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 small percentage of the Internet. The common "Quick Fix" 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). Impatience, short attention span, and haste are the most common enemies of quality results. Consider taking some time to learn better, proven search techniques, to get consistently better results on all of your searches.

More Effective Use of Search Engines-- There are many options within and beyond domineering and intrusive 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 Help, Search Education video webinars, Inside Search pages, and the Official Google Blog. There is also an informative unofficial blog called Google Operating System.

• Lifehacker posts many helpful suggestions at Google Tips and Tricks Every Student Should Know. Also see How to Google your Way to Better Search Results and Advanced Google Search Shortcuts from

Try Google News concerning your research topic, because it scans news sources worldwide and in many languages, with an advanced search option. Note that there are many different national editions available.

Google also offers a public statistical data search facility.

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. Particularly good for finding open access, free, and recent items.

• Different search engines tend to produce varying results, with the same search terms. Therefore, useful complements to Google include Bing, Yahoo!, and Ask, because they all have their own (and different) indexing systems. Gigablast "maintains its own searchable index of over a billion webpages." Startpage, Hulbee, Disconnect Search, Oscobo, and DuckDuckGo have user privacy features. 2lingual Google Search searches simultaneously in two languages of your choice. Search-22 and provide direct inquiry access to many search engines, from a single interface. Whenever possible, on any search engine, consider using 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.

• 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 Think Tank Publications, the LibGuides library reference system, Library Holdings Worldwide, European Research Theses, Scholarly Literature, Academic Open Access Web Resources, Open Access Law ReviewsNongovernmental Organizations, Intergovernmental Organizations, International DevelopmentEuropean Union news, World News (in many languages), and U.S. Congressional Research Service reports, among 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, 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.

• 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.

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.

If you are seriously "searching the literature" in a topic, be sure to see the tips provided by the Thesis Whisperer in How to Become a Literature Searching Ninja and related posts on that very helpful academic blog.

Beyond Search Engines-- All of them together index only a tiny portion 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." provides tips on "How to Mine the Invisible Web." Also see Alisa Miller's "100 Useful Tips and Tools to Research the Deep Web." Karl Weitzenegger posts a very helpful annotated list of Deep Web Research Tools.

• "
Academic and Scholar Search Engines and Sources" by Marcus P. Zillman, Executive Director of the Virtual Private Library and Internet research 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- A Primer, Online Research Tools, and Deep Web Research and Discovery Resources guides. 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. 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 facilities, among diverse languages.

Top of Page

International Affairs Resource Directories, Portals, Gateways, 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 1.7 million articles in thousands of scholarly journals from over 130 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."

• 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 Relations and Area Studies Gateway, or IREON, 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 online research." IPSA also posts an open-access, searchable Permanent Online Paper Room of tens of thousands of papers from its international conferences since 2006.

Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations-- "International organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination, and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations." Provides a worldwide directory to find online electronic theses and dissertations.

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.

Open Thesis is a "free repository of theses, dissertations, and other academic documents, coupled with powerful search, organization, and collaboration tools."

• 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. "is a global science gateway comprised of national and international scientific databases and portals [which] provides real-time searching and translation of globally-dispersed multilingual scientific literature." Powerful search facility provides bibliographic citations and availability information for a huge number of scholarly science and social science publications in many languages. Some are available in cost-free, full-text form. For most effective results, use the Advanced Search option and consult the "Help" section.

Top of Page

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: