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WAO - World Affairs Online

World Affairs Online (WAO) is one of the largest social science databases in Europe. It contains more than 1 million references, mainly journal and book articles, non-paywalled online texts, and grey literature. The WAO database is available online via various platforms.

WAO provides

Targeted access to scholarly literature on international relations, regional and area studies with a focus on global and regional developments, foreign and security policy and social trends.

We offer

  • a unique cooperative structure with input from ten German institutes
  • highly targeted access with detailed subject and regional classifications and the multilingual European Thesaurus on International Relations and Area Studies
  • deep cataloguing
  • indexing and cataloguing of numerous journal and book articles, as well as full texts

Subject Coverage

  • foreign and security policy
  • international organisations and institutions
  • theory of international relations
  • economic and development cooperation
  • country studies on politics/economy/society
  • regional relations
  • foreign and security policy in the EU
  • transatlantic relations
  • foreign cultural policy
  • climate, energy and resources policy

Subject indexing

The high quality of World Affairs Online is guaranteed by rigorous selection of literature and detailed indexation.

Staff at the collaborating research institutes review acquired literature and online publications. On the basis of their expertise they decide which is to be documented and indexed in WAO. Indexing in WAO involves the following steps:

  • allocation of subject and regional class
  • allocation of controlled terms to describe the main subject content
  • allocation of second group of controlled terms to describe aspects or details of the content
  • addition of an abstract (in some cases)


Classification and indexation are carried out using resources developed by the FIV Information Network for the field of international relations and area studies:


Thus, WAO can be searched in German, English or French.