Key Library Databases for Scholarship

*Worldwide Political Science Abstracts 

Why: WPSA is a "gold standard" for deep access to political science, political sociology, political theory, economics, law, and foreign and public policy. HARVARD KEY

*HEIN Online

Why: HEIN Online is a key producer and supplier of legal information to research institutions like Harvard. And because  foreign policies are inextricable from issues of law and legislation, law review articles are often written to frame contextualize, or explain them. HARVARD KEY

Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost)

Why: The advantages of Academic Search Premier are 1) that it is multidisciplinary in its coverage; 2) that it includes publications both current and historical; and 3) that it offers a mix of scholarly, news, and magazine content. HARVARD KEY


Why: This tried and true database is probably one of the first places you learned to search for scholarly literature. "Smallish" (in relative terms), it's also mighty because the journals it includes are those that, historically, have been considered the most important and most impactful in the fields they cover. 

One downside of JSTOR: it typically excludes the most recent 1-5 years of the publications it includes (with some exceptions). That means you may want to supplement / update with  in HOLLIS,  Google Scholar, or another subject database that Harvard subscribes to. HARVARD KEY

Google Scholar

Why:  GS searches differently from most library databases, including HOLLIS. In addition to searching "metadata" (lots of descriptive info about a book or article, it also searches full-text.This can be an additional advantage when you've got a very narrow topic or are seeking a "nugget" that traditional database searching can't surface easily. 

Google Scholar incorporates more types of information -- not just books and journal contents-- and depending on your need, comfort level, and perspective, that eclecticism can be an advantage. 

It's also an excellent way to follow CITATION TRAILS. Enter the title of a book or journal article and then click on "Cited by" when the item appears. 





Key Policy and Think Tank Databases

*Homeland Security Digital Library

The nation’s premier collection of resources for documents that address U.S. security policy or strategy at home or abroad. The Advanced Search screen offers lots of ways to filter a search even before you run it.  HARVARD KEY

*OECD iLibrary

A portal to  OECD country studies, forecasting publications, reports, periodicals, and socio-economic databases. Topics covered include agriculture, developing economies, education, employment, energy, environment, health, migration, social issues, sustainable development.  HARVARD KEY

*World Bank eLibrary

Offers quick and easy access to the complete collection of World Bank formal publications and journals since the 1990s, as well as reports, working papers, and top data from the World Bank’s World Development Indicators. HARVARD KEY

*Policy Commons  

Claims to be the largest curated database of policy literature produced by more than 24,000 think tanks, agencies, governments, and cities; also notable for its inclusion of information from and about the Global South.

Some premium content is not available. MAKE A FREE ACCOUNT TO ACCESS AVAILABLE CONTENT.

IGO Custom Search Engine 

Nondescript in its look, this is an immensely powerful tool, originally built by Stanford librarians.  It searches web content of intergovernmental agencies, including the U.N.

NGO Custom Search Engine  

The "sister" CSE to the IGO database described above, it searches web content (reports, etc.) produced by humanitarian organizations and foundations

PAIS (Public Affairs Information System)

Covers the international policy- oriented literature on topics such as economics, finance, law, education, the military, political science, public administration, international law and relations, the environment, demography, public health, science and technology, HARVARD KEY

Think Tank Search

A customized Google Search from the Harvard Kennedy School Library, it canvasses the web sites of thousands of policy-related organizations, pulls together their white papers and "gray lit" and then makes these materials conveniently available to perspectives.

Featured Resource

Oxford Bibliographies Online

Sometimes, the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance. How do you know what to read? Which voices have been most important to the scholarly conversation or set a new direction in research? 

An OBO entry might solve the problem. Compiled by experts in a field, each OBO entry is curated reading list annotated reading list of influential studies on a broad topic, with some annotation and evaluation.

SMART TIP: Use HOLLIS to identify your access to materials identified in OBO entries. HARVARD KEY

Did You Know? Getting Around Paywalls on the Web


1. Change your Google Scholar Settings to reveal online journal access via Harvard.

2. Create a Library Bookmark for one-click access to our digital "holdings" information

3.  Add a Lean Library extension to your browser for full-text notifications as you search.

4. Copy and paste the book or article title into HOLLIS.

Still Have Access Questions?

Use our Ask-a-Librarian service and we'll triage that way!



 Contact me: Sue Gilroy, Research Librarian and Liaison to Social Studies and Expository Writing, Lamont Library, Room 210