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LIBRARY GUIDE TO Political Science Pathfinder

Print Sources


A Historical Guide to the U.S. Government. (Ref. JK 9 .H57 1998)
Narrative essays on each agency of the U.S. government.

Congressional Quarterly's Desk Reference on American Government.  (Ref. JK 274 .W449 2000)
Explains the U.S. government in a question and answer format. 

Accesses reference books from Credo



The HarperCollins Dictionary of American Government and Politics. (Ref. JK 9 .S43 1992)
Includes over 5,000 entries on American national, state or local governments and politics.

Dictionary of Government and Politics. (Ref. JA 61 .C6 1998)

The American Political Dictionary. (Ref. JK 9 .P55 1993; 9th edition)
Alphabetically arranged within broad subject, e.g., the Executive, Civil Liberties. Includes terms, theories, agencies, court cases and statutes "basic to an understanding of American government and politics." (preface)

Dictionary of American Conservatism. (Ref. JA 84 .U5 F55 1987)
Defines past and present conservative concepts.

The New Language of Politics. (JK 9 .S2, 3rd floor)
"This is a dictionary of the words and phrases that have misled millions, blackened reputations. . . oversimplified ideas to appeal to the lowest common denominator, shouted down inquiry, and replaced searching debate with stereotypes that trigger approval or hatred." (preface)

Concise Oxford Dictionary of Politics. (Ref. JA 61 .C665 1996)

Dictionary of 20th-Century World Politics. (Ref. JA 61 .S53 1993)

Political Science Glossary

A Glossary of Political Economy Terms.

The Blackwell Dictionary of Political Science. (Ref. JA 61 .B43 1999)



The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Political Institutions. (Ref. JA 61 .B56 1987)
Provides " a succinct guide to the central concepts used in the study of the political institutions of advanced societies, the principal political organizations and movements in these societies and the main types of political community."

 Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. (Ref. JX 1407 .E53)
Seven to fifteen page articles, written by scholars. Alphabetically arranged by broad subject, e.g., Reparations, Public Opinion. Essays "explore concepts, themes, large ideas, theories, doctrines and distinctive policies in the history of American foreign relations...." (preface) See also: Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations (Ref. E 183.7 .E53 1997).

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. (Ref. H 40 .A2 I5 2008)
Covers theories, concepts and persons in the social sciences. Articles vary from 1 page to 10+. They are written by scholars and include bibliographies. This set includes an index and a bibliography.

Encyclopedia of American Political History. (Ref. E 183 .E5 1984)
This title is a good starting point for research papers on American political science. It provides comprehensive articles, written by authorities on topics in political science. Articles include bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of the American Left. (Ref. HX 86 .E58 1998)
Provides comprehensive entries on people and movements that have sought  "fundamental changes in the economic, political and cultural systems...." Most entries are allegedly based on primary sources and include bibliographies.

Encyclopedia of Human Rights. (Ref. JC 571 .E67 1996)
Includes documents on human rights activities, international, regional and national, between 1945 and 1996

Encyclopedia of Democracy. (Ref. JC 423 .E53 1995)
Contains 417 articles written by distinguished scholars on varying aspects of democracy.

United States Intelligence, An Encyclopedia. (Ref. JK 468 .I6 U57 1990)

Congressional Quarterly's American Congressional Dictionary. (Ref. JK 9 .K73 2001)

Oxford Companion to Politics of the World. (Ref. JA 61 .O95 2001)

Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage. (Ref. JF 1525 .I6 P65 1997)

Encyclopedia of American Government. (Ref. JK 9 .E52 1998)
This 3-volume work contains essays of 500-2500 words on all aspects of the American government, including state and local.

World Encyclopedia of Peace. (Ref. JX 1944 


Public Interest Profiles 2004-2005:Top Public Advocacy Groups Shaping America's Agenda (Ref. JK 1118 .P79 2004-2005)


Washington Information Directory. Annual. (Ref F 192.3 .W33; Kept at Ref. Desk)
Lists addresses, telephone numbers and names of contact people for departments and agencies of the federal government, Congress and non-governmental organizations. Arranged by broad subject, but includes index.

