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International Relations *

A guide to databases and scholarly online sources that support conducting research in international relations and comparative politics.


NOTE: This page describes databases, archival collections, and scholarly web sites that support the study of the strategic, relational objectives of governments in the context of international relations and comparative politics. For resources on the communicative aspects of diplomacy, review the contents described in the Public Diplomacy research guide.

International Relations and Comparative Politics Diplomoacy

Below are links to databases and electronic resources that support the study of public diplomacy and related areas of research.


Databases that offer multidisciplinary coverage of public diplomacy literature from scholarly and non-scholarly sources.

  • Credo Reference -- comprehensive collection of highly-specialized dictionaries, encyclopedias, and handbooks across all subject areas. Good place to go for succinct definitions, explanations, and analysis of concepts, theories, or topics.
  • Google Scholar -- the scholarly part of the Google empire. To set up Google Scholar with access to full-text journals and databases, go here.
  • JSTOR -- a multidisciplinary archive of scholarly journal articles covering most major disciplines in the social sciences and humanities. Useful for identifying historical research on a topic.
  • Policy Commons -- platform for objective, fact-based research from the world’s leading policy experts, nonpartisan think tanks, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The database provides advanced searching across millions of pages of books, articles, working papers, reports, policy briefs, data sets, tables, charts, media, case studies, and statistical publications, including archived reports from more than 200 defunct think tanks. Coverage is international in scope.
  • ProQuest Multiple -- comprehensive, multidisciplinary database of newspaper, magazine, and scholarly journal articles updated daily. Content is more focused and manageable in locating relevant research than Google Scholar.


Key Databases

  • Columbia International Affairs Online [CIAO] -- provides the full text of a wide range of scholarship books, working papers from universities and research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, and proceedings from conferences.
  • IREON [International Relations and Area Studies Gateway] -- International RElations and area studies ONline is a free gateway to research in the fields of international relations and regional and area studies. IREON contains more than 5 million references covering topics, such as, foreign and security policy, business administration, economics and business practice, international cooperation and development policy, European politics and transatlantic relations, regional and country studies worldwide, foreign cultural policy, and climate and environment, energy. NOTE: Your browser may post a security warning when clicking on the site, but this is only due to an unfamiliar domain designation [de] and not a true security risk to your computer.
  • Homeland Security Digital Library -- provides access to documents related to homeland security policy, strategy, and organizational management collected from federal, state, tribal, and local government agencies, professional organizations, think tanks, academic institutions, and international governing bodies.
  • Military and Intelligence Database Collection -- provides access to scholarly journals, magazines, and reports covering all aspects of the past and current state of military affairs. The database offers content in key subject areas including governmental policies, the socioeconomic effects of war, the structure of the armed forces, and more.
  • Public Affairs Information Services [PAIS] -- indexes selective subjects and bibliographic access to periodicals, books, hearings, reports, gray literature, government publications, Internet resources, and other publications from 120 countries. Includes historical coverage from 1915 to the present.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts -- provides indexing of the international journal literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration and policy. Over 1,700 titles are monitored for coverage and, of these, 67% are published outside of the United States.

Related Research Resources

  • AccessUN -- indexes the majority of United Nations documents and publications. Articles appearing in UN periodicals are individually indexed as well as bilateral and multilateral treaties in the UN Treaty Series.
  • America: History and Life -- database that covers the history of the United States and Canada. It includes key English-language historic journals, selected historic journals from major countries, state and local history journals, and selected relevant journals in the social sciences and humanities.
  • American Foreign Service Association -- established in 1924, this is both professional association and exclusive representative for the U.S. Foreign Service. The site includes a curated collection of statistics, reports, and analysis pertaining to the United States Foreign Service. Also included is a up-to-date List of Ambassadorial Appointments with a link to their Department of State profile.
  • Communication Source -- a comprehensive source of communication-related journal articles, research reports, working papers, and books from a variety of publishers, research institutions, and information centers. Includes not only communication literature but also literature in other disciplines that is relevant to communication researchers. Search this to find studies that investigate the role mass and digital media plays in diplomacy.
  • The Digital Diplomacy Index -- created to get a clear and consistent picture of the world of digital diplomacy through measurable data on online conversations, this index provides the means to accurately and objectively measure the performance of world powers on the emerging stage of online international affairs. The Index helps countries and diplomatic entities better grasp the new online environment they face, identify the challenges at stake, compare their performance relative to other actors, and capture the trends that shape online diplomacy as they unfold. It is based on data from the diplomatic Twitter accounts of G20 countries, refreshed every twenty-four hours.
  • EconLit -- provides thorough coverage of a wide range of economics-related literature derived from journal articles, books, working papers, conference papers, and research reports. Coverage if from the 1880s to the present. This is an important source of research on diplomatic issues related to economics and trade.
  • European External Action Service (EEAS) -- the European Union’s diplomatic service. Since 2011, the EEAS carries out the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy to promote peace, prosperity, security, and the interests of Europeans across the globe. The site includes access to factsheets, reports, press releases, and other documents as well as a list of Special Representatives in different countries and regions of the world.
  • Harvard Kennedy School Think Tank Search -- a custom Google Search engine that searches the websites of more than 600 think tanks that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity. These sites are affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, and non-governmental organizations.
  • HeinOnline Law Journal Library -- full text access to digitized content of major legal periodicals, the Federal Register, and other law-related materials. Good source for identifying scholarly articles concerning diplomatic law and the legal aspects of diplomacy and intelligence gathering.
  • Historical Abstracts -- this database includes key history journals from major countries, as well as relevant selected journals from the social sciences and humanities. Covers world history outside of the United States and Canada. All article summaries [i.e., abstracts] are in English.
  • Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts -- accesses the international literature in linguistics and all aspects of the study of language, including descriptive, historical, comparative, theoretical, and geographical linguistics. Important database to understanding the use of language in diplomatic affairs.
  • Lowy Institute Global Diplomacy Index -- visualizes the diplomatic networks of 61 G20, OECD and Asian countries and territories, allowing users to compare the most significant diplomatic networks in the world. The 2019 edition now makes data available across three years – 2016, 2017 and 2019. The Index’s interactive map highlights gaps and concentrations in diplomatic networks, and indicates strengths and weaknesses in geographic coverage and geopolitical reach. It ranks each country in terms of its diplomatic network against other G20, OECD and Asian players. Users can view the global map of networks, select and view individual country networks on the map, prepare side-by-side comparisons of networks, or see diplomatic representations city by city for any of the three years.
  • Official List of Embassies -- an alphabetical list of United States embassies, consulates, diplomatic missions, and offices providing consular services throughout the world.
  • Policy Commons -- platform for objective, fact-based research from the world’s leading policy experts, nonpartisan think tanks, and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. The database provides advanced searching across millions of pages of books, articles, working papers, reports, policy briefs, data sets, tables, charts, media, case studies, and statistical publications, including archived reports from more than 200 defunct think tanks.
  • United States Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets – provides links to 200 bilateral agreement fact sheets that summarize the history and current status of diplomatic relations between the United States and other countries. The content also includes descriptions of U.S. assistance to the country and bilateral economic relations.
  • Women in Diplomacy Index – produced by the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy, this report maps the percentage of women ambassadors representing the countries of the 40 largest economies in the world and the European Union (EU). It focuses on ambassadorships to gauge the degree to which women assume some of the most prominent leadership positions in the world of diplomacy. The dataset builds on a database of more than 4,200 ambassadorial appointments.

