Encyclopedias and Reference Databases

Government / Countries

The Library of Congress: Country Studies

CIA World Factbook


Biographical Information


Citing Sources

Be sure to properly credit the ideas referenced in your academic work; clear citations also mean that your reader can locate the books, articles, and other sources you used. Don't leave your bibliography until the very end: collect, manage, and format information about what you find as soon as you start your research.

Zotero and Bibliographic Management

Zotero is a free plug-in for Firefox that helps you collect, manage, and cite your sources. It's available in all computer labs on campus, and you can download it on your own computer for free. Tutorials and documentation are also available.


Writer's Handbook from the University of Wisconsin/Madison: How to cite sources; sample documents and forms; advice on grammar, etc.

Avoiding Plagiarism from the Dean of Students Office provides strategies for ensuring proper attribution of sources.

Style Manuals

MLAChicago, and APA formatting and style guidelines, from the OWL at Purdue
Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide online, from the full Chicago Manual of Style
Introduction to Basic Legal Citation 2014 edition
Citing Government Information Sources Using MLA 
Council of Science Editors (CSE) Style online version from the University of Wisconsin. 
American Chemical Society's ACS Style Guide
BibTex is a format commonly used in Computer Science and Math


    Freely Available Resources

    YourDictionary is a dictionary you can understand with lots of tools to help you choose your words precisely, understand a word, avoid usage pitfalls and be confident in your use of words.

    Cambridge Dictionaries online
    Searches Cambridge Dictionary of American English, Cambridge International Dictionary of English, Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs or Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms.

    The Acronym Server

    Roget's Thesaurus

    Lexical FreeNet Connected Thesaurus
    Includes unusual language resources such as a "Rhyme Coercion" thesaurus and a "Related Word" thesaurus.


    Maps and GIS

    David Rumsey Map Collection
    Thousands of historic and rare maps in high resolution

    Old Maps Online
    Search or browse across multiple historical collections by geography and date

    Alexandria Digital Library (UCSB)
    Includes link to international as well as U.S. data sources.

    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
    University of Texas at Austin's large collection of digital maps from around the world

    Ancient World Mapping Center
    Cartography and GIS within the field of ancient studies

    Introduction to GIS (Amherst College)
    Includes how to get the software, manuals, tutorials; from Amherst IT.

    Starting the Hunt: Guide to Mostly On-Line and Mostly Free U.S. Geospatial and Attribute Data 2nd Edition

    U.S. Geospatial Datasets: Federal Government Agencies (via CU)

    National Map (USGS)
    Public access to high quality geospatial data from consortium of federal, state, and local partner

    Massachusetts Geographic Information System

    National Geologic Map Database
    Print and digital U.S. geologic maps, many with downloadable data.

    EROS (Earth Resource Observation Systems), from USGS
    Data management, systems development, and research field center for USGS National Mapping Division

    CSISS: Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science


      Book Reviews | Performance Reviews

      Book Reviews

      General Sources | Humanities and Social Sciences | Sciences | Historical Reviews |Additional Book Review Resources

      Book reviews are critical articles or essays in which reviewers evaluate recently published books. Unlike other kinds of critical studies of books and authors, book reviews generally appear within a year or two of a book's publication. To locate a review of a particular book, you will need to know the book's title, author, and approximate year of publication. This information may be available from the Five College Library Catalogs . For assistance finding additional information on a book or author, consult the Library's Finding Journal Articles page.

      Current Book Reviews 

      Book Review Digest (1908 to present)
      TLS (Times Literary Supplement)
      Guardian Unlimited Books
      London Review of Books
      New York Review of Books and Archive (1963 to present)
      New York Times Book Review
      Washington Post Book Reviews

      General Sources With Some Book Reviews

      Academic Search Premier  Search for the name of the book in default fields, and add book review as "Document Type".
      Academic OneFile Search for the title of the book
      All Africa: Books and Book Reviews
      Lexis-Nexis Academic: Book Reviews
      Ethnic News Watch In "Type of Article" select BOOK REVIEW
      Gender Watch In "Type of Article" select BOOK REVIEW
      ProQuest Newspapers Includes Boston Globe. 

