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International Relations *

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

Primary Source Archives

Listed below are sites that provide access to primary source materials relevant to the study of international affairs:

  • Anarchists Archives -- site contains the collected works of the major anarchists and an online history of anarchists and anarchist movements worldwide.
  • Avalon Project -- site contains digital documents relevant to the fields of Law, History, Economics, Politics, Diplomacy and Government accompanied by links to supporting documents expressly referred to in the body of the text.
  • CAIN: Conflict and Politics in Northern Ireland -- this site contains information and source material on 'the Troubles' and politics in Northern Ireland from 1968 to the present.
  • CIGI Digital Library -- an open access repository comprised of over 15,000 electronic documents gathered from various partnering organizations from around the world. All documents are available for free full-text download from anywhere at any time.
  • Cold War International History Project -- disseminates new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War, in particular new findings from previously inaccessible sources from the former Communist world.
  • Constitution Finder -- a database that offers constitutions, charters, amendments, and other related documents. Nations of the world are linked to their constitutional text posted somewhere on the Internet.
  • Declassified Documents Reference System -- full text access to formerly U.S. government classified documents from a wide variety of government agencies including the CIA, Department of State, National Security Council, Department of Defense, FBI, etc.
  • Documents Diplomatiques Suisses -- this Swiss database has over 3650 online documents relating to international relations and diplomacy during and after World War II.
  • Documents Relating to American Foreign Policy -- Lists of documents compiled by Vincent Ferraro, Ruth Lawson Professor of International Politics at Mt. Holyoke College.
  • Eldis -- an online clearinghouse from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex that aims to share the best research in development, policy, practice, and research. Site includes access to a growing collection of editorially selected, full-text documents on global development and policy, resource guides that provide structured access to research and policy documents, and country profiles that link to country briefing services on other websites.
  • EuroDocs -- these links connect to European primary historical documents that are transcribed, reproduced in facsimile, or translated. They focus on key historical happenings within the respective countries and within the broadest sense of political, economic, social and cultural history. The order of documents is chronological wherever possible.
  • FOIArchive -- the Freedom of Information Archive is a joint project of Columbia University Libraries and History Lab research center that aggregates research database consisting of over 4.6 million declassified records across nine different international collections. Future content will include the CIA's CREST Collection (eleven million pages of declassified documents) and collections from the World Bank, NATO, and the UN Archives.
  • Foreign Relations of the United States -- digital archive of the official documentary historical record of major U.S. foreign policy decisions that have been declassified and edited for publication by the State Department's Office of the Historian.
  • GATT Digital Library -- this site provides access to more than 59,000 documents and other information of and about the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), an organization that promoted international commerce and the reduction of trade barriers among member states from 1947-1994.
  • Gifts of Speech -- a non-profit project, sponsored by Sweet Briar College, dedicated to preserving and creating access to speeches by inspirational, influential, and contemporary women from around the world.
  • Homeland Security Digital Library -- a comprehensive collection of current and archived Homeland Security resources--all in digital format--from federal, state and local agencies, leading national and international organizations, think tanks, universities, and more.
  • Human Rights Documentation Initiative -- organization at the University of Texas committed to the long-term preservation of fragile and vulnerable records of human rights struggles worldwide, the promotion and secure usage of human rights archival materials, and the advancement of human rights research and advocacy around the world.
  • Library and Archival Exhibitions on the Web -- site features links to online exhibitions that have been created by libraries, archives, and historical societies, as well as to museum online exhibitions with a significant focus on library and archival materials. The scope is international and multi-lingual.
  • Middle East Peace Process Documents -- covers Israel and Palestine, Middle East historical and peace process source documents.
  • Multilaterals Project -- texts of international multilateral conventions and other instruments, including environmental agreements, and treaties on human rights, commerce and trade, laws of war and arms control, and other areas.
  • National Security Archive -- an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at George Washington University, the Archive collects and publishes declassified documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The Archive also serves as a repository of government records on a wide range of topics pertaining to the national security, foreign, intelligence, and economic policies of the United States.
  • Repositories of Primary Sources -- a listing of over 5000 web sites describing holdings of manuscripts, archives, rare books, historical photographs, and other primary sources. Note that, effective January 1, 2015, the list of Repositories has no longer been updated or maintained. However, it remains useful for locating collections of primary sources.
  • Rulers -- site contains lists of heads of state and heads of government (and, in certain cases, de facto leaders not occupying either of those formal positions) of all countries and territories, going back to about 1700 in most cases. Also included are the subdivisions of various countries as well as a selection of international organizations. Recent foreign ministers of all countries are listed separately.
  • United Nations Official Documents System -- official repository for documents published by the United Nations. The full text of parliamentary documents and official records from 1992 to present are accessible in all official languages of the United Nations. Full text of resolutions from all UN bodies are available from 1946 to the present.
  • U.S. National Strategy Documents -- collection includes National Security Strategies dating from the Reagan Administration to the present day, Military and Defense Strategies, Quadrennial Defense Review reports, and strategies focusing on terrorism, homeland security, cyber security, weapons of mass destruction, and others.
  • Vietnam Center and Archive -- site dedicated to support and encourage research and education regarding all aspects of the American Vietnam experience; promoting a greater understanding of this experience and the peoples and cultures of Southeast Asia. Posts millions of documents, images and other materials such as results of the Oral History Project.
  • Wilson Center Digital Archive – contains once-secret documents from governments all across the globe, uncovering new sources and providing fresh insights into the history of international relations and diplomacy. The Digital Archive is overseen by the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program and focuses on the interrelated histories of the Cold War, Korea, and Nuclear Proliferation.
  • Wikileaks -- clearinghouse of classified diplomatic cables and other secret documents obtained by the organization and posted on the web. There is no search engine that allows full-text searching of the documents, but materials can be searched by date, country, or originating embassy or government entity.
  • World Bank Publications and Documents -- provides access to the World Bank's formal publications. Holds over 15,000 free, downloadable documents, including operational documents (project documents, analytical and advisory work, and evaluations), formal and informal research papers, and most Bank publications. Also provides archival access to official records of the Bank's work from 1946 to the present, including country files, project files, correspondence, film, videos and photos.

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.

Presidential Libraries

Presidential Library System

U. S. Presidential Libraries can be a rich source of archival documents and digital materials related to U.S. foreign policy and international affairs. Each library has a search engine that can be used to identify collections or materials produced during the term of each president. Note that both the Richard Nixon [Yorba Linda] and Ronald Reagan [Simi Valley] Presidential Libraries are local and can be visited in person to conduct in-depth research using archival materials that have not, as yet, been digitized and placed online.