New Database: CIAO – Columbia International Affairs Online

CIAO logoColumbia International Affairs Online (CIAO) is a new addition to the library’s collection of databases. CIAO has a specific focus on international politics and related fields, such as security studies, global finance, diplomatic practice, humanitarian law, global governance, development studies, and environmental studies. CIAO is owned and published by Columbia University Press (CUP).

What’s Included?

Researchers can use CIAO to find scholarly journal articles, working papers, policy briefs, analysis and commentary, e-books, and videos. CIAO also provides basic country data from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The content provided in CIAO is aggregated from 300 international publishing institutions, including government research organizations, independent think tanks, NGOs, universities, and scholarly journals.

There are two ways to search for information in CIAO – a standard search box and the Discover Content navigation menu.


Construct a keyword search using the single search box at the top of the screen. There are no advanced search options, but you can utilize these search tips to construct a targeted keyword search:

  • Boolean operators are supported, but they must be typed in all caps – AND, OR, and NOT. The default search is an implied OR, which will search for all terms independently.
  • Use quotation marks to restrict your search to an exact phrase rather than searching for individual words. For example, “European Union”.
  • Use the facets in the left column to refine your search results based on criteria such as topic, geography, or content type.
Keyword search example. Click to view larger image.

Discover Content

Use the Discover Content faceted browsing menu options to locate materials by:

  • Topic
  • Political Geography
  • Content Type
  • Journal
  • Publishing Institution
  • Author
  • Publication Year
Your search will be narrowed with each option you select from the faceted menu. For example, you may choose a Topic (e.g. Foreign Policy) and a Political Geography (e.g. China) and a Content Type (e.g. Working Paper) to get a targeted set of search results. To remove a facet from your search, simply click the “x” next to the term.
Discover Content search
Discover Content faceted browse menu. Click to view larger image.

How to Access CIAO

Access CIAO from the library’s Databases A-Z page. Please note that CIAO is currently only available to on-campus users, but we are working on a solution to provide off-campus access.  If you have any questions about this new resource, or would like additional help searching the database, please contact the Reference Desk.


Database of the Month provides a very brief introduction to a useful website or Library database, highlighting key features you should know about. If you would like more information about this free web resource (or any of the library’s databases), please contact us for research assistance. If you would like a demonstration of this resource for a class, please schedule a research instruction class using the instruction request form.