Archival Resources

  • British Diplomatic Oral History Programme -- established in 1995, this archive of recollections of former diplomats that creates a valuable body of research material for the study of British diplomatic history. Interview transcripts can be searched by keyword with filtering by area of interest.
  • Declassified Documents Reference System -- provides full text access to formerly classified U.S. government documents emanating from a wide variety of government agencies, including the CIA, Department of State, National Security Council, Department of Defense, FBI, and other agencies.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports -- consists of full-text Daily Report translations of broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspapers, periodicals and government statements from nations around the world published from 1962-1996. Content will be released on a monthly basis until coverage is complete back to 1941.
  • Foreign Office Files for China, 1949-1980 -- these British Foreign Office files address a crucial period in Chinese history, from the foundation of the People’s Republic, in 1949, to the death of Zhou Enlai and Mao, the arrest of the Gang of Four, and the end of the Cultural Revolution in 1976 as well as Files dealing with Hong Kong and Taiwan during this period. 
  • Foreign Office Files for India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, 1947-1980 -- sourced from the British Foreign Office files, this resource covers the political and social history of India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in this period with additional content on Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim and Kashmir, as well as other frontier regions.
  • Historical Archives of the European Union -- preserves and makes accessible in a central location the archival holdings of the European Union Institutions. In addition, the HAEU collects private papers of key European politicians, high-ranking EU officials, and individuals involved in the process of European integration as well as the archives of pro-European movements and other organizations with a European scope. Collection materials mostly include copies of archival documents from private collections, foundations and National Archives, and Diplomatic Archives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs.
  • Keesing's World News Archive -- provides access unbiased, full-text reports of the most historically significant political, social, and economic events of the world since 1931. About 150 new articles are added each month.
  • National Archives Diplomacy and Foreign Policy – this site from the Archives Library Information Center provides links to the Secretary of State and Department of State, as well as other sites related to foreign policy issues.
  • NATO Archives Online -- this site currently provides users with the opportunity to explore the first twenty years of the Alliance’s history through the Committee documents of the North Atlantic Council and its sub-committees, the Military Committee and its working groups, as well as a complete collection of NATO Publications. Using simple or advanced text searching, researchers have the option to query more than 63,300 documents that cover NATO high level governance by reference code, specific title, and multiple keywords.
  • United Nations Archives Geneva -- gives digital access more than fifteen linear kilometers of archives and records managed by the United Nations Library and Archives in Geneva, including the archives of the United Nations in Geneva, the League of Nations (1919-1946), international peace movements (from 1870), and private papers. Materials can be searched by subject or browsed by type of collection.
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports from 1817-1994. The reports are usually from congressional committees dealing with proposed legislation and issues under investigation. The documents include all other papers ordered printed by the House or Senate. Documents cover a wide variety of topics and may include reports of executive departments and independent organizations, reports of special investigations made for Congress, and annual reports of non-governmental organizations. During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, executive-branch materials were also published in the Serial Set.
  • Wilson Center Digital Archive -- contains newly declassified historical materials from archives around the world-much of it in translation and including diplomatic cables, high level correspondence, meeting minutes and more. Also available is the North Korea International Documentation Project clearinghouse of documents on the DPRK from its former communist allies, providing insight into the actions and nature of the North Korean state.


  • Google Dataset Search -- facilitates searching approximately 25 million datasets provided by government, public, and private groups. Users can filter results based on the type of data desired [e.g., images or text]. Data availability is based on the original source being formatted using standards, an open discovery standard for data on the web.
  • National Statistical Offices -- a directory of country-specific statistical agencies maintained and updated by the United Nations Statistics Division. Also included is a list of countries and organizations which includes a brief history of the country's statistical system, legal basis, the statistical program and much more.
  • UNData -- searchable statistical database provided by the United Nations Statistics Division that provides access to current statistics. The database covers a number of different areas such as employment, industry, and trade. A single interface facilitates the creation of customizable tables and the use of various filters and search options to sort and locate specific statistical information.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.