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International Relations *

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

IR-related Databases with Historical Coverage

IR-related Databases with Historical Coverage

  • 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.
  • Constitute -- offers access to the world’s constitutions so that users can systematically compare them across a broad set of topics. The site includes the currently-in-force constitution for nearly every independent state in the world, as well as some draft and historical texts with a search engine that facilitates finding relevant excerpts on a particular subject. Filtered searching can be used to view results for a specific region or time period or to explore draft or historical texts. All URLs are deep links, meaning you can link to a particular topic search, constitutional comparison, or a specific constitutional provision directly.
  • 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, etc.
  • Digital National Security Archive -- full-text of twelve collections of primary U.S. government documents which detail its foreign relations and chronicle policy decisions. Most documents were originally classified.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit [EIU] Country Reports -- a source of business intelligence on political and economic trends in 200 countries from 1996 to the present. An overall profile of each country is provided annually and a current report is produced quarterly. Both include current detailed statistics.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports -- translated full-text transcripts of international radio and television broadcasts, news agency transmissions, newspaper and magazine articles, and government pronouncements. The reports contain political, military, economic, environmental, and sociological news and information, as well as some scientific and technical information. The Daily Reports are available from September 1941 through October of 1996. Many of these materials are firsthand reports of events as they occurred.
  • 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.
  • Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online -- a collection of some 700 interview transcripts conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War. A unique source for the study of Soviet society between 1917 and the mid-1940s, it boasts vast amounts of one-of-a-kind data on political, economic, social and cultural conditions.
  • Human Rights Studies Online -- provides comparative documentation, analysis, and interpretation of major human rights violations and atrocity crimes worldwide from 1900 to 2010. The collection includes primary and secondary materials across multiple media formats and content types for each selected event, including Armenia, the Holocaust, Cambodia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Rwanda, Darfur, and more than thirty additional subjects.
  • Index Islamicus -- indexes literature on Islam, the Middle East, and the Muslim world. Records included in the database cover almost 100 years of publications on the world of Islam. Material cited in the the database includes not only work written about the Middle East, but also about the other main Muslim areas of Asia and Africa, plus Muslim minorities elsewhere.
  • Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) Reports, 1957-1994 – this database features English translations of foreign-language monographs,reports, serials, journal and newspaper articles, and radio and television broadcasts from regions throughout the world. With an emphasis on communist and developing countries, this database contains a wealth of hard-to-find scientific, technical, and social science materials translated from many languages. These reports are ideal for researching military, socioeconomic, political, environmental, scientific, and technical issues and events.
  • 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; does not cover current research.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Nuclear Arms: Weapons of Mass Destruction: Global Perspectives,1945-1996 – database contains translated and English-language radio and television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, government documents, and books providing global reaction to the world Arms Race.
  • 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. Coverage from 1915 to the present.
  • Records of the Parliaments of Scotland -- a fully searchable database containing the proceedings of the Scottish parliament from the first surviving act of 1235 to the union of 1707.
  • United Nations Archives Search Engine -- provides digital access to historical archives of the United Nations. The archives covers four broad areas: the Secretaries-General, Secretariat Departments, Peacekeeping Missions, and Predecessor Organizations. The archives are arranged into Series which fall under larger archival groups that are derived from the particular office or agency that created them. The creating agency can be a United Nations department, mission, panel, or body, Secretary-General, or other United Nations functional unit.
  • 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.
  • 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. Coverage from 1975 to the present.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Historical Newspapers

Below is a selective list of important domestic and international newspaper archives and newspaper collections.

