An algorithm is a set of directions or a formula, often for a machine to execute. We have algorithms that determine credit scores, Google search rankings, Spotify discover playlists, and even how results are ordered in library databases. Algorithms can reflect the biases of their creators and the larger world they occupy perpetuating societal biases such as racism and sexism.
In library databases we usually encounter two types of biases: content and indexing. Content bias is what sources were selected to include in the database, these are often peer-reviewed scholarly sources, part of a scholarly communication system, where many studies document racism and sexism in the peer-review process. Indexing biases occur when subjects or keywords are assigned that provide moral, social, or political commentary on the information source.
For a more detailed analysis of algorithmic biases check out Matthew Reidsma's article "Algorithmic Bias in Library Discovery Systems" and Dr. Safiya Noble's book "Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism as introductions to this topic.
These databases are all subscription resources paid for by the library and your tuition. Most academic research is only available through expensive subscriptions, however, that's changing with the open access movement. To learn more about open access publishing models and how can you find and support freely available research check out our Open Access guide.
All Sociology Topics
Family, Social Psychology, & Gender
Public Health & Medical Sociology
If you don't see a PDF button or icon, look for a "Find it @ CSUDH Lib" button on the left side of the page. This will search our full-text options for anywhere we might have the article (such as another database) in a separate page.
If a book or article isn’t available through one of the library’s subscriptions, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan. Interlibrary Loan is a resource sharing service with libraries across the country that provides research materials at no cost to you. If you're requesting an article or book chapter, you'll receive a copy as a PDF.
First, check to see if it's available in OneSearch or another library database. Look for the Find It @ CSUDH Lib button.
You can also borrow books from other CSU campuses and have them delivered to the CSUDH Library. Look for the Request through CSU+ option in OneSearch.
For more information about borrowing books from the library, check out the Library's "Borrowing Materials" page.