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Merrill Stein, Social Sciences Librarian, Retires

Merrill Stein, former Social Sciences Librarian.

“Let us take things as we find them: let us not attempt to distort them into what they are not…We cannot make facts. All our wishing cannot change them. We must use them.”  Saint John Henry Newman 

For the last 34 years, that quote remained a prominent fixture at the desk of Merrill Stein, Social Sciences Librarian, who retired in January. Finding facts and making them accessible to the Villanova community informed every facet of Stein’s many capacities at Falvey Library. Stein came to Falvey Library after previous positions at Drexel University, Saint Joseph’s University, and the non-profit organization Lyrasis. 

Supporting scholarship at Villanova, Stein was the liaison to political science, psychology, public administration, geography, and naval sciences. The social sciences representative on the Collection Management Committee, he served as leader of the social sciences team. Actively involved in numerous Library and University initiatives, Stein co-organized many events and instruction workshops. 

Reporting for the Library blog or offering research help, Stein was eager to assist others in the discovery of information. “We’ve made so many things available to the Villanova community and beyond. I enjoyed helping students and faculty while learning alongside them.”


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Holiday Short Reads for Travelers

By Merrill Stein


Sometimes we need background information for a speech or project. Maybe we need to become familiar with a subject before seeking in-depth, scholarly information. Sometimes, we just need Very Short Introductions (Oxford University Press). That’s where Oxford University Press’ VSI database can help.

Over 600 concise, printed, pithy “pocket-portable introductory lectures” (Guardian Review) covering such topics as archaeology, arts & architecture, biography, business & management, economics & finance history, language & linguistics, law, literature, mathematics & sciences, medicine & health, music, sociology, philosophy, politics, psychology & neuroscience, religion & bibles, and the social sciences can be found at Falvey.  Everything from Autism to Warfare. Log in for a quick read over the holiday.

Although the introductions are short, the scholarship and authority behind them is not. Noted authors in many fields have contributed to these short successful volumes about the world’s knowledge. As a prominent reviewer described one of the series titles “The brevity of this volume is both its strength and its weakness.” Judge for yourself.

For instance, want to know something about your favorite Starbucks? “It based its trademarked name and logo on a character from a nineteenth-century American novel that is in the public domain and thus no longer protected by any intellectual property: “Starbuck” was the first mate on the whaling ship Pequod in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. The “faux-talian” names that Starbucks gives its sweetened drinks (“Fizzio” and “Frappuccino”) also are trademarked.” – from Intellectual property: a very short introduction

You can also create a personal profile that lets you save and annotate VSI content. So, you can set up a reading list, take notes as you read, and, when it’s time to revise, go straight to the right content, and see your notes again.

Newest Additions

The latest editions in our collection are below Click the authors’ names to find their other, more detailed, publications:

Coffee-Long Stories

Falvey has other shorts as well. Try a short story.

Need some help?  There’s always the Short Story Index (EBSCO).

Short stories can provide a hint of other places. Henry James said, “It should be a little gem of bright, quick, vivid form.”  The Library has online and print short stories under many subjects, languages and translations – for example, Short stories, Irish., Short stories, Latin American.,  Short stories, American., Short stories, Ukrainian > Translations into English., Short stories, African > Translations into English.,  Short stories, Arabic > Translations into English. Better yet, suggest a quality story you have read and want Falvey to consider acquiring.

No Time? No Problem!

Need something even  shorter?  Try the many forms of poetry in the Falvey catalog.  Remember, poetry is “The Rhymical Creation of Beauty” – Edgar Allan Poe.



Merrill Stein is Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.


Legislative and Judicial Branch Trial Databases


Trials of the following databases are now available at Databases A-Z

CQ Congress Collection (SAGE) – Features include:

  • Floor votes and member profile tabs covering members of congress from 1969-present, including records on CQ designated key votes, interest group voting, and CQ generated voting scores.
  • Data analysis section including Congressional member alignment with other members, interest group ratings with other members and groups and advanced key vote analysis to compare how members voted or to analyze voting behavior, based on member demographic information on the same vote.
  • A How Congress Votes tab features a Policy Analysis section on broad topics including floor votes on legislation, legislative chronologies and links to Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, where applicable.

CQ Supreme Court Collection (SAGE) – Features include:

  • Search for case summaries by court name from Jay to Roberts, select a term from 1789-present or browse all cases by constitutional area, court, justice, term, topic, voter totals, case type and date. Alternately, browse justices by name, court, term or type of opinion.
  • Use the “Analyze Data” section, 1941-present, to search for a justice’s role in an opinion, opinion alignment or voting block incidence (to search the number of times the bloc of justices selected were together in the majority and the number of times they were together in the minority, or the number of times the selected bloc of justices voted against each other).
  • Other sections include justices’ biographies, CQ key cases pertaining to constitutional amendments, court rules and traditions, analysis of term overviews (such as the Coronavirus Term), a Supreme Court Encyclopedia, key documents and laws in American history and a glossary of common legal terms.

See these and other related resources in SAGE’s CQ Press Library (CQ Press).


""Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.






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Resource Highlights for South Asian Research tools


By Merrill Stein

The Times of India (1838–2010) (ProQuest Historical Newspapers), reported by some, as the world’s most widely circulated English daily newspaper, was founded in 1838 to serve British residents of West India. This subscription provides access to all available issues of The Bombay Times and Journal of Commerce (1838–1859), The Bombay Times and Standard (1860–1861), and The Times of India (1861–2010).

