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Subject guides: Political Science and Public Policy

Political Science and Public Policy section

This page contains information about the following information resources:

Library news for Economics & Public Policy

Visit the Economics & Public Policy Extra blog to keep up to date with new resources (both printed and electronic), Open Access, interesting events, useful websites and general library news.

Recent blog posts

WISE for Arts & Humanities, Laws, Social and Historical Sciences and SSEES

WISE is a comprehensive, step-by-step online guide to finding and using information effectively. Go to http://www.ucl.ac.uk/moodle, and log in with your UCL userid and password. Click on WISE and select WISE for Arts & Humanities, Laws, Social and Historical Sciences and SSEES to start the course (If WISE does not appear in your list of courses click on “All courses” in bottom right-hand corner then select WISE and register yourself on the course.)

Printed collections

There is a growing collection of Political Science books in the Main Library (on the 2nd floor, adjacent to the History collection).

The collection is divided into three sections:

HUMAN RIGHTS (see separate guide)

However, material relating to Politics can also be found in several other parts of the Library, including:

ECONOMICS (Main Library, 1st floor, south end); contains most of the books on economic theory and policy.
HISTORY (Main Library, South, 2nd floor); includes material on the history of political thought.
LAW (Main Library, 1st floor, Donaldson Room); includes material on the British constitution and European Union.
TOWN PLANNING (Environmental Studies Library, 5th floor); has substantial material on local authority policy-making, including housing, welfare and finance.
ANTHROPOLOGY (Science Library, 2nd floor); covers political systems in a social context.

Students and staff should also make use of the other libraries they are entitled to join.

There is a small collection of printed Politics journals and separate sets of Economics, History and Law journals, kept in their respective sections. However, the majority of Politics journals are available online (see below).

Finding books: The Library has its own classification scheme for arranging books on the shelves. Typically, a book will have a classmark which begins with the name of the subject (corresponding to the section of the Library in which the book can be found) followed by letters and numbers denoting its position on the shelves within that section; e.g.

PUBLIC POLICY JC 423 DAH for a book on democracy
INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS XD 81 BEC for a book on US foreign policy

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Electronic collections

Accessing electronic resources

Material in electronic form is available to registered members of UCL, often from offsite. To access material from a non-UCL computer you will need to use your UCL computing username and password. For information about this visit the information for electronic library resource users section of the Library Services website.

Electronic journals

A large number of journals are available electronically to registered members of UCL.

Explore (available via the Library website) is a search facility for accessing print and electronic materials. Alternatively, view an alphabetical list of electronic journals that UCL members have access to.

The Economist can be accessed back to 1992. FT.com provides access to ePapers of all five regional editions of The Financial Times with an archive back to 2005, Lex (opinion on topics in the news and broader impacts), special reports, markets data and mobile access.


Databases should be used for conducting comprehensive research. In many cases databases include a link to the full-text version of a reference (look out for the SFX icon). For a complete list of the databases available at UCL, please see the list at: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/library/database/

Useful databases for politics students and staff include:

  • IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences) indexes journal articles and book chapters in social science subjects including anthropology, geography, economics and political sciences.
  • JSTOR is a full-text archive of important scholarly journals.
  • Web of Science is a multidisciplinary database that includes: the Science Citation Index, the Social Science Citation Index and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index. The indexes cover thousands of journals and are a useful starting point for searching on many topics.
  • Scopus indexes a wide range of material from scientific, medical, technical and social science areas.
  • Lexis Library for legal materials.
  • Westlaw UK a primary / secondary law and current awareness service for UK legal, regulatory and academic markets.
  • Nexis UK for full-text UK and international newspaper articles.
  • UK Data Service provides the largest collection of digital data in the social sciences and humanities in the UK. It includes macroeconomic data from organisations such as the IMF and World Bank.
  • OECD iLibrary publications and statistics from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
  • ICPSR (Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research) acquires, preserves, enhances, and distributes original social science research data for research and instruction.


MetaLib is a gateway to UCL's electronic resources. You can access all of the above databases via Metalib and much more. Metalib allows cross-searching of resources - i.e. it is possible to search more than one database at a time. There are areas within Metalib to store your search results and selected list of databases.


A small but growing number of e-books are available. Many of these you'll be able to find by searching Explore, either by author, title or keyword. A significant collection of e-books for politics is Oxford Scholarship Online, that includes a large number of Oxford University Press titles.

Useful websites

www.parliament.uk includes Committee Reports, Research Papers, Bills.
Legislation.gov.uk for UK legislation.
UK National Statistics Publication Hub
EUROPA gateway to a huge amount of EU information.
EU Commission in the United Kingdom includes useful background briefings on aspects of EU activity.


The reading lists for most Public Policy modules are available online. They include links to catalogue records, journal articles and, in some cases, scans of book chapters.

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Other libraries

UCL members can make use of a number of other libraries.

Particularly good for Political Science students and staff, and all within walking distance, are:

Senate House Library all UCL members can join, borrow books and access online resources remotely.
LSE (British Library of Economic and Political Science) reference access only for taught postgraduates; borrowing for academic staff and research postgraduates.
SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) a special arrangement allows UCL members to borrow books: more details.
British Library

Full information about using other libraries is available here.

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Contact details

If you have any problems in using the Library, come to the Enquiry Desk, or contact the Subject Librarian for Economics, Public Policy & History:

Kieron Jones
Main Library, South Corridor, Room 105
E-mail: kieron.jones@ucl.ac.uk
Telephone: internal: 3 3078; external: 020 7679 3078

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Last modified 30 May 2012

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