Collection Development Policy - Politics and International Studies

SOAS Library
  • Context
  • Collection
  • Coverage
  • E-Resources
  • Future


1. The Politics & International Studies Department

Originally established as the Department of Economic and Political Studies in 1962, two separate departments of Political Studies (& International Studies) and Economics came into existence in 1990.

The department currently has 19.5 FTE members of Staff. At present there are 194 FTE undergraduates, 95 FTE taught postgraduates, and 35.5 FTE research students. There are also visiting students who are here as part of a year's work towards degrees in other countries (notably the United States, EU, Korea and Japan).

For more information see:

2. The Centre for International Studies & Diplomacy (CISD)

Established in 2000, the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy (CISD) at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) is a research-driven unit committed to the promotion of excellence in scholarship and teaching. The Centre is committed to the development of applied international studies and to ensuring that its work impacts key international debates.

The mission of the CISD is to promote cross-disciplinary research and teaching that combines the distinctive expertise of SOAS with cutting-edge research in international relations, to rethink area studies and diplomacy in a globalising world, and to seek external funding for research and institutional development linked to its teaching programmes.

Intellectually, the Centre is distinctive in promoting interdisciplinary research and instruction that weaves together the best of area studies and fresh thinking in the field of international relations. Institutionally, the Centre builds on the MA in International Studies and Diplomacy, a programme devoted to providing students with the skills and training necessary for a career in traditional diplomacy and other areas of global civil society.

The Centre currently has 145.3 FTE taught postgraduates and 9.3 FTE academic staff.

For more information see:


3. History

  • The Library has actively built up collections on politics relating to Asia, Africa and the Middle East within its regional collections
  • The Library has supported course reading lists and selectively purchased material on general, cross-regional or global aspects and on the discipline of Politics

4. Languages

  • Some European languages, especially English, for general, cross-regional or global aspects and for the discipline
  • Also the languages of Asia, Africa and the Middle East for regional publications. See Collection Development Policy

5. Classification

Print material on general, cross-regional or global aspects and on the discipline of Politics is classified using the Dewey Decimal Classification.

All books are prefixed using the following:

  • All main books are prefixed “A”
  • Large books are prefixed "LA"
  • Reference books are prefixed "Ref A"
  • Large reference books are prefixed "L Ref A"


Within the School, the Library supports the teaching and research needs of:

The collection aims to collect materials to a teaching level for all courses taught within the Department of Politics and Regional & Departmental Centres.
All politics students have access to, and borrowing rights, at Senate House Library. In addition, all politics students have access to the London School of Economics (LSE) Library; postgraduate students can apply for borrowing rights.


The collection aims to collect material to a research level for all the subject areas detailed in section 8 below :

8. Detailed Structure

The main thematic/regional subject areas of collecting for the Politics and International Studies Department are detailed below (based on the Conspectus Level). For details on the Conspectus Level see Collection Development Policy .

  • Civil and Political Rights
  • Colonization
  • Comparative Government
  • Diplomacy
  • Election systems and Procedures
  • Energy Policy
  • Foreign Policy & Specific Topics in International Relations [e.g. foreign aid, international conflict, use of force]
  • International Organisations
  • International Relations
  • Migration
  • Political Economy
  • Political Ideologies
  • Political Parties
  • Political Situation  and Conditions
  • Political Theory
  • Political Violence
  • Relation of the State to Armed Forces
  • Relation of the State to Business and Industry
  • Relation of the State to Labour Movements
  • Relation of the State to Political Action Groups
  • Relation of the State to Religious Organisations
  • Research Methods
  • Slavery and Emancipation
  • Systems of Governments and States
  • The Political Process
  • The State

For details on the following subject areas see the relevant Subject Statements:


9. Major Databases

General Databases
  • Access World News
  • BBC Monitoring Library
  • Cambridge Books Online
  • Cambridge Journals Online
  • Columbia International Affairs Online
  • Dawsonera (e-books)
  • Ebscohost
  • House of Commons Parliamentary Papers
  • InformaWorld
  • IngentaConnect
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences
  • ISI Web of Science / Knowledge
  • OCLC
  • FirstSearch
  • Oxford Journals Online
  • Oxford Reference Online
  • Periodicals Archive Online
  • Project MUSE
  • Sage Journals Online
  • ScienceDirect
  • Wiley InterScience
Regional Databases
  • Africa Wide
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies
  • Brill Online (Encyclopaedia of Islam etc.)
  • China Academic Journals
  • Chinese Studies Online
  • China: Trade, Politics and Culture 1793-1980
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974-1996
  • Korean-studies Information Service System
  • Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies
  • Nikkei Telecom 21
  • Oxford Islamic Studies
  • Taiwan Electronic Periodical Services

10. Online Subject Guide

For more information see Subject Guide for Politics

For regional specific databases see Subject Statements

For other databases SOAS subscribes to see A-Z databases list


11. Trends for the Future

Growth of trans-disciplinary teaching in thematic studies, e.g.

  • Applied international relations such as diplomacy, globalisation (including corporate accountability, democracy, energy, governance)
  • Comparative political economy; emerging markets
  • Conflict and post-conflict reconstruction and state-building; terrorism and counter-terrorism; civil liberties and human rights; transitional justice
  • Labour and migration; diaspora mobilisation; refugee studies
  • Islamic Studies
  • Normative values and  methodologies

Growth of distance learning programmes, particularly in the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy.

Move towards more online full-text resources where possible and appropriate:

  • As the national collection for Asian, African and Middle Eastern studies the Library  seeks to retain one print copy of selected scholarly titles and also provide electronic access to these materials (e-journals, databases, e-books &c.), where available
  • For subjects of a theoretical, general or non-regional nature the electronic version (e-journals, databases, e-books &c.) is favoured