“…two new products from Readex, via the meticulous translation work of the Joint Publications Research Service and the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, open our eyes to how Middle Eastern editors, journalists, and broadcasters viewed the events around them during the second half of the 20th century….
“Students of Middle East and North Africa history, politics, economics, and culture get an unfiltered view of the events of this intensely active region during the second half of the 20th century thanks to Middle East and North Africa: Global Perspectives, 1958–1994, and the companion product Part 1: Middle East, Africa, Near East and South Asia—one of eight distinct area subsets of the complete collection of Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports, 1974–1996….JPRS and FBIS translations are regarded as accurate and scrupulously unbiased.
“….both products stand apart from similar offerings, approaching unique and fascinating content on issues and events in the Middle East with perspectives that are not represented in other databases.”
— Gail Golderman and Bruce Connolly, “Reference eReviews,” Library Journal (July 2017)
“Highly recommended. Academic libraries supporting strong graduate programs in history and political science; upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.”
—L.E. Lyons, Northwestern University, reviewing FBIS, 1941-1974, in Choice(September 2013)
“For nearly 70 years, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) monitored the world’s airwaves and other news outlets, transcribing and translating selected content into English and in the process creating a multi-million-page historical archive of the global news media. Yet, FBIS material has not been widely utilized in the academic content analysis community, perhaps because relatively little is known about the scope of the content that is digitally available to researchers in this field....”
— Kalev Leetaru, “The Scope of FBIS and BBC Open-Source Media Coverage, 1979–2008” in Studies in Intelligence (March 2010)
“This searchable, online archive [Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report, 1974-1996] contains hundreds of thousands of pages of foreign press materials, news transmissions and radio broadcasts....When you first enter the site, you are presented with a standard search box, which you can filter by date, country or region, type of document, publication title, or a specific event. This last option is particularly useful when keyword searching would be imprecise....an extensive collection of primary materials which can be used to study not only modern historical events, but also the perception and portrayal of those events around the world. While more advanced researchers of these regions will likely have the language skills to view this material in its original form, having certified translations of these broadcasts and periodicals can provide undergraduates a way to access the material with fewer secondary filters. Furthermore, the breadth of material leaves little doubt that this collection will be an invaluable resource to seminar tutors of world and regional history as well as undergraduate students working through honours dissertations.”
—Reviewed November 2009 by Dr Melodee Beals, Academic Coordinator, History at the Higher Education Academy
"By digitizing this collection of FBIS Daily Reports, Readex has made available a set of material for the second half of the twentieth century that offers a foreign perspective vital to students and scholars for this time period. The database is recommended for all academic libraries and research collections, especially those in political science and world history."
—Suzanne L. Holcombe, Associate Professor, Documents Librarian, Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University in Reference Reviews (Fall 2009)
"Scholars once had to travel to far-flung destinations to gather primary sources. With the increasing amount of digitized content on the Web, they now can search through historical newspapers and broadcasts at the click of a mouse. Originally used by government and military officials, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, a component of the CIA, was formed in the 1940s. It translated foreign countries' television, radio, and print media content, as well as public speeches and press releases, into English from over 50 languages. This online database from Readex is a searchable collection of the original print-based FBIS Daily Reports. From the database home page, users can choose to search across the entire collection, or target their searches to specific geographic areas. The user-friendly world map helps researchers narrow searching to specific countries of interest. The current collection spans the mid-1970s to mid-1990s and includes over two million articles. The content covered within these years is beneficial to scholars studying post-WW II events, particularly decolonization, emerging democracies, and communism.
"Summing Up: Recommended. Academic libraries supporting strong graduate programs in history and political science; upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers."
—J. A. Hardenbrook, Millikin University, reviewing FBIS, 1974-1996, in Choice (December 2008)
"Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Report, 1974-1996, released by Readex in 2007, is an electronic collection of the daily reports originally issued by FBIS in paper and microform. The reports include selected news bulletins and editorials, speeches, briefings, interviews, and policy papers gleaned from radio and television broadcasts and news services in approximately 100 countries throughout the world. Collected and translated into English by the Central Intelligence Agency, the texts are largely from sources in regions of American strategic interest during the period.
"Much of the content originated from local broadcast stations, some of them 'clandestine.' shortwave radio operations....The collection also includes CIA transcripts of news reports filed through foreign bureaus of Western news agencies and broadcasters such as the BBC World Service and Agence France-Presse....
"The Readex product begins in 1974, when the reports began to be published on microform, and continues through 1996, when the printed reports were discontinued. This was a time of great political upheaval and major changes in international alignments. The collection covers the last years of the Cold War, turmoil in the Middle East, struggles for liberation ill Africa, and the emergence of China and India as world powers. Since the original purpose of the reports was intelligence, to enable U.S. government agencies and military to monitor events and developments in countries of strategic interest to the U.S., the present series is particularly rich in materials from Southeast Asia, China, the Middle East, and key African nations like South Africa, Angola, and Kenya....
"While news reports, particularly broadcasts from zones of conflict and instability, are notoriously unreliable as fact, they afford unique insights on the views of the governments, opposition parties, and governments-in-exile that often controlled the media outlets in those parts of the world. The FBIS Daily Reports, 1974-1996 is one of the few sources of these kinds of materials. The archives of television and radio stations, particularly clandestine operations, simply do not survive in most instances. They are often lost or are not maintained in the first place, particularly in areas of chronic conflict, such as the West Bank and Afghanistan....
"...an outstanding and unique collection....includes extensive coverage of broadcast and news reports from emerging nations and conflict zones....Navigation and search are intuitive and enable users to easily pinpoint materials of interest."
—Bernard F. Reilly, Jr., President of the Center for Research Libraries in The Charleston Advisor (October 2008)
“The definition between government document and nongovernment document blurs, particularly as the intelligence tentacles of the United States government seek every shred of information, news, detail—and bring it home for contemplation, digestion and eventual redistribution....
“Prime examples of the ‘documentization’ of information are the United States Joint Publications Research Service (JPRS) and its equally acquisitive partner, the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)....Of interest here are the transforming effect these services have on the information they amass and the research and societal value that results.
“The significance of information collected by JPRS and FBIS is enormous. Of greatest importance is the diversity of viewpoints suddenly made accessible by subject and in English. To be able to understand these resources in relation to their special provenances is especially critical in appraising their informational value.
“FBIS, for example, literally provides an ear to the rest of the world through the collection and translation of radio news and editorial broadcasts....
“JPRS provides equally important access to foreign newspapers, books, technical reports, and other printed materials. The significance may not end with the simple fact of convenient availability, but rather with the status accorded this information as newly created government documentation. That much of this material contradicts claims of the United States government (the very authority which, by virtue of its collection of these materials, gives them, in certain circumstances, greatly augmented validity) is an appropriate irony to be savored....
“Information acquires meaning when it can be used. The format of the material matters little; content should be the critical factor. Librarians have this opportunity to contribute to and participate in the evolution of meaning.”
— Glenda J. Pearson, “Government Publications on Microform: Integrated Reference Services,” in Microform Review (Dec. 1988)