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When Time Is of the Essence: Very Short Introductions

By Jutta Seibert

Faculty looking for short texts to introduce students to a new subject value the Very Short Introductions (VSI) series from Oxford University Press for their clarity and brevity. The complete VSI series with close to 700 individual titles is now available to the Villanova community via a dedicated VSI gateway. The series has broad interdisciplinary appeal with a sizeable number of STEM titles in addition to arts and humanities and social science topics.

Take a closer look at VSI the next time you are looking for concise and authoritative information about a complex topic. Each volume is written by a specialist for a general audience with little or no previous knowledge of the subject. The scope of this series is impressive: it includes a suite of basic business subjects such as accounting, taxation, and marketing; STEM topics range from engineering and physics to medicine and mathematics; arts and humanities subjects come from a wide variety of disciplines as is to be expected.

Individual volumes rarely exceed 160 pages in keeping with the series title. Readers can expect concise overviews, brief outlines of current research directions and references to seminal texts. The VSI platform makes it easy to discover suitable volumes and chapters. Readers may set up personal accounts to manage a list of favorite chapters. Alternatively, they can also download citations containing persistent URLs. Those who would like to download individual chapters will need to use the print function to create a pdf document first.

You can find a link to the complete collection on the Library’s Databases A-Z list. Records for individual volumes can be found in the Library’s catalog. Note that the catalog includes records for selected VSI volumes available through ProQuest as well as for print volumes. Readers who prefer to browse and search all published VSI volumes simultaneously should use the link on the A-Z list.

Interesting subjects abound in a series this large: for example, anyone seeking to gain a better understanding of the current global health crisis will find the volumes covering the history of pandemics, epidemiology, viruses, and public health particularly interesting. The sheer scope of the series can be overwhelming at first: aesthetics, art theory, artificial intelligence, Augustine, Catholicism, climate, critical theory, biometrics, citizenship, environmental politics, evolution, feminism, free speech, globalization, the Harlem Renaissance, human rights, the Koran, literary theory, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the periodic table, privacy, number theory, and the Silk Road. And this is just a small sample of the topics covered!

Visit the VSI database to discover subjects that you are interested in, and let us know how you feel about this latest addition to the Library’s ever-growing collection.


Jutta Seibert is Director of Research Services & Scholarly Engagement at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 



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Holiday destinations: the long and short of it

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 a very short introduction. That’s where Oxford University Press’ “Very Short Introductions,” published since 1995, can help. very short introductions cover

Over 400 of these 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.

Take one home, before you leave for Thanksgiving break!

Author specifics prove that 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.

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.

Find out more about “Very Short Introductions” (VSI) at You Tube. Or learn more from one of the VSI study guides at Oxford University Press.

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.


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Last Modified: November 25, 2019