Political science, governance, and international affairs: Policy, law, government/ IGO/ NGO info
Not all important literature is in peer-reviewed journals
This page identifies tools for finding four types of literature that can be important to political scientists: policy analyses and other "gray literature" from research institutes and professional associations; legal literature (laws and regulations; cases; legal scholarship); government publications (US domestic and US foreign relations, and intergovernmental and nongovernment association publications.
Think tanks, policy papers, "gray literature"
Professors and other people with advanced academic degrees present their expertise in other settings beside peer-reviewed journals and scholarly books. They may produce reports and analyses for governments, non-profit organizations, corporations, and all sorts of research institutes; they also distribute research for comment at academic conferences. While these sources are often created with academic rigor, they commonly do not go through full peer review before publication. Nonetheless, especially regarding recent events and hot topics in politics and policy, such "gray literature" can be important bridges between journalism and traditional academic publications.
US federal government information sources
By law, the US Government Publishing Office is the "official, digital, and secure source for producing, protecting, preserving, and distributing the official publications and information products of the federal government," making it the world's largest publisher. To help locate and provide access to its vast output, "GPO aims to provide a comprehensive index of every document issued or published by a department, bureau, or office not confidential in character."
Most GPO publications have been published online since the late 1990s (and are listed in our library's Discovery service), and there has been extensive digitization of older documents by government agencies, by commercial database vendors (Voxgov, HeinOnline, ProQuest, Readex), and by nonprofits (LLMC-Digital, HathiTrust, Internet Archive, universities).
For most of a century, Virginia Tech automatically received most GPO output in print "docs," identified by GPO's unique "SuDoc" call number system ... but didn't catalog most of them . The SuDoc number is crucial for getting your hands on physical government publications in the library, from library storage, or via ILLiad. Most of our printed federal publications are arranged by SuDoc number on the 5th floor of Newman Library. Don't be reluctant to ask a librarian for help.
Records in the GPO catalog, GovInfo,gov, and Voxgov databases should provide SuDoc class numbers back to the 1970s-80s.
The Monthly Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, 1895-1976 database and the print index volumes of "MoCat" near the Docs stacks will help you find older, uncataloged publications' SuDoc numbers so you can request them from library storage or via ILLiad.
US foreign relations information
Surveys of US National Intelligence Published Outputs (Webinars)
Archived 45-minute webcasts provide overviews for exploring publicly available information from US intelligence agencies. Presenter is Albert Chapman (Purdue University Library). Offered in 2018-19 as part of the US Government Publishing Office's "FDLP Academy" training sessions for librarians (but not geeky)
- Enhancing Your Intelligence Agency Information Resource IQ, Pt. 1: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence. This webinar describes information resources produced by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI). This agency is responsible for leading U.S. intelligence community integration to deliver the most insightful intelligence information for national security policymakers. Organizational components whose resources are covered include the National Intelligence Council (NIC), National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC), National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), National Counterintelligence and Security Center (NCSC), and Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center (CTIIC). Individuals viewing this webinar will learn more about the multifaceted and publicly-accessible information resources produced by ODNI." Recorded May 02, 2018.
- Enhancing your Intelligence Agency Information Resource IQ, PT. 2: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). "Viewers will gain an understanding of the CIA’s organizational structure, and learn to use the historical and contemporary information resources which are produced by the CIA." Recorded June 12, 2018.
- Enhancing Your Intelligence Agency Information Resources IQ, Part 3 Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency. "This webinar demonstrates the publicly-accessible information resources produced by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the National Security Agency (NSA). It contains information about both of these agencies historical backgrounds (including declassified Freedom of Information Act reports, and their ongoing missions including the NSA’s role in cybersecurity and signals intelligence." Recorded September 18, 2018.
- Enhancing Your Intelligence Agency Information Resource IQ, PT. 4 National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence University, and National Reconnaissance Office. "Viewers should gain an enhanced understanding of the publicly-accessible information resources produced by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, National Intelligence University, and National Reconnaissance Office and how these agencies carry out their policymaking activities." Recorded November 06, 2018.
- Enhancing Your Intelligence Agency Information Resources IQ, Part 5: Individual Armed Services Intelligence Organizations. "This webinar will introduce viewers to the publicly-accessible information resources provided by individual branches of the U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy. Learn more about topics such as ballistic missiles, cybersecurity, international piracy, and other areas of relevance in military intelligence analysis." Recorded January 17, 2019.
- Enhancing Your Intelligence Agency Information Resources IQ, Part 7: Department of Energy, Homeland Security, State Dept., Treasury Dept., and Boards and Commissions. "Learn about the contemporary and historic intelligence information resources produced by these agencies, boards, and commissions." Recorded March 26, 2019.
Comparative law: primary sources
Intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations
Intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) and private, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) often partner to address social, environmental, economic, technical, and human rights issues. For research on topics on transnational and international concern, it is often appropriate to search both kinds of entities, using the same search terms.
IGO Custom Search Engine
The IGO Custom Search Engine searches across hundreds of IGO websites, including the United Nations, World Bank, UN Development Program (UNDP), Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), European Union, the Asian Development Bank, and many others.
NGO Custom Search Engine
Like its IGO counterpart, use the NGO Custom Search Engine search across hundreds of NGO websites worldwide.
These Google Custom Search Engines (CSE) are a project of the International Documents Taskforce (IDTF) of the American Library Association (ALA). For more background on this project, including links to the IGo and NGO lists included in these searches, please see the IDTF wiki.