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Geography, Environment & Spatial Analysis Research Guide

Browse the Reference Collection

Use this guide to browse the Reference Collection for resources on Geography. Reference materials can be found in the main stacks on the second and third floors of the library unless noted in the catalog record:

GA Cartography
GB Physical geography
GF Human & Cultural geography; Ecology
GN Anthropology

Reference Resources at HSU

These are some examples of reference resources on various topics in Geography. For additional help, please visit the Research Help Desk or Contact a Librarian:

Reference Resources Online

Country-Specific Reports and Statistics

These resources provide information on individual countries of the world, either fulltext accounts, statistical compilations or directories of links to country-specific internet resources.


  • Proquest Statistical Insight (HSU users only) Indexes statistical tables from federal, state and intergovernmental organizations from 1999 to the present. Federal statistical sources are indexed back to 1973. Tables from 1999 are selectively available for download as PDF or Excel file format. Search by subject and limit by geographic level, e.g., county; demographic qualifier, e.g., age; economic qualifier, e.g., occupation; or frequency of publication.
  • One World: Nations Online (Nations Online Project) Portal of gateways to the countries, cultures and nations of the world.
  • Portal to Asian Internet Resources - PAIR (University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota and Ohio State University) Directory to over 8,000 Internet resources on Asia, organized by country and subject.

Reports and Statistics

  • Background Notes (US Department of State) Annual ( print copy available in ref G 122 C6712) Contains a short account for each country that includes facts about its land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations. Each note is updated annually.Country Analysis Briefs (US Energy Information Administration) Country reports provide a general country profile and more specific information and data on energy production and use, with an emphasis on oil, natural gas and electricity.
  • Country Commercial Guides (US Department of State and US Foreign and Commerical Service) Individual guides for US companies that wish to do business in a specific country. Each guide includes information on the country's basic business situation, investment climate, import issues, and business travel.
  • Regional and Country Profiles (British Library for Development Studies) Multi-purpose site that lists for each developing country online documents available through Eldis, print publications added to the British Library for Development Studies, key web sites and latest country news.
  • Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (US Department of State) Annual report covers internationally recognized individual, civil, political, and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Arranged by country.
  • Country Studies / Area Handbooks ( American University and Library of Congress) 1960's-1998 (print copies available in Docs D 101.22:550-#) Covering over 100 countries the 200-300 page volumes produced for the US Department of the Army contain a description and analysis of each country's history, social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions . Country Studies produced by the Library of Congress are both online and available in print and older Country Studies / Area Handbooks produced by the American University are only available in print format. Country Profiles contains briefer but more up-to-date on select countries.
  • DataFinder (Population Reference Bureau) Database contains data on 136 population, health, and environment variables for more than 220 countries. Display data as rankings, maps or bar graphs.
  • EarthTrends: the Environmental Information Portal (World Resources Institute) Contains information on the environmental, social, and economic trends that shape the world. Organized into themes with each theme including data, country profiles, maps and feature article sections. The country profiles section includes charts, graphs and vital statistics for each country. Themes include coastal and marine ecosystems; water resources and freshwater ecosystems; climate and atmosphere; population, health and human well-being; economics, business and the environment; energy and resources; biodiversity and protected areas; agriculture and food; forests, grasslands and drylands; environmental government and institutions; and poverty resources.
  • Encyclopedia of the Third World (Kurian) 1992 (Ref HC 59.7 E52 1992) Three volume encyclopedia that includes 10-25 page entries for 122 third world countries. Articles cover political, economic and social systems using text and charts, and maps.
  • Europa World Yearbook (Europa Publications) Annual (Ref JN 1 E85) Two volume work that includes information on over 1,000 international organizations and 250 countries and territories. Each 10-20 page country entry includes an introductory section on recent history and sectoral developments; a statistical survey, and a directory of important political, social and econmic organizations.
  • FAO Country Profiles (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Presents FAO online information on agriculture and development by country. Areas of emphasis are sustainable development, agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
  • GlobalHealthFacts.org (Kaiser Family Foundation) Provides data by country on HIV/AISA, tuberculosis, malaria and other key health and socio-economic indicators.
  • World Bank Data (World Bank) Provides access to World Bank databases that cover indicators, information and communication technologies, country-at-a-glance, education, gender, and health and nutrition.
  • National Trends in Population, Resources, Environment, and Development: Country Profiles (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs) For each country presents statistical time series in five year increments from 1970 to 2005 that cover population, land use, food, social development and economic development.
  • UNdata (United Nations) Contains current and historical statistics collected by UN agencies. Organized by theme and then by country. Also includes individual Country Profiles,and links to the major statistical agency in each country.