Beginning Research at BU
BU Libraries is a great place to identify books (both print and electronic) and many scholarly articles on a variety of topics. Nearly all the material covered by BU Libraries Search is full-text, which means that for many undergraduates, BU Libraries Search can supply enough research material to write an excellent paper. Scholars need to be aware, however, that there are additional high-quality resources that link to content that can not be identified through BU Libraries Search.
>> What isn't covered in BU Search?
- most newspaper articles
- most books the library does not own
- full-text of most dissertations
- presidential papers and declassified documents
- diplomatic documents (such as Foreign Relations of the United States content)
- full text content of many journal articles available only in print
- full text content of some proprietary electronic journal articles
- full text content of most working papers, policy briefs, etc. of institutes, ngos and igos in international relations
- e-Reserves (material your instructor may have placed on electronic reserve for your class.)
>> I'm getting too many results. Can I search for books alone?
>> What advantage is there to searching a limited group of databases?
- The databases listed below cover the highest-quality scholarly journals in the field; you will not have to filter out thousands of lesser quality items.
- BU Library Search focuses on material we own, while these databases identify articles in journals we may not own – but material you can easily obtain (for free!) through Interlibrary Loan.
find journal articles
- Social Sciences Full Text 1995+ (abstracts 1983+)
- Worldwide Political Science Abstracts 1975+ (partial full-text)
- America: History and Life 1964+
- PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) 1972+
- Web of Knowledge 1973+
- Historical Abstracts 1954+
- CIAO Columbia international affairs online.
About CIAO...Please note that the content of this database extends beyond articles in journals. CIAO publishes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs.
- Google Scholar
- The World Bank open knowledge repository OKR.
About World Bank...The World Bank Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) is The World Bank’s official open access repository for its research outputs and knowledge products. Contents includes: World Bank Group Annual Reports and Independent Evaluation Studies Books published by the World Bank including flagship publications, academic books and practitioner volumes; all World Development Reports (WDRs) plus recent WDR background papers; journal articles published in World Bank Economic Review (WBER) and World Bank Research Observer (WBRO), two journals published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the World Bank, and the Development Outreach Magazine; accepted manuscripts of Bank-authored journal articles from selected external publishers (after an embargo period); Metadata and links to Bank-authored external journal articles; Serial publications (typically data-intensive outlook reports); Policy Research Working Papers (PRWP–a series of papers that disseminate findings of work in progress in order to encourage the exchange of ideas about development issues; Selected other papers of high research quality; Economic and Sector Work (ESW) studies–a series of analytical reports prepared by Bank staff. ESWs gather and evaluate information about a country’s economy and/or a specific sector; Knowledge Notes, providing short briefs that capture lessons of experience from Bank operations and research; Selected translated titles.
- HAPI online
About HAPI...HAPI is your source for authoritative, worldwide information about Central and South America, Mexico, Brazil, the Caribbean basin, the United States-Mexico border region, and Hispanics/Latinos in the United States. From analyses of current political, economic, and social issues to unique coverage of Latin American arts and letters, HAPI Online contains complete bibliographic citations to articles, book reviews, documents, original literary works, and other materials appearing in … key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world. For a listing of journal coverage, as well as the criteria for journal inclusion”–Information screen.
About JSTOR...While this is a full text archive, current years (1-5 years) may not be available for a given title.
- Gale Global Issues in Context (courtesy of Massachusetts Library System)
About GIC...A good starting place, with links to article in journals, newspapers, and polls.
- CQ Researcher
About CQ Researcher...This is a database of research reports on a single topic of current interest such as ‘climate change’ or ‘immigration’ – NOT journal articles.
news sources (current)
- LexisNexis Academic years vary; most 1985+, html text format (no images)
- Library PressDisplay last 3 mos.; imaged content
- International Newsstand
- Boston Globe (1980 – current)
- NOTE: World News Connection, the Official federal government translation site for selected world news, is no longer being produced. For older material, see
The Daily Report series of the Foreign Broadcasting Information Service (FBIS) contains transcripts of newspaper articles and news broadcasts from all regions of the world. Thee FBIS series was discontinued in 1996, when the online World News Connection database became available (see previous entry). The FBIS news transcripts available in print and microfiche collections in Mugar Memorial Library are listed below.
- Daily report. East Asia [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: December 14, 1987 – August 30, 1996.
- Daily report. China [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: 1987 – July 31, 1996.
- Daily report. South Asia. Mugar D839 .D348 Library has: May 1980 – May 1987.
