Appendix I: Identifying the Scholarly Literature
to Marc Trachtenberg, The Craft of International History (
Last revised: June 2021
In Chapter Three of the book, I talked in a general way about how to get a sense for what a particular area of scholarship is like. In this appendix, I’ll discuss some specific sources of bibliographical information and I’ll talk a bit about how some of them can be used. Anyone can use this website, but it will be especially useful for people connected with UCLA. The call numbers are for books in the UCLA library, and some of the links work only from UCLA computers. But if you can’t get those links to work, you can often get access to those sources by going through a library website which you do have access to. Since websites die and are redesigned all the time, and since URLs are also always changing, I have been updating this appendix about once a year. But this will probably be the final update.
This website may, however, be removed at some point in the future from its current location. This may happen if UCLA decides at some point to no longer host my website. But this website will be available--in principle, in perpetuity--through the Wayback Machine at Just search there for the present URL ( ) and you should be able to find links to a number of different versions. It would probably be a good idea to use the June 2021 version, since the Wayback Machine has archived not just this website but (for that version) the “outlinks” contained here as well (so all the links should work).
Contents of this page:
There is no bibliography—not that I could find, at any rate—that covers the history of international relations as a whole. But for the twentieth century, see:
Gordon Martel, ed., A Companion to International History 1900-2001 (
: Blackwell, 2007) Oxford
There is another general work, however, is still worth looking at, even though it’s by now a little out-of-date:
Byron Dexter, ed., The Foreign Affairs 50-year Bibliography: New Evaluations of Significant Books on International Relations 1920-1970 (New York, R.R. Bowker for the Council on Foreign Relations, 1972). This has relatively lengthy reviews of what at the time of publication were the most important works in this area.
Ref and Powell: Z6461 .F762
Note also the collection of online bibliographies dealing with international relations in the Oxford Bibliographies series. It currently (2015) lists 143 bibliographies, dealing with specific topics like the Arab-Israeli conflict. But full bibliographies in this series are not freely available. Your library has to be a subscriber.
general surveys have bibliographies that list the most important works. Two recent books by European scholars are
especially useful in this connection.
Georges-Henri Soutou’s L’Europe de
1815 à nos jours (2007), in the Nouvelle Clio series, begins with a 46-page
bibliography, and Part III of the book provides a fairly detailed discussion of
the historical literature on
For a listing of works, mainly in German, English and French, dealing primarily with international and German politics in the twentieth century, you can use the Institut für Zeitgeschichte’s online catalog. (If you don’t read German, the catalog is also available in English—just click the link for “englisch” at the top of the page.) In the “IfZ-Systematik” (or, in English, the “IfZ-classification”) field enter a call number corresponding to a particular subject. You can also fill in the title/keyword, subject, or author fields. You can identify the call numbers you want to search for by consulting the IfZ organizational guide; clicking into the general call numbers for broad categories will take you into more specific guides, giving call numbers for particular subjects. This is not just for books; a search also lists journal articles. You can do the standard things with this search engine—for example, limit the search in various ways and save items of interest to a list, which you can then save or print out.
A very good introduction to the new historical literature (with particular emphasis on Britain) are the articles dealing with the twentieth century in the (British) Historical Association’s Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature, a “selective and critical analysis of new historical books, journals and journal articles.” The coverage is fairly general, but the most important works dealing with international politics are certainly noted here.
If you’re interested in finding out about relatively minor conflicts, at least in the post-1945 period, you might want to look at:
James Ciment, ed., Encyclopedia of Conflicts Since World War II (Armonk: Sharpe Reference, 1999) Ref D843 .E46 1999. This has relatively brief articles on many conflicts; each article has a brief list of other works bearing on those conflicts.
Most bibliographical or historiographical works deal with either the foreign policy of a single country or with specific topics. By far the largest number of such works relate to American foreign policy:
Hogan, ed., Paths to Power: The Historiography of American Foreign
Relations to 1941 (
Gerald Haines and J. Samuel Walker, eds., American Foreign Relations: A Historiographical Review (Westport: Greenwood, 1981) E183.7 A56
Gordon Martel, ed., American Foreign Relations Reconsidered, 1890-1993 (New York: Routledge, 1994). E744 .A5327 1994
Schulzinger, ed., A Companion to American Foreign Relations (
Warren I. Cohen, ed., Pacific Passage: The Study of American-East Asian Relations on the Eve of the Twenty-first century (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996) DS518.8 .P336 1996.