United States Government Manual. Annual.    (Ref. JK 421 .A3; Latest kept at Ref. Desk; others in Govt. Documents-AE 2.108/2:; also available online 1995/96 through current)
Provides information on the addresses, activities and current officials of the offices of the U.S. government.

Book of the States. (Ref. JK 2403 .B6; Latest volume in Reference, others on 3rd floor)
Provides narrative and statistical information on intergovernmental affairs, governors, legislatures, finances and several other topics.

Municipal Year Book.  1961-1996   (Ref. JS 344 .C5 A24)
Provides statistical and narrative information on municipal governments.

Michigan Manual. (Latest edition online; 2007/08 kept at Ref. Desk--Ref. JK 5831 .A32; add'l. copy and older editions in Michigan Documents Collection)
Lists state constitution; biographical information on state officials, addresses and responsibilities of departments, boards and commissions, population and territory of senatorial and representative districts plus the "Official Canvass of Votes" of elections.


Europa World Year Book. 1960- (Ref. JN 1 .E85)
Vol. 1 covers international organizations and Europe; Vol. 2 covers Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australasia. Information includes introductory and statistical surveys, political parties, religions, press, etc.

Political Handbook of the World. Annual. (Ref. JF 37 .P6)
Provides information on chief government officials, party programs and leaders, political events and the president. It is especially useful for information on the origins, purpose, structure and activities of international organizations.

Yearbook of International Organizations. (Ref. JX 1904 .A42 2006/07)


America Votes.  (Ref. JK 1967 .A8)
Covers presidential elections, 1920--; presidential primaries, 1972--. It is then arranged by state and covers presidential, gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional elections. See also America at the Polls (Ref. JK 524 .A73 1994) and The International Almanac of Electoral History (Ref. JF 1001 .M17).

Political Parties & Elections in the United States. (Ref. JK 2261 .P633 1991)
A good place to find names and dates, data on the history and current operations of political parties and information on people who have played important roles in the political process.

National Party Platforms. (1840-1973) (Ref. JK 2255 .J64)
Contains texts of all major and minor party platforms for these years. See also National Party Platforms of 1980 (Ref. JK 2255 .J643).

Congressional Quarterly's Guide to U.S. Elections. (Ref. JK 1967 .C662 1994)
Covers presidential, gubernatorial, senate and house elections, 1789-1992. A good place to go to find who won an election and popular votes.

America at the Polls. (Ref. JK 524 .A73 1994)

Elections A to Z. (Ref. JK 1976 .M57 1999)
Short entries and long articles on American elections.

A Statistical History of the American Electorate.   (Ref. JK 1967 .R87 2001)

Lijphart Election Archives.
District election results for 350 elections in 26 countries.

National Election Studies.
Provides data on voting, public opinion and political participation.

A New Nation Votes: American Election Returns 1787-1825.
Provides data by state, year, person and party affiliation.

Election Resources on the Internet. Provides election information for over 120 countries.

Election Statistics Federal elections back to 1920


Encyclopedia of the Republican Party; Encyclopedia of the Democratic Party.   (Ref. JK 2352 .E56 1997)
This is a very important title. Includes entries on issues and ideology, biographies, conventions, platforms.

Political Parties & Elections in the United States, An Encyclopedia.    (Ref. JK 2261 .P633 1991)

Political Parties of the World.   (Ref. JF 2051 .D39 2002)

Political Parties in America. (Ref. JK 2261 .P636 2001)


Encyclopedia of the American Presidency. (Ref. JK 511 .E53 1994; 4 vols.)
Provides comprehensive, not "quick facts" on the "origin, evolution, and constant unfolding of the American presidency." Provides a broad interpretation of the presidency. Thus, one will find articles on Dean Acheson, Abortion, Civil Liberties, etc.

