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By Adrian Janes


DocuTicker editors contribute brief articles to FUMSI on conducting research with grey literature - reports from government agencies, think tanks, research institutes and public interest organisations.


In my work as a contributing editor for DocuTicker, I research publicly available reports on a number of global topics. Here are some of my favourite resources for Brazil:

Brazil is one of the most developed nations in the field of emerging economies, so much so that it has become part of an elite group, the so-called BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India and China). Recognition of its pre-eminence came through the award of the Chatham House Prize 2009 to Luiz Inácio Lula Da Silva, President of Brazil. The research organization published a special report to accompany this event, with detailed contributions on various aspects of Brazilian economics and politics.

Also reflecting mounting interest in Brazil's development, the Economist provides a collection of recent concise pieces, e.g. from September 2009, Brazil is the first Latin American country to emerge from recession. This is most usefully accompanied by a list of related websites, outstanding among which is the collection provided by the University of Texas' Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC).

Like India, Brazil is a vast country which is broken down into states as a federative republic. LANIC provides comprehensive links to resources at the state level; there is also an official portal for the national government. This latter site, being in English, is something of an exception to the rule when seeking information about the country. Brazil's history as a colony of Portugal over several centuries means that Portuguese remains the predominant language, both in daily life and on the Brazilian Web. This is unusual compared to other emerging markets, where an English version of a site is often an option.

The continuing influence of imperial history is further brought home by Mercosur, a common market for South America of which Brazil is one of the leading members, but whose website exists only in Portuguese or Spanish. It does however appear to offer a generous and fairly current range of free publications for those who are competent in one or both of these languages.

Further evidence of Brazil's being taken seriously as an actor on the world stage is shown by the approaches of the European Union. The section on Brazil from the European Commission's Directorate General of External Relations illustrates this through the texts of a number of mutual agreements, accompanied by assessments of the likely future evolution of the parties' relationship. An example is this 2007 report, Towards an EU-Brazil Strategic Partnership (PDF), which gives the background to cooperation between the two in a number of areas.

A significant shared characteristic of the BRIC nations is their own growing foreign investment. Two articles from the Inter Press Service illustrate this, one on Bolivian exports of gas to Brazil, the second on a conference discussing the activities of BNDES, the National Bank for Economic and Social Development. They both also show that Brazil's economic expansion is not occurring without tensions and negative consequences. The BNDES site itself yields quite a lot of English language material on the economy, with a range of periodicals on its Publications page. Of these, the series that remain most up to date are Brazilian Economic Insights and International Bulletin.

The Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (IBGE) is the official statistics portal. The Summary of Surveys leads quickly to statistics on many key topics, both economic and in terms of the population. Once again, a knowledge of Portugese would be beneficial, since even on these English pages a significant number of the subsequent links are to information in the other language, although every such link is indicated.

One way to counteract a situation where much of the information is in an unfamiliar language is to seek out sources of specialist scholarship which can mediate it. Fortunately, in this case there is the Brazil Institute. Although focused on Brazil's relations with the U.S., the range of subjects on which it publishes (under such headings as Biofuels; Economy, Business and Trade; Innovation; International Relations, etc) are potentially of interest to a wide circle of researchers. Particular mention should be made of the detailed Special Reports: a recent one entitled

Emerging Powers: India, Brazil and South Africa (IBSA) and the Future of South-South Cooperation (PDF) bears out the point made earlier of how certain emerging economies have more in common than others.

Similarly, Brazilian diplomatic representation in one's own country can also be a useful conduit for information. For example, the Brazilian Embassy in the UK has a clearly arranged site with some only slightly buried gems, such as this full Financial Times report (PDF) from November 2009, to accompany the ‘Investing in Brazil Summit' in London. It is in turn part of a good set of downloadable Publications the embassy provides. The FT had already published in July 2009 a special Brazil report (PDF), further demonstrating how the country is attracting international attention.

The above sources chiefly feature the economic aspects of Brazil. If a way into broader categories of page information is required, apart from LANIC there is, as ever, an excellent set of links provided by the Library of Congress as one of its Portals to the World covering all the main economic, political and social aspects.

Related Posts from Docuticker

Country Analysis Brief: Brazil

Economic Survey of Brazil 2009

The Lauder Global Business Insight Report 2009

Legacy or Complacency? Lula's Unfinished Business in Brazil

Doing Business in Brazil

Democracy and the City: Assessing Urban Policy in Brazil


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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

Adrian can be reached at

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