Virtual Library

This WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources is a frequently updated Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of information and analysis in a wide range of international affairs, international relations, international studies, global studies, and global education topics. These sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, favoring those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online. Each website is described only in general terms because of the typically rapid changes in details of its contents and features.

  

Tips for Quality Internet Research in International Affairs
International Affairs Resource Directories, Repositories, and Databanks


About this Virtual Library

   

     Usage: This section of the WWW Virtual Library system is a frequently updated Internet directory of over 2000 annotated links to high-quality English-language sources of current information and analysis in a wide range of international affairs, international relations, international studies, global studies, and global education topics. These sites are carefully selected for their long-term value, including only those with cost-free, authoritative information and analysis online. Each website is described only in general terms because of the typically rapid changes in details of its contents and features. You can use the constant menu on the left-hand side of every page to navigate this whole directory, to find annotated sources of interest to you. Search within those remote sites to find the information that you seek. Resources are listed alphabetically on each page, within categories. Any major directories, specialized search engines, other locator services, or blogs are featured at the top of each page. All referred sites will open in a new window or tab of your browser.


     Policies: This site is based at Elizabethtown College, PA, USA. It does not use cookies, intrusive programs, or spyware. All information collected at this site is non-intrusive, such as site usage statistics. Such information will not be used for any purpose other than the evaluation and improvement of this site for the benefit of its users. All descriptive statements taken verbatim from the web sites annotated in this Virtual Library are in quotes. The WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources is not responsible for changes in the content of remote web sites that we link and annotate, but over which we have no control. Any subsequent change of ownership or hacking of an annotated remote site may lead to radical changes in the nature or the contents of that site, but still located at or referred through that same URL.



Tips for Quality Internet Research in International Affairs


Quality Internet search techniques must be learned and practiced to be effective. No search engine indexes more than a tiny percentage of the Internet. The common approach of just entering a couple of words into Google with the hope of "finding something" is not a serious research strategy. Avoid the "Google search trap" (relying only on Google to find your search results). Consider taking some time to learn better search techniques, to get consistently better results on all of your searches.

Search Strategy Tips and Tutorials-- Haste is the Enemy of Quality Results


The University of California at Berkeley posts an extensive tutorial at Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial.

BBC's WebWise is a thorough free online interactive tutorial on the use of the Internet, from the British Broadcasting Corporation.


• The Ohio State University Libraries offer net.TUTOR, free "interactive tutorials on basic tools and techniques for becoming an effective Internet researcher."


• The Virtual Training Suite, from the UK,  is "a set of [free, subject-specific] online tutorials designed to help students, lecturers and researchers improve their Internet information skills. The tutorials offer self-directed learning, take around an hour each to complete, and include quizzes and interactive exercises to lighten the learning experience." Many subject matters and their key sites are featured.

More Effective Use of Search Engines-- There are Many Options


• Your success with the Google search engine may be greatly improved by using Google's Advanced Search option, and by consulting the advice from Google's Web Search Help, Search Education video webinars, Inside Search pages, and the Official Google Blog. There is also an informative unofficial blog called Google Operating System.

Google Guide by Nancy Blachman "is an [independent] online interactive tutorial and reference for experienced users, novices, and everyone in between."


• Lifehacker posts many helpful suggestions at "Google Tips and Tricks Every Student Should Know."

Try Google News concerning your research topic, because it scans news sources worldwide and in many languages, with an advanced search option.

Google Scholar "enables you to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research... to find articles from a wide variety of academic publishers, professional societies, preprint repositories and universities, as well as scholarly articles available across the web." Many international affairs sources are included.


Google Videos may be of use in your research.


• Different search engines tend to produce varying results, with the same search terms. Therefore, useful complements to Google include Bing, Yahoo!, Blekko, and Ask, because they all have their own (and different) indexing systems. Gigablast "maintains its own searchable index of over a billion webpages." Startpage, Ixquick, and DuckDuckGo have user privacy features; the first two of these engines allow searching in several European languages. Search-22 and MetaCrawler provide direct inquiry access to many search engines, from a single interface. When possible, on any search engine, consider the "advanced search" option.


You can find valuable and (usually) searchable databases in your topic by inserting relevant search terms into a search engine and adding the word database. As an example of the effectiveness of this approach, see the European Union database listing on Google. Add additional qualifiers, such as elections or trade, to your search term for more focused results.

If you want videos, charts, maps, or diagrams for your topic, such as about the UK Parliament, just add those words to your search inquiry; for example, UK Parliament chart.


• Of special interest for international affairs searching is Glearch, which allows you to search for language and country-specific content in "top results from Google, Yahoo and Bing as well as the most popular search engines for the selected country."


The Global Studies Search Engine, from the Center for Global Studies of the University of Illinois, "offers researchers more precise search capabilities by pulling information from a limited pool of academic research centers, intergovernmental organizations, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations. These sources have been selected by CGS staff for their focus on data sources, policy, theoretical debates, methodological challenges, program description, and curricular concerns."


• The Bielefeld Academic Search Engine is "one of the world's most voluminous search engines especially for academic open access web resources,... operated by Bielefeld University Library [in Germany]... [with] more than 40 million documents from more than 2,400 sources," many in international studies topics. About 75 percent of the documents are available free in full-text.


