Jenny Blackhurst


t. 01223 338970

eGuide: Politics, international relations and sociology information sources (for HSPS students)

Searching for resources

There are two key library catalogues you may use when studying at Cambridge:

  • Girton Library catalogue (Heritage) - search Girton Library’s collection and see if items are available or already on loan. See our eGuide for further information.
  • iDiscover - to search across the University’s print and electronic collections (including books, eBooks, journals, newspapers, articles and much more). Most, but not all, of Girton's collection can be found here. See our eGuide for further information.

You will be able to borrow from Girton’s Main Library and the University Library. Your subject specific libraries are the Seeley Historical Library (for politics) and SPS Library (for sociology). However, there may be other libraries within Cambridge which stock useful resources. For a full list of the Cambridge libraries see the directory and check each library for access guidelines.

Search Spacefinder to find places of study within Cambridge.


Subject-specific resources

For information on searching general databases and journals see Beyond books: finding articles and journals. To find links to specific databases and journals see the eresources & ejournals LibGuide. Relevant resources can also be found on the subject LibGuide. Some key resources include:


Bibliographic resources

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
IBSS contains bibliographic information from an international selection of publications (including over 2800 journals) in the fields of economics, political science, sociology, and anthropology.

Sociological Abstracts
"Sociological Abstracts abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides abstracts of journal articles and citations to book reviews drawn from thousands of serials publications, and also provides abstracts of books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers."

Reference sources

UK Data Service (on and off campus – UIS or Raven password required both on and off campus plus additional registration which is available by registering on the site itself)
This includes what was the Economic and Social Data Service (ESDS).

International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences
This contains 4000 articles which can be browsed thematically, alphabetically or by an author and is the online edition of the 26-volume printed Encyclopedia.


Finding ebooks

You can find most of the university's ebooks via iDiscover. To understand more about ebooks read Introduction to ebooks. For help with searching for ebooks read Finding and using ebooks.

Back to top


For information on searching for websites, see Effective internet searching. An Introductions to using the web, aimed specifically at sociology students, is available from the Virtual Training Suite.  The guide includes useful links plus strategies for successful searching on the web.


One of the easiest ways to discover information of academic value on the internet is to use one of the many subject-related hubs or gateways:

  • CIA publications - includes the World Factbook and directory of World leaders
  • IPSAportal - "an official publication of the International Political Science Association", top 300 websites in political science
  • Marxists internet archive - includes key marxist texts such as the Communist Manifesto

Back to top

Help within Cambridge

Library staff can provide support and assistance. During Full Term, drop-in sessions are regularly scheduled for Wednesday afternoons (14.30-16.30). You can also book an appointment with library staff, or, ask a question via JLIB_HTML_CLOAKING . The Colleges’ Fellow for Study Skills will also be able to help.

Some useful support resources include:

Back to top

© Girton College Library
Last updated: September 2017 by Kasia Drabek