The Presidency A to Z. (Ref. JK 511 .P775 1998)
Provides comprehensive and ready reference information about the presidency. No bibliographies, but extensive cross-references.

Facts About the Presidents. 6th ed. (Ref. E 176.1 .K3 1993)
A compilation of biographical and historical data. Emphasis is on factual information such as cabinet officers, important dates.

The Complete Book of U.S. Presidents. (Ref. E 176.1 .D43 1989)
Emphasis is on lengthy narrative, about 15-20 pages per president. Current through Bush.

The Presidents: A Reference History. (Ref. E 176.1 .P918 1996)
Provides lengthy scholarly articles. Current through Clinton.

The Presidential-Congressional Political Dictionary. (Ref. JK 9 .E4 1984)

The American Presidency; A Bibliography. (Ref. JK 511 .A1 M357 1987)

U.S. Presidential Candidates and the Elections. (Ref. JK 528 .H38 1996)

Encyclopedia of the Reagan-Bush Years. (Ref. JK 511 .L48 1996)

Encyclopedia of the United States Cabinet. (Ref.  E 176 .G89 2000)
This three volume work provides historical essays on each cabinet office and the cabinet secretaries.

Presidential Libraries

Vital Statistics on the Presidency: Washington to Clinton. (Ref. JK 518 .R34 1998)



The Almanac of American Politics. Annual. (Ref. JK 1012 .A44)
Arranged by state. Includes profile of state politics plus a narrative of each congressional district. Details voting record on important issues and committees which the senator or representative serves on.

Encyclopedia of the American Legislative System. (Ref. JF 501 .E53 1994)
For students doing research on Congress or legislation, this three-volume set is the place to begin. Each volume consists of lengthy essays written by scholars. Complete bibliographies are included. The essays seek to "provide an understanding of legislatures in the U.S., their membership, processes, powers, and accomplishments since their colonial beginnings."

Official Congressional Directory. Annual. (Ref. JK 1011; also available online, 105th Congress (1997-1998) forward)   Lists congressional staffs, committees, subcommittees, committee staffs, executive branch staff, plus short biographies on state delegates. A good place for identifying the towns and cities of a congressional district.

CQ's Politics in America. Annual. (Ref. JK 1012 .P64)
Very similar to Almanac of American Politics, but provides information on campaign finances.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac. Annual. (Ref. JK 1 .C66)
Arranged by broad subject, e.g., defense, foreign policy. Index in back. Provides a survey of congressional action on these subjects. Also includes roll call charts, presidential messages, lobby registrations. See also CQ Weekly (Ref. JK 1 .C15; 1938-2010).

Congress A to Z. (Ref. JK 1021 .C554 1999)
Same format as The Presidency A to Z (see previous page).

 The Directory of Congressional Voting Scores and Interest Group Ratings.  (Ref. JK 1051 .S555 1988)
Provides ratings of congressional delegations by special interest groups.

Congressional Districts in the 2000s (Ref. JK 1341 .C65 2003)
Alphabetically arranged by state. Includes narrative on each congressional district, plus statistics which include demographics, election returns, housing and residential patterns, and a listing of the leading industries. See also Congressional Districts in the 1980s (Ref. JK 1341 .C63 1983) and Congressional Districts in the 1970s (Ref. JK 1341 .C66 1974).

United States Congress: An Annotated Bibliography, 1980-1993.   (Ref. JK 1061 .A1 M285 1995)

Encyclopedia of the United States Congress.   (Ref. JK 1067 .E63 1995)
Contains 1056 scholarly entries.

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress: 1774-present

Black Members of the United States Congress, 1870-2004

Congress.org This is a directory of federal, state and local officials.

CongressLink provides information about the U.S. Congress – how it works, its members and leaders, and the public policies it produces. CongressLink is
divided into three major sections:

Today's Congress
Up-to-date information about the current Congress: the senators and representatives (and how to contact them), their leaders, the congressional schedule, pending legislation, campaigns and elections, and more.

