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.
The latest editions in our collection are below Click the authors’ names to find their other, more detailed, publications:
- The psychology of music : a very short introduction / by Margulis, Elizabeth Hellmuth,
- Orthodox Christianity : a very short introduction / by Siecienski, A. Edward
- American foreign relations : a very short introduction / by Preston, Andrew, 1973-
- Abolitionism : a very short introduction / by Newman, Richard S.,
- Anthropocene : a very short introduction / by Ellis, Erle C. 1963-
- Autobiography : a very short introduction / by Marcus, Laura,
- The history of childhood : a very short introduction / by Marten, James Alan,
- The Holy Roman Empire : a very short introduction / by Whaley, Joachim,
- Native American literature : a very short introduction / by Teuton, Sean Kicummah, 1966-
- Applied mathematics : a very short introduction / by Goriely, Alain,
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!
Merrill Stein is Social Sciences Librarian at Falvey Memorial Library.