Shatford Library

Shatford Library

American Institutions 125

1. Library Catalog - Find Books and Media

The Library Catalog is a database of books, media and course reserves located in the library's collection. To find resources in the library by subject, you will need a call number which is based on the Dewey Decimal or Library of Congress Classification System and leads you to the specific item on the shelf. To find the call number, use the library catalog. (

Basic Search

Use the Basic Search to look for an item using keyword anywhere or in a specific field (eg. title field or subject field).

To find information about a person, use Basic Search within Subject Browse (select from the drop down menu).

To find information on a topic, you can use your keyword search results to identify library subject headings or you can select the Subject tab and type in a library subject heading.

Subject headings:

  • Democracy--United States
  • Federal government--United States
  • State governments--United States
  • Local government--United States

Related subjects (Narrower, Broader and See also):

  • Political participation--United States
  • California--Politics and government
  • Elections--United States
  • Pressure groups--United States
  • Mass media--Political aspects--United States

To search for a title you have two options: 1. select title from the drop down menu (to search by title keyword) or 2. select title browse from the drop down menu, to search by exact title wording. (Skip the first word of the title if it is an article, e.g. 'a', 'an' or 'the').

To search by author, select the Author tab, then type in the author's last name, then first name, e.g. 'Nader, Ralph'.

Advanced Search

Advanced Search is used to combine topics, select search fields, and use other limitors to narrow a search.  You may want to search for an item using part of a title and selecting the title field from the drop down menu.  Another option is to search by ISBN.

  • Example: political action committees (as a phrase, keyword anywhere) AND campaign finance (all of these, keyword)

To search by keyword, type in the words you want to search for, then select from the menu whether you want to search for all of these, any of these (e.g., PACCD or Pasadena Area Community College District), or as a phrase (e.g., Metropolitan Water District of Southern California).

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2. Reference Books

Basically, there are two kinds of reference books: general resources, which are broad in scope and deal with all fields; and specialized resources, which deal with specific disciplines such as political science or government. The titles cited below are only a representative sample of many specialized reference books that are available in the library.

Specialized Dictionaries

  • Dictionary of Government and Politics REF 320.03 D 1
  • Safire's Political Dictionary   REF 320.03 S 1
  • State and Local Government Political DictionaryREF 320.3 E 2-2
  • Urban Politics Dictionary REF 320.8503 S 1

Specialized Encyclopedias

  • Citizen Action Encyclopedia : Groups and Movements That Have Changed America REF 322.4 H 1
  • CQ's Politics in America REF DESK 328.738 C 1
  • Encyclopedia of American Government and Civics REF 320.973 G 15 (Note: Vol. 3 includes state and local government information)
  • Federal Agency Profiles for Students  REF DESK 353 F9
  • Guide to U.S. Elections REF 324.73 C 2-2
  • How Government Works REF 320.973 H14

Handbooks, Almanacs, Directories

  • Almanac of American Politics REF DESK 328.738 A 1
  • California Initiatives and Referendums, 1912-1990 REF 328.794 A 1
  • California Political Almanac  REF 351.2 C 2
  • Congressional Quarterly Almanac REF 328.73 C1
  • Directory of Congressional Voting Scores and Interest Group Ratings REF 328.73 S 8
  • Federal Regulatory Directory  REF DESK 353.091 C 1 
  • Guide to California Government  REF 353.9794 G 1
  • Los Angeles County Almanac; a Guide to Government  REF 352.0794 L 2-2
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States REF DESK 317.3 U 1
  • United States Congressional Directory REF DESK 328.738 US 1
  • United States Government Manual REF DESK 353 U1
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3. Databases and Indexes - Find Articles

To access databases from the main library page, look for Browse Databases by Name |  by Subject (

  • ProQuest: Thousands of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles covering all disciplines. Includes scholarly journal articles.
  • CQ Researcher: Articles covering controversial issues with summaries, insight into all sides of the issues, bibliographies and more. (coverage since 1991)
  • SIRS Knowledge Source : Articles about Arts and Humanities, articles from popular magazines, newspapers and U.S. government publications. Look under "Government Reporter", Domestic Affairs, Environmental Protection and Conservation or search by government department (eg. Energy Department).
  • To browse or search to see if the Library has a subscription to a particular magazine, newspaper, or journal title use the Periodical Title List. (

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4. Web Resources - State Government

Finding reliable information on the web can be difficult. Use the ipl2 site (government section) or see recommended websites below. (For Web resources relating to federal government, please refer to the Political Science 1 Research Guide)

Office of the Governor
California Agency Directory
California State Legislature  (Senate, Assembly, legislative process, legislative research)
California State Courts  (Calif. Courts System: Supreme, Appellate, and Superior Courts information)
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5. Web Resources - Local Government

California State Association of Counties (Links to county web sites, what do counties do, county legislative platforms)
California Cities (Located at the State of California online portal; includes Alphabetical index of cities and links to League of California Cities and Helpful Facts About Cities)
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6. Web Resources - Other related Sites

California Choices (Nonpartisan clearinghouse for state governance reform issues)
California Research Bureau Reports (Nonpartisan reports on California policy issues (e.g., history of the issue, case studies and examples, data analysis, and development of legislative proposals)
California Roster (Listing of California's public officeholders (e.g., Constitutional officers, members of the State Senate and Assembly, the Judicial branch, county officials, and Incorporated city and town officials)
Community College League of California (Nonprofit public benefit corporation whose voluntary membership consists of the 72 local community college districts in California.”NOTE: Legislative Bill Reports summarize “the primary bills being followed by League staff…as well as the official positions of the League on each.”)
Follow the Money: National Institute on Money in State Politics (Comprehensive and verifiable campaign-finance database and relevant issue analyses) (Money and Politics: Illuminating the Connection) (Illuminates the connection between money and politics” through data sets that combine legislator’s voting records on bills, supporting and opposing interests for each bill, and campaign contribution data from the Center for Responsive Politics and the National Institute on Money in State Politics NOTE: Currently tracks money and influence in the U.S. Congress and the California legislature)
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last updated: 07/15/2011 by F. Lin revision #2