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POSC 499 ---- Fall 2006

Dr. Chris Blake
Maury 207 – 568-6344 –
OFFICE HOURS: M 3-5, Tu 3-5, W 1:30-2:30 and by appointment

BLACKBOARD WEBSITE: Click HERE to go the Blackboard site for POSC 499

Other Online Resources

The Internet can be an excellent source for quantitative data, for basic background information, for contemporary news, and for government  documents  relevant to the study of international affairs. That said, there is also a lot of bad information available on the Internet; please be careful out there...! Use the same rigorous standards that should be applied to printed materials in your evaluation of online information.

On this page, you will find links relevant to cross-national research listed in four major groupings:  social research data archives, country & regional background information, contemporary online news, and government documents & statistics (both national & international).

Click on the heading below to move to the section of interest to you right now:



  • Social Science Information Gateway
    • http://www.sosig.ac.uk/
      This comprehensive site is maintained by the Economic and Social Research Council, the largest supporter of social science research in the United Kingdom. This link takes you to the browsing menu where you can browse resources by subject area in the social sciences or by geographic region.
  • Social Sciences Data Collection
    • http://ssdc.ucsd.edu/index.html
      This site maintained by the University of California, San Diego contains a variety of economic and political data as well a host of information on other sites that have online data archives; there is a search engine for this catalog as well as a links page with thumbnail discussions of the sites. Most of the economic data housed at the site itself are restricted to UCSD use only.
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
    • http://www.icpsr.umich.edu/ACCESS/other-data.html
      The ICPSR holds the world's largest archive of social research data. This link takes you to a links page maintained by the ICPSR to other major data archives. The ICPSR web site itself contains a searchable index for the archive complete with abstracts and codebooks. The data themselves cannot be downloaded directly from the site by general users; if you are interested in a particular data set, let me know.
  • Program on International Policy Attitudes
    • http://www.pipa.org/
      Maintained by the University of Maryland, the PIPA website provides public opinion polls of U.S. residents regarding many international affairs issues as well as some cross-national polls (usually of 20 to 25 countries) regarding international affairs. This website also has a nice links page to other public opinion data available online.

Click on the appropriate link to move within this document:


  •  CIA Publications Page
    • https://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/   
      This page contains links to online access of public domain CIA reporting. The CIA Factbook provides thumbnail physical, economic, & political geographies of every nation-state in the world. This page also contains links to CIA publications providing international economic statistics, lists of current political leaders, high quality maps, and a variety of historical information on the CIA itself. This site is very useful as a preliminary introduction to countries but not very useful beyond that purpose.
  • U.S. Department of State Background Notes
    • http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/
      The State Department background notes contain some of the basic geographical information provided in the CIA Factbook but also provide short histories of a few international organizations as well as reports on most nation-states. This links page hold links to regions and to IGOs but the regional links take you to links pages for the country notes for each region. If you click on the publications link on the image map at the top of the background notes page, you can access a wide variety of additional State Department reports including such topics as anti-narcotic policy, counterterrorism, economic policy, and human rights.
  • Library of Congress Country Studies
    • http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html
      This page provides access to the online version of the country studies series conducted by the U.S. Library of Congress. Just under 100 countries are currently treated in the site. Each country study has a detailed, hyperlinked table of contents; most of the study is organized chronologically. This is a good site for finding a fairly comprehensive online history of many different countries but is cumbersome to read an entire history and even more burdensome (not to mention wasteful) to print one out. If you want to read the entire country study, go to the library and check it out!
  • Virtual Library: The International Affairs Network
    • http://www.etown.edu/vl/
      This site maintained by Elizabethtown College contains links pages organized by a variety of subject headings as well as an incomplete list of country headings. The area studies and subject links are generally more useful than the country links provided.

Click on the appropriate link to move within this document:


  • Yahoo! online newspapers list
    • http://www.yahoo.com/News_and_Media/Newspapers/By_Region/Countries/
      Back in the hazy past of, say, 1992, people interested in reading foreign newspapers waited 1 to 2 weeks to read foreign daily newspapers -- that is, if the newspapers were available at all either in a nearby library or via a (costly) personal subscription. Now, literally hundreds of daily newspapers around the world are available online before they hit the streets in newsprint. Increasing numbers of online papers provide 24-hour updating of major stories. This site, maintained by Yahoo!, provides a comprehensive list of foreign & domestic newspapers available online. Please take advantage of this resource in following contemporary events in the countries of special interest to you. Many newspapers have internal search engines and/or archives with past online editions.
  • The Economist
    • http://www.economist.com/
      This is the online site for what many people consider the best international weekly news magazine in the world, the London-based The Economist. Right now, this site provides very limited services to those who are not subscribers but it does have a very useful full-text search engine for issues published in the last few years. You can use this search engine to identify issues to read in printed copies available in the library. If you have a keen interest in world affairs, you should consider going to current periodicals every week and spending some time with The Economist.
  • CNN's World News Section
    • http://edition.cnn.com/WORLD/
      This site maintained by CNN provides coverage of major news stories from around the world. CNN will occasionally publish background reports on major stories.
  • New York Times
    • http://www.nytimes.com/
      This site is listed here mainly to encourage you to use the printed version rather than the online version. The 365-day, full-text search engine is dynamic, but you need to establish one (free) account to use the site at all and, in turn, a second account to use the search engine.  All past editions of the newspaper, a printed index, and a searchable database are all available in Carrier Library.
  • The Washington Post
    • http://www.washingtonpost.com/
      In contrast to the New York Times site, this one provides free full-text searches of the past 14 days' editions. The online version of the newspaper is also a little easier to use and much quicker to download. The politics and world online sections provide a host of information on major continuing stories (listed as special reports) as well as links to other online sources of political news. There is also an informative weekly online column on polling trends and issues in polling.

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  • Here are a few starter links to official sites of national governments:
    • FirstGov
      • http://www.firstgov.gov/
        This is the official web portal of the U.S. government. The full site is organized by government branch but also contains several topically oriented links pages.
      • http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/foreign.html
        This links page is maintained by the library at the University of Michigan. It is organized first by regions and then by national governments. For each nation-state listed there is a brief discussion of official government web sites.
      • http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govpub/resource/internat/foreign.html
        This links page is maintained by the library at Northwestern University. It is (large) single page organized alphabetically by nation. It is perhaps more exhaustive for many countries than the above Michigan site, but the links are not annotated and the site is not searchable.
  • Here are a few links to official sites of intergovernmental organizations:
      • http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/intl.html
        This site is maintained by the library at the University of Michigan.  It is a searchable site with a detailed, annotated list of web sites for IGOs. This is a very useful links page.
      • http://www.library.northwestern.edu/govpub/resource/internat/igo.html
        This links page is maintained by the library at Northwestern University. It is (large) single page organized alphabetically by organization. It is similar to the Michigan site, but each contains quite a few different links.  This site is not annotated, but does provide a series of distinct URLs for many organizations.
      • http://www.unsystem.org/
        This is the site locator for all web sites maintained by the United Nations and the multitude of organizations in the U.N. system. The site also contains a links page for other international organizations.
      • http://www.worldbank.org/
        The World Bank posts online economic and social data for countries around the world.
      • http://www.oecd.org/
        The OECD provides detailed statistical information on its member countries as well as a variety of economic analyses available online.

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This page was last updated on: 08/28/06.
If you have comments or suggestions about this site, please send an e-mail to Chris Blake at blakech@jmu.edu.