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Social Science Library:
Frontier Thinking in Sustainable Development and Human Well-Being

Project Overview

More about the SSL Project:

What is the Social Science Library?

The Social Science Library (SSL) is a major electronic collection of writings relating to sustainable development and human well-being. The collection includes a rich bibliography, with abstracts of nearly 10,000 entries, including journal articles, book chapters, research reports, and working papers. The full texts of about 3,400 of these titles are provided in PDF format. The disciplines represented are: Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy, Political Science, Social Psychology, and Sociology.

The SSL is distributed in the form of both USB drives and CD-ROMs. It does not require Internet access. It is carefully organized to facilitate use by students, teachers, and researchers, including an easy-to-use interface with advanced searching and browsing functions. At present there is no online version of the SSL.

In addition to the SSL materials, the packages that will be sent to recipients also include a CD containing writings on environmental subjects from the WorldWatch Institute, a pair of CDs containing articles from the UN Research Institute for Sustainable Development (UNRISD), and a pair of DVDs about water and sanitation related diseases and the environment from Horizon International. The collections can be loaded onto all computers in the institutions that receive them, and can be easily copied by individuals for their own use, so that students, teachers and researchers can have their own “pocket library.”

The SSL was developed by the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University, USA, in conjunction with the United Nations Decade for Education for Sustainable Development. Extensive review was supplied by a network of learned social scientists, while the Advisory Board includes three Nobel Laureates – Wangari Maathai, Amartya K. Sen and Joseph Stiglitz – as well as other distinguished individuals such as Kemal Dervis, the former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, Craig Calhoun the Director of the Social Science Research Council in New York, and Ismael Serageldin, the Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt.

Who can receive the SSL?

The Social Science Library materials were developed for distribution to libraries – principally university libraries – in 138 countries. View the list of recipient countries.

The goal in each recipient country is to distribute the SSL and accompanying materials widely to all appropriate university libraries, with possible additional outreach to other relevant institutions such as teachers’ colleges or research institutes. Wide coverage is sought in order to ensure reaching the most remote or rural institutions, which may have limited library collections and poor or no web access. View a map of current distribution sites. To date SSL packets have been or are being distributed in:

  • Bangladesh, via BRAC University (Dhaka)
  • Guinea, via the Guinean Embassy (Washington, D.C.)
  • Haiti, via University of the Nouvelle Grand'Anse (Jeremie, Haiti)
  • India, via Scholars Without Borders (New Delhi)
  • Indonesia, via The Ford Foundation (Jakarta)
  • Iran, via Iranian students with the assistance of students at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
  • Kyrgyzstan, via The University of Central Asia
  • Kosovo, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Macedonia, via Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (Sarajevo and Belgrade)
  • Lebanon, via The American University of Beirut
  • Malaysia, via INCEIF: The Global University of Islamic Finance (Kuala Lumpur)
  • Mexico, via El Colegio de México
  • Mozambique, via the Ford Foundation (Johannesburg Office)
  • Pakistan, via the Civil Society Resource Centre, a project of the Aga Khan Foundation
  • Philippines, via the International Rice Research Institute
  • South Africa, via the Ford Foundation (Johannesburg Office)
  • South Pacific (10 island nations) via University of the South Pacific (Fiji)
  • Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan, via University of Central Asia
  • Zimbabwe, via Books for Zim and the University of Zimbabwe

Where are distribution partners still needed?

GDAE is currently seeking distribution partners for the following regions:

  • Latin America and the Caribbean: 23 countries
  • Sub-Saharan Africa: 32 countries
  • Middle East and North Africa: 9 countries
  • East-Central Europe and Central Asia: 17 countries
  • South Asia: 3 countries
  • East Asia and Pacific: 5 countries

View the full list of countries where distribution partners are still needed here.

Read about what it means to be a distribution partner

Technical Overview

The SSL was created with Greenstone open source software and Cvision compression software. The user has the option to install the collection on the computer's hard drive or to run it from the CDs or USB drive. System Requirements are Windows 95 or subsequent operating system, and 64 MG of RAM. Using the collection requires an internet browser and Adobe Reader application software, both of which will be included on the CDs and USB drives. Internet access is not required to use the SSL.

Contact Us

Address: 44 Teele Ave., Somerville, MA 02144
Phone: 617-627-6781


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Global Development And Environment Institute
Tufts University
44 Teele Avenue, Somerville, MA 02144 USA
Tel: 617-627-3530 | Email:

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