Archive for Research Tips

Law Library of Congress Legal Reports

At the behest of Congress, the library produces legal reports on various topics; they “… provide commentary and recommended resources on issues and events. These reports are provided for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice.” The reports can be heavily footnoted and links are provided where available. The documents range from Bitcoin practices in forty countries to Japan’s constitutional prohibition against waging war. If you need to research various subjects from a legal viewpoint, you might want to stop at this site.

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Form 990 Database – Tax Filings for Nonprofits

Did you ever want to look up a nonprofit’s financial health, how much it pays its officers, what expenses it incurs? What is the general financial health of a nonprofit? This database from ProPublica – Nonprofit Explorergives one access to almost 2 million filings and 8 million documents dating back to 2001. You can search by name, state, category or organizational type; the results are listed in reverse chronological order and supply some relevant data in case you do not want to download the entire filing. However, while private higher education institutions must file (and their filings can be quite voluminous – here is Yale’s 300+ page filing), state colleges/universities are exempt from filing: “State institutions: A state institution that gets a free tax ride because it provides essential government services (a university for example) doesn’t have to file a Form 990.” (ref here or if you want to, you can go through this portion of the Internal Revenue Code. Good luck with that.)  So you cannot look up our sister schools, but you can look up their foundations. This database site also provides links to additional valuable resources on investigating nonprofits.

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European Parliamentary Research Service

Much like the Congressional Research Service or the UK Parliament Research Briefings, the European Parliamentary Research Service provides unbiased reports, in this case to the European Parliament. The publications range from in-depth analyses and studies to briefings on a wide variety of topics. Recent reports have touched upon higher education in the EU and asylum in the EU. In addition, its graphics warehouse contains a plethora of informative graphs. Another worthwhile source for authoritative information, this time with a European-centric flavor.

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Online Primary Sources for American History: Newspapers

Chronicling America is a site hosted by the Library of Congress where you will find over 6 million newspaper pages from 1836-1933; hundreds of titles are represented. Searching through that many pages can be a daunting experience, but the good folks at LC have come up with a handy search tool – Topics in Chronicling America. Here you will find an alphabetical listing of historical events/people found in the newspapers; each heading provides the same outline: historical timeline, suggested search strategies, and sample articles. For example, Female Spies in World War One starts out with a chronology covering 1915-1922, followed up with suggestions for more searches (gives names of female spies), and ends up with a sampling of newspaper articles covering the aforementioned time period. This is a great way to explore this wealth of primary source documents.

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SAGE Publishers Offering Free Access to All Journals and Many Reference Works During October

During the month of October, free access is available to a multiplicity of SAGE publications; i.e., 750+ journals, 1.3 million articles, hundreds of major reference works.  To register, read this announcement with links at the bottom. We know what we are doing this month!

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Online British Dissertations

The EThOS system from the British Library is a portal to dissertations generated by 129 British institutions. Currently, over 350,000 dissertations are listed here with over 120,000 freely available online.  One must remember that the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database primarily covers United States and Canadian research; to access other work, you need to go to EThOS or Dart-Europe.

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Cybersecurity Policy

With Chinese cyberspying being on the front pages as of this writing, this collection of resources from the Council on Foreign Relations is an very valuable starting point for identifying major organizations and reports dealing with cybersecurity. From data, history, surveys to government publications to universities to think tanks, this heavily-linked site is well worth a visit. It can be used in conjunction with the oft-updated CyberSecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources.

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