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Politics Resources at Princeton University Library

How to Find Books, Journal Articles, Papers, etc.

How to Find Books


The Main Catalog is your primary tool for finding books in the Princeton University Libraries. You can also use the catalog to find other materials, including videos, sound recordings, internet sites, and journals (the journals themselves- not individual articles). The Main Catalog provides two search modes: Basic Search and Guided Search.

Use Basic Search when...
Use Guided Search when...
  • You know the exact title of the item, author's name, subject heading, or call number
  • You want to do a complex keyword search
  • You want to do a simple keyword search anywhere within the catalog record
  • You want to do a keyword search in one or more specific fields

Keyword searching is best used when you don't know the exact title, author's name, or subject heading. Use keywords especially when you want to discover what items the library has for your topic, as this allows you to express the topic in your own words. For more tips on using the Main Catalog see the Help Page.

When you get some search results, use the Long View feature to display the full record with subject headings. Once you find items that seem relevant to your topic, take note of the subject headings listed for those items. You can do follow-up searches using these subject headings to get related items.

If you find your subject searches are not yielding good results, you might want to look at the Library of Congress Subject Headings located at the reference desk. This set of large red volumes provides a listing of the appropriate subject headings that correspond to various topics. Be sure to ask the staff at the reference desk for assistance.

Beyond the Main Catalog, you have access to other Princeton Library catalogs, as well as regional and worldwide catalogs, via the Library Catalogs Page. If you find items outside of Princeton, you can request these be sent here via Interlibrary Loan or Borrow Direct.

How to Find Journal Articles


Princeton subscribes to four essential online article indexes for research in Politics. All of these provide references to scholarly articles from reliable sources. As a student of Politics, you should familiarize yourself with these tools. For more research databases in Politics, see the Politics Databases Page. Here's a useful search strategy that works for essentially any article index database.

  • International Political Science Abstracts (PU only)
    Provides abstracts in English or French to articles selected from over 1,000 international journals. Topics covered include political science method and theory, political thinkers and ideas, governmental and administrative institutions, political process, international relations, and national and area studies. Covers 1989-present.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (PU only)
    Worldwide provides citations and abstracts of the international literature in political science, including journal articles, books and book chapters, dissertations, and reviews. It also covers such areas as international relations, law, sociology, economics, and public policy. Provides references to reliable websites. Covers 1975-present.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (PU only)
    Compiled by the British Library of Political & Economic Science of the London School of Economics & Political Science, this database provides bibliographic information from an international selection of publications (including over 2,600 journals) in the fields of economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology. Covers 1951-present.
  • PAIS International (PU only)
    Provides citations to articles, books, reports, and select government documents on U.S. and international public policy issues. Generally considered to be a comprehensive index to policy literature. Covers 1915-present.
How to Find Book Reviews


Book reviews provide useful information to help you decide whether a particular book is relevant to your area of study. Of course, reviews should never be used as a substitute for reading a book. Below are some specific sources for reviews as well as some handy tips for using article databases to find reviews.

Sources of Book Reviews in Politics:

