A quick global search is possible on selected sources including the main parliamentary research services of the European Union, the United States of America, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Ghana. More comprehensive regional search engines appear below.
These topical search engines are based on ‘Parliamentary research service publications in English – where to find them‘.
See ‘Notes‘ below for caveats and observations on the topical search engines.
Topical search engines have also been prepared for parliamentary research service publications for regional subsets of services:
Australasia: parliamentary research service publications in English – single search BETA This covers parliamentary research service publications from the national parliaments of Australia and New Zealand plus the state parliaments of Australia for which research servicepublications are available.
European Union: parliamentary research service publications in English – single search BETA This covers the parliamentary research service publications from EU institutions. (Not only the European Parliament, but other bodies which produce research for legislative decision-makers in the EU institutions).
Indian subcontinent: parliamentary research service publications in English – single search BETA Covers the parliamentary research service publications for the national parliaments of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
United Kingdom: parliamentary research service publications in English – single search BETA Covers parliamentary research service publications for both Houses of the UK parliament plus the parliaments of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Ireland: parliamentary research service publications in English – single search BETA Covers the parliamentary research service publications for the Houses of the Oireachtas of Ireland and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
These tools are most useful for quick searches on topics of common concern.
A search in English language sources on 25 March 2020 for
coronavirus OR “covid 19” OR covid-19
produced 620 results, all of them from parliamentary research services. The most recent seemed to be one listed as being posted 10 hours previously; six are listed from the previous day.
The tool offered a good way to catch up with what some of the larger services are producing, hopefully useful for everyone to save some time. This can also be applied to other, less urgent, common issues such as
“climate change” OR “global warming”;
“bush fires” OR bushfires OR “wild fires” OR wildfires
The single search engines are an experiment and the results are not guaranteed to be comprehensive, especially as vocabularies and spellings vary. For example, briefings on ‘bush fires’ or ‘bushfires’ in some services, ‘wild fires’ or ‘wildfires’ in others.
To search with a combination of terms to cover the international variants use OR (must be capitalised). To search for terms of two or more words use quote marks e.g. “wild fire”. (See examples above)
NB If you use ‘or’ in lower case it will not function as a search operator. There are other techniques to making Google searches more precise that can be found in guides online.
Results also depend on how each study database is treated and ranked by Google. It is also possible that some are updated more frequently in Google. Very precise and current results are more likely using tools on the individual sites.
Experience so far indicates that Google is fast in picking up new documents but it will display only the most relevant in custom search engine results. ‘Relevant’ is defined by the Google system. In one example, a briefing about epidemics in general that partly related to the coronavirus epidemic was not picked up in a search for ‘coronavirus’ because that word did not appear in the title, summary or at all in the text before page 3. A search on the European Parliament’s own database did highlight the briefing, probably because of manual indexing in the database.
Searches do sometimes reveal that some issues have not been covered by some services – an interesting result in itself. The absence in one surprising case was verified by checks directly on the individual databases – it was not a flaw in the search engine. Some issues are only covered by a few services, and some issues receive massive coverage by one service and very little by others. This presumably reflects the salience of the issue in that parliament or the perceived need for briefing if the topic is novel in that arena.
I have no control over the appearance of adverts at the top of search results.