Researching Countries and Cultures
Reference books are found in the physical Library and in our e-book databases, netLibrary and Books 24x7. A reference book is a work, such as a dictionary or encyclopedia, containing useful facts or information. Because these books are consulted for brief information and not read all the way through, they do not leave the library. They are located in the reference section, that is, in the first couple rows of books in the Library. Here's some that might be helpful (though, this is not an exhaustive list):
- R 909.097 ENC Encyclopedia of the Third World
- R 920 HAM Founders of Modern Nations
- R 966.26 DEC Historical Dictionary of Niger
- R 956.04 OVE Longman Companion to the Middle East since 1914
- R 910 WOR World Book Encyclopedia of Peoples and Places
- netLibrary A Concise History of the Middle East
Often, books that you can check out are published about specific companies and/or industries. Use the Library's catalog to search for such titles.
(I need help accessing the databases)
The Library subscribes to--that is, pays for--a number of databases that contain articles, books and other information for you to use for your country research. The most useful databases for this subject are:
- Books 24x7: search this collection of e-books for titles about international business etiquette and customs. Use "etiquette" as your search term.
- Encyclopedia Britannica Online: this is the online online edition of the encyclopedia set we all know and love. One word of caution: do NOT use their suggested MLA citation format. They do it wrong.
- CultureGrams: An easy-to-use database providing information about all aspects of life, culture, and history for the world's countries.
(I need help choosing quality websites)
Because anyone can publish anything they want on the Web, you need to be cautious about which sites you choose to use. Here are sites we recommend for researching countries and cultures:
- Country Studies/Area Handbooks
(http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/cshome.html) Keep in mind that not all countries are listed, but for those that are, you get lots of great information. This site is sponsored by the Library of Congress.
- US Department of State Background Notes
"Background Notes are factual publications that contain information on all the countries of the world with which the United States has relations. They include facts on the country's land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and its relations with other countries and the United States."
- CIA World Factbook
index.html) Basic information about the geography, people, government, economy, transportation, military and "transnational issues." Site is updated weekly.
- Economist Country Briefings
(http://www.economist.com/countries) Provides recent Economist articles; economic data; profile of economic strengths, weaknesses, products and markets; profile political structure, and more.