Saturday, June 21, 2008

Follow the 2008 Election

November is just around the corner, which means that the 2008 Presidential election is going to be heating up soon. While we prefer not to talk about politics here at the Magazines and Newspapers Center reference desk, we're happy to talk about the ways that you can use our collection to get the latest news, polls, analysis, and other dirt from the campaign trail.

We have dozens of news and politics magazines. For example:

CQ Weekly is the premier source for coverage of the House and Senate. What does that have to do with the Presidential election? All of the likely Presidential candidates are U.S. Senators. CQ Weekly will tell you how they voted, what bills they're sponsoring, and what they're saying. It's a good way to check what the candidates do versus what they say.

Like CQ Weekly, National Journal is a D.C. insider magazine, but it has a broader focus. Expect campaign coverage and analysis here, but also look here for current political trends, polls, and analysis of significant issues that the next President will have to face. National Journal is also similar to CQ Weekly in that it's a bit on the wonky side: there is definitely an expectation that readers have a pretty sophisticated knowledge of the D.C. political scene.

Looking for something a little less, eh, technical? Many people find the best way to get a synopsis of the week in American politics is to turn to an English publication, the weekly magazine called The Economist. The Economist has a political bent that does not fit neatly into the American interpretation of right and left, but there is a definite editorial stance in favor of free trade and globalism. Regardless, the coverage is fairly extensive and it offers a valuable outsider perspective.

CQ Weekly and the National Journal strive for unbiased reporting, and The Economist isn't aligned with either major American political party. But what's the fun of a Presidential election without a little partisan mudslinging?

The view from the right is maybe most famously represented by the National Review, which was founded in 1955 by William F. Buckley, widely considered the father of modern conservatism. To the left, there is perhaps no better known weekly magazine than The Nation, founded in 1865 by abolitionists and continuously published since. Count on each of these magazines for strictly biased coverage of the political scene.

There are, of course, myriad political viewpoints, and San Francisco Public Library just may have magazines that speak to all of them. If the above magazines don't match your interests, stop by the Magazines and Newspapers Center reference desk and we'll see if we can find you something that does fit.

Or, you can try searching the catalog yourself and see what comes up. Here's one approach:

  1. Go to

  2. In the yellow "SFPL Online" box at the top left of the page, click on "more."

  3. Click on the link to search by subject.

  4. Type in "united states politics and government periodicals."
    This will bring up a list of all of the magazines and newsletters we have that have that subject heading.

    Happy politicking!

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