“I recommend to anybody—if you see a hole that could be filled—do it,” says Helen Hough, Systems Librarian for Open Source Applications, University of Texas at Arlington, and recipient of the 2015 APA Award for Excellence in Librarianship. That neatly sums up her approach to life and work, and most particularly, to her development of the Tests and Measures in the Social Sciences: Tests Available in Compilation Volumes database (TMdb).
For the few of you who may not have encountered it, the TMdb indexes tests and measures that have been published in books. Years ago, Helen found many of the students she worked with struggling as they tried to find tests they needed for research. To help them, she began going through books with tests on her own, indexing the location, and posting the information for them on the Internet. Once it was on the web, other librarians and students, similarly frustrated, found it and began to make use of it themselves.
Helen’s nomination came from three such grateful librarians who have benefited directly from her work on the TMdb. Heidi Senior, University of Portland, noted:
Thanks to Ms. Hough’s monumental efforts in creating and maintaining TMdb, we can have more confidence that our students have searched all possible sources. We enthusiastically embraced it when it first became available and it has become an essential part of our work with student researchers.
Jennifer Elder, Emory University, confirmed how useful it has been with her students, especially as the recent increase in interest in neuroscience has intensified requests for tests of memory and cognitive functioning. She also noted the pioneering aspect of Helen’s work:
Helen’s accomplishment has required ambition, courage, and perseverance. She undertook the time-intensive and painstaking project of assembling these test resources decades ago–at a time when test resources were not digitized and were buried in bibliographies and microfilm.
Nadine Cohen, University of Georgia, also focused on Helen’s personal service to other librarians. Even when her own job changed and it was no longer part of her job description, Helen still maintained and grew the database. She writes, “this kind of professional generosity is deeply appreciated and should be rewarded.”
The staff at the American Psychological Association would like to add their thanks. Her work has been instrumental in the development of our own PsycTESTS database.
Congratulations, Helen Hough!