Researchers can use the historical newspaper in studying topics, such as colonialism and post-colonialism, nationalism, biography, British and world history, class and gender issues, business, international relations, comparative religion, international economics, terrorism, cultural studies, and communication. Additionally, coverage of sports, the growing Indian film industry, and other stories of everyday life are available.

The resource is complimented by Falvey Library’s access to India, Raj and Empire (Adam Matthew Digital) manuscript collection (1615-1947) and the current The Times of India news subscription.

For a research example from the Times of India (1838–2010) (ProQuest Historical Newspapers), try examining the 1857 Sepoy Mutinies or “disaffection,” that lead to the last the Mughal Emperor being deposed and direct governance of India by the British. View events as they occurred and in retrospect at 100 and 150 years later.

The Times of India (1838–2010) (ProQuest Historical Newspapers)  and the India, Raj and Empire (Adam Matthew Digital) are available on Falvey Library’s Databases A-Z list.  All versions of the Times of India can also be found by searching Falvey Library’s Journal and Article Finder.


""Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.






International Women’s Day 2021

By Merrill Stein

“… distinguished for insight into human nature, remarkable for independence and courageous self-assertion, devoted to the welfare of her race …”

The quote above, a possible aspiration for women as well as world leaders today, was part of Frederick Douglass’ 1883 eulogy for Sojourner Truth (Russell, D., Black Genius and the American Experience, rev. ed. 2009, p. 419). May it also be a reminder to give thought today to the many struggles and achievements of women world guides, leaders, and innovators. Expand awareness and gain inspiration from the assortment of links below.

Poster from Womens Liberation Workshop in London - Stevenson, Prudence (Wiki Commons)

Poster from Womens Liberation Workshop in London – Stevenson, Prudence (Wiki Commons)

UN Women is pleased to invite you to the United Nations’ observance of International Women’s Day 2021. The theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum.” Here are some links to use as launching off points to learn more about women’s leadership and achievements:

Sample some motivating videos from Falvey Library’s Academic Video Online – AVON (Alexander Street Press) database. Not sure what to try, see poet Amanda Gorman as she prepares for election day or view videos relevant to Women’s History Month: Celebrating Artists Who Are Women.

Ready to dig deeper? Jump into our subject guides, which will lead you to even more curated resources!

Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.






Presidents Day Resources from Falvey, and Beyond

By Merrill Stein

Happy Presidents Day!

Today we celebrate George Washington’s 289th birthday, which has come to be known as Presidents Day due to its positioning between Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s birthdays. To celebrate the history of this important American office, visit these resources, many of which are provided by Falvey Memorial Library, and learn more about the 46 Presidents of the United States, from Washington to Joe Biden!

From U.S. National Archives and Records Administration:

National Constitution Center

Featured Presidents’ Day Information from

From UC Santa Barbara:

American presidency project  – Documents related to the study of the American Presidency, including public papers, annual messages to Congress, inaugural addresses, radio addresses, acceptance speeches, presidential candidates debates, party platforms, elections data, and an audio/video archive.

Selected resources at Falvey:

America: History and Life (EBSCO)

American History Collection (Rotunda – University of Virginia Press)  – authoritative print editions of the papers of major figures of the early republic
American History, 1493-1945 (Adam Matthew Digital)

HeinOnline – visit the U.S. Presidential Library and U.S. Presidential Impeachment Library resources (HeinOnline is available courtesy of the Charles Widger School of Law)

Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (iPOLL)  –  Elections and Presidents Collection

Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.

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Ever Wonder What the World Was Thinking?

By Merrill Stein


Gallup Analytics, one of Falvey’s newest polling resources, uses three entry points, Topic, Geography, and Keywords to analyze recurring daily and world polls for data sources in U.S. Dailies, World Poll, Gallup Poll Social Series, and Key Indicators.

Poll questions track a variety of economics, well-being, religion, environmental, and political data. Data can be compiled for table, chart, map, and export to MS Excel for the United States, individual states, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) district levels, and the world. Trend, rank, and scatter plot depictions can also be visualized.

Gallup World Poll data covers more than 80 metrics from 160+ countries. Current Gallup Analytics subscription includes data coverage for the  21st century only. Subscription does not include historical Gallup Brain content. World Poll recurring questions may vary by year and country conditions.

Access to Gallup Analytics  is available via the Library’s Databases A-Z list and the Library catalog.  Select sample search results appear below.


Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.





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Resource Highlight: Policy Map – The Name Says It All

By Merrill Stein

The Villanova community now has access to PolicyMap, an online tool for mapping and analyzing US national data on a wide variety of topics including education, income, employment, public health, crime, housing, and transit. Time series data is available from 2000 to the present.

Researchers can conduct demographic and socioeconomic analyses on a variety of geographic levels, from the national level to the neighborhood census block group as well as custom regions.

Some practical uses for PolicyMap include identifying vulnerable populations, examining social determinants of health, studying turnout rate in recent elections, viewing the number of intensive care unit beds, and evaluating Census response indicators by block groups.

Check out some of PolicyMap’s other features:

Access to PolicyMap is available via the Library’s Databases A-Z list and the Library catalog.

Merrill Stein is Political Science Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.





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Last Modified: May 11, 2020

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