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.
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, proven search techniques, to get consistently
better results on all of your searches.
Search Strategy Tips and Tutorials-- Impatience and Haste are the Most Common Enemies of Quality Results
• The University of California at Berkeley posts an extensive tutorial at Finding Information on the Internet: A Tutorial.
• 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 beyond Google
• 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
Education video webinars, Inside Search
pages, and the Official Google
Blog. There is also an informative unofficial blog
• 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
• 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!,
because they all have their own (and different) indexing
"maintains its own searchable index of over a billion
webpages." Startpage, Ixquick,
have user privacy features; the first two of these engines
allow searching in several European languages. Search-22,
provide direct inquiry access to many search engines, from
a single interface. Whenever possible, on any search
engine, consider using the "advanced search" option.
• Zanran is a specialized search engine to find ''semi-structured" data online, "the numerical data... presented as graphs and tables and charts," such as "a graph in a PDF report, or a table in an Excel spreadsheet, or a bar chart shown as an image in an HTML page... [which are] difficult to find using conventional search engines, which are focused primarily on finding text rather than graphs, tables and bar charts."
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
• 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 60 million documents from more than 3,000 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.
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, with different
operating features and purposes. Some relatively unknown
ones may be of great utility to you. Those persons with a
serious interest in this often-neglected but crucial
aspect of quality Internet research should consult Search
Engine Watch and Search Engine Showdown. About's
Web Search explains search engines and techniques,
and offers a weekly newsletter.
• 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-- All of them
together index only a tiny portion of the Internet
"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." 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 are his Searching the Internet and Online Research Tools pages. 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
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.
• 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.
• Full Text Reports
has a large international
section summarizing and linking to free major online
studies in PDF. The site is "a top-tier research
professional's hand-picked selection of documents from
academe, corporations, government agencies (including the
Congressional Research Service), interest groups, NGOs,
professional societies, research institutes, think tanks,
trade associations, and more."
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
• The International Relations and Area Studies Gateway, funded by the German government, "offers free available bibliographic references, full-text documents and international treaties on foreign and security policy, international cooperation and development policy, European politics and transatlantic relations, regional and country studies worldwide, foreign cultural policy, climate, environment, [and] energy." Publications in many languages are included.
• 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
• 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.
• 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.