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Information Literacy Course International Relations: Bibliographic databases

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS)

The IBSS is a bibliographic database for the social sciences. It covers the fields of Political Science (including International Relations), Economics, Sociology, Demography, Anthropology, Religious studies and others. The database includes over 3 million bibliographic references to journal articles and to books, reviews and selected chapters published from 1951 onward.

The IBSS is the key bibliographic database for the field of International Relations.

The language used in the bibliography is English, the search screens are in English and the index terms are in English. The IBSS does cover publications in other languages, but the majority of the content is in English.

Especially the ADVANCED SEARCH offers many search facilities. You can limit your search to specific fields of the description, you use the controlled vocabulary, which is called SUBJECT or SUBJECT HEADING, you can limit your search to specific publication types, peer reviewed material and to publications in a specific language.

The IBSS is a bibliographic database that covers a broad field and they have a special set of index term to indicate the subfield. You can limit your search to publications in the field of Political science. This is a means to reduce the number of non-relevant results.

The database has a thesaurus (a listing of the controlled vocabulary), but when you want to find appropriate index terms for your topic, you can do a search with some plausible keywords and then check which terms are listed as SUBJECT.

Link to the IBSS

When you need more information about the IBSS, you can use the online help menu of the database that you find at the right top of the screen. Click the QUESTION MARK.

Proquest is a provider that offers bibliographic databases for many different fields of study. The company posted instruction tutorials for different aspects of searching in Proquest databases on Youtube. You are advised to watch al least the tutorial for ADVANCED SEARCH, for RESULTS, and THESAURUS.

Proquest Advanced Search

Search Results


Proquest made a libguide full of information about the IBSS. You can use this when you need detailed information about the database.

Libguide Proquest about IBSS The information in the Proquest IBSS libguide is not part of the mandatory course material.

Bibliography of Asian studies

The Bibliography of Asian Studies is an example of a bibliographic database that is specialized in publications about a specific region. It contains references to literature on all subjects (especially in the humanities and the social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published worldwide from 1971 to the present.

Link to BAS

BAS has an online help.

Historical Abstracts

The database has a comparable set of search facilities as the IBSS. On the ADVANCED SEARCH screen of Historical Abstract you will find an extra feature: boxes for searching for a historical period. When you want to search for a time range you type the first and last year of your period in the fields Year and to Year. Searching for a historical period is NOT the same as searching for the year of publication. Searching for a historical period is about the topic.

Link to Historical Abstracts

The vendor (EBSCO) provides the user with information how to use HA in a help menu. You can find the link on the top right of the page. Click Help.

When you want more information about searching EBSCO databases you can watch the online tutorials. These tutorials are not part of the mandatory course material.

America: History and Life

America: history & life is bibliographic database that covers the history of the United States and Canada. America: history & life and Historical Abstracts together cover the history of the whole world. This database is also hosted by EBSCO and the functionality is exactly the same as in Historical Abstracts.

Link to America: History & Life

The libguide International Relations helps to find relevant databases

The field of International Relations is a multidisciplinary field and the University of Groningen Library offers access to several bibliographic databases that can be used to find publications. To guide students to the available resources for their field of study the library offers online guides: libguides

To find out which database is the best one to use for your topic, you can consult the libguide International Relations. The libguide lists the most important (bibliographic) databases for your field of study.