. Dr. Zhang, who describes himself as a ping pong fanatic and political news junkie, is Associate Professor of Public Relations at the College of Media & Communication at Texas Tech University. He has ambitious plans for CBQ that include continuing in the tradition of its scholarly predecessor by providing topical review bibliographic essays as well as brief annotated reviews of new books from all corners of the discipline, a proven formula for decades. But look for some changes, too, as laid out in the issue’s New Editor Note. There will be greater focus on social/emerging media, which Dr. Zhang believes has transformed not only the media landscape but communication research. There will also be increased emphasis on interpersonal communication and organizational communication,  as opposed to just media communication, which will obviously remain central. To draw new readers, CBQ will feature reviews “in the interface between communication and related disciplines in political science, marketing, sociology, and psychology.” Many reviews will be longer than the usual blurb-length we’re used to (his thinking is long form reviews count more toward tenure and promotion, thus attract junior faculty reviewers) and more electronic publications and books published in foreign languages will be selected for review.

Communication librarians have always looked forward to the navy blue arrival of CBQ (those of us who still glimpse the paper!) and I will continue to do so with the added anticipation that new editorship ushers in (no matter how top-flight the previous). Nor is it time yet to pine for Dr. Sterling’s deft reviews–he’s still reviewing. In fact, I counted 32 entries in the latest issue!

Do check out CBQ 46:1 for Dr. Zhang’s debut Topical Review Essay: Social Media in Communication. And cheers to that sturdy workhorse library staple of old, the annotated bibliography–still alive and kicking in the 21st Century.



Are you shopping for journals to send out to and wonder what you’re in for from one editorial board to another?  Want a little more information than word of mouth testimonials from office mates and colleagues? JournalReviewer to the rescue!

JournalReviewer, brought to us by Malte Elson (Ruhr University Bochum) and James D. Ivory (Virginia Tech), crowd sources the experiences of submitters who have gone before you. The site’s goal is to help authors make the most informed decision about where to send their work. What it’s not is “an ‘attack’ site for people looking to vent their anger after a frustrating journal review experience.” Nor is it “a site for people looking to find the easiest path to publication they can find. The goal of JournalReviewer is simply to provide information about review experiences that many manuscript submitters seem to ask each other about when discussing journals. Much of the information authors want most, and request most of others, is not about ease of acceptance but the logistics of the review process and the substance of the feedback.”   peer

The site is a work in progress that I suspect will become much more useful when more of the 750 journals currently populating the database are spoken for. That is, of the 750 on the full list only 194  have reports attached. Reports consist of turnaround rates (in days) and review length (number of  words); also Review Quality, Overall Quality, Would Submit Again, and Journal Recommendation metrics using a 1-5 scale.  Journals from all disciplines make up the database with communication titles very well represented (perhaps because one of the builders of the site is in the field). Recently added review reports include Acta Psychologica, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, Computers in Human Behavior, Mass Communication & Society, and Sex Roles.

Viewers of the site are encouraged to wear both lurker and contributor hats. There are forms for journal suggestions to add to the site and for report submissions.  So share your stories (yes, there is free form space for comments)!

Deep Back Files for Communication Journals

Penn Libraries has always carried a lot of SAGE e-journal content but sagejust recently our holdings became amazing.  With SAGE Premier/Deep Backfile we now have access to all SAGE e-journals for all available years.  The collection spans 730 titles in sociology, education, business, psychology, computing, political science, and the health sciences. 177 new titles have been added as well as back years of many existing titles.

What does this mean for communication? It means that our e-holdings for Communication Research go back to 1974 instead of stopping in the late 90s, that both the British Journalism Review  and Science Communication goes back to 1989 and 1979 respectively instead of 1999. It means we have Index on Censorship all the way back to 1972 and American Behavioral Scientist back to 1957. Want early issues of Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly? No problem, they are just a few clicks away, even that first issue in 1955.  