Congress: The Basics
Historical and contemporary information about Congress as an institution, the lawmaking process, the nature of leadership in Congress, and the characteristics and duties of Congress members. This section includes several related essays by scholars.

Congress: Teaching It
Resources to help teach about Congress, including lesson plans, WebQuests, links to related Web sites, Bloom’s taxonomy, and a glossary and historical notes linked to other site features.



The Supreme Court A to Z. (Ref. KF 8742 .A35 S8 1998)
Includes alphabetically arranged entries and comprehensive articles about jurists and issues that have appeared before the court.

The Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States.   (Ref. KF 8742 .A35 O93 1992)
Is similar to the above title, but better. The entries are longer, more scholarly in tone and include bibliographies. It is also more comprehensive.

There are three titles on court justices. The Justices of the United States Supreme Court (Ref. KF 8744 .F75) This is the best because it is so comprehensive. It is a five-volume set and thus allows extensive coverage. It is current through 1978. Another fine title is The Supreme Court Justices, A Biographical Dictionary (Ref. KF 8744 .S859 1994). The entries are up to ten pages long, written by scholars and include bibliographies. The Supreme Court Justices: Illustrated Biographies (Ref. KF 8744 .S86 1993) is most useful for biographical information on a justice's life.

The Supreme Court Compendium. (Ref. KF 8742 .S86 1994)

Guide to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Ref. KF 8742 .W567 2004)
Provides a comprehensive view of the court. Arranged in six parts: Origins and Development; The Court and the Federal System; The Court and the Individual; Pressures on the Court; The Court at Work; Members of the Court. Includes subject and case indexes, appendix, glossary and list of acts of Congress held unconstitutional.

The Encyclopedia of the American Judicial System. (Ref. KF 154 .E53 1987)
Goes far beyond the Supreme Court, although volume one of the five-volume set does have a section dealing with the various "eras" of the Court. Other parts deal with such matters as "Contracts," "Torts," "Criminal Procedure." The entries are comprehensive, scholarly and well-written.

Supreme Court At Work. (Ref. KF 8742 .S912 1997)
Contains the "usual" entries, i.e., biographies. But pay attention to the appendices where one will find "unusual" information such as "Acts of Congress Held Unconstitutional" or "Map of Federal Court System."

Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the nited States ( Ref KF 8742 A35 E525 20080 Five volumes this set is arranged by cases and ideas such as apportionment.

Encyclopedia of the First Amendment (Ref KF 4770 E53 2009) Arranged by issue and court case.

Landmark Supreme Court Cases

Web Guide to US Supreme Court Research
Provides 13 pages of annotated links on Court related web sites.

Lll/Legal Information Institute: Supreme Court Collection
Full text of decisions from 1990- and full text the day the case is decided.


The Gallup Poll. (Ref. HN 90 .P8 G3 [1935-71] and Ref. HN 90 .P8 G32 [1972-1977])
Provides results of public opinion polls conducted by the American Institute of Public Opinion. Chronologically arranged, indexes. Covers the years 1935-71 and 1972-77.  Has index:  The Gallup Poll Cumulative Index:  Public Opinion, 1935-1997 (Ref. HN 90 .P8 G29 1999)  See also The Gallup International Public Opinion Polls, Great Britain, 1937-1975 (Ref. HN 400 .P8 G34) and The Gallup International Public Opinion Polls, France, 1939, 1944-1975 (Ref. HN 440 .P8 G35). For monthly publication, see Gallup Poll Tuesday Briefing (title varies) 1968-2008 (Ref. HM 261 .G34).

American Attitudes: Program on International Policy Attitudes
Polls on American opinions and attitudes on world affairs.



European Political Facts, 1648-1789. (Ref. JN 9 .B3 1984)
Arranged by subject, e.g., the church, population, and then geographically. Lists important events of the year. See also European Political Facts, 1789-1848 (Ref. JN 10 .C65); European Political Facts, 1848-1918 (Ref. JN 10 .C66 1978); and European Political Facts 1900-1996 (Ref. JN 12 .C637 1998). In addition, see Twentieth-Century British Political Facts, 1900-2000 (Ref. JN 231 .B8 2000).


