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Find Articles from Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers
Find Books, E-books and Reports
Find Facts, Definitions and Overviews
Find Maps and Atlases
Find Statistics and Data
Find Visual, Performance and Communication Media
Internet Resources
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Subject assigned to:
Colleen Deel

Last revised on 2019-01-15 14:25:40
By Colleen Deel


Library Research Guide for: Geography (Display only the highlighted/core resources).

This guide is to help you start your research in the subject area of Geography, including resources in geography, oceanography, maps, atlases, and geographic information systems (GIS). Please contact the Reference Desk for help with any of these resources or for assistance finding more advanced or specific information: 218-755-3342 or 1-800-860-0234, or Ask A Question.

Find Articles from Journals, Magazines, and Newspapers

    Discipline specific indexes, abstracts and bibliographies

"JSTOR offers a high-quality, interdisciplinary archive to support scholarship and teaching. It includes archives of over one thousand leading academic journals across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work. The entire corpus is full-text searchable, offers search term highlighting, includes high-quality images, and is interlinked by millions of citations and references." There are currently thirty-two Geography journals featured complete in full text, spanning the years 1831- .
View How to Search JSTOR Tutorial. To limit search to geography journals, use the Advanced Search mode and select Geography under "Narrow by discipline..."

    Multidisciplinary indexes, abstracts and bibliographies

  Academic Search Premier
"Academic Search Premier contains indexing for nearly 8,050 publications, with full text for more than 4,600 of those titles. PDF backfiles to 1975 or further are available for well over one hundred journals, and searchable references are provided for more than 1,000 titles. Academic Search Premier contains full text coverage in biology, chemistry, education, engineering, humanities, physics, psychology, religion and theology, sociology, etc."
  Directory of Open Access Journals
Free, full text, quality controlled (peer-reviewed) scientific and scholarly journals. Coverage includes most subjects in many languages. There are now 5175 journals in the directory. Currently 2142 journals are searchable at article level and over 400,000 individual articles. The link can also be found under Open Access Journals on the library's Online Resources page. Ninety journals in Geography, many of them international, are featured in the DOAJ, making this an essential resource.
From science publisher Elsevier, emphasizes scientific, technical, and medical information. "Using ScienceDirect you can access over 1,200 peer reviewed academic journals, search over 30 million abstracts from scientific articles and link out to articles from over 80 other publishers." (site description)

Find Books, E-books and Reports

    Library catalogs

  Catalog of U.S. Government Publications
"Finding tool for federal publications that includes descriptive records for historical and current publications and provides direct links to those that are available online" is the resource to use for searching for publications produced by the U. S. Government Printing Office.

Find Facts, Definitions and Overviews

    Country studies

  Background Notes
    current + archive of previous editions
"These publications include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of independent states, some dependencies, and areas of special sovereignty. The Background Notes are updated/revised ... as they are received from the Department's regional bureaus." (from site description) Apart from being browsable by country, Background Notes can also be searched by keyword or by exact phrase.
  BBC News : Country Profiles
"Full profiles provide an instant guide to history, politics and economic background of countries and territories...." (from site description) Site also includes background on over 20 international organizations.
  Business Source Premier
Use Business Source Premier to view a broad range of information about countries from across the globe. Click on Country Reports and browse by country. For information about a country's political, economic, social, technological, legal, and environmental landscape, be sure to look its Country Profile (by Datamonitor).
  Foreign Information By Country
Assembled by the Government Publications Library staff at the University of Colorado at Boulder, this site is a collection of links to country and territory guides and to country profiles provided by various governments. Some links are only available ti University of Colorado students and faculty.
  Library of Congress Country Studies
"The Country Studies Series presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world." (from site description)
  World Factbook (CIA)
"The World Factbook provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map."--web site