All SAGE e-journal titles, old and new, should be discoverable through Franklin, FindIt, or the PennText Article Finder

My good colleague Lauris Olson wrote in a little more detail on this subject last month in the Penn Libraries News but I wanted to send out an echo to our camp which this new purchase greatly benefits.   

Update on Film and Television Databases

Penn Libraries has recently re-subscribed to two important current film and television databases, the Film & Television Literature Index and The FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals, complimenting ongoing subscriptions to Film Index International (British Film Institute) and the AFI (American Film Institute) Catalog.  The title similarities makes it all a bit confusing so here’s a little rundown. poptv

The most centrally situated database is Film & Television Literature Index, which is now, conveniently, an EBSCO product.  On the EBSCO platform users are met with a familiar interface and can search related files at the same time, namely (but not only) Communication Source insuring very solid interdisciplinary coverage of their topic. The file includes over 400 scholarly journals as well as non-peer reviewed glossy film magazines. Subjects covered are wide-ranging–film and television theory, preservation and restoration, screenwriting, production, cinematography, technical aspects of film and television, entertainment law, and film and television reviews. While our subscription is for the index and abstracts only, full text for a lion’s share of results will be just a click away via PennText which connects to hundreds of source files (Sage, Wiley, etc.).  While the bulk of material in F&TLI comes from the 70s to the present, articles from as far back as 1913 may surface.

The FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals brings together contributions from experts around the world dedicated to film preservation, cataloging and documentation. The main database contains citations from more than 345 periodicals, offering  in-depth coverage of the worlds foremost academic and popular film journals. In addition to indexing film periodicals, this resource also contains several other databases: the International Index to Television Periodicals (1979-1998), Treasures from the Film Archives, the FIAF Affiliates’ Publications, the Documentation Collections, which describe the holdings of film archives and libraries around the world, as well as and FIAFs Reference Works, which includes keyword-searchable access to 5 works: Critical Ideas in Television Studies, Encyclopedia of Early Cinema, Film Analysis: A Norton Reader, Oxford History of World Cinema, and Routledge Companion to Film Studies. A strength of FIAF is its coverage of animation journals and European film magazines.


Then there is BFI’s Film Index International which provides unmatched coverage of literature on international film and film personalities. Its Summary of Film and Television (SIFT) database is collated by the BFI and reaches back 70 years. It includes bibliographies that, unlike freely available resources such as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), point to scholarly and academic work in the field of Cinema Studies. Entries include full cast and crew lists, searchable plot synopses, filmographies, biographical details, important dates, awards and prizes, and thorough bibliographies, with citations for original reviews from the time of a film’s release as well as interviews, historical surveys and obituaries. Includes works of films from blockbusters to art house films from the present day back to early cinema and the first silent movies. This, more than any other comparable index, is the place for world cinema (and television)–European, Asian, Latin American, and African.

If your interest is feature-length films produced in America or financed by American production companies the AFI Catalog of Feature Films is a great database for authoritative information on cast, crew, plot summaries, subjects, genres and historical notes. So far it includes nearly 60,000 American feature-length films and 17,000 short films produced from 1893-2011.

You will often find overlap in these files but they are varied enough that it’s usually worth checking into more than one.  And we have many more film and television resources to recommend than these four databases!  Check out these Research Guides if you want to get an even fuller picture.

Cinema Studies 

Historic Film Archives Online

Online film archives

Introduction to Film History (Pre-1945)

Hollywood Film Industry

Television Studies

Wrapping up with a human resource is in order. Meet Penn Libraries’ very own Cinema Studies Librarian, Charles Cobine. You can reach him at: or @cobine

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209 Van Pelt

Newspaper Map

mapThere’s a new way to read electronic facsimiles of current newspapers from around the world other than through Library PressDisplay (NewspaperDirect), a Penn Libraries e-resource.  If the paper you are looking for is not in the PressDisplay, try Newspaper Map which purportedly displays over 10,000 newspapers on one Google Map.  Navigating the map, it may be tricky locating the paper you want from areas of dense marker population. Luckily you can use the search boxes to locate titles by place and name; that’s usually the easier path. What makes this resource really useful is each title is linked with translation options (though it doesn’t always deliver I discovered). Give it a try.  It’s fun reading even (or especially) without a research agenda. 

