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Online Access to Documents on British Policy Overseas is a Boon for History, Government,and Political Science Research

ProQuest has released the first online version of  Documents on British Policy Overseas, providing serious scholars in history and world affairs unprecedented access to the activities and thoughts of Britain's diplomats and policymakers, from the build-up to World War I to the Cold War.  Until now, this valuable collection of primary source materials was only available through three different print series.  Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has partnered with ProQuest to make these materials available digitally through libraries. 

"ProQuest is engaging with key public institutions to expand the range of materials that are available for academic research and to ensure their long-term sustainability," said Mary Sauer-Games vice president of publishing for ProQuest's Chadwyck-Healey unit, publishers of the archive.    "We are very pleased to work with prestigious organizations like the FCO to bring this information together -- opening up this large volume of content to new avenues of investigation and vastly enhancing research."

"I am pleased that the FCO and ProQuest have been able to work together to make this historic collection of documents available online," said Sir Peter Ricketts, permanent under-secretary, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and head of the Diplomatic Service.  "It represents a major contribution to our understanding of British foreign policy in the twentieth century."

Documents on British Policy Overseas provides online searching of tens of thousands of U.K. government documents relating to Britain's international relations, including foreign policy instructions, letters and memos, business reports, and more. These primary source materials have been selected by the official historians of the FCO and, in many cases, have been de-classified at their request for inclusion in this series.  Researchers can now use this resource to gain a more complete understanding of the tensions, motivations, politics, and relationships that shaped Europe and the world throughout the twentieth century.

This easily searchable database is the online version of three print series:

  • British Documents on the Origins of War (1898-1914), which includes documents related to the Anglo-German tensions leading to World War I
  • Documents on British Foreign Policy (1918-1939), which addresses post-war settlement, re-armament, and growing tensions in Europe, Africa, and the Far East
  • Documents on British Policy Overseas, which covers topics such as atomic energy, the Korean Conflict, and the Cold War


Documents on British Policy Overseas will be updated annually with newly selected materials on additional topics.  It supports other ProQuest world politics and government resources, including the Digital National Security Archive, 20th Century House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, PAI S International and CSA World Political Science Abstracts.

About the Foreign and Commonwealth Office(FCO)
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) promotes UK interests abroad and works with international bodies to support a strong world community. The FCO is responsible for the conduct of business with other governments and international organisations. The department is responsible for the protection of British citizens abroad through a global network of 261 embassies, high commissions and other diplomatic posts, which assist 50,000 people every year, and which promote British commercial and other interests abroad. The FCO also provides practical advice to British citizens travelling abroad and promotes British culture through the British Council, which has offices in 109 countries and the BBC World Service, with accurate and impartial broadcasts heard by 150 million people worldwide in many different languages. For more information visit:


About ProQuest
ProQuest creates specialized information resources and technologies that propel successful research, discovery, and lifelong learning. A global leader in serving libraries of all types, ProQuest offers the expertise of such respected brands as Chadwyck-Healey™, UMI®, SIRS®, and eLibrary®. With Serials Solutions®, Ulrich's™, RefWorks®, COS™, Dialog® and now Bowker® part of the ProQuest brand family, the company supports the breadth of the information community with innovative discovery solutions that power the business of books and the best in research experience.

More than a content provider or aggregator, ProQuest is an information partner, creating indispensable research solutions that connect people and information. Through innovative, user-centered discovery technology, ProQuest offers billions of pages of global content that includes historical newspapers, dissertations, and uniquely relevant resources for researchers of any age and sophistication—including content not likely to be digitized by others. Inspired by its customers and their end users, ProQuest is working toward a future that blends information accessibility with community to further enhance learning and encourage lifelong enrichment.

For more information, visit or the ProQuest parent company website,

11 August 2008

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