  • British Library Newspapers 1600-1950 -- provides access to the most significant digital collection of British historic newspapers. The cross-searchable platform provides access to specially commissioned essays and contextual materials intended to help non-specialist users with perspective and analysis.
  • Financial Times Historical Archive -- provides the complete searchable facsimile run of the daily business newspaper. Includes every article and advertisement ever printed in the paper can be searched and browsed individually and page by page of the last 120 years.
  • Historic Australian Newspapers, 1803-1954 -- the Australian Newspapers service allows access to historic Australian newspapers digitized as part of the National Library of Australia Newspapers Digitization Program.
  • -- provides full-text access to over 6,000 American, British, Canadian and several other international newspapers with coverage between 1607-present.
  • People's Daily -- provides access to the most influential and authoritative newspaper in China. It has been the official voice of the Chinese government and the Communist Party of China since 1946.
  • Pravda Archive: Global Perspectives -- contains full-text articles published by Pravda during the Cold War and the years immediately following, from 1959 to 1996, collected and translated into English by the CIA.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: New York Times -- offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Times of India -- provides researchers and scholars with online, easily-searchable coverage of the politics, society and events of the time from 1838-2003.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Washington Post -- offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue (Dec. 12, 1877). The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue.
  • Times Digital Archive -- provides the complete digital edition of The Times (London), using keyword searching and hit-term highlighting to retrieve full facsimile images of either a specific article or a complete page. The entire newspaper is captured, with all articles, advertisements and illustrations/photos divided into categories to facilitate searching. Coverage is from 1785-2008.
  • World Newspaper Archive -- a fully searchable collection of historical newspapers from around the globe. This uniquely comprehensive online resource represents one of the world's largest and most important newspaper repositories.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.

Research Databases

History Databases

  • 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.
  • 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 abstracts are in English.