  • American Political Science Review.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: American Political Science Association. Quarterly.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: 7500.122
    Library Has: 1906-present
    Current Volume: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Published by the American Political Science Association, the Review is one of the essential journals in political science and has long been an excellent source for book reviews in politics. Online versions of the Review are also available. Important Note: As of 2003, APSA has begun to publish book reviews under a separate title called Perspectives on Politics. See the entry below for more information.
  • Perspectives on Politics.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: American Political Science Association. Quarterly.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: JA1 .P485
    Library Has: 2003-present
    Current Volume: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    This is APSA's new publication for book reviews. It is also available online via Cambridge University Press. Browse through recent issues to get a sense of what is being published in the field today. To find reviews of earlier books, consult the book review section in issues of the American Political Science Review above.
  • Foreign Affairs.
    Publisher: New York: Council on Foreign Relations. Bimonthly.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: 0901.F716
    Library Has: 1922-present
    Current Volume: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Foreign Affairs is considered to be America's most influential publication on international affairs and foreign policy. The book review section helps scholars stay informed about recent books in international relations. Their Book Review Resources page provides online access to many reviews. Foreign Affairs is also available online via a number of services.
  • Law & Politics Book Review
    The Law and Politics Book Review is sponsored by the Law & Courts Section of the American Political Science Association. LPBR attempts to review almost every book about the legal process and politics, to provide longer reviews than are usually published, and to make the reviews available within six months of receiving the book.
  • National Journal's The Well-Read Wonk
    URL: reviews books of interest to anyone that works in or wants to know more about politics. This is not a source for literary criticism per se, but a biweekly review of books worth reading.
  • Political ReviewNet
    Political ReviewNet is maintained by Blackwell Publishing and contains reviews originally published in their leading academic journals. This resource brings together a comprehensive and authoritative collection of book reviews in political science and international relations, featuring reviews by acknowledged experts in all the major sub-disciplines of Politics and International Relations.
  • Political Science Quarterly.
    Publisher: New York: Academy of Political Science. Quarterly.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: 7500.729
    Library Has: 1886-present
    Current Volume: Current Periodicals Reading Room (PR)
    Published since 1886, PSQ offers crucial and timely analysis of both domestic and foreign policy issues as well as of political institutions and processes. Each issue consists of five or six insightful articles by leading scholars as well as 30-40 scholarly and useful book reviews. Online versions of PSQ are also available.
  • Political Studies Review
    This journal is an offshoot of the leading political science journal Political Studies published by the UK's Political Studies Association. Political Studies Review publishes reviews of political science books in English, and this web site contains the full text of all reviews.
  • Review of Politics.
    Publisher: Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame. Quarterly.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: 7500.753
    Library Has: 1939-present
    Current Volume: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    This journal emphasizes the philosophical and historical approach to politics. Tables of contents, including a listing of book reviews going back to the first issue may be viewed by clicking here. To see the actual review, you will have to locate the appropriate issue. Select online access is also available.

Tips for Finding Book Reviews in Politics-related Databases:

  • America History & Life (PU only)
    You can search for reviews in this database by the book's title, author, subject or keywords. Use the advanced search. To limit your searches to book reviews, enter book review in the Document Type box. Enter your other seach terms and click on the Search button. To search for a review of a specific book title, enter the title of the book in the Title/Translation box.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (PU only)
    You can search for book reviews in this databse by the book's title, author, subject or keywords. To limit your searches to book reviews, add the term PT=review to your search, where PT stands for Publication Type. You can add this limit to your search either by executing it as a separate search and then using the Search History feature to combine it with your other searches, or by simply adding it to your current search with a Boolean AND operator.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (PU only)
    While you can search this database for the topic of the book as well as its title, your best bet is to search on a specific book title. Limit your search to reviews in Politics by selecting the Social Sciences file. To broaden your search, you can also select the Arts & Humanities file, which covers related areas such as History. If you know the year the book was published, you can also set the date range to begin with that year. Click on the General Search button. Enter the title of the book in the Topic field (don't use Source Title). Scroll down to the "Restrict search by languages and document types" section and select Book Review as the document type. Click on the Search button to execute, then scroll through the search results to find reviews on your book.
  • Sociological Abstracts (PU only)
    You can only search for reviews of specific book titles in this database. Search for the title using TI= followed by the book title. Limit your search to book reviews by adding PT=book review. You can add this limit to your search either by executing it as a separate search and then using the Search History feature to combine it with your title search, or by simply adding it to your current search with a Boolean AND operator.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (PU only)
    You can only search for reviews of specific book titles in this database. Search for the title using TI= followed by the book title. Limit your search to book reviews by adding PT=book review. You can add this limit to your search either by executing it as a separate search and then using the Search History feature to combine it with your title search, or by simply adding it to your current search with a Boolean AND operator.

For additional resources to help find book reviews, see the library's Book Reviews Sources page.

How to Find Biographies


Here are some select sources for biographies of political scientists, heads of state, politicians, and other people influential to politics. Further below are listings of some databases that are useful for finding biographies.