Some very useful bibliographies, often dealing with fairly specific issues, are available online. See, for example:
Richard Immerman’s Bibliography on U.S. Diplomatic History, 1918-1975
“Contemporary China: A Book
List” (Lynn White and Valerie Cropper).
77 pages, with sections on Sino-American relations,
David Shambaugh, “Bibliographical Essay on New Sources for the Study of China’s Foreign Relations and National Security,” in Thomas Robinson and David Shambaugh, eds., Chinese Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice (1994)
M. Taylor Fravel, “Online and on China: Research Sources in the Information Age," The China Quarterly, No. 163, September 2000, pp. 821-42.
Charles Kraus, “Researching the History of the People’s Republic of China,” Cold War International History Project Working Paper No. 79 (April 2016)
Lorenz Lüthi, The Sino-Soviet Split: Cold War in the Communist World (2008) online bibliography (link)
Bibliography on the History of Europe during the East-West Conflict (very well-organized, German-language list)
Selective Bibliography on the Cold War Alliances (Parallel History Project)
History of European Integration Research Society (HEIRS) (see their links page)
Korean War bibliography (Kenneth Robinson, comp.; supplements Keith D. McFarland's The Korean War: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1986)
James I. Matray, “Korea's War at 60: A Survey of the Literature,” Cold War History 11, no. 1 (2011)
The Internet and the Bomb: A Research Guide to Policy and Information about Nuclear Weapons (William Arkin and Robert Norris, Natural Resources Defense Council)(Wayback Machine capture). Note also Untangling the Web, a guide prepared by the National Security Agency for its internal use (last update 2007).
Iraq Wars bibliography (Ed Moïse)
Vietnam War Bibliography (Ed Moïse)
Mary Ann Heiss and Peter L. Hahn, bibliographical essay on U.S. relations with the Third World (part of their book Empire and Revolution: The United States and the Third World since 1945 (Ohio State University Press, 2001)
Books page from Nick
Sarantakes’s U.S. Diplomatic
History Resources Index. The Sarantakes website is a very valuable resource
for people in our field. In one part of
the website, in fact, Sarantakes lists a whole series of bibliographies available online
dealing with specific topics relating to international affairs and
Finally, if you are interested in one of the many topics covered by the Digital National Security Archive (described in Appendix II), click the link for “browse” on the homepage, then click the link for “bibliographies” and select the particular collection you’re interested in. The bibliography linked to the Kissinger Transcripts collection, for example, includes 60 titles.
There are also a couple of encyclopedias you might find useful:
Bruce W. Jentleson and Thomas G. Paterson, eds., Encyclopedia of U.S. Foreign Relations, 4 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997). Ref E183.7 .E53 1997
Alexander DeConde, Richard Dean Burns, and Fredrik Logevall, editors in chief, and Louise B. Ketz, executive editor, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy, 2nd ed., 3 vols. (New York: Scribner, 2002). Ref E183.7 .E52 2002
first of these, prepared under the auspices of the Council on Foreign
Relations, has relatively brief articles on a wide range of topics. The second has longer articles on a number of
subjects related to international politics, not just
forget that if your library uses the Library of Congress cataloguing system (as
most research libraries nowadays do) you can find books dealing with
find bibliographies dealing with the foreign relations of countries other than
Thomas Hammond, Soviet Foreign Relations and World Communism: A Selected Annotated Bibliography of 7,000 books in 30 languages (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1965). Z2517.R4 H18
E. Echard, Foreign Policy of the French
Andrew R. Carlson, German Foreign Policy, 1890-1914, and Colonial Policy to 1914: A Handbook and Annotated Bibliography (Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1970). Z2247.R4 C19
J. Edelheit and Hershel Edelheit, The Rise and Fall of the
Donna Evleth, France under the German Occupation, 1940-1944: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Greenwood Press, 1991). Z6207.W8 E84 1991
There is also an important series of guides—the “Guides to European Diplomatic History Research and Research Materials”—covering the interwar period, or more precisely the period from 1918 to 1945. These works discuss both primary and secondary sources, and although some of them are getting a little out-of-date, practically all of them are still worth looking at:
Robert H. Johnston, Soviet Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1991)
Sidney Aster, British Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1984). [Note also the bibliography for course on Stuart Ball’s course on “British foreign and defence policy 1982-1968” (University of Leicester, 2015)
George W. Baer, International Organizations, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1981).