    Encyclopedias, dictionaries and thesauruses

  Dictionary of Human Geography
"The Dictionary includes short definitional entries (see, for example, the entries for plantation and dry farming) and longer, interpretative essays on human geography and its major sub-fields (such as geopolitics, development, and spatiality), thereby providing readers with a contextual background to the terms. By directing readers to the major sources for further information, the Dictionary also serves as an unparalleled companion to geographical literature." (publisher description)
  Dictionary of Physical Geography
"Includes coverage of geomorphology, climatology, biogeography, hydrology, the Quaternary and the human impact. It contains entries ranging in length from succinct definitions of technical terms to extended discussions of concepts and essays on themes of particular interest or importance. The dictionary reflects changes within the discipline and provides an international perspective on the key topics of physical geography." (publisher description)
  Encyclopedia of Geography (via SAGE Knowledge)
  Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online
"The TGN is a structured vocabulary containing around 895,000 records, including around 1,115,000 names, place types, coordinates, and descriptive notes, focusing on places important for the study of art and architecture." (site description)
  GIS Dictionary
    Geography: the online equivalent of A to Z GIS:An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems
"Definitions for GIS terms related to operations such as analysis, GIS modeling and web-based GIS, cartography, and Esri software." Useful as a geography resource.
  Minnesota Place Names : A Geographical Encyclopedia
"This web site provides quick access to the stories behind the names, thousands of miniature histories that capture the lost lore of familiar places." (from web site); search by name or browse county, township, village, stream and lake, or people's names.
Location: Reference ~ 3rd Floor - F604 .U66 2001; also 4th Floor - F604 .U66 2001
  SAGE Knowledge
Search and browse the full-text of authoritative social science reference content, including encyclopedias, handbooks, and dictionaries.

Find Maps and Atlases

    Atlases and gazetteers

  Digital Chart of the World Server
Hosted now by Stanford University Libraries & Academic Information Resources, The Digital Chart of the World "is a comprehensive 1:1,000,000 scale vector basemap of the world. The charts were designed to meet the needs of pilots and air crews in medium-and low-altitude en route navigation and to support military operational planning, intelligence briefings, and other needs. The primary source for this database is the US Defense Mapping Agency's (DMA) Operational Navigation Chart (ONC) series produced by the the United States, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The data currency varies from place to place, ranging from the mid 1960s to the early 1990s. The database is divided into 2,094 tiles that represent 5-degree by 5-degree areas of the globe."
  Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)
The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) is the Federal and national standard for geographic nomenclature. The U.S. Geological Survey developed the GNIS in support of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names as the official repository of domestic geographic names data, the official vehicle for geographic names use by all departments of the Federal Government, and the source for applying geographic names to Federal electronic and printed products. The GNIS contains information about physical and cultural geographic features of all types in the United States, associated areas, and Antarctica, current and historical, but not including roads and highways. The database holds the Federally recognized name of each feature and defines the feature location by state, county, USGS topographic map, and geographic coordinates. Other attributes include names or spellings other than the official name, feature designations, feature classification, historical and descriptive information, and for some categories the geometric boundaries.
  National Atlas
An atlas that gathers and presents information designed to help us understand continental-scale environmental issues has been released by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC). The North American Environmental Atlas is intended for use by both environmental scientists and the citizens of the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Its maps and services are designed to help the public visualize environmental topics at a continental scale. An example of this is the pollutant mapping tool in Google Earth that allows you to explore information about more than 30,000 facilities across our Nation, Mexico, and Canada. For professional users of geographic information, this Atlas offers basic cartographic and environmental data for the continent at no cost.
  U.S. Hometown Locator
" is a U.S. gazetteer with profiles for 179,000 cities, towns, neighborhoods and other populated places and maps, data and directions for 1.8 million physical, cultural and historical features. Profiles include census, demographic and income data, parks, schools, libraries, hospitals, airports, environmental conditions, local newspapers, media outlets, employment, maps, coordinates and aerial photos."--web site
  UC Atlas of Global Inequality
"The mission of the UC Atlas of Inequality is to provide online teaching resources and tools to enable student exploration of global change. Aspects of 21st Century global integration and inequality present great challenges to university teaching. The UC Atlas of Global Inequality attempts to address these challenges using the Internet, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and new graphical capabilities of digital media to enhance learning in Geography, Sociology, Economics, Health, Technology and Environmental Studies. The Atlas integrates data, maps, and graphs to create an interactive website for accessing and analyzing information addressing global change and inequality." (from site description)
  UN Atlas of the Oceans
"The Atlas is an information system designed for use by policy makers who need to become familiar with ocean issues and by scientists, students and resource managers who need access to underlying data bases and approaches to sustainability...

