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Jul 06 2020 - 04:00 PM
Library Resources and Services for Special Education and Inclusivity


This resource guide is an overview of resources that can help members of the Teachers College community who are seeking information in recognition of special education and the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Most of these resources are available online and can be accessed off campus, and some are even hosted by outside organizations that researchers may deem relevant to their inquiries.

In addition to relevant research tools, Teachers College has its own services and resources regarding accessibility at the Office of Access and Services for Individuals with Disabilities.

Information in this guide was jointly curated by Gottesman Librarians Allen Foresta and Rachel Altvater.

[Image from the Minnesota Council on Disability of a map of the United States, made up of symbols depicting people with visible and invisible disabilities.]

Online Catalogs

Online catalogs allow users to search for materials within a library’s collection online. Below are some examples of catalogs that members of the Teachers College community may find useful.

EDUCAT - The most definitive record of the holdings of the Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College, including books, e-books, journals, e-journals, dissertations, media, and other specialized collections of all kinds.

CLIO Catalog - A union catalog of all Columbia University Libraries (excluding the libraries of Teachers College and Jewish Theological Seminary), providing the most definitive record of individual libraries' holdings of books, e-books, journals, e-journals, dissertations, media, and other specialized collections of all kinds.

WorldCat - A union catalog of the contents of over 10,000 libraries worldwide, providing the means to do extensive searching by author, title, subject, and numerous other criteria and to find locations for specific items in libraries nearby and elsewhere. WorldCat is also freely accessible on the Web at

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are the official subject terms prescribed by the Library of Congress for the cataloging of books. Library of Congress classification is used in many academic libraries. To find works pertaining to special education, the history of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and related topics, it may be useful to use some of the subject terms listed below when searching the online catalogs of libraries at Teachers College, Columbia University, and other institutions.

  • Children with disabilities -- Education [LC4001-LC4700.4]
  • Disability studies [HV1568.2-HV1568.25]
  • Disabilities 
  • Early childhood special education 
  • Inclusive education [LC1200-LC1203]
  • Individualized instruction
  • Mainstreaming in education [LC1200-LC1203]
  • People with disabilities [HV1551-HV3024]
  • People with disabilities -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- United States
  • Special education [LC3950-LC3990.4]
  • United States. Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

Periodical Indexes (Databases)

Education Databases

ERIC - Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education to provide extensive access to education-related periodical literature, ERIC (which stands for Educational Resources Information Center) provides coverage of conferences, meetings, government documents, theses, dissertations, reports, audiovisual media, bibliographies, directories, books, and monographs. In addition to this version, made available via the ProQuest platform, ERIC is also accessible via the U.S. government ERIC site and through Ebsco ERIC.

Education Full Text - Provides comprehensive coverage of an international range of English-language periodicals, monographs, and yearbooks. Indexing coverage begins June 1983; abstracts are included beginning spring 1994; full text of some journals is available beginning in January 1996.

Education Index Retrospective - Provides cover-to-cover indexing for an international range of English-language periodicals and yearbooks; coverage from 1929 through mid-1983.

Education Research Complete - Provides indexing and abstracts for more than 2,100 journals, as well as full text for more than 1,200 journals, and includes full text for nearly 500 books and monographs.

Professional Development Collection - Designed for professional educators, this database provides a highly specialized collection of nearly 520 high-quality education journals, including more than 350 peer-reviewed titles. The database also contains more than 200 educational reports.

Psychology Databases

APA PsycNET - Single search interface for PsycARTICLES, PsycBOOKS, and PsycEXTRA; provides access to 100+ journals and 3,500+ books in the fields of psychology and psychiatry.


PsycINFO (CU) - Covers the scholarly literature in the psychological, social, behavioral, and health sciences.


Healthcare-Related Databases

CINAHL Plus with Full Text - The online version of the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, providing full text for more than 750 journals indexed in CINAHL from 1981-present.

MEDLINE - MEDLINE covers the international literature on biomedicine, including the allied health fields and the biological and physical sciences, humanities, and information science as they relate to medicine and health care. Information is indexed from approximately 3,900 journals published world-wide. Our library makes the database available via the Ebsco platform; ISI Web of Knowledge Medline (CU) and Ovid MEDLINE (CU) are also available via Columbia.

PubMed (CU) - "Provides access to over 16 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles back to the 1950s. Includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources."


Social Science Databases

Social Sciences Full Text - Provides coverage of English-language journals across social science disciplines, with indexing from 1983, abstracting from 1984, and select access to full text from 1984 to the present.