Alan Cassels, Italian Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources,1981).
Christoph M. Kimmich, German Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1981).
Robert J. Young, French Foreign Policy, 1918-1945: A Guide to Research and Research Materials (Wilmington: Scholarly Resources, 1981).
There are also a number of useful guides dealing with particular subjects. These can often be found by doing a title search for a particular phrase (like “Cold War”) and, simultaneously, for a word like “guide,” “bibliography” or “survey.” Or they can be found by tacking on the word “bibliography” to a specific subject heading and then doing a subject search, perhaps adding it as a separate search term. Here are some examples of bibliographies that turn up in this way:
J.L. Black, Origins, Evolution, and Nature of the Cold War: An Annotated Bibliographic Guide (Santa Barbara: ABC-Clio, 1986) Z6465.U5 B53 1986
Conflict: A Historical Bibliography
Ronald M. DeVore, The Arab-Israeli Conflict: A Historical, Political, Social & Military Bibliography (Santa Barbara: Clio, 1976) Z3479.R4 D49
James S. Olson, ed. The Vietnam War: Handbook of the Literature and Research (Westport: Greenwood, 1993). Ref DS558 .V58 1993
L. Anderson, The Columbia Guide to the Vietnam War (
H. Brune and Richard Dean Burns,
Sometimes you find useful guides in usual places. See, for example, “Sources for Research on European Security,” in David S. Yost, ed., NATO's Strategic Options: Arms Control and Defense (New York: Pergamon Press, 1981), pp. 230-247.
There’s also a series of guides that you might find useful for some purposes: the International Relations Information Guide series put out by Gale in the late 1970s and early 1980s. These guides dealt with particular areas of the world and with some specific questions. Here are some of the titles:
J. Finan and John Child,
J. Kozicki, International Relations of
J. Bryan Collester, The European Communities: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1979).
Mark R. Amstutz, Economics and Foreign Policy: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1977).
Alexine L. Atherton, International Organizations: A Guide to Information Sources (Detroit: Gale, 1976).
Armstrong, ed., Routledge handbook of
international law (
though these books are a bit out-of-date by now, you might be able to use them
to find more recent works of this sort in these areas. Just look them up in
your library’s catalogue, then click into the links for the subject headings
they’re listed under. For example, in the MELVYL catalogue, the union catalogue
Pope Atkins, Handbook of Research on the International Relations of Latin
America and the Caribbean (
There are two general areas that have their own literature—military affairs and intelligence—and various guides can help you find your way around those literatures. See, for example:
Richard Holmes, ed., Oxford Companion to Military History (2004) (available online through subscribing libraries)
John W. Chambers et al., eds.,
Daniel K. Blewett , American Military History: A Guide to Reference and Information Sources (Englewood, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1995).
Kinnell, Military History of the
Higham, ed. Guide to the sources of
There’s also a very good list of important works in this area available online:
Eliot Cohen’s Strategic Studies Core Readings (2004)
Note also Neufeld, Schaffel and Shermer, “Guide to Air Force Historical Literature, 1943-1983” (258 pp., 1983); released via mandatory declassification review; contains listings of internal Air Force histories, many based on classified material.
also the more than twenty bibliographies that have come out as part of Garland
Publishing’s Wars of the
Beede, Intervention and Counterinsurgency:
An Annotated Bibliography of the Small Wars of the
Dwight L. Smith, The War of 1812: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1985). Z1240 .S65 1985
Anne Cipriano Venzon, The Spanish-American War: An Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1990). Z1243 .V45 1990
R. Woodward and Robert F. Maddox,
D769.E8 W67 1985
J. Sbrega, The War against
Keith D. McFarland, The Korean War, an Annotated Bibliography (New York: Garland, 1986). Z3319.K6 M38 1986
A. Peake, The
U.S. Army War College bibliographies (American military history, peacekeeping, irregular warfare, etc.)
