The diversity of SSL resources to which students, researchers, and public health workers now have access includes nearly 10,000 scholarly writings (including journal articles, book chapters, research reports, and working papers) covering the disciplines of Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Psychology, and Sociology collected and organized by GDAE; publications are also included on sustainable development from UNRISD, on environment topics from the WorldWatch Institute, and coverage of global health is presented in four hours of multimedia DVDs that accompany Horizon International’s book, Water and Sanitation Related Diseases and the Environment: Challenges, Interventions, and Preventive Measures, written by 59 experts and compiled by its Editor, Janine M. H. Selendy.
The realization that a peaceful, healthy future for humankind will require the best thinking of social scientists from all parts of the world - not only the West, which now largely dominates the social sciences - was the thinking behind Dr. Goodwin’s conception of the Social Science Library project. This was furthered by the knowledge that many educational and research institutions in developing countries lack even rudimentary reading materials in these areas.
“Addressing the social and environmental challenges that face humankind in the 21st century will require creative and informed thinking by social scientists from all parts the world,” explains Dr. Goodwin. Educational and research materials in the social sciences are badly needed by libraries in poorer countries, where many teaching and research center have neither adequate printed publications nor Internet access.
Among the main objectives of the SSL project are to ensure that global debates on the future of the human species will increasingly include voices from all parts of the world and to give global attention and emphasis to those social science and environmental writings that are most likely to contribute to understanding and promotion of sustainability and human well-being.
Pauline Yu, President of the American Council of Learned Societies and a member of the Humanities Commission was quoted in the New York Times on June 19th 2013 defending the report, “The Heart of the Matter,” prepared by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences at the request of a bi-partisan group of legislators for distribution to all members of Congress. Yu referenced “the report’s treatment of scholarly research, which it calls the ‘core’ of the humanities and social sciences at all levels,” saying, “The statement is right there: research is the ‘bedrock’ of everything else.” The Times continues, “The report…notes that China, Singapore and some European countries are currently turning to American-style liberal arts education ‘as a stimulus to innovation and a source of social cohesion.’”
The SSL is achieving results. The Republican Library for Children and Youth of the University of Central Asia wrote about the SSL: i[“More than 150 thousand readers, 80% of them being university students/youth, visit our library annually. For our readers’ information and [for] sustainable development and human well-being [the library collection] is very useful and necessary. Information on social sciences is the most demanded type of information among our readers.”]i
The National Library of the Kyrgyz Republic, upon its recent receipt of Horizon International’s global health DVDs and other SSL materials wrote, “The donated DVDs contain information on healthcare, which will help to understand many problems facing society. The Library Collection has been replenished with a source that presents great scientific and educational value, and certainly will incite professional interest not only for specialists, but also for general readers.”
The donated DVDs were produced for use as teaching tools in classrooms and communities, by organizations, researchers and policy makers. They contain 16 videos and 4 short-clip videos. For example, videos on water treatment and safe storage, successful household-centered sanitation systems, measures to prevent water pollution, dengue, cholera, schistosomiasis and trachoma, and the successful effort leading to the eradication Guinea worm disease. They also contain 525 illustrations, tables, and maps from the text, chapter abstracts written specifically for the DVDs, and text content and images not found in the book. The DVD contents are described in the pdf.
In addition to including Horizon International’s DVDs in new shipments, arrangements are being made to give them to the 25 countries GDAE had already reached prior to Horizon’s participation such as Guinea, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Afghanistan to which they have now been sent.
Asked about receiving DVDs, Ms. Bintou Conde, the Guinea Economic Counselor wrote, Guinea “… will be more than interested and glad to receive… copies of the Horizon Materials on Water, Sanitation, Health and the Environment for Guinea Universities, as a next step of the SSL material you granted us, last time. That kind of material for training is badly needed.”
These are among the many responses specifying the value of these resources. Armenia, Iran, Ghana, India, Haiti, Tanzania and Brazil are among the more than 50 countries that have received them to date.