  • A-Z Guide to Modern Social and Political Theorists.
    Publisher: New York: Prentice Hall/Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1997.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: JA92 .A9 1997
  • African Leaders: Guiding the New Millennium.
    Publisher: Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: DT18 .R344 2001
  • American Political Scientists: A Dictionary.
    Publisher: New York: Greenwood Press, 1993
    Location: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Call Number: JA61 .A525 1993
  • Biographical Dictionary of Modern World Leaders: 1992 to the Present.
    Publisher: New York: Facts On File, 2003.
    Location: General & Humanities Reference (DR)
    Call Number: D412 .B55 2003
  • Dictionary of Mexican Rulers, 1325-1997.
    Publisher: Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1997.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: F1205 .V34 1997
  • Dictionary of Political Biography.
    Publisher: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: D412 .D53 1998
  • Encyclopedia of Heads of States and Governments, 1900 through 1945.
    Publisher: Jefferson, NC: McFarland, c1999.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: D412 .L45 1999
  • Government Leaders, Military Rulers, and Political Activists.
    Publisher: London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: D107 .G646 2001
  • Leaders of Russia and the Soviet Union: from the Romanov dynasty to Vladimir Putin.
    Publisher: London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2004.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: DK40 .P36 2004
  • Profiles of People in Power: The World's Government Leaders.
    Publisher: London: Europa, 2003.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: JF251 .E27 2003
  • Routledge Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Political Thinkers.
    Publisher: London: Routledge, 1998.
    Location: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Call Number: JA83 .R725 1998
  • United States Executive Branch: A Biographical Directory of Heads of State and Cabinet Officials.
    Publisher: Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
    Location: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
    Call Number: E176 .U575 2003
  • Who's Who in American Politics.
    Publisher: New York: Bowker. Annual.
    Location: Firestone (F)
    Call Number: E176 .W6424
    Library Has: 1967/68-present
    Current Volume: Social Science Reference Center (SSRC)
  • American National Biography (PU only)
    Authoritative bios of more than 18,000 prominent Americans who are deceased. Updated monthly, it includes bibliographic data on publications by and about these individuals back to 1750. Search by name or various characteristics, including gender, ethnicity, occupation, and dates.
  • Biography and Genealogy Master Index (PU only)
    This is a combined index that identifies over 13 million entries in hundreds of biographical sources. Coverage is international and updated twice a year.
  • Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments
    This online directory, produced by the Central Intelligence Agency, is updated weekly and is intended to be used primarily as a reference aid. It lists the heads of many governments of the world, including some that are not officially recognized by the United States. While this directory is not a source of biographies per se, it can help you find the name of a current head of state, which you can then search in other databases such as the International Who's Who.
  • International Who's Who (PU only)
    Basic biographical data on more than 23,000 prominent living or recently deceased individuals from around the world.
  • Lexis Nexis Academic - Biographical Search (PU only)
    Use this segment of Lexis Nexis Academic to search documents that contain biographical sources, including people-related news sources, selected biographical stories, obituaries, and business-related stories covering company executives.
  • Who's Who (PU only)
    Useful database for basic biographical information on over one million prominent living individuals from across the US with some international coverage. Updated daily.
How to Find Working Papers


Also called research reports, technical papers, discussion papers, staff papers, or occasional papers, working papers summarize original research in a narrow segment of a field of study, and are generally intended for publication within a short period of time (1-3 years). Working papers are mostly sponsored by academic institutions, large research organizations and some private organizations. Some working papers are eventually published in scholarly journals. Most are written by faculty, doctoral candidates, and other researchers, and can be very useful for identifying new ideas and concepts in a field of study.

For additional sources of working papers, particularly in Economics, click here.