On intelligence matters, you might want to take a look at some of the following references:
K. Johnson, ed., Oxford Handbook of National Security Intelligence
M. Lowenthal, The
Neal H. Petersen, American Intelligence, 1775-1990: A Bibliographical Guide (Claremont: Regina Books, 1992). Ref Z6724.I7 P48 1992
James D. Calder, Intelligence, Espionage and Related Topics: An Annotated Bibliography of Serial, Journal, and Magazine Scholarship, 1844-1998 (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999).
Literature of Intelligence: A Bibliography
of Materials, with Essays, Reviews, and Comments (J. Ransom
Intelligence Literature (CIA)
Intelligence and Policy-Making: A
Bibliography (Greta Marlatt, Naval
Scholars’ Guide to Intelligence Literature: A Bibliography of the Russell J. Bowen Collection in the Joseph Mark Lauinger Library, Georgetown University, ed. Marjorie W. Cline et al. (Frederick, MD: University Publications of America for the National Intelligence Study Center, 1983) Z6724.I7 S6
International Affairs, & Intelligence (
Bibliography of the John E. Taylor collection (books about espionage and intelligence)
Annotated Bibliography of the Open Literature on Deception (Zell Stanley, RAND, 1985)
Detecting Deception: A Bibliography of Counterdeception across Time, Cultures, and Disciplines (Barton Whaley, for Foreign Denial and Deception Committee, 2006)
If you’re interested in this subject, be sure to check out the material on the CIA's Center for the Study of Intelligence website. If you click into the link for “publications” you'll get some very good material, including some original documents. Much of this material is available on pdf and can be easily downloaded and printed out. Note that some CSI material is not put online, but that you can get it by asking them to send you a hard copy. (See David Kaplan, “At the CIA, What Gets Put Online—and What Doesn’t,” USNews.com, January 22, 2006). You can also ask to be put on the mailing list for the CSI's Bulletin, which has a lot of interesting information. Just call the CSI at (703) 613-1751.
Ira Katznelson and Helen Milner, eds., Political Science:
The State of the Discipline (
This volume has five articles dealing with the international relations literature, some of which refer to the reader to other review articles. The APSA has actually published a series of volumes on The State of the Discipline, all of which contain review articles. Note also:
Walter Carlsnaes, Thomas Risse and Beth Simmons, eds.,
Handbook of International Relations (
Ted Robert Gurr, ed., Handbook of Political Conflict: Theory and Research (New York: Free Press, 1980)
Manus Midlarsky, ed., Handbook of War Studies
Philip Tetlock, Jo Husbands, Robert Jervis, Paul Stern, and Charles Tilly, eds., Behavior, Society, and Nuclear War and Behavior, Society, and International Conflict, 3 vols. (New York: Oxford University Press for the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, 1989-1993)
Michael Graham Fry, Erik Goldstein, and Richard
Langhorne, eds., Guide to international
relations and diplomacy (
Chad M. Kahl, International
relations, international security, and comparative politics: a guide to
reference and information sources (
Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal, eds., The
Judith L.Goldstein and Richard H. Steinberg, eds., International institutions (
: SAGE, 2010) London
Brenda J. Lutz and James M. Lutz, eds., Global terrorism (
: SAGE Publications, 2008) Los Angeles
Adam Jones, ed., Genocide (
: SAGE, 2008) Los Angeles
Ronald B. Mitchell, ed., International environmental politics (
: SAGE, 2008) ( 4 vols.) London
Daniel Druckman and Paul F. Diehl, eds., Conflict resolution (
: SAGE, 2006) London
Paul F. Diehl, ed., War (
: SAGE, 2005) (6 vols.) London
Christer Jonsson and Richard Langhorne, eds., Diplomacy (
: Sage Publications, 2004) London
The Annual Review of Political Science (available online through the UCLA library) contains many survey articles covering the international relations literature—for example, James Fearon’s article on “Domestic Politics, Foreign Policy, and Theories of International Relations,” which appeared in the Annual Review in 1998.
