About this collection


The major challenges facing the world today—such as borders, climate change, gun control and mass incarceration—are often studied using newspaper articles, magazine articles, and bite-sized synopses. Global Issues Library  changes this by providing over 500,000 pages of deep primary sources, essays, case studies, and commentary, and over 900 hours of documentaries and historical news footage.

Organized and indexed around key issues affecting humanity, it has much richer and intensely personal resources than available previously. Video interviews, oral histories, letters, and diaries show these issues at human scale, so students can empathize with people and populations affected. Government reports, books, and documentaries present the regional and global impact with statistical and qualitative measures. Historical coverage allows students to compare issues today with earlier examples and trace similarities and differences. Editorial oversight ensures multiple perspectives are preserved.

No other resource enables similar research or understanding.


Thematic Coverage

The Global Issues Library  will grow to cover over 180 issues, topics, and events, from the late 1780s to the present, critical to understanding global affairs today—including U.S./Mexico border issues, the Rwandan genocide, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Cuban Revolution, climate migration in the Pacific, international nuclear disarmament, and mass incarceration.

Curated by cross-disciplinary advisory boards of scholars from around the world, the complete Library will incorporate:

  • 575,000 pages, including rare, previously unpublished archival material, government documents, oral histories, and personal narratives;

  • 900 hours of streaming documentaries, media footage, and other types of video;

  • 250 case studies for the classroom;

  • 3,000 photographs.

Issues and events are presented from multiple perspectives—personal, governmental, institutional, legal, contemporaneous, and retrospective— permitting the comparison of issues in a variety of contexts and in an interdisciplinary manner. Students and scholars can consider:

  • How atrocities and war occur and their aftermath across borders;

  • How climate change and security issues affect displacement;

  • The global history of disaster planning and emergency management;

  • The triggers of revolutions and what follows after regime changes.

  • The global trends in mass incarceration and the prison infrastructure of specific countries.



Teaching Power

Opportunities for comparative study: Content is organized around thematic units, such as the Cambodian genocide, the Burma-Myanmar conflict, the Iranian Revolution of 1953, and the European Union and its borders. This structure allows students to compare issues geographically, historically, or from other viewpoints.

Interdisciplinary: Aligning with curricula, the Global Issues Library combines historical, political, sociological, artistic, and human rights perspectives. It supports research and teaching in international studies, global affairs, history, political science, sociology, security studies, peace studies, law, public policy, environmental studies, and anthropology.


The Collections:

Human Rights Studies Online

Borders and Migration Studies Online

Mass Incarceration and Prison Studies

Revolution and Protest Online

Engineering Case Studies Online

Environmental Issues Online

Security Issues Online


Content Providers


Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Senate House Library, University of London

Institute of Latin American Studies, Senate House Library, University of London

National Archives and Records Administration (United States)

The National Archives (United Kingdom)

William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum

The Sierra Club Archive

The Water Resources Archive, Colorado State University



Bridgeman Images

Getty Images Science

Photo Library




Beacon Press

Cambridge University Press

Francis & Taylor

Indiana University Press

Hong Kong University Press

Institute for Diplomatic Studies, Georgetown University


Lynne Rienner Publishers

Oxford University Press

Russell Sage Foundation

University of Bristol, Policy Press

University of California Press



American Public Television


BBC Worldwide

Berkeley Media

Chip Taylor Communications

Cinema Libre


Content Media Corporation

Doriane Films

Elo Audiovisual Serviços

Filmakers Library

Forward Films Productions


Java Film


Prime Entertainment

WGBH Educational Foundation




Holly Ackerman, Librarian for Latin American, Iberian and Latino Studies, Duke University



Laetitia Atlani-Duault, Fellow at the French National Development Research Institute, Professor at IRD - CEPED (Sorbonne Paris Cité University, Paris V René Descartes), Director of the Collège d’Études Mondiales (CEM) at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH)



Vanessa Barker, Docent and Associate Professor of Sociology, Stockholm University



Olivier Bercault, lawyer and researcher for Human Rights Watch



Mary Bosworth, Professor of Criminology, Fellow of St Cross College, University of Oxford; Professor of Criminology, Monash University, Australia; and Director of the Border Criminologies Network



Orville Vernon Burton, Distinguished Professor of History, Sociology, and Computer Science, Clemson University; and Director of the Clemson CyberInstitute



Phillip A. Cantrell, Associate Professor of Asian History, African History, World History, Longwood University



Yuk Wah Chan, Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong



Melissa Checker, Hagedorn Professor of Urban Studies and Environmental Psychology, Queens College (CUNY)



Hastings Donnan, Director of the Mitchell Institute for Global Peace Security and Justice and Co-Director of the Centre for International Borders Research, Queen’s University, Belfast



Baz Dreisinger, Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice



Hannah Elsisi, Lecturer in Modern Middle East History, King’s College London



Julie Murphy Erfani, Associate Professor, School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, and director of ASU's master's program in Social Justice and Human Rights



Catherine Filloux, award-winning playwright, longtime social justice advocate



Pamela Graham, Director of the Center for Human Rights Documentation & Research,

Columbia University, and Director of the Global Studies division of the Libraries



Amy S. Green, Chairperson & Associate Professor, John Jay College of Criminal Justice



Anna Gunderson, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Louisiana State University



Henk van Houtum, Head of the Nijmegen Centre for Border Research, Associate Professor of Political Geography and Geopolitics, Radboud University Nijmegen



Pranoto Iskandar, Founding Director, The Institute for Migrant Rights,Indonesia



Cathia Jenainati, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Lebanese American University; former Head of the School for Cross-Faculty Studies, University of Warwick



Lada Kochtcheeva, Associate Professor, Global Environmental Policy and Law, North Carolina State University



Richard Matthew, Associate Dean of Research and International Programs and Professor of Urban Planning, Public Policy and Political Science, University of California, Irvine



Molly Molloy, Research Librarian, Border and Latin American specialist, New Mexico State UniversityLibrary



Vivian D. Nixon, Executive Director, College & Community Fellowship



James Oleson, Associate Professor, University of Auckland



David Scheffer, Director, Center for International Human Rights at Northwestern University, former US ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues



Scott Schimmel, Assistant Professor of Communications, Environmental Science, University of Hawai’i



Andrew Taylor, Research Scientist, Research Analyst at Vera Institute of Justice



Ruti Teitel, Professor of Comparative Law, Chair, Global Law and Justice Colloquium

Co-Director, Institute for Global Law, Justice & Policy, New York Law School