Data Banks » Special Collections

Gallica
A digitized selection from the National Library of France

With its 500 new entries each month, Gallica is a growing online library, offering free access to over 70,000 records and 80,000 images from the National Library of France and providing a rare collection of French and francophone works, special dossiers and journals (and also some foreign works) on different subjects (history, law, economics, political science, philosophy and literature) from the14th to the 20th century. An extraordinary possibility of historical research is given by a group of administrative and political science dictionaries published since the 18th century. Records are available in image format or in text format (selection of the original text where a lexicographic search is possible); iconographic collections as well as thematic collections are also provided, through a completely open and free access. Materials (texts, maps, images, sounds) are entirely retrievable and downloadable. The website, only in French (as most part of the documents), also provides thematic sections, divulgative tours into a topic, chronological frameworks and bibliographical supports. Materials are retrievable for free, also using a multiple-choice search tool.

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Internet Archive
A digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts

Founded in 1996 and located in the Presidio of San Francisco, the non-profit Internet Archive (IA) is building a permanent digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Structured in several main sections (texts, audio, live music, moving images, software, education), the Archive receives donations from institutions and individuals worldwide and has working partnerships with the National Science Foundation and Library of Congress, among others. Each section, including hundred thousands entries and further divided in several sub-collections, can be easily browsed and/or searched through a simple or advanced options. A total (ever growing) amount of billions of webpages, and hundred thousands of images, recordings, live music concerts, texts are stored and organized in this archive. The entire archive content can be read and saved online, and/or downloaded in several different formats (from text and pdf to MP3, and other multimedia files). Access is free and open, and users can also directly upload their own material and/or other content not copyrighted (after a free registration). A special section, the WayBack Machine, includes the URL of 85 billion web-pages archived from 1996 on, and it is aimed at capturing 2 billion pages from around the world.

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LiensSocio
A comprehensive portal for the French social sciences

Launched in 2001 as a partnership of the Centre national d’enseignement à distance and the sociological sections of the Ecole normale supérieure Lettres and sciences humaines de Lyon, LiensSocio has become the major French portal for social sciences. Its function is mostly as a gateway to French scholarly resources on the Internet, although it provides also current news, information on research publications and seminars and conferences organized all around France (through Calenda) . The site content is fully and freely retrievable by accessing the different portal sections, where the webresources – very useful for PS researchers and students – have been divided under 23 disciplines (from anthropology to statistics and architecture) and more than 50 subjects. The last version of the website better organizes the different components of the Liens Socio project, such as Agora/Sciences sociales, that exists since 2009, and Lectures, the electronic journal of review of reviews in the social sciences launched in 2011. Source entries have been selected, classified, and evaluated with a simple popularity-based rating system, although they are also rated for their content richness. The homepage is quite dynamic and rich in visual and textual elements.The risk of information overload is avoided by a careful design based on three columns. Also provided are several search options, with effective results, along with a free email newsletter subscription and a RSS feednews.

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LSE Research Online
A collection of research material produced by LSE academics

As an open access collection of publications by the London School of Economics (LSE) researchers, this database was created in 2008 to provide a centralized access to all LSE research outputs, including full-texts of journal articles in pre-publication form. The database content goes back to 1955 and hosts thousands of items (including 1382 items for 2009, 2564 for 2007, 1950 for 2008, and so on) incuding books and book chapters, working papers and theses, essays and more. Items can be browsed by Year, Subject Classification, and Sets – along with a simple keyword search and more complex options. Among the almost 30 departments covered, there are: International Relations (1227 documents), Sociology (693), Government (1890), and Social Policy (2893). The repository aims at creating a central archive of LSE research output, preserving it and making it accessible in the long term, thanks to high-quality metadata (bibliographic description of the item). Although not strictly part of the open access scene (mostly copyright is enforced), the repository is open to the public and its procedure enables researchers to directly upload their own work, after signing a ‘Deposit Agreement’, while the library staff will also complete bibliographic details and add the full text if needed.

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Political Database of the Americas
A collection of data and resources on the Americas at Georgetown University

The Political Database of the Americas (PDBA) is an academic project developed at the Center for Latin American Studies (CLAS) at Georgetown University in collaboration with the Organization of American States, and other supporting institutions. The PDBA website provides more than 1,500 pages of info and data on the 35 states of the American region, mainly concerning their politics, government and society. Records consist in basic info about the political regimes (enriched with official documents like constitutions and laws) and political-administrative organization at different levels of government; and in a rich amount of pertinent and selective links to the executive, legislative and judicial branch, to other legal sources, to political parties as well as to civil society organizations. Particularly remarkable is the section with the election results for the countries of the Americas, which is a useful databank at hand. Short lists of references, compiled from other sources, are also provided for most topics in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. Many contents and annotations are both in English and Spanish. Some pages are also in Portuguese and French. The PDBA pages have been recently refreshed and their content improved, but still not often up-to-date. Navigation is simple and the website index clear with its self-intuitive categories.