  • Working Paper Sites of Political Science
    A central place on the Web with links to various sites where political science faculty post their working papers. Links are arranged by broad categories and accompanied by short descriptions of the professors' sites. Individual authors may be searched by last name. See also their listings of institutions for working papers of various research centers.
  • Politics Research Group Working Papers, Kennedy School of Government
    The Politics Research Group brings together faculty engaged in empirical and theoretical research related to politics. Research encompasses a broad range of fields in the social sciences, including institutional analysis, political theory, public law, organizational behavior, race and politics, and international relations. Online working papers are available in HTML or .PDF formats.
  • CIAO - Columbia International Affairs Online (PU only)
    CIAO publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from NGOs, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals and policy briefs.
  • PolicyFile (PU only)
    Provides indexing and abstracts of research publications addressing the complete range of public policy research. PolicyFile draws its content from public policy think tanks, university research programs, research organizations and publishers.
  • RAND Publications
    A nonprofit public policy research institution established after World War II to study national security. In the 1960s it added domestic policy problems to its research agenda. Current areas of research and analysis include national defense, education and training, health care, criminal and civil justice, labor and population, science and technology, community development, international relations and regional studies. See the RAND Publications Research Guide for more help in locating RAND publications.
  • Social Science Research Network
    SSRN is devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research and is composed of a number of specialized research networks in each of the social sciences. The SSRN eLibrary consists of an database containing abstracts on over 53,300 working papers and a collection of over 32,700 downloadable full text documents in Adobe Acrobat format.
  • National Bureau of Economic Research
    Founded in 1920, the National Bureau of Economic Research is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of how the economy works. Working papers are available in .PDF and may be searched or browsed.
  • Fed in Print
    A searchable index to Federal Reserve economic research publications, including working papers. Access to the index is via the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Note that the very latest working papers may not yet be indexed here, so be sure to check the web sites of the individual federal reserve banks for the most recent papers.
    Run by Christian Zimmermann at the Department of Economics of the University of Connecticut, this database indexes over 170,000 working papers, many of which can be downloaded in full text. This service includes bibliographic data contributed by over 250 working paper archives.
How to Find Statistics & Data


This is a very short list of selected resources that are useful for finding statistical information and numeric data on the U.S. and other countries. For more specific sources, be sure to consult other sections of this site under the topics in question. For more help finding a data or statistical source, be sure to contact one of the librarians.