"The Atlas includes four main entry points to access information:
  • ABOUT (the oceans) - from history, biology, maps and statistics to research, climatology and ecology
  • USES (of the oceans) - from fishing, shipping and mining to tourism, dumping and marine biotechnology
  • ISSUES - from food security and climate change to governance and human health
  • GEOGRAPHY - information categorized by geographical area"(from site description)
  United Nations Cartographic Section

    Maps and map collections

  American Memory - Map Collections
"The Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress holds more than 4.5 million items, of which Map Collections represents only a small fraction, those that have been converted to digital form. The focus of Map Collections is Americana and Cartographic Treasures of the Library of Congress. These images were created from maps and atlases and, in general, are restricted to items that are not covered by copyright protection."
  Harvard Map Collection
    Maps,16th century to the present
A growing database of scanned maps from one of America's great collections. "The Harvard Map Collection is one of the oldest and largest collections of cartographic materials in the United States with over 500,000 items. Resources range from 16th century globes to modern maps and geographic information systems (GIS) layers. A selection of our materials has been digitally imaged and is offered both as true picture images and georeferenced copies. This Virtual Collection includes those maps and atlases that are available through the Harvard Image Delivery Service. Those maps that have been georeferenced are available through the Harvard Geospatial Library. Therefore, many of the maps listed will have two records, one for the image that is true to the original and the other a georeferenced image." Only a small portion of the Map Collection has been cataloged and included in the HOLLIS catalog and an even smaller selection are included in this virtual collection as digital images. Persons interested in either historical or current geographic information are encouraged to visit the Map Collection to review the full range of materials available."
  Historical Maps and Chart Collection
    Maps and aeronautical charts, circa 1807-1960.
A specialized site as useful to history as it is to geography: "Office of Coast Survey's Historical Map & Chart Collection covers the land and waters of the United States of America, including territories and possessions (past and present). The Office of Coast Survey traces its charting efforts back to 1807, when President Thomas Jefferson founded the Survey of the Coast. To celebrate and preserve this long history, NOAA started assembling the collection in 1995 as a data rescue effort. NOAA continues to preserve charts and maps produced by NOAA's Coast Survey and its predecessors, especially the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey and the U.S. Lake Survey (previously under the Department of War). The collection also covers many areas that most people may not realize were once a part of early Coast Survey history. As the first federal scientific agency, the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (as the agency was known from 1878 to 1970) produced land sketches, Civil War battle maps, and aeronautical charting from the 1930s to the 1950s."
  Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division
    Maps, international and historical
A large and important digital source of well-scanned historical and ancient maps, international coverage, well scanned. As useful to historians as it will be to geographers.
  National Map
    Topographical maps, map analysis, and map making
"As one of the cornerstones of the U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Geospatial Program, The National Map is a collaborative effort among the USGS and other Federal, State, and local partners to improve and deliver topographic information for the Nation."
  Old Maps Online
    Old maps digitized and analyzed.
A source for the study of HISTORICAL maps. Coverage is international. Of obvious interest to history as well as geography. "The OldMapsOnline Portal is an easy-to-use gateway to historical maps in libraries around the world. It allows the user to search for online digital historical maps across numerous different collections via a geographical search. Search by typing a place-name or by clicking in the map window, and narrow by date. The search results provide a direct link to the map image on the website of the host institution. OldMapsOnline has been created by a collaboration between The Great Britain Historical GIS Project based at The University of Portsmouth, UK and Klokan Technologies GmbH, Switzerland. Its creation was funded by the Joint Information Service Committee under Strand C: Clustering Digital Content of their Content Programme 2011-13. It is the successor of a project lead by the Moravian Library in the Czech Republic between 2008 and 2011. The portal is based on the MapRank Search technology originally developed for the Kartenportal project in Switzerland."
  Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection
Assembled by the University of Texas Libraries, this site offers worldwide coverage and includes many noncopyrighted maps originally produced by the U. S. government. Users can browse for maps in a number of different ways.
  Tons of Maps Online
From the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. "U.S. Geological Survey digital raster graphics topographic maps of the state of Minnesota. Enter a place name to start; choice of three sizes of maps."--web site
  USGS Historical Topographical Map Explorer
    Topographical maps.
A comprehensive, yet easy to use USGS locator for historical topographical maps.
  Worldmapper : The world as you've never seen it before
"The maps and data files cover 200 territories, mainly United Nation Member States plus a few others to include at least 99.95% of the world's population...
"The maps presented on this website are equal area cartograms, otherwise known as density-equalising maps... "When you choose a map to view, there are links at the bottom to download a data file giving the values used for all 200 territories, a graph (usually a cumulative frequency one) of the data, and a top 10 or 20 table (and the original data used, and its source)." (extracted from About Worldmapper)

