Information for Practice: A Global Service to the Field from NYU Silver

Information for Practice (IP) -- the online resource for social workers -- continues as one of the NYU Silver School of Social Work's oldest efforts reaching out to the practice community around the world. Between January 1, 2011, and March 1, 2012, the site received 128,667 visits from 174 countries and territories. Comparison of the first two months of 2011 with the same period in 2012 reveals a 37 percent increase in views of IP. These statistics suggest widespread and increasing interest in this professional resource. Professor Gary Holden, who developed and edits IP, also tweets daily on the IP Twitter feed (@Info4Practice), which just passed 1,000 followers. 

Holden notes, "Our goal since the first version of IP was conceived in 1993, has been to place a virtual social work library on the desktops of social workers throughout the world. I think we have made good progress towards that goal, but there is more outreach to be done." 

One of the newest additions to IP is an advanced search capability. This allows users to search, for instance, only particular categories on the site rather than all content. For example, a social worker serving an adolescent population might be interested in practice guidelines. On the advanced search page, one can search for the term "adolescen*" (a * serves as a wild card), where it only appears in the title of the entry and in the category Guidelines Plus. Someone would then receive 37 (at this time) returns matching that search.

"Not only do we want to provide social workers with a virtual library," explains Holden, "we want to provide them with tools to use that library efficiently."