March 26, 2015

The Research Desk: UNESCO, SIPRI, and Searching iTunes

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sketch garyWe’re back with another selection of web resources and reports that might be of interest to journalists around the world. Hope you find them useful.

New UNESCO Transparency Portal

UNESCO introduced its Opendata site on March 16. The site includes data on 982 country projects, 430 regional projects, and 516 global projects that UNESCO has supervised since 1970. Here’s what its accompanying news release had to say:

“  is intended to present comprehensive, quality and timely information about UNESCO’s projects, enabling users to find information by country/region, funding source, and sector and providing comunescoprehensive project data, including budget, expenditure, completion status, implementing organization, project documents, and more. It publishes program and financial information that are in line with UN system-experience of the IATI (International Aid Transparency Initiative) standards and other relevant transparency initiatives. ”

Fact Sheets from SIPRI


Importers of major weapons by region, year, and percent of global share.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is a well-known and highly respected organization for international security research, data, and commentary. While access to some resources is fee-based, SIRPI provides a number of data-rich resources (often labeled as “fact sheets”) at no charge. The Trends in International Arms Transfers, 2014 fact sheet was published online about one week ago and is a good example of what is available for free. This document runs eight pages.  You can find more fact sheets published by SIPRI here along with links to all SIRPI publications (both free and fee-based).

Global Guide to Research and Academic Institutions

OrgRefOrgRef is a free data set made available by a British company that consists of the names and locations of more than 31,000 research and academic organizations located around the world. Data provided includes name, country, and a link to the organization’s web site. OrgRef has the same Creative Commons licensing as does Wikipedia. The data is supplied in .CSV format and can easily be sorted and organized to meet your needs.

Research Reports by U.S. Congress and UK House of Commons

house of commons

From House of Commons report on ISIS

The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS) is part of the Library of Congress and conducts research for members of U.S. Congress on any topic they request. Sadly, it’s not always easy to access these useful reports since they are not made officially available. The good news is that Steven Aftergood, director of the Government Secrecy Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), gets ahold of many of these reports and shares them on the FAS website. What follows are a direct links to recently published or updated reports from CRS.

The House of Commons Library Research Service plays a similar role in the UK. Below the CRS links you’ll find two new/updated reports from the House of Commons LRS.


CRS Report

From the Congressional Research Service (via FAS)

Iran: U.S. Concerns and Policy Responses, March 18, 2015

Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations, March 17, 2015

Iran Sanctions, March 9, 2015

Egypt: Background and U.S. Relations, March 3, 2015

Military Service Records and Unit Histories: A Guide to Locating Sources, February 27, 2015

Cybersecurity: Authoritative Reports and Resources, by Topic, March 13, 2015

From the UK House of Commons Library

Egypt 2015, March 20, 2015

ISIS and the Sectarian Conflict in the Middle East, March 19, 2015

Searching the iTunes Store

fndThe way most people find apps, music, books, podcasts, etc. from iTunes is by using one of Apple’s search tools.  The search, however, is often slow and results are not easy to navigate. For these and other reasons I’m finding myself using a tool named to search the iTunes store.

It can be used with any country’s app store and, along with search results, provides direct links to browse the charts of the top apps, songs, books, movies, etc. sold in the store. If you’re an iOS user, I suggest giving it a look. is a free resource and works on all browsers.

sketch garyGary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington, D.C., metro area. He is the author of INFOdocket (@infodocket) for Library Journal, and was a co-founder and senior editor at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker. Previously, Price served as a contributing editor to Search Engine Land and director of Online Information Services at 

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