SocINDEX with Full Text (CU) - Offers comprehensive coverage of sociology, encompassing all sub-disciplines and closely related areas of study. The database contains full text for more than 860 journals dating back to 1908, more than 830 books and monographs, and over 16,800 conference papers.

Sociological Abstracts (CU) - Abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences, covering such major areas as culture and social structure, family and social welfare, history and theory of sociology, radical sociology, rural and urban sociology, and the sociology of the arts, business, and education.

Multidisciplinary Databases

Academic Search Premier - A multidisciplinary database providing full text for more than 4,600 journals, including nearly 3,900 peer-reviewed titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals. See also Academic Search Complete (CU), a scholarly, multidisciplinary full-text database, with more than 8,500 full-text periodicals, including more than 7,300 peer-reviewed journals. The database features PDF content going back as far as 1887.


JSTOR (CU) - An online archive of over 1,200 leading scholarly journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. Journals are always included from volume 1, issue 1 and include previous and related titles.


Periodicals Archive Online (CU) - Archive of hundreds of digitized journals published in the arts, humanities, and social sciences.


ProQuest (CU) - Provides broad multidisciplinary coverage of scholarly journals, newspapers, dissertations, and other types of publications; for international coverage and access to full texts of dissertations only, search ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global, a subset of ProQuest.

Federated Search Engines

Similar to an online catalog, a federated search engine returns search results of materials in the library’s holdings. However, the results contain periodical articles as well as the standard fare of a catalog search. Federated searches also accommodate a variety of advanced search limiters, allowing users to narrow their searches from a wide range of results.

Super Search (via Gottesman Libraries) - To search some or all of our periodical indexes, plus EDUCAT, simultaneously for books, journal articles, reports, dissertations, and other media.

Quicksearch (via Columbia University Libraries) - To search the catalog, multiple periodical indexes, and other web resources simultaneously within a variety of subjects and disciplinary subcategories.

Google Scholar - Provides the means to search for scholarly research across many disciplines and sources: articles, theses, books, abstracts and court opinions, from academic publishers, professional societies, online repositories, universities, and other web sites.

Encyclopedias and Dictionaries

Print Resources

Concise Encyclopedia of Special Education (2nd Edition, 2002)

Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals (3rd Edition, 2012)

The Praeger Handbook of Special Education (2007)


Encyclopedia of Disability (CU) - From SAGE Reference: “This encyclopedia represents the first attempt to bring an authoritative reference resource to the many faces of disability. More than 500 world-renowned scholars have written over 1,000 entries —in a clear, accessible style—with the desire to bring all students, researchers, and interested readers closer to the daily experience of disability.”

Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals - Published in 2014, the 4th edition of this work “includes about 200 new entries, with increased attention given to those topics that have grown in importance since the publication of the third edition, such as technology, service delivery policies, international issues, neuropsychology, and RTI. The latest editions of assessment instruments frequently administered in special education settings are discussed.”

The Special Education Handbook: An A-Z Guide (CU) - In this 4th (2009) edition, “focusing on current educational frameworks in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the author has gathered into one A to Z volume a wide range of information essential to good practice in mainstream and special schools. A thematic index helps the reader plot a course through topics of interest. The broad themes and areas covered are: basic terms, ideas and values venues relating to special education, and school organisation roles and responsibilities individual differences among learners with disabilities and disorders curriculum and assessment, resources and technology pedagogy and classroom organisation therapy and care.”

E-book Collections

Ebook Central: Online books spanning a range of subject areas. These ebooks can be found through searches and also through the Browse Subjects function of the platform. Related subjects may include education, health, law, and psychology. 

RAND Books and Publications (CU) - Contains citations and abstracts for policy-related materials produced by the RAND Corporation for 1946 through 1997, and full text from 1998 to present. Searches can be filtered by series or content type, providing access to research, commercial books, and other types of publications. 

SAGE Knowledge (CU) - From CLIO: "A database of ebooks and reference books published by SAGE covering the social sciences and education, including such areas as African American Studies, Aged & Gerontology, Anthropology, Communication and Media Studies, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Economics, Education, Gender & Sexuality Studies, History, Politics, Psychology, Social Issues, Social Work & Social Policy, and Sociology."

