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Syracuse University Libraries

Political Science: PSC 495

An SU Libraries' research starting points guide for political science

Reference Sources

Some of these (be selective) can be superb tools for leading you to summaries, encapsulated descriptions, definitions and/or existing literature reviews or shorter lists of cited sources - that identify important literature linked to a subject matter:

Additional note - yet another way to identify specialized encyclopedias and other "reference" sources, using SUMMON at is to apply the "reference" content type search result refinement.

For many of your topics, or related concepts, theories, even proper names of organizations, countries, regions - frequently a relevant article entry will be found in Oxford Handbooks Online

Specific Electronic Book Databases

Data Aggregator Databases (highlights)

Highlights From Sept 25, 2019 Librarian Class Visit - Journal Article Databases

Although both the PDF, session handout entitled 'crucial starting point options" above - as well as other subpages on this Political Science research guide (especially best bet databases on its homepage) repicate some of what I list below.  Here are a short list of databases we pointed toward as helpful search engines for retrieval of scholarly journal article sources (with some exceptions as to segments of same that report findings of original empirical research, in other regards usually called "secondary" sources (which does not imply secondary quality or value, just a source type to distinguish them from primary sources such as contemporaneous newspaper and news media reports and the like)):

Additional Guidance On Locating Primary News and News Media Sources

Here are some databases useful for locating primary news and news media sources.  Additional tips -

If seeking news content from Nexis Uni (formerly LexisNexis Academic), from its home page - click "advanced search,"  then click the link to "select a specific content type," then click "news" in order to bring up the proper news search form for this database

  • NexisUni brings back news article results from both U.S. and non-U.S. sources, sometimes dating back to the 1980s, in response to entry of search words or phrases - but unlike some other news databases - does not support pulling up a news source from a specific date and looking thru all major stories from that paper or program
  • Access World News, Nexis Uni and ProQuest News & Newspapers also include collections of news media "transcripts" in their databases.  These are sourced primarily from public affairs related TV and radio programming
  • Recall these are only highlights of available news databases.  If seeking more options, including specialized collections of deeply historical civil war era journalism, KKK publications, databases that cover specific non U.S. news sources such as the Times (London, U.K.) or Pravda (Russia) - visits the "databases" link at - and pull up the list of all news and newspaper databases from the "type" menu
  • For domestic U.S. newspaper content, ProQuest News & Newspapers database is the Political Science Librarian's top recommendation.  Several of the major national newspapers here (e.g., New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, etc.) include page imaged content dating back to the founding of those papers in the 19th Century
  • In addition to collections of original language TV news in its section, World TV Online, SCOLA's "Foreign Texts" section also contains some page imaged newspaper and magazine content from various countries (extent of what is available varies widely across different county contexts)
  • Digital news:  21st Century news website content is not identical to what one sees in traditional news"papers."  At times some article content may be identical across those platforms but not always.  Of course, the "papers" (absent some form of nanotechnology enhanced digital paper, which we have not seen deployed to consumers) cannot deliver anything digital in the form of slideshows, embedded audio or video, interactive reader polls, etc.  Access World News, Nexis Uni and ProQuest News and Newspapers all - to extent they can - pull in 'article text ' from selected online news websites and blogs, in addition to the newspaper content.  Access World News also harvests U.S. television news video from selected U.S. TV news stations, as posted on their websites.  Many news websites with paywalls focus on maximizing individual subscriber revenue and do not always offer access to libraries. A surprisingly effective tool for seeing news webpage content, current and historical, in reply to typing in a news site URL - is the Internet Archive's "Wayback Machine."  For some sites, Wayback Machine scans changes in the content many times per day. Internal navigation on those sites may not work over time, but excellent page content replicas (i.e., screen grabs) are available
  • Internet Archive TV News Search: Internet Archive's TV News Search is inspired by Vanderbilt University's Television News Archive database - and captures TV news video dating back to 2009.  Television News Archive database focuses on major evening news  broadcasts for the major U.S. networks and its index of content dates back further than what Internet Archive covers.  Only two networks allow streaming of video via that Television News Archive database - NBC Evening News (1968 to present) and CNN News (1995 to present) - however, for news on those networks that is incredible access not available to those outside the university
  • The TV News collections referred to above are for viewing and research purposes.  The TV networks own the content and copying and redistribution is not permitted.  Vanderbilt offers a paid service where they create DVDs of desired clips for researchers _ for network content besides NBC and CNN, but after a researcher views same, those must be returned to Vanderbilt University.  Internet Archive offers a similar service
  • All the ProQuest databases, on their advanced search screen, offer a search refinement box called "document type" - that includes narrowing categories such as "editorial," "letter to the editor," "editorial cartoon." "obituary," "advertisement," etc.  This can be useful is some rather precise narrowing in on results.  For example, a student seeking public opinion from papers in the 1940s on the topic of internment of Americans of Japanese ancestry in prison camps
  • All SU students staff and faculty get 50% discounts to personal subscriptions to the digital New York Times.  Linked to the student association's funding of free campus distribution of print copies on campus - all also have access to entirely free access to the NYT website on a "daypass" basis.  Re-registration required each and every 24 hours, and sometimes available free "seats" may max out.  Access points to the New York Times via databases and via NYT digital are described at this SU Libraries research guide for the New York Times -

U.S. Federal Government Publications - and - Social Media

Special Collections

Yet another category of unique primary historical source material would be any number of original printed, news or news media sources maintained at Bird Library's 6th floor - Special Collections Research Center (SCRC).  Below is a link to the page from SCRC that describes collection strengths - which at times certainly intersect with historical primary sources tied to politics, public affairs and political history.  Use of those sources will be restricted to review at the 6th floor of Bird Library.  Might apply to some of you where primary source exploration gets a bit more historical.  For example, SCRC collection include ABC News Video donated by SU alumnus, Ted Koppel, consisting of approximately 6,600 episodes of Nightline (Mar 1980-Nov 2005).


SCRC Open Hours
PSC 495 students need not make formal "appointments" to visit SCRC.  However, literal review of specific content does require pulling that for your review, which may take 24 hours or longer.  It is important to have some general idea of the content you would like to explore prior to visiting SCRC

SCRC Collection Areas Website
Great portal to major areas of collections strength at the Special Collections Research Center

SCRC "Search the Collections" Website
Search tip:  If you would like to see extensive lists of various categories for all of the many SCRC collections, leaving the query window blank and clicking "search" will retrieve 100% of the various "finding aid" pages at the left margin