Political Science and Policy Studies


The collection’s primary function is to support research and teaching programs in the Department of Political Science and the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, as well as policy-related teaching and research conducted in other Yale College academic departments and programs and the professional schools.

All aspects of political science and policy studies are represented, including: American government, comparative government, empirical analysis and research methodology, political economy, political philosophy, and political theory. Materials in the areas of international relations and global affairs (e.g., IR theory, diplomacy, security studies, peace and conflict studies, etc.) are covered in the Collection Development Statement for International Relations.

Departments/disciplines/programs/subject areas supported

Departments and Programs

  • Department of Political Science
  • Jackson School for Global Affairs
  • MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies
  • Institution for Social and Policy Studies
  • Program on Ethics, Politics, and Economics

Because politics and policy have cross-disciplinary implications, these collections also offer support for research and teaching at the Law School, the School of Management, the School of Public Health, and the other graduate and professional schools, as well as policy-related work throughout the sciences and social sciences.


Political science and policy studies materials relevant to the teaching and research conducted at Yale University are selected according to the following guidelines.  Subjects excluded or collected selectively include international relations (described in the Collection Development Statement for International Relations), public health (collected by the Medical Library), and public administration (for which there is not great demand among Yale patrons).

Formats collected

Formats and materials acquired generally:

  • Scholarly monographs (print and online) Academic and trade press monographs are acquired in print or electronic formats.
  • Scholarly journals (online preferred) Online-only journals are preferred; print subscriptions are initiated or continued when an online edition is not available, not stable, or not adequate.
  • Yale Library has a strong historical collection of working papers supporting international relations. Currently, access to the majority of working papers is provided online only. Working Papers (online preferred)
  • Electronic Reference materials (online preferred), including indexing and abstracting databases, statistical publications and databases, news resources, yearbooks, and encyclopedias, are almost always preferred to their print counterparts.
  • Print reference materials are acquired when an online version is not available, not stable, or not adequate.
  • Government information: (via several depository memberships)
    • Yale Library collects publications through the depository programs of the U.S. federal government, Canadian federal government, United Nations, European Union, and Food & Agriculture Organization. (See the Collection Development Statement for Government Documents and Information.)
    • Publications from other national governments are acquired by the selectors for those countries.

Materials acquired selectively or by request:

  • Textbooks are generally excluded unless requested by faculty.
  • Yale Library has extensive microform holdings supporting political science and policy studies. However, due to the increasing conversion of microform collections to digital formats and the interlibrary loan availability of microform sets from the Center for Research Libraries, microform supporting political science and policy studies is now acquired on demand only.
  • DVDs are acquired very selectively, primarily in response to faculty demand.
  • Datasets, numeric data, and Geospatial data resources are purchased in response to patron requests and in consultation with the Data Librarian and GIS Librarian at Marx Library. Formats collected include CD-ROM, online databases, and datasets that can be housed on a local server. (See the Collection Development Statement for Science and Social Science Data.)

Languages collected

Materials collected are primarily in English and Western European languages. Materials in other languages are acquired by area studies selectors in the Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support (DASHRS).

Chronological and geographical focus

In terms of publication dates, current materials are emphasized, with earlier materials purchased to replace damaged or lost copies of significant works, or in response to faculty or student requests.

In terms of time periods covered in the materials themselves, the collection’s focus is largely contemporary, but without firm chronological boundaries. Materials that have a more distinctly historical approach are typically collected by selectors in Sterling Memorial Library.

The collection is international in scope. No geographic areas are excluded, although the greatest emphasis is placed on the countries and regions that are relevant to research and curricular needs.

Collaborations within Yale

  • There is frequent communication and collaboration among subject librarians at Marx Science and Social Science Library, particularly related to data and statistics.
  • The Economic Growth Center collection at Marx Library includes statistical data, including national censuses, from developing and developed countries around the world.
  • The Law Library acquires political science materials and has particularly strong human rights collections.
  • The area studies selectors in the Department of Area Studies and Humanities Research Support acquire all material on political science and policy studies for their respective regions: African Collection, East Asia Collection, Judaica Collection, Latin America Collection, Near East Collection, Slavic and East European Collection, Southeast Asia Collection, and the South Asia Collection. 
  • Journals in political science and policy studies at the Sterling Memorial Library are either not in English, are region-specific, or are heavily interdisciplinary in areas beyond the social sciences (e.g., history).