SAIA Parliamentary Information
Edited by Ray Copson
Contents last updated:11oct98
- Parliamentary Research: Theory, Practice, Advice, and Opinion
- articles by Bill Robinson & Janice Hyde; Nina Serafino; & Ray Copson
- selected CRS reports & issues briefs
- Parliamentary Research in Southern Africa
- The SA Parliament and its Role in Political and Economic Transformation
- Compiled by the South African Parliamentary Research Unit
- ALLISSA Founded in Cape Town
- by James Retief, Head: Library, Research and Information Services,
Western Cape Parliament
- Library of the Western Cape Parliament, Research and Information Division
- by James Retief
- Parliamentary Research in the United States
- Other Resources
- SAIA's List of Civil Society and Democracy Web Sites
Welcome! The SAIA Parliamentary Information (SPI) project is devoted to assisting researchers and policy analysts at parliamentary libraries and parliamentary research services among the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries. Individuals and organizations with business before the parliaments of the region may also find the service useful.
Researchers in southern Africa are invited to place requests with SAIA/SPI for information that can't be readily obtained locally. SAIA will endeavor to find what you are seeking or to point you to resources that will have the answers you are looking for. We have already helped researchers find information on campaign finance reform, the Rwanda crisis of 1994, and useful internships in the United States, among other topics. You may email your requests to [email protected] or [email protected] Requests can also be faxed to 703 758-0936.
Parliamentary Research in Southern Africa
- Parliamentary libraries and research services are assisting national assemblies throughout southern Africa; and the assemblies of South Africa's provinces have small libraries as well.
- SAIA/SPI hopes to compile and publish information on these parliamentary support services, along with names and email addresses of key personnel. This will help researchers in the region help one another.
- We need your assistance! If you are able to do a writeup on your library or research service, please contact Ray Copson or Russell Ayers at the above email addresses. We will forward guidelines and give you full credit when we publish your contribution.
Parliamentary Research in the United States SPI also provides researchers with links to help them find needed information on their own. Much useful information can be obtained from the websites of the support agencies of the U.S. Congress.
- General Accounting Office (GAO)
- GAO, the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, has posted a wealth of information about itself on the web. Click on GAO Policy/Guidance Publications for information on how GAO does its research. Reports and testimony are also available.
- Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
- The CBO's economic projections and authoritative analyses of the President's annual budget give it tremendous influence.
- Congressional Research Service (CRS)
- The Congressional Research Service strives to offer balanced and objective information and analysis on almost every issue of interest to Congress. Its reference librarians and subject specialists answer hundreds of thousands of congressional requests each year by phone, through individualized memoranda, and through issue briefs and reports.
- CRS reports are generally available online only to congressional offices. However, you can view selected CRS Reports and Issue Briefs dealing with a range of current topics, as well the structure and workings of the U.S. Government and Congress. You can learn about the budget of CRS and the other support agencies by studying the Legislative Branch Appropriation bill. Visit the Library of Congress' Thomas website. Under bills for the 105th Congress, look for H.R.2209.
- In Thomas, you can also find a wide range of information on the U.S. Government, and on other legislation, such as the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (H.R.1432), sometimes called the "Africa trade bill."
- In coming weeks, SPI will be listing many websites where parliamentary researchers can find useful information. Please feel free to email the addresses of your own favorite sites. Meanwhile, you may be interested in the following.
Here are some sites I find useful in my Africa-related research. More to come in future weeks.
- Legislative process as well as many other aspects of the procedures and structures of the U.S. Congress are described at the website of Congressman David Dreier.
- U.S. Government documents in all their variety, including Supreme Court decisions, can be found at the website of the Government Printing Office.
- Modern legislative research really began in the Assembly of the State of Wisconsin. Visit the website of the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau.
- US Agency for International Development (USAID) Click on "Regions and Countries" for a wealth of information on the US economic assistance program in Africa, as well as policy documents. The Congressional Presentation outlines USAID's plans for the coming fiscal year (October 1, 1998-September 30, 1999). More on US assistance can be found at the website of the African Development Foundation (ADF), which makes small grants to African self-help organizations.
- UN Security Council resolutions on Angola, Rwanda, and other issues can be found here. Much additional information is at the UN homepage and the homepage of the UN Development Program (UNDP).
- Human rights information can be found in great detail in the annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices issued under congressional mandate by the U.S. Department of State. See also the hompage of Amnesty International.
- The Africa policy of the US Government, including information on 0President Clinton's trip, is covered at the website of the Department of State. Click on "Regions" to find Africa. The Background Notes give detail on relations with individual countries. For contrasting views and criticisms, visit the Africa Policy Home Page of the Washington Office on Africa.