Dispersive Prism Illustration, via Wikimedia Commons.
Welcome! This guide highlights resources for conducting effective research for the group research paper in What is American Studies?
Schedule a research consultation with me to discuss your research topic and sources.
Guide by Martha Tenney, Vani Natarajan, Jennie Correia, and Shannon O'Neill.
Snowden Documents Databases
There are a few online, searchable databases that claim to contain all of the documents leaked by Edward Snowden that have been published by media outlets. In reality, these databases contain slightly different corpuses of documents (all with different titles) and have varying search functionalities. We recommend conducting keyword searches and verifying release date and other metadata by searching over more than one of the following databases.
- Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive - From the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) and the University of Toronto. Full-text search and links to original media articles with options to search and browse by creating agency, security classification, distribution marking, original media outlet publisher, communications target, subject term, reporter/journalist responsible for initial reporting, surveillance program, date created, and date published. Search help here; adjust your search preferences (for example, to return more results) here. Not updated with documents released in 2017.
- ACLU NSA Archive - The ACLU's database of Snowden-leaked documents and related documents released by the U.S. government. Filtering options include legal authority, type of document, and the type of records collected. Updated with documents released in 2017.
- Snowden Document Search - From the Courage Foundation (a trust established to collect donations for Edward Snowden's legal fees). While this database contains fewer documents, full-text search functionality appears to be more robust than in the other databases. Filtering options include agency, topic, countries mentioned, SIGADS, and classification. Go to the links tab to see links to the articles in which the documents were originally published. Contains documents released in 2017.
- Internet Archive Global Surveillance Disclosures - The Internet Archive's cache of databases. Very limited filtering and incomplete full-text searchibility.
iamkryptoki GitHub Repository of Snowden Documents - A GitHub repository containing all the documents leaked by Edward Snowden, organized by the date of release, through documents released in 2017. Note that SIDtoday documents (the newsletter for the NSA's Signals Intelligence Directoriate division) are in a separate directory on the repository. Search is extremely limited, but the sipmle layout may make finding documents by release date easier (and you can submit updates to the person who maintains the repository).
Glossaries and References
- Snowden Digital Surveillance Archive glossary - glossary of key terms published as part of the CJFE/U Toronto database.
- NSA-GCHQ Snowden leaks: a glossary of the key terms - glossary and contextualization of key terms from the BBC, published in 2014.
- Classified information in the United States - Wikipedia article with explanation of U.S. classification system and codes.
Media Coverage: Original Publishers
- Of the databases above, the CJFE/U Toronto and Snowden Document Search link back to the original article(s) in which the leaked document appeared. If these links are broken, you can plug them into the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine to check for archived versions.
- Many of the media outlets--particularly newspapers and magazines--which originally published documents from the Snowden leaks are searchable via databases that you have access to through CLIO. Originating media outlets that we have access to include:
- The Guardian (LexisNexis includes a search on Guardian.co.uk content)
- Der Spiegel and Spiegel online international
- The New York Times (does not include online-only articles)
- The Washington Post
and many more. To find a specific newspaper or magazine, use the E-Journal Titles tab and search for the name. Note that these databases may not include articles that were only published online.
- Other originating media outlets that are online-only (such as The Intercept) or that published the Snowden documents online and not in print, as well as television media, may not be searchable via CLIO. Search them by going directly to their sites. Here are some landing pages/aggregating pages for originating media sources; note that some of these may include articles about documents that these media sources did not leak or about documents not leaked by Snowden (and may be missing leaked documents):
- SIDtoday files - from The Intercept
- The Guardian's NSA files landing page
- Dragnets investigation - from ProPublica
- National Security Agency topic page - incomplete list of New York Times articles about the NSA (some relating to documents leaked by Snowden)
- Snowden documents and NSA Spying Scandal landing page - from Der Spiegel
Media Coverage: All Newspaper and Magazine Coverage
- Articles search in CLIO - Many newspapers and magazines are included in the general articles search in CLIO. Newspaper articles are excluded from results by default, so after you do a search, click the X next to Not Content Type: Newspaper Article. You can further narrow the content type, date of publication, etc. on the left.
- Search across many newspapers and magazines using these broad databases:
- ProQuest Newspapers
- Academic Search Complete (narrow to newspapers and periodicals under Publication Type)
- LexisNexis (click on Search by Subject or Topic to narrow to newspapers; further advanced options including region search will show up under Advanced Options), includes Al Jazeera English among others
- Factiva (enter (rst=tmag OR rst=tnwp) AND [your search term(s) here] to search over magazines, journals, and newspapers only). You can also limit by region using the dropdowns below the search box.
Media Coverage: Television and Radio Coverage
- Television News Archive - Searchable archive of abstracts of news broadcasts from 1968 to present (ABC, CBS, NBC), 1995 to present (CNN), selected content from PBS and FOX News.
- Democracy Now - search over transcripts from past shows.
- Internet Archive NSA News Clip Archive - as part of the TV News Archive
- LexisNexis transcripts - search over radio and television transcripts, including BBC, Bloomberg, CNN, NPR. If starting from main LexisNexis page, click on Search by Subject or Topic, then select Broadcast Transcripts.
- Factiva - enter rst=ttpb AND [your search term(s) here] in the search box to search on radio and television transcripts.
Further Secondary Sources and Researching Surveillance, Classified Documents, and FOIA
- See Barnard Library research guides for more resources (scholarly articles, reference sources, etc.) on specific paper topics.
- Research guides on surveillance, FOIA, and de-classified documents
- FTS: Surveillance, the State, and Society: Resources from Gustavus Adolphus College Library
- Declassified and Classified U.S. Government Information: Databases and Websites from University of Pittsburgh Library System
- U.S. Federal Documents: FOIA: Freedom of Information Act from Northwestern University Libraries
- Subject headings - Privacy, right of; Data protection; Electronic surveillance
- We Are All Suspects: a Guide for People Navigating the Expanded Powers of Surveillance in the 21st century - zine on surveillance and info security available online or via the Barnard Archives
- National Security Archive -Declassified documents, pictures, and recordings obtained through the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive, an independent non-governmental research institute and library. Search just primary documents using the Digital National Security Archive database.
- If doing all this research has made you interested in your own digital privacy, feel free to contact me about some info security tools, resources, and practices. Also, in the fall of 2017, the Barnard Library hosted an Our Data, Ourselves digital privacy workshop. A handout from the workshop is available here.
Last updated January 2018