Pitt’s Center for Metropolitan Studies Launches Interactive Bibliographic Database

Issue Date: 
March 18, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Metropolitan Studies has launched a unique online database of reference materials—the Interactive Bibliography on Metropolitan Regionalism—that allows users not only to search its contents but also to add new entries. It is expected to be a boon not only to scholars working in the field of metropolitan studies, but also to government administrators and analysts interested in studying the reforms implemented by city and regional governments across the United States, Western Europe, and other developed countries.

Examples of resources collected in the database include papers on cooperative government in gated condominium communities in New York City, the determinants of homelessness in metropolitan areas nationwide, and the role of counties in energy development in the Rocky Mountain region. The database includes papers published in scholarly journals, as well as citations of newspaper articles and online news sites. Database administrators anticipate that entries from radio broadcasts, national television network news shows, and cable news programs all could be included, provided they are relevant to regional governance.

“We are very excited about the unveiling of this project,” said David Y. Miller, director of Pitt’s Center for Metropolitan Studies and a professor in the University’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. “While the static part of the bibliography is a wonderful resource for researchers looking for a one-stop shop for their information sources, the interactive aspect of the bibliography adds a new level to its functionality. The ability for the public to actively participate and enlarge the entire database creates a living document that has the potential to be the largest collection of articles related to regional governance in the nation.”

The Interactive Bibliography on Metropolitan Regionalism’s interactive capacity makes it the first database of its kind in this area of study. The new entries that are proposed by researchers and practitioners to fill in gaps and expand the database’s scope are reviewed for accuracy, style, and grammar by Pitt Center for Metropolitan Studies staff and student assistants before those entries become a permanent part of the database.

Miller, working with graduate student volunteers, spent the past year developing a classification system for the database’s resources that includes the geographic location, level of government, policy arena, and form of regionalism the research addresses. Once each resource was classified, a brief written summary of the reference was added, enabling users to determine quickly and accurately the relevance to their research of any particular resource. 

The Interactive Bibliography on Metropolitan Regionalism currently has 200 completed references, with more being added weekly. Miller and his team of graduate students hope that the number will triple over the next year, with users contributing their own proposed entries. The creation of the interactive bibliography is in line with the mission of the Center for Metropolitan Studies, established in 2011, which seeks to advance innovations in the governing of metropolitan regions that will improve the quality of life in these regions, as well as adding to the expertise of the center’s students in public service.

To access the database, visit http://www.metrostudies.pitt.edu/Projects/InteractiveBibliographyonMetro...