Find Statistics and Data

    Census resources

  Census of Agriculture and Census of Agriculture Historical Archive
    The U.S. Agricultural Census, current and historical
Agricultural census archives, one historical from the USDA (, the other historical and current, from Cornell University ( "The USDA Census of Agriculture Historical Archive is a collaborative project between Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The site serves as a public archive of Census publications published prior to 1987. These publications are primarily scanned print material now available in PDF format. This site is an ongoing work in progress as we digitize and structure the Census of Agriculture from 1987 back to 1840. We have met our goal of past census back to 1925 online by the end of 2011. Our next target is to complete the censuses back to 1840 and to refine our search results to include sorting by regions, states, and years."

    Data sets and resources

  American FactFinder
"Your source for population, housing, economic, and geographic data." (site description). Produced by the U.S. Census Bureau. Includes data from the most recent census, Census 2000, the 1990 Decennial Census,the 1997 and 2002 Economic Censuses, the American Community Survey, and the Population Estimates Program.
  Data | The World Bank
"The Data Catalog" provides download access to over 2,000 indicators from World Bank data sets." (from web site). Data are available for numerous topics including economic policy and external debt, the environment, health, poverty, and social development.
"Datanet is an online system consisting of summarized statistical information designed to serve Minnesota's governments, businesses, schools, nonprofit agencies and citizens. The system contains statistics about social, economic and demographic conditions in Minnesota. Datanet delivers 200,000 reports, maps and data downloads annually." (from site description)
  MnDNR Data Deli
Presented by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, the MnDNR Data Deli is " internet-based spatial data acquisition site that allows users to download raw computer-readable data for use in their Geographic Information System (GIS), image processing system, or traditional database environment. The site includes links to extensive and summary level data descriptions (metadata)..." (from site description). The site's data catalog includes data sets that cover far more than just data about the environment, outdoor recreation, and land use.
  USA Counties
"USA Counties features over 6,500 data items for the United States, States and counties from a variety of sources. Files include data published for 2008 estimates and many items from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, the 1990 census, the 1980 census and the 2002, 1997, 1992, 1987, 1982 and 1977 economic censuses.