- Daily report. Near East & South Asia [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: December 14, 1987 – August 16, 1996.
- Daily report. Middle East and Africa. Mugar DS41 .U581 Library has: numbers 65 (April 1980) – 103 (May 1987).
- Daily report. Sub-Saharan Africa. Mugar DT348 .U55M Library has: July 1974 – March 1980.
- Daily report. Sub-Saharan Africa [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: June 1, 1987 – August 16, 1996.
- Daily report. Eastern Europe (later title: East Europe). Mugar D839 .D344 Library has: 1981, 1983 – July 1987.
- Daily report. East Europe [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: December 14, 1987 – August 30, 1996.
- Daily report. West Europe [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: December 14, 1987 – August 16, 1996.
- Daily report. Soviet Union. Mugar D839 .D349 Library has: November 1983 – July 1987.
- Daily report. Soviet Union (later title: Central Eurasia). Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: December 14, 1987 – September 13, 1996.
- Daily report. Latin America [microform]. Mugar Micro Mfiche Library has: December 14, 1987 – July 31, 1996.
A list of the indexes to these regional FBIS microfiche collections follows:
- Daily report. Asia & Pacific (later title: East Asia). Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D342Library has: volume 1 (1978/79) – 18 (May 1996).
- Daily report. People’s Republic of China (later title: China). Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D343Library has: volume 1 (1975) – 22 (1996).
- Daily report. South Asia. Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D348Library has: volume 1 (1980/81) – 8 (1986/87).
- Daily report. Near East & South Asia. Index. Mugar Micro Ref X DS41 .D28Library has: volume 1 (1987/88) – 10 (1996).
- Daily report. Middle East & North Africa. Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D347Library has: volume 1 (1978) – 2 (1980).
- Daily report. Sub-Saharan Africa. Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D352Library has: volume 1 (1978) – 2 (1980).
- Daily report. Middle East & Africa. Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D346Library has: volume 1 (1980/81) – 8 (1986/87).
- Daily report. Sub-Saharan Africa. Index. Mugar Micro Ref X DT348 .U57Library has volume 1 (1987/88) – 10 (1996).
- Daily report. Eastern Europe (later title: East Europe). Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D344Library has: volume 1 (1978/79) – 18 (1996).
- Daily report. Western Europe (later title: West Europe). Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D353Library has: volume 1 (1978/79) – 18 (1996).
- Daily report. Soviet Union (later title: Central Eurasia). Index. Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D349Library has: volume 1 (1977) – 20 (1996).
- Daily report. Latin America. Index Mugar Micro Ref X D839 .D345Library has: volume 1 (1979) – 18 (1996).
primary source documents
- Readex AccessUN
- Avalon Project
- Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) via GPO Access 1976+ (formerly Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications Mugar X Z 1223 E95 1951-2002)
- Declassified Documents Reference System (DDRS)
- Digital National Security Archive
- Foreign Relations of the United States 1945+
About FRUS...Print holdings go back to 1861 (Mugar JX 233 E52). Only 1945-1980 is searchable online.
- GPO Access (search across multiple databases)
- World constitutions illustrated contemporary & historical documents & resources
- Thomas (Library of Congress) Legislative histories; texts of bills and laws; search the Congressional Record, etc.
- Times (London) 1785 -1985
- Proquest Historical Newspapers
About Historical Newspapers...BU Libraries have many historical newspaper archives in different formats. For a full list please consult the Newspapers Guide.
…more primary sources…
key reference sources
- Encyclopedia of espionage, intelligence, and security
- OneLook Dictionaries Definitions offered from multiple online English and foreign language dictionaries.
- Space & Electronic Warfare Lexicon
- DOD Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
- Glossary of Social Science Computer and Social Science Data Terms
- FindLaw: Dictionary
- Diplomatic Dictionary (Diplo) A Wikipedia- like source; users contribute words and definitions.
…more dictionaries and encyclopedias…
- Australasian Legal Information Institute Databases Primary legal and legislative materials for Australia and New Zealand.
- British and Irish Legal Information Institute Databases Primary legal and legislative materials for England and Wales,Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, United Kingdom, and the European Union.
- data.gc.ca Canadian government databases, directories, reports, statistics,statutes, & other online reference sources.
- EUROPA Provides up-to-date coverage of European Union affairs and essential information on European integration.
- European Union Databases:
- Europe Direct is an information service that aims to provide direct and easy access to information and advice on the activities of the European Union and its single market.
- Eurostat is the European Union’s statistical information service.