There are in addition many volumes in which leading practitioners present their views about various subfields—about what’s been accomplished lately, about problems they see with the work that’s currently being done, and about where the field is going. The articles in those volumes often cite what are considered the more important works in that particular area. For some recent examples of this genre, see Michael Brecher and Frank Harvey, eds., Millenial Reflections on International Studies (2002) [JZ1305 M55 2002]; A.J.R. Groom and Margot Light, eds., Contemporary International Relations: A Guide to Theory (1994) [JX1391 C662 1994]; Edward Mansfield and Richard Sisson, eds., The Evolution of Political Knowledge (2004); and Ken Booth and Steve Smith, eds., International Relations Theory Today (1995). Susan Strange’s article in that latter volume on “Political Economy and International Relations,” is a particularly good case in point. This is exactly the sort of article you would want to read if you were new to the field and wanted to develop a certain sense for what work in International Political Economy [IPE] was like. There are also a number of books in which a single author surveys the whole field of international relations; chapters in such books often deal with particular subfields. For a very good recent book of this sort, see Chris Brown, Understanding International Relations, second edition (2001). At the end of each chapter are suggestions for further reading. Scholarly journals sometimes have special issues devoted to this sort of stock-taking: see, for example, “International Organization at Fifty: Exploration and Contestation in the Study of World Politics,” International Organization, 52:4 (Autumn 1998).
Collections of readings (published mainly for undergraduates) can also provide useful entrees in particular fields of scholarship. Note, for example, John Baylis and James Wirtz, eds., Strategy in the Contemporary World: An Introduction to Strategic Studies (2002). The articles here (on topics like terrorism) will help you get started if you know nothing about the subject; they all have short lists of works on the subject they cover. A few collections of readings dealing with IPE are listed at the start of the Higgott article on “International Political Economy” in the Groom and Light book I just cited; in that passage, a few major texts dealing with the subject are also listed. Chris Brown, in his article in that book, also lists a number of collections of this sort in his end-of-chapter suggestions for further reading. For a somewhat older compilation of the many edited volumes in this area (in which the readings each volume contains are also listed), see Dorothy LaBarr and J. David Singer, The Study of International Politics: A Guide to the Sources for the Student, Teacher, and Researcher (1976), pp. 28-78 [Z6461 L113s].
If you’re interested in political economy, by the way, you might want to take a look at Barry Weingast and Donald Wittman, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008) (available online through MELVYL).
Finally, I should note that many books are now available online through the Internet Archive.
Let me begin here by listing some important journals you might want to examine when you’re starting a research project in this field. This list includes both history and political science journals. This list is of course very short. They’re all available online, at least in part. I’ve given links for most of them, but to get access to the others, just search for the journal title in your library’s online catalog.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
Taylor & Francis (1945- )
National Security Agency (1982-2007)
Diplomacy and Statecraft
Taylor & Francis (1990 - )
Diplomatic History. Regularly carries survey-of-the-literature review articles. Oxford UP (1977- present)
Hein Online: 1922- present. Also available through JSTOR.
Francia (emphasis on
Historical Journal. Very broad coverage, but has quite a few review articles relating to international politics.
Intelligence and National Security
International Affairs (
International History Review
International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
International Studies Quarterly
Journal of American-East Asian Relations
Journal of Cold War Studies
Journal of Contemporary History
Journal of European Integration History
Journal of Military History (formerly Military Affairs). Has a section on “recent journal articles.”
Journal of Strategic Studies
Problems of Communism and Problems of Post-Communism
Relations internationales (1974 - )
CAIRN (contents for issues from 2000 on; some links to full text; all post-2000 articles freely available here after three years)
Revue d’histoire diplomatique
Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte
There are, of course, many other journals that carry articles of interest to people working on international affairs. Not only are there general journals (like the American Political Science Review) that publish articles on international politics, but there is a large periodical literature devoted to all kinds of specialized questions even in this area. One guide to intelligence periodicals, for example, describes about 150 intelligence and intelligence-related journals:
Hayden B. Peake, The Reader's Guide to Intelligence Periodicals (Washington: NIBC Press, 1992).
