Shatford Library

Shatford Library

Political Science 1: Introduction to American Government

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:

  • Executive departments - United States
  • United States. Congress
  • United States. Supreme Court

Related subjects (Narrower, Broader and See also):

  • Presidents - United States
  • Administrative Agencies - United States
  • Environmental policy - 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., EPA or Environmental Protection Agency), or as a phrase (e.g., House of Representatives).

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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. 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

Specialized Encyclopedias

  • CQ's Politics in America REF DESK 328.738 C 1
  • Encyclopedia of American Government  REF 320.973 E5
  • Facts About the Presidents REF 923 K 1-4
  • Federal Agency Profiles for Students  REF DESK 353 F9
  • How Government Works REF 320.973 H14

Handbooks, Manuals, Directories

  • Almanac of American Politics REF DESK 328.738 A 1
  • Congressional Quarterly Almanac REF 328.73 C1
  • Federal Regulatory Directory  REF DESK 353.091 C 1 
  • 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 (

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).
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4. Web Resources: Executive Branch

Finding reliable information on the web can be difficult. Use the ipl2 site (government section) or see recommended websites below. Federal Government Section
The White House
Federal Web Locator Independent Agencies and Government Corporations
The Cabinet
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5. Web Resources: Legislative and Judical Branches Federal Legislative Branch
U. S. Senate Committees
U.S. House Committees
Project VoteSmart Judicial Branch
Supreme Court of the United States
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6. Web Resources: Lobbying

Clean Up Washington
Common Cause
Ethics & Lobbying Reform (League of Women Voters)
Lobbying Ethics (Santa Clara Univ.)
Lobbying Firms (SourceWatch)
Political Advocacy Groups (by subject)
Public Disclosure (U.S. House)
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last updated: 07/20/2011 by P. Johnson revision #4