Welcome to Encyclopedia of Social Work, the first continuously updated online collaboration between the National Association of Social Workers (NASW Press) and Oxford University Press (OUP). Building off the classic reference work, a valuable tool for social workers for over 85 years, the online resource of the same name offers the reliability of print with the accessibility of a digital platform. Over 800 overview articles, on key topics ranging from international issues to ethical standards, offer students, scholars, and practitioners a trusted foundation for a lifetime of work and research, with new articles and revisions to existing articles added regularly.



The NASW Press and OUP see this resource not as a replacement to the print work, but as an alternative that focuses on consistent review of our content. To ensure that users have access to the most up-to-date articles, Encyclopedia of Social Work online will undergo updates on a monthly basis. Additional site features include:

  • 800+ articles edited with precision by a 13-member editorial board and Editor in Chief offering overviews of every facet of social work policy and practice
  • Over 200 succinct biographies of key figures in social work history
  • Trusted, scholarly content infused with practical advice for social workers in the field
  • Article versioning ensures users see the most up-to-date entries, with links back to the first published version
  • Supplementary pages offer links to related social work resources, research to practice tips, and more
  • Clearly displayed references and further reading suggestions at the bottom of each article link users directly to the cited work, facilitating a seamless research journey
  • Articles signed by the author that include an institutional affiliation or a short biography, providing users additional reassurance that each and every article is vetted by an expert

For more information about Encyclopedia of Social Work's numerous features, please visit/download our latest infographic or visit Quick start.

Mission and Goals

The open web provides users with an incredible amount of information, but this content boom can pose a challenge for users who want to ensure they are accessing trusted sources. Our goal in creating this site was to shape the print Encyclopedia of Social Work into a 'living' online resource featuring the highest quality scholarship possible, edited by a team of experts, in a discoverable, reliable environment. With reassurance that the articles live up to the standards of the NASW Press and OUP, users can cut down on research time and find the information they need in one search. Explore the Updating Program page to learn more about our approach to keeping the Encyclopedia of Social Work consistently updated.

Visit the NASW Press page for further background on the Press and its aims.

How to get access and free strategy

Encyclopedia of Social Work launched in an extended free trial period, to increase discovery of new, digital-born content. We continue to feature a selection of free entries, flagged as "free" on the search results page. New free articles are available each month.

For information about institutional and individual subscriptions and perpetual access purchases, please contact your Oxford University Press representative at library.sales@oup.com or visit How to Subscribe.

New Multimedia Content

Oxford and NASW Press are working to build ESW into a hub for videos and interactive content to supplement the scholarly article collection. See below for an initial compilation of videos featuring social work experts and practitioners in the field--and check back frequently for new releases including our "Day in the Life of a Social Worker" video series.

Announcing the new Encyclopedia of Social Work online

Oxford Talks with Social Workers: Trusted and Reliable Resources

Oxford Talks with Social Workers: Research Needs

Editor of Encyclopedia of Social Work: Cynthia Franklin, Ph.D.

Oxford Talks 2014: Unlocking Social Work Knowledge


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