• Try to find limited area search engines in your topic of interest. They focus sharply by searching within a specified number of only the most relevant websites in a defined subject matter, rather than covering the whole web. This Virtual Library links excellent limited area search engines tailored for Global Studies, Human Rights, Think Tank Publications, the LibGuides library reference system, Library Holdings Worldwide, European Research Theses, Scholarly Literature, Academic Open Access Web Resources, Canadian Newspaper Articles, Nongovernmental Organizations, Intergovernmental Organizations, International Development, International Relations and Security, Military Affairs, European Union news, U.S. Congressional Research Service reports, and the US Government, among many other subjects.


• "Top 15 Most Popular Search Engines" is a constantly updated ranking from eBizMBA.

• "100 Search Engines for Academic Research," from TeachThought, is a multidisciplinary list to help you "discover the very best search engine for finding the academic results you’re looking for."


"12 Fabulous Academic Search Engines," from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning, suggests search engines that are "area or content specific."


• Puzzled by all these search engines? There are thousands of them, and some relatively unknown ones may be of interest to you. Resolve your doubts and uncertainties at Search Engine Watch and Search Engine Showdown. About's Web Search explains search engines and techniques, and offers a weekly newsletter.

• Information specialist Phil Bradley offers lots of tips to help you select the proper search engine or technique for your task at hand, including country-based search engines.


Search Engine Colossus, Search Engines 2, and Search Engine Guide are comprehensive global master directories of local search engines for regional, country, or language-specific searches. Yahoo! provides country-specific, regional, and official government site search options.


If you have an older URL that no longer holds the content that you know used to be there, you may be able to retrieve that former content through the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine.


Beyond Search Engines-- They do not index even one-quarter of the Internet


• The "Deep Web" or the "Invisible Web," is a vast area of the Internet (by far the major portion of it) that commonly used search engines (including Google) fail to index. The Open Education Database provides "The Ultimate Guide to the Invisible Web."


CompletePlanet helps you to reach the "Invisible Web" through thousands of databases, directories, and specialty search engines. Also see Alisa Miller's "100 Useful Tips and Tools to Research the Deep Web."


• "
Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources" by Marcus P. Zillman, Executive Director of the Virtual Private Library and Internet search expert, is a helpful "research paper [in PDF] listing selected resources both new and existing that will help anyone who is attempting to find academic and scholarly information and knowledge available on the Internet." Of special interest is his Searching the Internet page. Mr. Zillman also posts a list of his excellent and numerous White Papers on Internet Research.


Research Buzz is a website and newsletter that covers search strategies, "search engines, databases, digitization projects, and all kinds of online information collections."


• For translations, try Bing Translator and Google Translate. Dictionary.com translates text and Web pages among many languages. See the General Resources for Foreign Languages page of this WWW Virtual Library for more free online translation resources, among diverse languages.

• Many online publications are posted in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF), rather than in browser-readable HTML. In order to view these files, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader, downloadable in many languages without charge from the Adobe Web site.

• Practice a foreign language and listen to online radio and TV stations worldwide from the links found in the "International Radio and Television" section of this site.
 

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International Affairs Resource Directories, Repositories, and Databanks


CORE (COnnecting REpositories)-- "Aims to facilitate free access to scholarly publications distributed across many systems... gives you access to millions of scholarly articles aggregated from many Open Access repositories." Many international studies articles are available, in full-text. Use the "refine your search" option for best results.

Directory of Open Access Journals-- Provides free access to more than 1.5 million articles in thousands of scholarly journals from over 120 countries. Use the advanced search option.


GUISD Pew Case Study Center-- From the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, numerous free case studies and case reference material for use in teaching international relations and related subjects. Free registration is required.


HighWire Press, from Stanford University, provides free access to contents from thousands of peer-reviewed professional journals, as well as from scholarly reference works, books, and proceedings. Use the advanced search feature for best results.


• The International and Area Studies Commons of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons posts thousands of open-source academic papers in international and area studies topics.


• The International Studies Association maintains an International Studies Compendium Project dataset page with a directory of links to freely available online datasets for academic international studies use.

IPSA Portal-- "The portal of the International Political Science Association and an official online IPSA publication. Hundreds of useful, rich and qualitatively outstanding websites for political science are selected, reviewed and evaluated by IPSA in order to provide scholars and students of the discipline worldwide a useful tool for online research."


OAIster-- Accessed here through WorldCat, "a union catalog of millions of records representing open access resources that was built by harvesting from open access collections worldwide... Today, OAIster includes more than 25 million records representing digital resources from more than 1,100 contributors," including many free full-text items in international studies topics. Use the advanced search option for best results.


Open Access Theses and Dissertations-- "Index of over 1.6 million electronic theses and dissertations... [mainly] records of graduate-level theses that are freely available online," including many on international topics.


Political Research Online (PROL)-- Thousands of pre-publication professional papers are available for cost-free download here, many of them in international studies topics. This site is a collaborative effort of the American Political Science Association and a consortium of political science and related organizations to make conference, other preprint, and research center and institute papers widely accessible.


• The Social Science Open Access Repository posts a "steadily growing collection of full-text social-science documents which you can access freely," in many languages, obtained both by professional self-postings and "through co-operation with institutes, scientific associations, publishers and editors."  Many of the documents are in international studies topics.


• The Social Science Research Network "is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences." Many thousands of academic and research institute papers are available for free download, including in international studies topics.


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This section of the WWW Virtual Library system was created, and is edited and maintained, by Dr. Wayne A.Selcher, Professor of International Studies Emeritus, Department of Political Science, Elizabethtown College, Elizabethtown, PA 17022-2288  U.S.A., as a volunteer and non-profit public service. This website copyright 1997-present by Wayne A. Selcher. E-mail: selchewa@etown.edu