ASC Library Sports a New Homepage

Check out the Annenberg Library’s new homepage!  You shouldn’t have any trouble finding resources on the page that you are accustomed to accessing but there are a few changes which are hopefully improvements.  Capturelibsmall

Here are some highlights of new features:

  • An option in the top center box (4th tab) for a quick search of Communication Source and the EBSCO MegaFile together
  • More real estate for Canvas on the page—the added links should be helpful, especially for newcomers
  • BrowZine, featured prominently (mid-page, center), the Library’s newest way to stay alert with journal literature
  • The Library blog, CommPilings, located in the same spot on the page but with new “new clothes,” having migrated from Blogger to WordPress
  • Subject Guides—you can now search across Guides by key word (last tab on the top center box); lower down find the returning lineup of key Guides as well as a link to browsing all the Guides (less “obvious” Guides can be very useful!)

The page is more colorful overall and includes a nice picture of our beautiful space overlooking Walnut Street. Many thanks to the Penn Libraries Web Unit, namely Leslie Vallhonrat, Ivan Goldsmith, and Josh Taylor for making the new page happen!

December CommQuote

Our last Commquote of 2014 comes to us from Amos Vogel, eminent film historian and member of the Annenberg School faculty from 1973-1991.  The quote is from his famous essay that appeared in Sightlines in 1974 (Volume 7, Number 5), “Film As a Subversive Art” and reprinted in Paul Cronin’s beautifully edited book in his honor, Be Sand, Not Oil: The Life and Work of Amos VogeOILl (SYNEMA, 2014). In this passage, from the essay he talks about change, in aesthetic terms.

On the one side, we have institutions, rulers, the Establishment, academicians, festival directors, museum directors, critics, politicians – all of these, in a sense, holding back, perhaps ever so slightly, but holding back because of the inherent conservatism of all institutions, even the most liberal, which, once they themselves become established, begin to exist to project their own status quo. On the other side, we have the “out” – the ones without power, the rebels, the have-nots-with no stake in the status quo. Partly as a result of this they constantly attempt to push forward, broadening concepts of content, confronting previously forbidden subject matter, destroying old forms and immutable rules by new approaches to style and to structure. In this context, the artist – thematic, political, sexual and aesthetic subversive of cinema – is seen as the catalyst of inevitable social and intellectual change. In the end, every work of art (to the extent that it is original and breaks with the past instead of repeating it endlessly) is subversive. By using new form and new content, it opposes the old if only by implication and serves as an eternally dynamic force for change. It is thereby in itself in a permanent state of “becoming.”

                While art can never take the place of social action, and while its effectiveness is often seriously impaired by the power structure, its task forever remains the same: to change consciousness. When this occurs, it is so tremendous an achievement (even if it occurs in only one human being) that it provides all necessary justification for art. But if the task of the artists is to change consciousness, their tragedy and challenge is that as soon as they succeed, they are immediately superseded or are in danger of themselves becoming the new Establishment and the new conservatives; we have seen this happen. By acting as artists, they act as necessary links in the eternal chain of subversion, the eternal, never-ending struggle for – and here I must once again use another unpopular word – human freedom. To be able to open us (on a flat, two –dimensional, ridiculously artificial canvas) at least to the possibility of change and progress, in however limited or puny a form, represents to me the potential glory and inevitability of the independent film, and compels me, with much pain and much pleasure, to remain its proponent. 

–Be Sand, Not Oil: The Life and Work of Amos Vogel, pp. 191-192