"Demographic, economic, and governmental data are presented for the purpose of multi-county comparisons or single county profiles. Current estimates and benchmark census results are included. The data files cover the following general topics: age, agriculture, ancestry, banking, building permits, business patterns, crime, earnings, education, elections, employment, government, health, households, housing, income, labor force, manufactures, population, poverty, retail trade, social programs, veterans, vital statistics, water use, and wholesale trade." (description provided by site)

    Statistical resources

    Statistics and 'data'
Of peripheral interest to the historian, geographer, and political scientist, Data 360 emphasizes current, not historical statistics (or as stated. "data-driven stories), but very often (and amply) framed in historical context. The site itself has a declaration of "Purpose & Principles:" Our mission is to tell compelling and data-driven stories about subjects of importance to our readers.Wherever possible, we strive to let the data speak. In God we trust, all others must use data!) To be compelling, data usually needs some distillation and framing. Our reports do not waste people?s time. Our site is non-partisan. We strive to make our reports logical, organized, graphical and insightfully commented. Wherever possible, we link to original data. Our goal is to have our reports updated 24x7. Inflammatory or objectionable language is not permitted on our website. Data360 reserves the right to adjust editorial permissions as it sees fit, in support of our purpose and principles. The full Editorial Board responsible for the site is shown at
  International Data Base (IDB)
This site from the U.S. Census Bureau has three sections:
Country Rankings
"Largest countries for any year, 1950 to 2050."
Data Access
"Find tabular data for countries and regions as well as demographic indicators, population pyramids and source information for countries."
World Population Information
"Global population trends, links to historical population estimates, population clocks, and estimates of population, births, and deaths occurring each year, day, hour, or second."
(all descriptions from site)
  ProQuest Statistical Insight
"Enjoy fast and easy access to statistics produced by federal agencies, states, and intergovernmental organizations with advanced PowerTables functionality."
  United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Statistical Database
Includes statistics for a variety of subtopics for the 56 UNECE member countries. Subtopics include Economic, Forestry, Gender, and Transport. Site allows users to compare data from various countries and to create customized reports.
  World Data Analyst (from Encyclopedia Britannica)
Includes Country Snapshots (statistical summaries of individual countries), Country Comparisons ("Create tables and charts comparing countries across multiple statistical categories, or focus on statistics for a single country.") and Ranked Statistics ("...featuring tables of countries with the highest or lowest totals, rates, or percentages in several statistical categories, as well as tables covering the most remarkable features and attributes of different countries and the world.")

Find Visual, Performance and Communication Media


  EVIA Digital Archive Project
    Ethnographic video
"The EVIA Digital Archive Project is a joint effort of Indiana University and the University of Michigan to establish a digital archive of ethnographic video for use by scholars and instructors. Media in the EVIA Project consists of video collections that have been selected for inclusion by an editorial committee, and annotations have gone through a scholarly review process. The content of the Archive represents the culmination of preservation, annotation, and editorial work. The Archive is designed to be a long-term preservation repository for unedited ethnographic video recordings as well as a unique kind of peer-reviewed scholarly publication. In each collection, scholars have worked extensively with their own recordings to describe and analyze what they have documented. The growth of the content is ongoing, with collections in various stages of completion. To learn more about collections that are part of the EVIA Digital Archive Project, visit the Collections area."

Internet Resources

    Digital libraries and collections

  Complete World Development Report Online
"Here you will find every page of every World Development Report published by the World Bank since the first report was released in 1978." (from web site) Site offers both simple and advanced search modes and content can be browsed by title or topic.

    Recommended websites : U. S. Maps and Data
"Your One Stop for Finding and Using Geographic Data, will help you:
  • Find Data or Map Services
  • Make a Map
  • Browse Community Information
  • Cooperate on Data Acquisitions
  • Publish your Data and Map Services
Save searches, maps, and your favorite geography to re-use later. A simple registration process opens up these personalization options." (description from website)
  MnGeo : Minnesota Geospatial Information Office
  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  State of the Cities Data Systems (SOCDS)
Presented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) Office of Policy Development and Research, the "SOCDS provides data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs." The site includes numerous data sets, as well as a bibliographic database "exclusively dedicated to housing and community development issues." (from SOCDS site description)
  U.S. Census Bureau - The GIS Gateway

Library Information

Primary Subject Location(s)

A.C. Clark Library
Bemidji State University
1500 Birchmont Drive NE #28
Bemidji MN 56601
218-755-3342 or 1-800-860-0234
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