The Oxford Library of Psychology, a landmark series of handbooks, is published by Oxford University Press, one of the world’s oldest and most highly respected publishers, with a tradition of publishing significant books in psychology. The ambitious goal of the Oxford Library of Psychology is nothing less than to span a vibrant, wide-ranging field and, in so doing, to fill a clear market need.
Encompassing a comprehensive set of handbooks, organized hierarchically, the Library incorporates volumes at different levels, each designed to meet a distinct need. At one level are a set of handbooks designed broadly to survey the major subfields of psychology; at another are numerous handbooks that cover important current focal research and scholarly areas of psychology in depth and detail. Planned as a reflection of the dynamism of psychology, the Library will grow and expand as psychology itself develops, thereby highlighting significant new research that will impact on the field. Adding to its accessibility and ease of use, the Library will be published in print and, later on, electronically.
The Library surveys psychology’s principal subfields with a set of handbooks that capture the current status and future prospects of those major subdisciplines. This initial set includes handbooks of social and personality psychology, clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, educational psychology, industrial and organizational psychology, cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, methods and measurements, history, neuropsychology, personality assessment, developmental psychology, and more. Each handbook undertakes to review one of psychology’s major subdisciplines with breadth, comprehensiveness, and exemplary scholarship. In addition to these broadly-conceived volumes, the Library also includes a large number of handbooks designed to explore in depth more specialized areas of scholarship and research, such as stress, health and coping, anxiety and related disorders, cognitive development, or child and adolescent assessment. In contrast to the broad coverage of the subfield handbooks, each of these latter volumes focuses on an especially productive, more highly focused line of scholarship and research. Whether at the broadest or most specific level, however, all of the Library handbooks offer synthetic coverage that reviews and evaluates the relevant past and present research and anticipates research in the future. Each handbook in the Library includes introductory and concluding chapters written by its editor to provide a roadmap to the handbook’s table of contents and to offer informed anticipations of significant future developments in that field.
An undertaking of this scope calls for handbook editors and chapter authors who are established scholars in the areas about which they write. Many of the nation’s (p. viii) and world’s most productive and best-respected psychologists have agreed to edit Library handbooks or write authoritative chapters in their areas of expertise.
For whom has the Oxford Library of Psychology been written? Because of its breadth, depth, and accessibility, the Library serves a diverse audience, including graduate students in psychology and their faculty mentors, scholars, researchers, and practitioners in psychology and related fields. Each will find in the Library the information they seek on the subfield or focal area of psychology in which they work or are interested.
Befitting its commitment to accessibility, each handbook includes a comprehensive index, as well as extensive references to help guide research. And because the Library was designed from its inception as an online as well as a print resource, its structure and contents will be readily and rationally searchable online. Further, once the Library is released online, the handbooks will be regularly and thoroughly updated.
In summary, the Oxford Library of Psychology will grow organically to provide a thoroughly informed perspective on the field of psychology, one that reflects both psychology’s dynamism and its increasing interdisciplinarity. Once published electronically, the Library is also destined to become a uniquely valuable interactive tool, with extended search and browsing capabilities. As you begin to consult this handbook, we sincerely hope you will share our enthusiasm for the more than 500-year tradition of Oxford University Press for excellence, innovation, and quality, as exemplified by the Oxford Library of Psychology.
Peter E. Nathan
Oxford Library of Psychology