Handbooks of Research and Practice 

Print Resources

The General Educator’s Guide to Special Education (3rd Edition, 2009)

Handbook of Special and Remedial Education: Research and Practice (1995)

Research in Special Education: Designs, Methods, and Applications (2001)

Special Education: A Reference Handbook (2001)


The Sage Handbook of Special Education (CU) - This 2007 compendium of research comprises 41 chapters divided into five sections: I, How Special Education Needs Are Understood; II, The Challenge of Inclusion; III, Knowledge Production; IV, Teaching Strategies and Approaches; and V, Future Directions for Research and Practice. The work aims "to examine the intricate relations between theory, research, and practice, and places a particular emphasis on international policies such as Education for All, and inclusive education as a strategy for achieving it."

Handbook of Early Childhood Special Education (CU) - In this collection of 29 chapters, published in 2016, "coverage spans core intervention areas in ECSE, such as literacy, motor skills, and social development as well as diverse contexts for services, including speech-language pathology, physical therapy, and pediatrics. Contributors offer strategies for planning, implementing, modifying, and adapting interventions to help young learners extend their benefits into the higher grades."

Reviews of Research

Annual Reviews (CU) - Reviews of topics in social sciences and other disciplines published as annual journals; see series for Economics, Political Science, and others.

Review of Educational Research - A publication of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the RER publishes quarterly critical, integrative reviews of research literature bearing on education, including conceptualizations, interpretations, and syntheses of scholarly work.

Review of Research in Education - A publication of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the RRE provides an annual overview and descriptive analysis of selected topics of relevant research literature through critical and synthesizing essays.

Citation Indexes

Databases for tracing responses to and the influence of authors and writings.

Google Scholar - Provides the means to search by author or publication title, and indicates and provides links to works that have cited the documents retrieved. 

Scopus (CU) - Abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature and quality web sources with smart tools to track, analyze, and visualize research.

Web of Science (CU) - Comprising the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, the Social Sciences Citation Index, the Science Citation Index Expanded, and other sources, this database supports searching by topic, author, or publication name, and is also a major means for doing cited reference searching to find articles that cite a person's work.

Digital Archives 

Online collections of archival material from within and beyond Teachers College.

Academic Commons - Columbia University's online repository, where current faculty, students, and staff can deposit the results of their scholarly work and research.

Internet Archive - A non-profit digital library offering free universal access to books, movies, and music, as well as 150 billion archived web pages.

PocketKnowledge - The social archive of Teachers College, including unpublished manuscripts and archives from the library's collections, documents from other departments and administrative offices College-wide, and the work of TC students, faculty, and researchers.

Bibliography and Citation Management Programs

Software for organizing your research.

Reference & Citation Management - This page from Columbia University Libraries offers extensive descriptions of and guides to the use of Zotero, Mendeley, and EndNote.

Library Services

Ask a Librarian - Explore a variety of kinds of research support: submit an email reference query to librarians; request a research consultation with a Gottesman librarian; review frequently asked questions via the library's Knowledge Database.

Course Reserves - E-Reserves provides online access to digital course readings, including e-journal articles and book chapters, as well as call numbers for physical course reserves materials (books, DVDs, videos, etc.). More information about E-Reserves and physical Course Reserves can be found on the Course Reserves page.

Requesting New Materials - Teachers College students, faculty, and staff may use the materials request form to request library materials not owned by Gottesman Libraries, or the Columbia Morningside Campus Libraries.

Workshops - The Gottesman Libraries' education program offers a calendar of workshops on citation management, research techniques, and academic writing processes. Visit the Events page on the library’s website to learn about and RSVP to upcoming workshops.

Outside Resources

ADA Anniversary by the ADA National Network - The ADA National Network provides its own curation of information on the ADA, as well as trainings, featured blog posts, social media outreach, and ideas for hosting inclusive ADA 30 events.

District 75 - District 75 schools are highly specialized schools serving K-12 students with a broad range of needs. This page from the NYC DOE details the locations and program offerings of these schools. 

INCLUDEnyc - The goal of this organization is to provide learning and empowerment opportunities for young people with disabilities, and to make resources available to their adult caregivers. Their website links to resources and programs as well as a live help hotline.

Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) ADA 30 Events Page - The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities has put together a landing page for events in celebration of ADA’s 30th anniversary. The calendar of events and the virtual activities toolkit both contain a wide variety of ways to engage with the history of the ADA and continuing efforts to increase accessibility. 

NYC Department of Education InfoHub: Making Accessible Content - This page contains information about creating websites and digital content using a variety of tools and in compliance with NYC DOE’s guidelines for school websites.

UDL Guidelines - Universal Design for Learning (UDL) lays out goals for learners and options for instructors to deliver lesson content from multiple points of access, tailored to their students’ needs.