Major Peace Treaties of Modern History, 1648-1967. (Ref. JX 121 .I8)
Provides texts of the treaties and brief commentaries.

Treaties and Alliances of the World. (Ref. JX 4005 .T72 1981b)
Arranged geographically and by broad subject, e.g., nuclear and conventional disarm-ament. Not a place to go for verbatim texts of treaties, but important as a record of treaties.

Treaties in Force: A List of Treaties and other International Agreements of the United States in Force on . . . . Annual. (Docs. S 9.14: Kept in Documents Collection; 1997 through current available online)
The first part includes bilateral treaties and other agreements listed by country. Part Two includes multilateral treaties and agreements arranged by subject.


Constitutions of the United States, National and State. (Ref. JK 18 .C6)

Constitutions of Nations. (Ref. K 4525 1965 .P32)

Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. (Ref. KF 4548 .E53 2000)
A very important work. Articles, written by scholars, vary in length from brief entries to 6000 words. Bibliographies and cross references.

Encyclopedia of Constitutional Amendments, Proposed Amendments, and Amending Issues, 1789-1995.  (Ref. KF 4557 .V555 1996)
Also includes important individuals, organizations and constitutional reforms introduced outside Congress.

A Practical Companion to the Constitution.   (Ref. KF 4548 .L54 1999)
Alphabetically arranged by topic, this book tells how the Court ruled on a specific issue.

Constitutions of the World.

Founders Constitution
Includes the constitution and documents used by the Founding Fathers.

Constitution of the United States
Provides analysis and annotations of Court decisions pursuant to a particular amendment or other part of the constitution.

Constitution Finder
Provides constitutions, charters and amendments for 211 countries.
Internet Resources

This is a listing of international, regional and governmental metasites.

Social Science Information Gateway: Politics
This meta lists the usuals such as organizations, journals, list serves, bibliographies, plus a bunch of sub-topics.

Yahoo's Political Science
This is one of the best places to begin your research. Organized by categories, such as political economy, political theory or public administration. Site listings provided for each category.

Pay particular attention to the first heading Political Science, as it lists other metasites.

Voice of the Shuttle: Politics and Government
Covers these areas: General Political Resources, Political Theory & Philosophy, General International Politics, France, U.K., Russia, U.S. Politics, Politics Of The Net, Politics and Government Journals & Zines, Course Syllabi,
Politics and Government Studies Conferences.

The Ultimate Political Science Links Page
This is an outstanding site. It covers associations, areas of study, resources, journals, archived commentary and more.


Statistical Resources on the Web:  Political Science

Thomas Legislative Information on the Internet
Use this site for tracking legislation through Congress. Links to executive, judicial and state and local sites.

BUBL LINK Politics
Covers these areas:

Political science: general resources
Political ideologies
Political situation and conditions: general resources
Political situation and conditions: Europe
Political situation and conditions: UK and Ireland
Political situation and conditions: Scotland
Political situation and conditions: United States and Canada
Political situation and conditions: specific countries
Systems of governments and states
Revolutionary groups
Civil and political rights
Human rights
The political process
International migration and colonisation
Slavery and emancipation
International relations
The legislative process

Political Resources on the Net
Listings of political sites available on the Internet sorted by country, with links to Parties, Organizations, Governments, Media and more from all around the world.

Internet Public Library: Political Science
Has four subcategories: Politics, Think Tanks, Foreign Policy and Documents. The "Resources" look far more comprehensive.

Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources
Coverage: Area studies, Local & regional, British politics, News and journals, Constitutions, Other politics websites, Data archives, Political parties, Elections, Political platforms, Government websites, Political theory, International Relations, Political thought.

American Political Science Association


Dan Ring
Dan Ring The content of this guide was originally curated by Dan Ring.


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