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Political Research Online
An open access repository promoted by the APSA

Political Research Online is a collaborative project promoted by the American Political Science Association in cooperation with several international and national associations and research institutes. Sponsored by the Mellon Foundation, PROL is an open access repository operating as a common resource for all emerging scholarship in political science. Membership is totally free and a valid e-mail address is the only requirement to access abstracts, quotations and full-text documents — more than 20,000 are available in pdf format. Once logged in, each member can submit his/her own paper in order to have it published on the website, without any restrictive policy — not even for the chosen language, although vast majority of papers are in English. An advanced search engine is provided, with multiple keys options, along with a quick search organized by title, full-text and other indexing features. With its basic but somehow efficient design and structure, this website represent an excellent tool for the promotion and circulation of scholarship information worldwide.

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Portal de Archivos Españoles
An archival project about Spanish history and culture

A project of the Spanish Department of Culture, the Portal de Archivos Españoles (PARES) aims to provide access to Spain’s historical and cultural archives in a digital format. Its front page features a short video (for Windows only) detailing this digitalization process of both institutional and private repositories spread throughout the country. Currently the available digitized material covers three main projects such as the first and unique census of the XVIII century Castilla realm, and the contemporary Civil War and Nazi deportation. The PARES portal is being expanded by other public and private repositories under an agreement with the Ministry of Culture. Being a Government-sponsored project, the entire site content is open and free to the public. No charges are required to navigate, locate and retrieve materials, which can be then downloaded in pdf format (in a few cases) or mainly saved on-screen. Users can take advantage of both a simple and a well-developed advanced search facility in order to find many relevant entries on specific topics within the entire collection. The website site is in Spanish only. Also available is a newly added user guide (also downloadable in pdf) to help users to exploit the search facilities. In general the website features a fair level of usability and a basic design outline.

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Research Data on the Council of the European Union
Cumulative research and data collections on the EU Council

This website fills a gap about systematic empirical data and cumulative research related to EU Council activities, from minutes and voting records to studies and analysis authored by scholars and experts. Set up and professionally managed by the Centre for European Research at Göteborg University (CERGU), in Sweden, this site is an attempt to break the somewhat closed nature of the Council and includes several extensive papers about specific topics, such as Voting in the Council from 1994 to 2006, Government Preferences on EU and the impact of EU enlargement on Council decision-making. For further research data, a direct link to the European Legislative Politics Research Group website with more content addressing the EU legislative politics. Despite its quite focused scope, the site provides great material and ideas for larger systematic analysis, while also its direct linkage with the official EU Council website enables the public to access a variety of updated news, voting records, press releases and much more. The site basic structure is functional to its goal of providing easy access to user with any expertise level, with just a few graphical navigational tips and lacking regular updates. Articles can be downloaded in different formats, Excel, SPSS format, STATA, CSV.

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Sociopôle
A portal to sociological French and French-speaking resources

Sociopôle is a portal to sociological online resources developed by a Social and Human Sciences unit at the CNRS, the French national institution for scientific research. The portal offers a indexed guide to resources covering France and French-speaking countries, organized in two main sections. The pages devoted to France are subdivided into 10 areas, aiming at providing research materials and at orienting users among research institutions, associations, journals and publications. Along with sections devoted to teaching and research, others parts covers academic publications, journals (on-line and on paper), working papers, thematic sites. For each section, the web-resources are alphabetically ordered and briefly described. The francophone sociology pages are divided also by geographical areas, while the access to the various content, from full texts to abstracts or journal issue indexes, depends on each resource’s specific policy. Overall this website is very basic and its navigation is quite intuitive, while the content material is loosely updated and released under a Creative Commons license. Strictly focused on France and French-related social studies, this resource is neverthless a useful tool for those interested in the francophone research areas.

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The American Memory Project
A multimedia archive by the Library of the Congress

The American Memory Project is a website promoted by the Library of the Congress, sponsored by the Congress since 1990. It is a History educational aid project, aiming at digitizing audio, video, photographic and textual materials of the Library of the Congress’s collections, in order to make them available online to the public. It contains more than 100 collections with more than 5 millions multimedia items, some of them dating back to the XVIII century. Available data include old maps, presidential speeches, collections of letters, movies and photos, music papers, etc. Materials are organized by general topics such as Art, Literature, Law, or Science containing several collections, each with detailed information about its content. Files are downloadable in many formats. Information is easily retrievable thanks to sophisticated, as well as easily usable, search engines. Access, search and download are completely free, neither subscription nor membership is required. The project offers plenty of useful materials on American History and shows an excellent web architecture.

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