Important Archival Databases for Doing Historical Research in IR

  • American State Papers, 1789-1838 -- this collection includes over 6,000 publications, including every legislative and executive document of the first fourteen U.S. Congresses, in addition to materials such as speeches and messages of Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison. Covers historical documents prior to the U.S. Congressional Serial Set [see below].
  • Archives Direct -- site contains a suite of collections sourced from The National Archives, Kew - the UK government's official archive. Includes collections on the Middle East, China, and the Richard Nixon Era.
  • Archives Unbound: Foreign Relations between Latin America and the Caribbean States, 1930-1944 -- organized by country, this collection covers a wide range of viewpoints on political, social and economic issues. It sheds light on the foreign relations interactions between Central American and South American countries — with coverage of the Caribbean, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Users will find memoranda, cables, correspondence, reports and analyzes, and treaties.
  • Archives Unbound: Nicaragua: Political Instability and U.S. Intervention -- this collection provides documentation on the almost continual political instability in Nicaragua through the State Department's internal documentation, as well as correspondence between the Department and other federal departments and agencies, Congress, and private individuals and organizations; telegrams, airgrams, instructions, inquiries, studies, memoranda, situation reports, translations, special reports, plans, and official and unofficial correspondence. Date Range: 1910-1933.
  • Archives Unbound: Revolucion en Mexico, the 1917 Constitution and Its Aftermath -- this collection of U.S. State Department records consists of political and military documents relating to the Mexican Revolution and its aftermath -1910-1924. These unique and insightful records provide an unprecedented look at the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910 and continued sporadically until the new Constitution was adopted in 1917, through to and including the election of Calles.
  • Archives Unbound: Revolution in Honduras and American Business: The Quintessential “Banana Republic” -- this collection sheds detail to both the political and financial machinations of the fruit companies, but also the graft and corruption of the national government, the American banking community’s loans, the U.S. government’s response and the various aborted popular/revolutionary uprisings.
  • Chatham House Online Archive -- provides a searchable, browsable research environment that enables users to explore approximately half a million pages and over ninety years of research, expert analysis, and commentary published in briefing papers, special reports, pamphlets, conference papers and books as well as the full-text of Chatham House's two flagship publications: International Affairs and The World Today. Additionally, the archive offers unique access to thousands of hours of audio recordings of Chatham House lectures and their fully searchable transcripts offering valuable insight into the thoughts and reasoning's of key figures in international affairs.
  • CQ Press Congressional Collection -- data is presented with non-biased commentary and includes vital biographical and voting data for members of Congress, legislative information organized by topic, key votes, legislative analysis, interest group scores of members, encyclopedic information on Congress, and Supreme Court case summaries relating to the structure and powers of Congress dating back to 1945. Important resource for locating legislative involvement in foreign affairs.
  • HeinOnline History of International Law -- includes more than 800 titles and 600,000 pages dating back to 1690 on international law subjects such as war and peace, the Nuremberg Trials, law of the sea, international arbitration, Hague Conferences and Conventions, and much more. Access by clicking on link in left-hand column.
  • HeinOnline World Trials Library -- this collection includes more than 3,200 trials including complete sets of American State Trials, Howell's State Trials, and the Nuremburg Trials. It also includes famous trials from various law library trials collections. It contains trial transcripts, critical court documents, and trial-related resources such as full-text books and reports which analyze and debate the decisions of famous trials. Access by clicking on link in left-hand column.
  • JSTOR -- a full text digital archive of core scholarly journals representing disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, most with complete back runs, some dating back to the late 17th century.
  • NATO Archives Online -- open access site that contains over 23,000 declassified NATO documents, including Records of the International Military Staff (1949-59), press releases from 1961 to present, and NATO publications from 1952-2001. Searchable collections also include official documents, records, memorandum and notes of the North Atlantic Council, Military Committee and Standing Group reports and directives, and files highlight NATO’s role and involvement in the drafting, negotiating and eventual signature of the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
  • Political Extremism and Radicalism – covers a broad assortment of both far-right and radical left research focused on political extremism and radical thought. It offers a diverse mixture of materials, including periodicals, campaign propaganda, government records, oral histories, and various ephemera, which allow researchers to explore unorthodox social and political movements in new and innovative ways and to understand the impact they have had on today's society. The collections cover a period of just over a century (1900s to 2010s) when the world saw the formation of several civil rights movements, including for the rights of minorities, women's rights, and gay rights. It also encompasses the rise and fall of a number of peripheral groups deemed 'extreme' or 'radical' by contemporaries, such as anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, anti-war, communist or socialist, creationist, environmentalist, hate, holocaust denial, new left, survivalist, white supremacist, and white nationalist.
  • Population Index on the Web -- the database provides a searchable and browsable access to books, journal articles, working papers, and other materials published in Population Index in the period 1986-2000. International in coverage, the database covers all aspects of research related to population and demographics. The complete journal collection is available in JSTOR.
  • Propaganda and The Chinese Press – this is a wide-ranging archive of translated news for researchers seeking to understand the role Communist mass media played in Chinese culture, the Cold War, and 20th-century world history. This collection covers many topical categories such as the leaders of China, the Soviet Union and Russia, the United States, and other countries in addition to reports on China’s foreign and domestic affairs. Content facilitates understanding about the China Communist Party’s perspective on international issues and events.
  • ProQuest History Vault -- provides access to millions of full-text/full-image primary source materials on widely studied topics in nineteenth and twentieth century American history. Source materials include letters, official memoranda, personal papers, photographs, scrapbooks, financial records, diaries, and much more. Current collections relevant to the study of American foreign affairs include:
  • ProQuest U.K. Parliamentary Papers: House of Commons -- access includes over 200,000 House of Commons sessional papers from 1715 to the present, with supplementary material back to 1688. Page images are provided, with full text searching for each paper.
  • Records of the Kurds: Territory, Revolt, and Nationalism, 1831-1979 -- set of documents traces early insurgencies of the Kurdish people directed against regional and metropolitan powers, their inter-relations with neighboring tribes and other ethnic groups, while also depicting the extent of territories pertaining to the Kurds.
  • Revolution and Protest Online -- explores the protest movements, revolutions, and civil wars that have transformed societies and human experience from the 18th century through the present. Organized around more than thirty events and areas, representing a variety of time periods, regions, and topics, this collection will include at completion 175 hours of video, 100,000 pages of printed materials.
  • United States Congressional Serial Set -- commonly referred to as simply the Serial Set, this collection contains the House and Senate Documents and the House and Senate Reports. 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.
  • Women in Politics Bibliographic Database -- provides access to books and articles produced throughout the world on the subject of women in politics before 2015. The database covers titles representing international, regional, country-by-country as well as thematic perspectives. Site also includes a lists of useful links on this subject.

Using Primary Source and Archival Materials

AM Research Methods – this platform provides practical advice on how to work with primary source materials and integrate them into a research study. Contents include approximately 200 hundred essays, instructive videos, practical "How to" guides, and case studies created by scholars and archivists. The videos and "How to" guides introduce the key concepts of conducting research and analyzing primary source materials. Case studies describe examples of the ways in which historians have used diaries, government records, and posters, or popular culture, gender, and science materials in their research. A discrete collection of cases focusing on historical datasets is also included.

Descriptions of resources are adapted or quoted from vendor websites.