But when you’re trying to find your way around a field, you can’t read everything, and it’s best to start with the handful of periodicals most likely to give you what you need.
You can also use various search engines to find out about which journal articles that have been published on a particular subject—and indeed which articles are particularly important. I’ll talk here about three in particular: the Social Science Citation Index (part of the Web of Science); the Expanded Academic ASAP; and JSTOR. These are subscription services, but you can generally get access to those search engines through your university library’s website. You can also use publicly available search engines like Google to do work of this sort. But I’ll talk about that not here but in Chapter Six of the book.
Web of Science: This search engine is a lot of fun to use once you get the hang of it. It allows you, first, to identify articles and other material relating to topics you’re interested in, and then, using those articles as a kind of base, it allows you to “spread out” and identify related works. You “spread out” by going both up and down. First, once you identify a particular article, you can see quickly which works that article cites in its footnotes. But you can also go the other way and see which articles in the database cite the particular article you’ve started out with. You can then do the same thing with the new articles you’ve identified, again spreading out in both directions. In that way you can generate a “web of citations,” and in the course of doing so, you develop a certain feel for that particular area of scholarship. You see which articles and authors are cited a lot, which journals are important, and so on. It’s also easy to save citations and then export those saved lists to EndNote, a bibliographic management program owned by the same company that owns the Web of Science.
How do you use the Web of Science? The link I just gave you takes you into the Basic Search page. If you click the blue box to the right of “Basic Search,” you’re offered various other search options (“Cited Reference Search,” “Author Search,” “Advanced Search,” and so on), but generally you can just use the Basic Search search page, clicking “+ another field” if you want to search in more than one field (e.g., author, title, etc.) simultaneously. By choosing “author” from the drop-down menu, you can search for works by a particular author (in which case you normally give the last name, followed by first initial and an asterisk). Or you can do a title or a topic search; a topic search is somewhat broader. To search for a phrase, put it in quotation marks. Then click the search button. A results page turns up; you’re allowed there to refine the results in various ways—for example, you can limit the listings to those in a particular field, like history or political science. The listings you end up with can be sorted in various ways—for example, by number of times cited. You can save whatever listings interest you to a marked list (provided those listings are in the database, which is not always the case), and you can click into the title of each of those listings to see the full record for listing. When you do, you’ll see which other articles have cited it; you can click into the links for those articles and add them to your marked list. By clicking the link next to “Cited References” in the full record for an article, you can see what sources were cited in that article, and then, by clicking “Find Related Records,” you can generate a list of other articles in the database that have cited at least one of the same sources. Those listings can of course also be saved to your marked list. The orange icon for “UC e-Links” on the results pages and elsewhere will enable you to locate a copy of that article in the UCLA library, and perhaps call it up on your computer screen, very quickly.
I should note that when you click into the link next to “Times Cited,” you’ll get a list of just some of the places where the article in question has been cited. If you’d like to see a more complete list, or if you just have a particular article that you’re interested in, you can do a “Cited Reference Search” (by clicking the blue box next to “Basic Search”) and then searching for that particular article. On the page that turns up when you do this search, click the boxes that correspond to the article you’re interested in (or click “Select All” if you want to see where all of them are cited), then click the “Finish Search” box. This generates another results page, which you can work with in the usual way.
are the basics, but there’s a lot more you can do with this search engine. When you do a topic or title search, for
example, you could use Boolean operators and wildcards like the asterisk (to
catch word variants—i.e., “
With the ProQuest search engine you can search up to 62 databases (list is linked at the top of the homepage) with just a single click of the mouse. The search engine is very easy to use, with many standard features, and it often allows you to get full-text versions of items you’re interested.
You can also identify articles dealing with a particular topic by using Google Scholar. Just enter a term in the search field (e.g., “relative gains”) and run the search. A number of articles are listed, along with links to other articles and unpublished papers in which those articles were cited. Many of these works are available here in full-text versions. This is by no means a substitute for the Web of Science, but you might want to use it as a supplement.