See also: Data & Statistical Services and
Basic Sources of Economics Statistics

  • American FactFinder
    This web site is the Census Bureau's primary vehicle for distributing recent Census data. Data from the 2000 and 1990 Census, economic censuses since 1997, and the American Community Survey are also available here. For additional statistics and data from other Census programs, see the Census Bureau entry below.
  • American Statistics Index.
    Publisher: Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service. Annual.
    Location: SSRC Index Tables
    ASI provides abstracts for reports issued by Federal agencies and the executive branch that contain statistical tables. Examples include annual reports, working papers, articles from government journals, budgets and yearbooks. The indexing in ASI corresponds to the ASI microfiche set kept in cabinets in the Documents Microfiche Collection, located on C-level. See also, Lexis-Nexis Statistical below.
  • Bureau of the Census
    The Census Bureau is the preeminent collector and provider of timely, relevant, and quality data about the people and economy of the United States. The Census home page provides access to a wide variety of finding tools for Census data and publications, as well as links to related information from other agencies.
  • Census Bureau - International Programs Center
    The IPC is a part of the Population Division of the U.S. Bureau of the Census that conducts demographic and socioeconomic studies and strengthens statistical development around the world through technical assistance, training, and software products. This page provides links to international demographic information.
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis
    The BEA is an agency of the Department of Commerce, which along with the Census Bureau and STAT-USA, is part of the Department's Economics and Statistics Administration. The mission of the BEA is to produce and disseminate accurate, timely, relevant, and cost-effective economic accounts statistics that provide a comprehensive, up-to-date picture of economic activity. BEA's national, regional, and international economic accounts present basic information on such key issues as U.S. economic growth, regional economic development, and the Nation's position in the world economy.
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    The BLS is the principal fact-finding agency for the Federal government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS serves as a statistical resource to the Department of Labor and collects, processes, analyzes, and disseminates essential statistical data on topics such as inflation, wages and earnings, employment, and productivity. The New York-New Jersey Information Office of the BLS provides regional information for New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The BLS also provides links to various foreign and international statistical offices.
  • EIU Country Data (PU only)
    A service of the Economist Intelligence Unit that provides international economic data and forecasts on a time series basis. Data are derived from national governments, trade associations, BIS, IMF, IFC, OECD, the World Bank, and EIU's own researchers. A related product, EIU Market Indicators and Forecasts (formerly EIU Country Indicators) provides more social and political risk data. EIU also provides detailed cost comparisons of major international cities in EIU City Data.
  • FedStats.
    The Federal Interagency Council on Statistical Policy maintains this site to provide easy access to the full range of statistics and information produced by more than 70 Federal government agencies that are of interest to the public.
  • Foreign Statistical Abstracts Collection
    The library maintains a collection of current statistical yearbooks for various countries, arranged by country name, in the Social Science Reference Center. Some of these are available in English or in dual languages, but many are in the native language of the country. Earlier yearbooks will be available generally under the same call number in Firestone stacks. See the SSRC staff for more information.
  • Historical Statistics of the United States, Colonial Times to 1970.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1975.
    Location: SSRC Ready Reference
    Call Number: HA202 .B87 1975
    Provides convenient access to a wide variety of statistics dating back to before 1800 and up to 1970. Topics include population, vital statistics, health and medical care, migration, labor, prices, income and expenditures, agriculture, construction and housing, manufactures, transportation, communications, energy, business, trade, technology, and government. Each chapter includes detailed annotations which provide sources for additional information. Also includes time period and subject indexes. For data after 1970, see the annual volumes of the Statistical Abstract of the United States described below.
  • Index to International Statistics.
    Publisher: Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service. Annual.
    Location: SSRC Index Tables
    IIS provides abstracts for reports and other publications issued by Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), such as the United Nations, IMF, World Bank and OECD, that contain statistical tables. The indexing in IIS corresponds to the IIS microfiche set kept in cabinets in the Documents Microfiche Collection, located on C-level. See also, Lexis-Nexis Statistical below.
  • Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
    Located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the ICPSR provides member colleges and universities with access to an extensive data archive, as well as training facilities for social scientists conducting quantitative analysis. Search their data holdings by keyword or browse by thematic categories. Important note: Searching the ICPSR database can be difficult, so be sure to ask a librarian for help if you do not find what you need.
  • Lexis Nexis Statistical (formerly Statistical Universe) (PU only)
    This is the web equivalent to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, American Statistics Index, Statistical Reference Index, and Index to International Statistics listed in this section. It provides full text of selected tables, as well as links to data-producing agencies. LN Statistical provides flexible searching capabilities and is a good place to start if you need to identify a source for a particular kind of statistical information.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States.
    Publisher: Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of the Census. Annual.
    Location: SSRC Index Tables
    Call Number: HA202
    Library Has: 1878-present
    Current Volume: SSRC Ready Reference
    URL: (latest volume & select earlier editions)
    The Abstract is a statistical compendium that covers a wide variety of topics, including population, vital statistics, health and nutrition, education, law enforcement, environment, parks and recreation, elections, state and local government finance and employment, Federal government finance and employment, defense, human services, labor, income and expenditures, prices, banking and finance, business, communications and information technology, energy, science and technology, transportation, agriculture, natural resources, construction and housing, manufactures and trade. Tables provide summary statistics with footnotes indicating sources for more detailed data. This is a very good source for basic U.S. statistics.
  • Statistical Reference Index.
    Publisher: Bethesda, MD: Congressional Information Service. Annual.
    Location: SSRC Index Tables
    SRI provides abstracts for state and local government and private sector reports that contain statistical information. The indexing in SRI corresponds to the SRI microfiche set kept in cabinets in the Documents Microfiche Collection, located on C-level. See also Lexis Nexis Statistical above.
  • Stat-USA
    A service of the Department of Commerce, this site provides authoritative information from the Federal government to the U.S. business, economic and trade community.
  • United Nations Common Database (PU only)
    The UNCDB provides selected series from 30 specialized international data sources covering a range of topics, including demographics, vital statistics, economics, trade, health, education, and government spending.

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