OECD iLibrary: E-resource highlight

Wednesday 24 February 2016

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For Social Science subjects in particular, one of the most useful research tools we have access to is the OECD iLibrary.
What is it? A huge and continually updated online library featuring OECD’s books, papers and statistics. It also serves as the gateway to OECD’s analysis and data.
OECD…? The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s mission is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.
They work with governments, business, labour, academia and others to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. They analyse and compare data to predict future trends and set international standards in a wide variety of areas – everything from the safety of chemicals to the quality of cucumbers.
They also look at issues that directly affect the lives of ordinary people, e.g. how much they pay in taxes and social security, how much leisure time they can take, or how things like school systems and pension arrangements compare from country to country.
What’s in the iLibrary?
A wide range of themes:
Agriculture and Food  | Development  | Economics  | Education  | Energy |  Environment
Finance and Investment  | Government  | Industry and Services  | Science and Technology
Social Issues, Migration and Health  | Taxation  | Trade  | Transport  | Urban, Rural and Regional Development
… a wealth of statistics:

  • OECD statistics
  • statistical databases
  • OECD indicators
  • statistical books

… and a huge amount of content:

  • Online access to all publications and statistics released since 1998 from the OECD as well as from the International Energy Agency (IEA), the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), the OECD Development Centre, PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment), and the International Transport Forum (ITF).
  • This comprises thousands of e-books, journal articles, working papers, tables and graphs, datasets and more. All in all there are c. 5 billion data points.

That sounds like a lot of stuff – how will I be able to find anything? The iLibrary has focussed on enhancing the user experience for an improved discovery process (e.g. allowing you to browse by country and/or theme), quick access to all content types in a variety of formats, and easy to use citation tools.
Tabs at the top of the page (‘Browse by Theme’ etc) allow you choose a search method.

  • Browsing by Theme will present information sources organised into sections for books, papers, statistics etc.
  • Browsing by Country will bring up a list of relevant resources – you’ll most likely need to use the ‘Narrow Your Search Results’ option to enter keywords, date ranges, etc to get to exactly what you need.
  • Browsing by Theme & Country allows you to run some very useful combined searches.
  • Catalogue breaks the content down into types, from where you can focus your search.
  • Statistics includes databases and datasets from OECD and other agencies; country statistical profiles and indicators in a broad range of areas; plus a number of statistical books.

What’s so useful about it? As well as hosting a huge amount of information from the last two decades, the OECD iLibrary constantly releases new data, analyses and forecasts. Having current information allows you to keep abreast of the latest international developments in your field; helps identify and explain new trends and phenomena; and enables you to underpin your research with the latest and most reliable data.
Where do I find it? On SAULCAT or via our A-Z list of databases.
For more information – contact us: library@st-andrews.ac.uk or see this introductory guide.

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