Government Secrets: How to Uncover and Find Declassified Information on the Making of U.S. Foreign and National Security Policy on the National Security Archive & ProQuest Digital National Security Database

It is a challenge to find information on the making of U.S. foreign and national security policy. This type of information is vital to our understanding of national security.  It can also be important when researching for work in foreign policy and lawmaking. It is also important that citizens are able to find the information they need to be well-informed.

The National Security Archive was “founded in 1985 by journalists and scholars to check rising government secrecy.” (  This site collects millions of pages of declassified documents.  The collection goes back to the end of World War II and continues up to the present.  The focus of the collections is on documents that pertain to national security interests.

National Security Archive

They have teamed up with ProQuest to create sets of documents on topics including: Afghanistan, the Making of U.S. policy, 1973-1990; The Berlin Crisis, 1958-1962; and The Cuban Missile Crisis 50th Anniversary Update.  Texas Tech University has a subscription to this curated database. Users can access the ProQuest Digital National Security Database by going to the main University’s library’s webpage and clicking on “Databases A-Z” and then typing “ProQuest Digital National Security” into the Database List search box.

Proquest Digital National Secutiy

ProQuest’s database is curated, meaning the documents in these collections have been selected for inclusion so the user doesn’t have to search for the most relevant documents on a topic.  A search for “Afghanistan U.S. Policy” in ProQuest National Security Database produces 231 results (see image below). ProQuest also provides filters for document type date, and more.

Proquest Afghanistan results

As seen in the image below, the same search in the National Security Archive produces more results, over 2,500 hits! This is because the search has not be vetted for the most relevant documents. This site provides two places to search: (1) the search box, which is available on every page, and (2) the search box under the “Documents” tab, located on the top bar.

NSA search box search

Both sites provide many of the same documents about U.S. national security policy.  ProQuest’s Digital National Security Archive will provide less overall documents but the documents have been curated and as such are more likely to bring up the most relevant documents.  This makes the research process easier for the researcher.  The National Security Archive provides a greater depth of information, but requires the researcher to do more work locating relevant material.


Law School’s 50th Anniversary Display

50th Anniversary collage

Have you ever wondered what that empty desk in the Upper Basement of the Law Library is?  And what does that have to do with the Law School’s 50th Anniversary?  Wonder no more.

The Law School is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. To help commemorate the occasion the Law Library created a display of historical material to celebrate.  In the display you will see items showing our history from the construction of the new Law School to the addition of the Lanier Center.

  • pictures of the new Law School construction
  • various Law School publications (including a yearbook with pictures of students struggling over finals)
  • an invitation to the grand opening of the Lanier Center

The Law Library has many items concerning the history of the Law Library preserved in ScHOLAR, the law school’s digital repository.  Check out the “Texas Tech Law History” community in the repository to see more historical items.

As for the desk in the Upper Basement, it belonged to the first dean of the Law School, Richard B. Amandes, who served as dean from 1967 until 1977.  If you look closely at the desk, there is a brass plaque on the desktop that explains the desk’s history.

From W. Reed Quilliam, Texas Tech University School of Law:  the first 35 years:  1967-2002 (2006).


Throwback Thursday

law library oldThe Law Library has been an integral part of the Law School since 1967.  This particular picture from before the Law Library is opened, is of law librarian U.V. Jones showing Dean Richard B. Amandes some of the new books that are going to be added to the collection.

Even today, the Law Library continues to be a valuable resource helping our faculty, students,  practitioners and public patrons with the help of our vast collection of legal resources and of course, our librarians!

(original post from Texas Tech tumblr page