- RAPID provides a daily view of the activities of the European Union as presented by the Commission, the Council and other EU institutions in their press releases
- Eur-Lex portal is a single entry point a portal to EU legal texts.
- PreLex is the partner database of EurLex. It follows all Commission legislative proposals and communications, from the time they are sent to the Council or to the European Parliament until they are either adopted, rejected or withdrawn.
- ARCHISplus is a database giving access to the historical archives of the European Commission.
- TED, the Tenders Electronic Daily, contains European calls for tender published in the Official Journal Supplement S of the European Communities. It is the one-stop official information source for timely information on public procurement opportunities from the European Union, the European Economic Area and beyond.
- CORDIS is the Community Research and Development Information Service.
- ECLAS gives access to the European Commission’s Library Catalogue.
- IDEA is an electronic database which comprises the directories of the various European Union institutions.
- SCADplus is a database that contains clear and concise summaries of EU legislation in all policy areas.
- UK Parliament Website
- List of Foreign Governments (Northwestern University Library Research Guide) Identifies key government office and agency websites.
- PARLIT A database of bibliographic references on the role, structure and working methods of national parliaments, and on electoral systems, constitutional law, history and political science.
- Political Database of the Americas Provides documentary and statistical political information on Latin America,including constitutions, electoral laws, legislative and executive branch information and election data.
- OECD iLibrary
- WAO: World Affairs Online One of the largest social science databases in Europe, currently containing over 665,000 references, mainly journal articles, book chapters, hearings, and grey literature.
- University of Texas Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection Rich site, frequently updated
- Library of Congress. Map Collections: 1500-2004
- U.S. Geological SurveyIncludes:
- National Atlas of the U.S. Interactive database; make your own maps.
- World Petroleum Assessment
- Minerals Publications and Data Products Current information listed by country.
- TopoZone.com USGS/private company collaboration providing interactive topographic maps of the entire United States.Note: for other commercial partners/products see View USGS Maps and Aerial Photo Images Online.
- Geographic Names Information System U.S, only; for foreign names see GEOnet Names Server (NIMA).
- U.S. Dept. of State (Biographies and Directories)
- Biography and genealogy master index
- Project Vote Smart Includes Find your Elected Officials.
- Biographical Directory of Federal Judges
- Central American Political History Database
Provides biographical data on the more than 450 heads of state and members of governing juntas for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and the Central American Federation.
- Roper Center Public Opinion Archive
- The Gallup Poll
Current year new releases Mugar Reference X HN90 .P8G3 1945+; also
- The Gallup poll cumulative index : public opinion, 1935-1997 Mugar Reference X HN90 .P8G29 1999
- Harris Vault
- Polling Report From the website: “An independent, nonpartisan resource on trends in American public opinion.”
- The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Polls on politics, the media and American values back to 1995.
- American National Election Studies ANES. Data on voting, public opinion, and political participation
- Budget of the United States Government. 1950-.Pardee XHJ 2051 A59 NOTE: The Appendix, which contains all the summary statistical tables, is also available at Mugar Memorial Library in the Reference collection [XHJ 2051 A59].
- Statistical Abstract of the United States.Ref Desk XHA 202 E78 (Publication ceased 2012. To access the most current data, please refer to the organizations cited in the source notes for each table of the Statistical Abstract.)
- EUROSTAT Official publication of the European Community providing summary data collected through all agencies.
- International Statistical Agencies (U.S.Census) Listed alphabetically by country.
- ICPSR Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research.
- SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute)
- UN Data. A few specific UN statistical categories (linked titles to comparable UN online content):
- US Census International Database.
- United States Treaties and Other International Agreements (UST) Vols. 1-35 (1950-1984)
- Treaties and International Act Series (TIAS) TIAS 11060 to TIAS 12734 (1982-1996)
- KAV Agreements (Recent State Department Agreements, Senate Treaty Documents, Trade Agreements and others) KAV 0001-7861 (1987-2006)
- Catalogue of Treaties 1814-1918
- Current Treaty Index 1982-1999
- Guide to the United States Treaties in Force 1982-2006
- Treaties in Force (TIF) 1929-2006
- Multilaterals Project (Tufts)
- Treaty Affairs (U.S. Dept. of State) Produced through the Office of the Legal Adviser; a list of treaties and other international agreements of the United States in force.
- Treaty Research An excellent, thorough guide developed by the Boston University School of Law Pappas Law Library which concentrates on resources available within that library. All BU students have access to these materials on site, with the exception of certain online resources with contractual restricted access.