JSTOR: JSTOR is the most important electronic archive for scholarly journals. People use it mainly to read specific articles they’ve already identified, articles that were published in one of the JSTOR journals. But you can also use it to identify articles dealing with particular topics. It has a very simple search engine. You can search in particular journals or in, say, just history or just political science journals (or both). You can search by author or by title (meaning by words or phrase in a title), you can limit the search in various ways, and you can also do a full-text search.
JSTOR allows you to do all kinds of things. Suppose, for example, you wanted to see what leading political scientists had to say about the relative gains issue. You could begin by trying to see what Robert Jervis had to say about this issue. So you type “Jervis” in the author field and “relative gains” (with the quotation marks) in the full-text field. A number of listings turn up. You could then download the articles and search for terms like “relative gains.”
It’s important to develop a certain familiarity with those general search engines. By knowing how to use them, you will be able to identify articles in any area of scholarship you happen to be interested in. But there are more narrowly framed search engines you might also want to use for some purposes. CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online) is a subscription service, available through many research libraries. It allows you to search for scholarly works dealing with a specific topic. The editors control what gets included in the CIAO database, so not everything is included here. But the CIAO database includes things (like working papers) you can’t get elsewhere, and much of what turns up in a CIAO search is available in full-text format. Finally, if you are interested in the French periodical literature, you might want to take a look at the Persée search engine and the CAIRN website. Persée covers a relatively small number of periodicals of interest to people in our field (Cahiers du monde russe, Politique étrangère, Revue des études slaves, Vingtième Siècle and one or two others), but the listings its search engine generates are often linked to the full texts of the items that turn up.
fact, there are a number of websites that you can look at if you’re interested
in certain specific issues. Charles
Lipson lists a number of them on his website:
YaleGlobal Online (globalization); Federation of American Scientists websites
on various nuclear-related and terrorism-related issues; and various websites
related to issues like nuclear nonproliferation and international political
economy. Lipson also has a page of his
own, loaded with links, devoted to questions relating to the Middle East (including
terrorism issues). On terrorism, see
also the Chicago Project on
Security and Threats (CPOST) website.
On nuclear issues, you might to
check out the website of the Project on Nuclear Issues
of the Center for Strategic and International Studies; note especially
their Reference Desk—this
has a whole series of links to websites dealing with nuclear questions. Note also the Nuclear
Proliferation International History Project (
Note, incidentally, that to manage the references you generate—to organize the material you’ve downloaded and cite that material correctly when you’re writing something up—it would make sense to use a program like EndNote or Zotero (free).
Dissertations as a rule have excellent bibliographies and lists of sources, so getting hold of a good one allows you to save a lot of time when you’re doing bibliographical work. And dissertations, as it turns out, are easy to identify and easy to get hold of.
To identify them, you now have to use the Dissertations & Theses page on ProQuest search engine. In the first field, select either “Document title” or, for more hits, select “abstract.” Then put in the terms you’d like to search for, combining them with various operators (described in the guide linked to the question mark on the top right of the homepage). For example, suppose you’re interested in the Sino-Soviet split. You can use a term like:
((sino-soviet) OR (soviet W/4 chin*)) AND (dispute OR conflict OR split)
The asterisk enables you to capture variant words (e.g., “Chinese” as well as “China”), and the “W/4” enables you to identify text where words like “Soviet” and “Chinese” are within four words of each other. You can limit the search in various ways (e.g., limiting it to international relations dissertations by selecting “international relations” from the “subject” link on the right). The listings contain a good deal of information about the specific dissertations that turn up in the search. Most dissertations are now immediately downloadable free of charge; just click the “Full Text – PDF” link. (Your university has to be a subscriber, and you may have to use a computer on campus, or use the proxy server.) You can also set up an alert to be notified of new results for your search as they become available.
You can often get a good sense for what a particular area of scholarship is like by looking at syllabi that have been prepared for courses in that area. A syllabus will list what the instructor considers to be the most important works in the field, or at least the relatively small number of works that students new to the field should read. If you read a series of syllabi, you’ll also notice that the same works tend to get listed over and over again—and this, of course, gives you a certain sense for what is considered important in the field.
are not hard to get hold of nowadays.
