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CMN220 – Communicating Public Policy

Spring 2011 – George Boone

Welcome!  We are providing this site to assist you in exploring library resources on your topic.  Our library is one of the largest in the United States and it can be very intimidating.  We will try to make things a little easier for you, but you have to ask questions.  It takes patience, curiosity, and a sense of adventure to use our resources and facilities so think of this page as a road map for your travels with us.

General Resources | News | Legal | Communities | Critical Approaches | Statistics | Extra Helps


The processes involved in library research are those of discovery and location.  We provide a wide variety of tools to help you discover the materials that exist on your topics.  Once you have discovered the works that exist in this area we help you to locate the texts you need to learn more about the topic.

First, a few very basic suggestions:

  • come with a basic understanding of your topic
  • be flexible when you search for terms
  • be creative in your use of language
  • read voraciously
  • don’t give up


We many departmental libraries on our campus.  The libraries you will find most useful include the Education and Social Science Library, Reference, Research and Government Information Services, and the  History, Philosophy and Newspaper Library. All can be found in the Main Library building.  Most of you will want to do your work in the digital world.  That is fine, but don’t rely entirely on Google or other universal search engines to do everything, especially in this class.

More General Information

  • Learn to Use the Library – A great place to go for information about library orientation, research assistance, the Library video network, FAQs, and tutorials
  • RefWorks – All the information you need to start using the RefWorks bibliographic citation software.
  • My Library Account – See what you have checked out and renew books.
  • Interlibrary Loan/ILLiad – This is another way of obtaining the materials you need.  In addition to requesting books, this is used to request articles that are not available in the University of Illinois collection.  You cannot renew items you have received through ILLiad by yourself.  It is necessary to call 217-333-8400.  You can also call this number if you are having problems with your library card.
  • Ask a Librarian – You can use IM/Chat, email, phone, or SMS to get help with your research, or you can call me – see my contact information at the top of the page

Identifying the Problem – Reading the News

  • Access World News –  This is a great resource for current events. In addition to indexing and providing full text for many local, regional, national, and international newspapers, you can find newswire stories, broadcast transcripts, and current issues of the New York Times, Newsweek, and more.
  • Lexis Nexis Academic Universe – A comprehensive source for news, business, and legal information, with full text and abstracts. Includes foreign news sources, major U.S. newspapers, regional U.S. news services, radio and television transcripts, federal and state case law, medical, legislative and industry news, annual reports from Securities and Exchange Commission and many other sources. Newspapers are updated several times daily, and wire services hourly.  Use this site to access Congressional Universe as well.
  • EBSCOhost Newspaper Source – Identifies articles in regional U.S. newspapers, international newspapers, newswires and newspaper columns, as well as TV and radio news transcripts. Provides cover-to-cover full text for over 20 national (U.S.) and international newspapers, including USA Today, The Christian Science Monitor, The Washington Post, The Times (London), The Toronto Star, etc. Also contains selected full text from more than 200 regional (U.S.) newspapers, including The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The Miami Herald, The New York Daily News, The San Jose Mercury News, etc. In addition, full text television & radio news transcripts are provided from CBS News, FOX News, NPR, etc.
  • ISI Emerging Markets – Includes news, company and financial data direct from more than 80 emerging markets in Asia, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa, from the local markets and from over 16,000 publications. Provides current news, hard-to-get company and industry information, financial markets data or macroeconomic analysis. Updated daily. The service supports 18 languages
  • Library PressDisplay –  One of the most interesting newspaper resources, this provides access to a large number of titles with digital facsimiles of the page you are looking at.  The database has images in most cases for the last sixty days.
  • Mideastwire Service – Offers a daily email newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic and opinion pieces appearing via the print, radio and television media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora.
  • Chicago Tribune – 1985- present
  • Historical New York Times – 1851 – 2007
  • Historical Wall Street Journal – 1899 – 1993
  • Los Angeles Times –  1881- 1987

Policy Resources in Legal Documents

  • GPO Access and FDSys (new) – The website of the Government Printing Office of the United States provides access to information from the three branches of the federal government.  Everything from appropriations hearings to the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents can be found on this official site.  The newer site will eventually replace GPO Access.
  • THOMAS – The Library of Congress also supports a website to provide the citizen with information on legislative actions that have taken place since 1995.
  • Lexis-Nexis – This provides access to three databases that might be useful in policy studies – Academic Universe providing full-text news articles, wire service reports and much more; and State Capital providing access to documents from all 50 state capitals, including bills, laws, constitutions, regulations, legislature membership, and newspapers.
  • Hein Online – Identifies law reviews and journal articles prior to the dates traditionally covered by Lexis and Westlaw. Provides full text search capabilities. Also includes full text of treatises and agreements, as well as U.S. Supreme Court reports since 1754 and Federal Register documents since 1936.

Policy Resources for Specific Communities

  • Ethnic NewsWatch – Identifies full text access for 200 newspapers and journals of the ethnic, minority, and native press. Includes both English and Spanish-language articles, edittorials, columns, and reviews.
  • Gender Watch – Identifies publications that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas. Indexes information in business, education, literature and the arts, health sciences, history, political science, public policy, sociology and contemporary culture, gender and women’s studies and more. Publications include academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, government organizations, non-governmental organizations, and special reports.
  • HAPI (Hispanic American Periodicals Index) – Identifies article and review citations regarding Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Hispanics in the U.S. in subject areas including political science, history and the humanities. Other subjects covered include foreign relations, economic development, commerce, trade and industry, the environment, geography, sociology, anthropology, ethnography, and religion.
  • PAIS (Public Affairs International Service) – Identifies articles, books, websites, statistics, yearbooks, directories, conference proceedings, pamphlets, reports, government documents, and microfiche on political, social, public policy issues.

Critical Approaches to Policy Studies

  • Anthrosource – Identifies articles from American Anthropological Association publications including journals, newsletters and bulletins. It has the current issues for 11 of the American Anthropological Association’s most critical peer-reviewed publications, and a complete electronic archive of all AAA journals through 2003.
  • Sociological Abstacts – Identifies articles, conference papers, books and dissertations in sociology and related fields.
  • Communication Abstracts –  Identifies publications in communications including international literature in film studies, the role of technology in human communications, crisis communication and public opinions. Publication types include articles, reports, and books.
  • Communication and Mass Media – Leads to full-text for articles in all of the areas of communications.

Statistical Resources

Additional Resources