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A Social Sciences Library for the asking

March 21, 2011

The Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, Boston, in conjunction with the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development has developed a remarkable library resource in the Social Sciences destined for all university libraries.

Neva Goodwin, GDAE Co-Director, and Brian Roach, Project Director led an initiative to develop  The Social Science Library (or SSL), a rich bibliography of nearly 10,000 entries that includes 3,200 full-text PDF files in the social science disciplines of

  • Anthropology,
  • Economics,
  • History,
  • Philosophy,
  • Political Science,
  • Social Psychology, and
  • Sociology.

The goal of the SSL is to significantly expand access to social science literature in those countries where university libraries have scant materials in these areas.  For some university and college libraries these extraordinary resources will multiply their social science holdings many times over.

Advisors in this enterprise include  Craig Calhoun (President, Social Science Research Council, New York), Kemal Dervis (United Nations Development Programme), Khadija Haq (Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Institute, Pakistan),  Andrzej Kassenberg (Institute for Sustainable Development, Poland), Kumari Jayawardene (Colombo University, Sri Lanka), Wangari Maathai (Nobel Laureate and Minister for Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya), Mary Robinson (Former President of Ireland (1990-1997), United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (1997-2002)),  Amartya K. Sen (Professor at Harvard University and  Nobel Laureate in Economics), Ismael Serageldin (Director, Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Egypt) and Joseph Stiglitz (Professor at Columbia University and Nobel Laureate in Economics).

These resources are yours for the asking. Seriously, all that you need to do is to request your Librarian to write to If you are in India,  you could also have your Librarian write to us,  Scholars without Borders, at and we will see that it eventually reaches your institution. Its free, and its that simple!

The SSL is Carefully organized to facilitate scholarly use by students, faculty, and researchers and comes to you on USB drives and/or  CD-ROMs. It does not require Internet access or institutional subscriptions to the relevant journals. The collection can be loaded onto all computers in the institutions that receive them, and can be easily copied by individuals for their own use.

An online version with the extensive bibliography, but without the PDFs, can be seen here.

The SSL are being distributed in different countries by different organizations. In Pakistan, this is the Civil Society Resource Centre, a project of the Aga Khan Foundation.  In Zimbabwe, via Books for Zim and the University of Zimbabwe. In Bangladesh, via BRAC University. In Afghanistan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Timor-Leste, and Vietnam, via Books for Asia, a project of the Asia Foundation.  In Indonesia, Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria, Palestine, the Philippines, and Uganda via Sabre Foundation.

And in India, through us, namely Scholars without Borders.

The goal is reach all university libraries in each country – with possible additional outreach to other appropriate recipients such as teachers’ colleges or research institutes. Full coverage would ensure reaching the most remote or rural institutions, where there is often the greatest need.

The list of countries to which the SSL and related materials can be sent may be found here. In any case, write to us. And please do pass the word along to those you think might find this resource of use, but may not come across this blogpost… We’re here to help!

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