Quite a few of them are available online. To save you a bit of trouble, I put a number
of good (mostly political science) syllabi online and provided links to a number
of others. For that list, which also
provides some advice about finding both history and political science syllabi,
click here. It also has links to a number of collections
of syllabi (for both history and political science courses) available online,
to a couple of Ph.D. exam reading lists in international relations (for Yale
Charles F. Hermann and Kenneth N. Waltz, editors and compilers, Basic Courses in Foreign Policy: An Anthology of Syllabi (1970)
It’s always interesting to see what people think of the books you’ve read, are reading, or even are just thinking of reading. And it’s not hard to locate book reviews and get access to them electronically.
To get reviews of scholarly and semi-scholarly books, you can use some common computerized search engines, including three I’ve talked about before. Here’s how to use them for this purpose.
To find book reviews published in a JSTOR journal: first, go into the JSTOR advanced search window, put a phrase from the title (in quotation marks) in the “full text” field, put the name of the book’s author in the “author” field, check the box for “review,” then click “search.” You can also limit your search to journals in a particular discipline or even to a single journal.
The third search engine you can use is the Book Reviews Index Plus. (This seems to be a vestige of the old Expanded Academic ASAP/Infotrac which is apparently no longer available.) It includes reviews published in many non-academic periodicals, and often has direct links to pdf’s of the reviews themselves.) The search engine is very straightforward:. using the drop-down menus, select first “author” then “title” and type in the appropriate information.
You can also use the Web of Science to find book reviews. In the basic search window, in the topic field, type in the (short) title (in quotation marks) of the book you’re interested in plus the last name of the author (for example: “Strategies of Containment” Gaddis). Then click “search.”
For German book reviews, you might want to check out the Sehepunkte website (search engine); that site also has a special page listing reviews published in the Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte (VfZ reviews).
VI. H-Diplo and H-Net: You can also search for reviews posted on one of the h-net historians’ email discussion groups by using the h-net reviews search engine. Just go into that link and type in the author’s last name and the title of the book in the corresponding fields under “bibliographic data.” But a particular book might be discussed in one of the h-net groups in a more informal way. To see if it’s been discussed, you can search for that title on the general h-net advanced search page. You should probably choose to search by phrase (rather than by keyword). You can limit the search by particular discussion list (you could select H-Diplo, for example) and also by date. You can search either in the whole text or in the subject line. Many books and articles of interest to people in our field were discussed in various roundtables and review articles on H-Diplo/ISSF. (The ISSF—the International Security Studies Forum—is a partnership between the International Studies Association’s Security Studies Section and three major scholarly journals in the field. It is independently edited, but uses H-Diplo as its internet platform.) Note also the pages for H-Diplo book reviews (recent) (older).
H-Diplo, I should also note in this context, regularly publishes discussions of articles published in the main journals in the field. Some of them, like the discussion of Eduard Mark’s article on “The War Scare of 1946 and Its Consequences” (Diplomatic History, vol. 21, no. 3, summer 1997), are of quite extraordinary interest. To view a particular thread of this sort, go into the general h-net advanced search page, type in (in quotation marks) a key phrase from the title (e.g., “War Scare of 1946”), select “phrase” and then “h-diplo” as the list to be searched in, select “subject line” as the search field, and then click “search.” For general information about H-Diplo, click here. For posting instructions, click here.
VII. Videos: There’s one last thing you might want to do when you’re trying to get a feel for what a given area of scholarship is like. You can actually watch or listen to people giving talks on some subject you’re interested in. In some cases, those people are prominent scholars—people whose books and articles you might already be familiar with—and seeing them in action will give you a much stronger sense for what’s distinctive about their approach to the subject. Listening or better yet watching these talks, it’s as though a whole new dimension of meaning opens up: people express themselves quite freely when they’re talking informally (whereas in written work, they tend to be more guarded), and both tone of voice and body language can also be quite revealing. This sort of source is particularly useful if you are dealing with some contemporary topic. Here are links to some of the more interesting sources of this sort:
“videos of academic lectures and events,” mostly from major
Global Strategy Initiative (
Foreign Policy Research Institute: links to videos of recent talks; audio versions are also available