Reference Question of the Week: How do I find information about different countries?

There are several ways to get background information on a country you need to research. Note that if you are off campus you will need to be logged in through Esearch to access many of the following databases.

Go to the databases list and choose Business Source Complete. On the advanced search page of Business Source Complete (which should be the default page) you will see a box on the right-hand side, just below the middle of the page titled Publication Type. Scroll down in that box and choose Country Report. Now search for your country in the search box at the top. The most recent Political Risk Yearbook Country Report for the country you searched for should be at the top of your results.

Go to the list of databases and choose Mergent Online. On the right-hand side you should see a gray box titled Country Profile. Here you can search for background information on many (but not all) countries. This report is strong in providing economic, resource, and industry information.

You have access to major metropolitan newspapers from around the world in Access World News. LexisNexis also provides a substantial amount of current news from around the world.

CIAOnet (Columbia International Affairs Online) provides brief political and economic background information. Search with the interactive atlas tool instead of the search box for quicker results.

The OECD iLibrary (OECD stands for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) collects a substantial number of country statistical profiles. The OECD’s strong point is covering the thirty-four member countries. Some information on non-member countries is available, but often not substantial.

UNData and the CIA World Factbook are great sites for collecting country information.

We have also assembled a list of links of Internet sources for global agencies, Internet sources for geographic regions, and Internet sources for country issues (covers many, but not all, countries.)

You might also be interested in visiting Global Voices, a worldwide social media collaboration. There you can ask students your own age what life is like in their country.

We’ve also collected many reference books dealing with different countries on a special table in the library. As you walk through the front door the first table to your right is full of reference books about different countries. There is a globe next to the table to mark it as the global issues reference table.

And, as always, if you need more help locating information on the topic you’re researching ask a librarian at the Reference Desk.


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