With approximately 2.65 million volumes, the US Law Library’s collection of primary and secondary sources constitutes the largest legal collection in the world. The collection is also the most comprehensive, covering all of the approximately 260 jurisdictions as well as many former nations and colonies. The collection – part of the Library of Congress info structure and complementary to THOMAS – includes 20,200 serial titles, 83,500 reels of microform and 2.268 million pieces of microfiche. On average, the collection grows annually by 50,000 volumes, 1,700 reels of microfilm, 75,000 pieces of microfiche, 50,000 serial pieces and 50,000 official gazettes. The website offers several layers of crucial information regarding the actual material in the Law Library Reading Room (such as an alphabetical list of law reviews and periodicals) but provides also direct access to hundreds of databases, eResources, and external links to a variety of sources related to law, politics and government fields across the world. The entire site features free access, while a professional design and management assures great quality, updated content and easy navigation to any user.
Law Library of Congress
Online resources, databases, full-text from the world’s largest law library
The British Library Integrated Catalogue
A collection covering over twelve million items in the British Library
This catalogue unites a number of previously separate sources (such as Humanities and Social Sciences post-1975, Asia, Pacific and Africa Collections, newspapers, etc.) to list over twelve million items in the British Library’s outstanding collections. Users can access this repository to find information on books and other documents, and to order material (for a fee and with some restrictions). Anyone can search all the records in the Integrated Catalogue immediately and without any charge, with no need to register or obtain a password. Users can access the Basic Search as well as more advanced search options. Subsets of the Integrated Catalogue, including the separate catalogues brought together to form the integrated catalogue, can be also searched separately. Other free services are offered, including saving, emailing or printing lists of records while, in order to reserve items in advance, login and password are required. The website features a simple outline and basic options, providing however outstanding results for its reference material covering such an extraordinary number of records. As the catalogue’s main feature, the search engine provides basic keyword and advanced options, along with simple browsing of the Alphabetical Index or the subset series, thus allowing for a great flexibility and ease of use.
The Cornell University Library
A groundbreaking center for digital collections
The Cornell University Library (CUL) system comprises 20 member libraries representing one of the 10 largest research libraries in North America. With over 7 million printed volumes in its collections, nearly 65,000 journal and magazine subscriptions, more than 100,000 sound recordings, and nearly a quarter of a million maps, CUL provides an intellectual backbone to the university’s activities. It has been also a pioneer in the digitalization of historical material to be included in online archives. The digital archives include comprehensive collections of images, texts, data or videos that can be browsed and/or searched for free. Some examples are: the Political Communications Web, a project which entails a planning effort to develop effective methodologies for the systematic, sustainable preservation of Web-based political communications, and Making of America, a multi-institutional initiative to create and make accessible over the internet a distributed digital library of important material about US history. An additional resource is the DSpace digital repository, an open source system that captures, stores, indexes, preserves, and redistributes digital research material, where users can access full-text material for free including working papers and research. The CUL site features an intuitive outline thus making its navigation straightforward and enjoyable.
The European Library
A new Pan-European library service
The European Library originates from the TEL project to investigate the feasibility of establishing a new Pan-European service which would ultimately give access to the combined resources of the national libraries of Europe. The European Library is a portal which offers access to both digital and non-digital resources (books, magazines, journals, etc.) of Europe’s 48 national libraries. It offers free searching and delivers digital contents (only partially free of charge). The library provides equal access to promote world-wide understanding of the richness and diversity of European learning and culture. The management, maintenance, design, and the editorial work is done by the European Library Office team, based at the Koninklijke Bibliotheek, the National Library of the Netherlands. The library’s website allows users for cross-collection searching within a huge virtual library collection; also available is a bimonthly newsletter for general updates. The User Guide, designed to help new visitors discover the site’s all search possibilities, is now available in 12 European languages. A FAQ file, a sitemap and an advanced search facility are provided, while users can browse the entire collections by country, subject, or by description.
The Harvard University Library
The Harvard Library System online
Consisting of more that 80 libraries, the Harvard online system is a gateway to the extraordinary library resources of Harvard University and serves as an important research tool for students, faculty staff, researchers and simple guests as well. Its OPAC (HOLLIS) is a growing database containing over 9 million electronic records out of a total of 15.8 million library holdings (books, journals, manuscripts, government documents, maps, music scores, multimedia files) with a free, unlimited access to the basic functionalities of an electronic library. The database is updated continually as material is received and catalogued. All bibliographic records are freely retrievable by using one of the three search options offered. The E-Research@Harvard Libraries website provides access to a wide variety of online sources, including digitized collections and indexes, the full text of many scholarly journals and newspapers, web guides, etc. Access to this material is mainly restricted to authorized members of the Harvard community. The catalogue section devoted to digital resources is a growing collection of web materials, which may be more or less fully retrievable according to the original source’s policy. They are regularly stored and classified with metadata and source’s address indication. Several navigational aids posted throughout the site help users’ orientation and search.
