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Information Resources and Services for:
POL 110: U.S. Government and Politics

Fall 2010
This course page was specifically designed with your research in mind. Use it to navigate the various resources the library has for your topic, as well as explore other research tools like citing your sources and interlibrary loan. You're also encouraged to consult with a librarian at any point in your research. Click on "Reference Desk" at the bottom of the page for more information about hours & location.

Librarian: Barbara Fister
Professor: Kate Knutson

Table of Contents:

Finding Books
  • MnPALS Plus
    The online catalog to the library at Gustavus Adolphus College. You can also search by keyword, title, author, or subject from the library's main page.
  • WorldCat
    Search here for books to borrow from other libraries. Use the yellow "find it" button to place an interlibrary loan request.
    1000 CE-present; updated daily
Finding Articles
If you have an article citation and can't find the full text in a database, use the Journal Locator to see if Gustavus owns a print copy of the article OR if it is available through another database. Be sure to search the Journal Locator with the title of the journal, not the article title.
  • Academic Search Premier
    A wide-ranging multi-disciplinary database to articles in newspapers, magazines and scholarly journals, some of which are in full text. When full text is not available, use the yellow "find it" button to see if it's available in another database, in print, or to place an interlibrary loan request. You can sort results by date if you're looking for the newest information.
    1975-present; updated daily
    Full-text backfiles to over 350 scholarly journals from more than 25 academic disciplines published between the 19th and 21st centuries in the JSTOR Arts & Sciences I, Arts & Sciences II, and Language & Literature collections. JSTOR provides complete journal backruns from the date of initial publication up to a "moving wall" of 3 to 5 years before the present year. To limit your search to full text articles, make sure that the option to "include links to external content" is turned off.
    1831-recent years
  • Public Affairs Index
    Covers global contemporary public policy issues, ranging from public health, the environment, housing, human and civil rights, to international conflict and natural disasters. Draws on scholarly publications, conference papers, government documents and reference works.
    1972-present; updated weekly
  • ProQuest Newsstand
    Indexing and selected full text access to over 350 newspapers from around the world. Archival coverage begins in 1985 for some titles. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM).
    1986-present (most from 1995 on)
  • SAGE Premier
    Search the full text to over 500 scholarly journals published by SAGE in a range of disciplines, including many social sciences titles. Many journals include full backfiles - back to 1960s or earlier. To search articles by discipline, click on the "Browse" tab, then click on the "Articles by Discipline" tab.
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Knowledge)
    A multidisciplinary index of journal articles that lets you search by topic, author, or by cited work. This database is a good choice for interdisciplinary topics. From the initial screen toggle off everything except "social sciences citation index" to focus your results.
    1997-present; updated weekly
Reference Books
Reference books are an excellent place to begin your research. They provide overviews of topics, help you narrow your research focus, and give you ideas for search terms. Reference books are shelved on the west side of the library's main floor.
  • Almanac of American Politics
    National Journal
    Summarizes the state of politics at both national and state levels, giving vote results on key issues and state-by-state analysis of important issues. Updated biennially.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 1012 .A44
  • Blackwell Encyclopedia of Political Thought
    Blackwell 1987
    Concise but thorough introductions to concepts and theories in politics, including definitions of words such as "consent," "power," "exploitation" and "just war," historical context of ideas, and important names associated with political ideas.
    • Location(s): Ref JA 61 .B57 1987
  • CQ's Politics in America
    Gives biographical sketches and political analysis of legislators, discussion of regional and state politics, and thumbnail sketches of legislative districts. Updated biennially
    • Location(s): Ref JK 1010 .P64
  • Encyclopedia of the United States Congress
    Simon and Schuster 1995
    Contains over 1,000 articles on the character and history of Congress, including surveys of issues and how they have been dealt with, people, concepts, and the ways Congress works.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 1067 .E63 1995
    4 vols.
  • Encyclopedia of the American Presidency
    Simon and Schuster 1994
    A topical survey of the institution of the presidency, offering lengthy essays and extensive bibliographies.
    • Location(s): Ref JK 511 .E53 1994
    4 vols.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States
    Washington, D.C. : Government Printing Office 1879-present
    This is perhaps the single most useful small package of statistical information available. It includes hundreds of tables of figures on population, economics, social factors, etc., with references to the original sources. An index to the tables provide essay access. A web version can be found at
    • Location(s): Ready Reference HA 202 .A2
  • United States Government Manual
    Government Printing Office
    Outlines the organization of federal government agencies, providing organizational charts, contact names and addresses, and descriptions of the missions of the many agencies of the government. Also located in ready reference.
    • Location(s): Also at Ready Reference (behind the reference desk) - JK421 .A3
  • GAO Reports by Topic
    The Government Accountability Office provides even-handed, non-partisan reports to Congress on a wide variety of topics. Use this index to see what reports they've published on an area of interest.
  • Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet
    From the Library of Congress. Provides the text of bills introduced in Congress along with committee action from the 104th Congress (1995) to present. Users can search the site by bill number or keyword to learn about the legislative process, find a state's members of Congress, and access a comprehensive database on current and past legislation. The site also provides a full-text search of the Congressional Record, a daily record of activity in Congress, and committee information. Most official state Web sites provide similar bill-tracking information for state legislatures.
  • U.S. Congress Votes Database
    From the Washington Post, this site provides information on votes in Congress since 1991. It provides detail and summary information about each vote as well as some aggregated information, from the useful (voting patterns by region) to the absurd (votes by astrological sign). A few types of votes are also highlighted, such as for treaties, impeachments, and vice-presidential tie-breakers. To keep up with current voting, there is an RSS feed as well as a list of recent votes.
Court Cases
  • US Supreme Court Opinions
    Via Findlaw. This website offers full text Supreme Court decisions. You can search by citation, party name, or full text.
  • Oyez: Supreme Court Multimedia
    Offers information about the U.S. Supreme Court, most notably audio files of all oral arguments held before the Supreme Court since 1995, with selected landmark cases as far back as 1955. Oral arguments offer a fascinating glimpse into the background of decisions. This site also offers current Supreme Court news and a link to On the Docket, a news feed on Supreme Court matters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.
Other Library Resources
  • Evaluating Web Sites
    Use our guide to help determine if a web site would be an appropriate and reliable source for your research.
  • Interlibrary Loan
    Visit our Interlibrary Loan page for information on obtaining items from other libraries.
  • Reference Desk
    Visit with librarians at the desk, by phone, email or chat for help with any library or research question. Click on the link for more information about this service.
  • Chat Reference

    If you're in the library, chatting with a reference librarian face to face might be easiest, but if you're not in the library this chat form gives you a way to ask a quick question. It works during the hours that a librarian is working at the reference desk - generally between 10 am and 10 pm but with breaks. If you don't get an answer right away, the librarian is probably busy helping someone else but he or she will eventually get back to you.

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