The Library of Congress
The national library of the United States
The Library of Congress (LoC) is the national library of the United States. Founded to house documents useful to the Congress, it has become the largest library in the world, with more than 151 million items in 470 languages: more than 34 million books and other printed materials, 3,3 million recordings, 13 million photos, 5,4 million maps, and 66 million manuscripts. The Online Catalog collects more than 14 million records, which can be freely searched by the main catalogue headings: title, author, subject and keywords, thus providing the most comprehensive online archive of basic bibliographic info worldwide. Other major electronic services include: the American Memory Project which stores historical maps, photos, audios and videos; the Online Exhibitions guiding users into LoC galleries through virtual tours; the Global Gateway which is an international collection of e-resources on world culture; and THOMAS, the official entry point to legislative infos. Through the LoC website full texts of a huge amount of material are available for free in various formats. In some special collections, digital reproduction and description of the most rare works (manuscripts, maps, etc.) are also freely available. For some kinds of records an institutional affiliation is required. The website gives links to many other libraries and resources websites in the world, selected and ordered by sections.
The MIT Libraries
The MIT online libraries collection
The MIT Libraries online collection has a catalogue of over 3 million printed volumes and over 55,000 online databases and electronic journal titles as well as extensive collections of microforms, maps, images and multimedia materials. Barton, the MIT catalog, allows all users to retrieve some basic info and perform the standard bibliographic searches. E-journals and databases are provided with specific icons describing the nature of resources (open access or MIT licensed) to help users identify contents. D-Space is a MIT’s online institutional repository of about 30,000 theses built to save, share, and search MIT’s digital research materials in full-text format. A free subscription is required to access the D-Space service. Other materials (e-books, latest papers and recent contents) can be accessed only through a subscription, either institutional or individual. Political Science databases and PS online journals are available only for MIT users. Many and complex navigational tools are provided in order to locate and retrieve the desired record and/or material. A well standardized interface and a sitemap enable users to successfully navigate the large quantity of pages and categories available. Along with a “Help Yourself” section and several help facilities, a news blogs and a RSS feed subscription are also provided.
The Sciences-Po Library
The Library catalogue of the French Political Studies Institute
Founded in 1872, the Library of the National Foundation for Political Science includes one of the richest European social sciences collection on political science, economics, history, geography, law, international relations, and sociology. It is part of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques (IEP) of Paris and is associated with the French National Library, providing and sharing Political Science resources through library networks. The library website – in French only (but some books and article annotations are available also in English) – provides access to its catalogues and online resources but the access for non-members is extremely limited. Only affiliated users can fully access and use the E-catalogues and only from the IEP campus or library-connected machines. External users can retrieve detailed metadata and abstracts – in shorter or longer format – of the desired records, which can be saved on-screen. A highly-refined multiple search feature help users to find materials in the several databases and downloading options are available in pdf format, with a different range of possibilities for members and non. Navigation is quite easy even if all pages are in French, thanks to a clear content organization and self-intuitive categories.
The Yale University Library
The online catalogues of the Yale University
The Yale University Library website presents contents and info about all 22 libraries of the Yale Library system. Among several catalogues available online, users can search Orbis ? the Yale main OPAC, and Morris – related to the Law Library and including the publications by the Federal Government, as well as many other library catalogues. Many, updated and well organized info and metainfo are available also for visitors. Several digital collections are available, each of them providing some textual, but also image and multimedia contents and resources (maps, original manuscripts, paintings) for all users. Full-text documents – such as the Avalon Project historical documents – are available from the Library’s Digital Collections for free also by non-Yale community members. The website offers a complex linking structure and a good interface design with standardized pages and colors. Multiple-keyword search criteria help users to customize their researches and to identify specific contents. The website offers a complex linking structure and a good interface design with standardized pages and colors. The Yale website is also available, in a reduced version, in some European and Asiatic languages.
University of Oxford Electronic Resources
A wide range of scholarly electronic resources
This site operates as an information platform gateway to thousands of electronic resources included in the vast library sector of the Oxford University, comprising over one hundred individual libraries. Some resources – such as the Oxford Digital Library which is involved in dozens digital initiatives and several projects to encode english books and manuscripts in electronic full text – are freely and fully available. For licensing reasons other Oxford Electronic Resources – such as periodicals, journals and information access services – are restricted to members of the University of Oxford. Through OER’s related websites, thanks to their comprehensive structure of metadata, historical books and ancient records, images, pictures and multimedia files are retrievable. With a well structured information format and a rich metadata layout, the site offers a large volume of resources related to PS with a positive maintenance rate. Generally user-friendly and easy to navigate, this site offers a Google search interface plus a restricted and most complex Internal Oxford Search, with some helping tools. As a consequence of its nested architecture (any initiative has its own website) one may easily get lost within so many related-websites.