      Humanities and Social Sciences

      America: History & Life or Historical Abstracts  In "Document Type" select Book Reviews
      Contemporary Literary Criticism Select "Title Search" and search for title keywords
      Econlit with full-text  Run a preliminary search for title keywords than limit "Publication Types" to Book Reviews
      Literature Resource Center Search by "Name of Work" and/or "Person-By or About" and limit "Document Type" to Book Review
      New York Review of Books Online Archive (1963-- )


      E-STREAMS  Electronic Reviews of Science & Technology References covering Engineering, Agriculture, Medicine and Sciences
      BOOKNews New books in Science, Technology and Medicine
      PsycInfo Limit "Document Type" to Review-Book
      ScienceDirect Limit by document type Book Reviews 

      Historical Reviews

      For reviews of older books, you may need to use the following -- including paper resources in the Reference Area:

      American Periodicals Series  (1740-1940) Digitized reproductions of more than 1,100 18th and 19th century newspapers and periodicals.
      Book Review Index : a Master Cumulation, 1965-1992 AC/Reference Z1035.A1 B62 1985
      Book Review Digest (1905-1999) AC/Reference Z1219 .C95 ; online: Book Review Digest (1908 to present)
      Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Scholarly Journals, 1886-1974 AC/Reference Z1035.A1 C64
      Combined Retrospective Index to Book Reviews in Humanities Journals, 1802-1974 AC/Reference Z6265 .C65 1982
      Index to Book Reviews in the Humanities (1960-1990) AC/Reference Z1035.A1 I6
      New York Review of Books Online Archive (1963 --)
      ProQuest Historical Newspapers  Combined search of the historic Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Washington Post.

      Additional Book Review Resources

      Reviews of popular and academic books can also be found at the following websites:

      H-Net reviews in the Humanities and Social Sciences
      Choice: Current reviews for Academic Libraries
      Publisher's Weekly

      Contact Us for assistance finding more book reviews.

      Performance Reviews

      About Reviews of Performances General Sources | Theater | Dance

      See the Theater and Dance Research Guide for more information

      About Reviews of Performances

      Performance reviews are critical articles or essays in which reviewers evaluate performances of a play or dance. Unlike other kinds of critical studies of drama or dance, the performance reviews usually appear within weeks of the performance and often appear in newspapers or magazines where the performance took place. Some things to keep in mind when looking for reviews of performances:

      • When did the performance take place?
      • Where did the performance take place?
      • Who was the director, choreographer or principal actor/actress/dancer?
      • What kind of production or performance is this? Locally hosted? National? International? Traveling production?

      General Sources

      The following indexes and full-text databases are important for finding reviews of performances for both theater and dance.

      LexisNexis Academic Reviews
      Full-text newspapers and some magazines from across the U.S. and some foreign countries. Covers book, movie, music, play, and video reviews

      General Reference Center Gold 
      Index and some full-text to popular arts titles such as VarietyBackstage, and Time Out.

      Academic OneFile and Academic Search Premier 
      Index and some full-text to popular newspapers and magazines such as Dance Magazine.

      Alt Press Watch and Alternative Press Index 
      Index and some full text to alternative news sources in the U.S. such as The Village Voice.

      Ethnic NewsWatch 
      Full text ethnic newspapers and magazines in the U.S.


      Play Reviews from LexisNexis Academic 
      Search a large database of newspaper and magazine articles with a focus on plays; some articles are not strictly reviews.

      New York Times Directory of the Theater, 1920-1970. Some full-text theater reviews and an index to theater reviews in the NY Times. Ref PN 1707 .S34 1973

      A Guide to Critical Reviews
      Part I: American Drama, 1909-1982
      Part III: Foreign Drama, 1909-1977
      Ref PN 1707 .S34

      For more titles like these, look in the online catalog for "Theater--reviews" as a keyword or subject search.

      World Shakespeare Bibliography Online
      Lists some performance reviews for international Shakespeare productions.

      oobr: Off-Off-Broadway Review
      Online only reviews of theater performances off Broadway (current listings and reviews).

      An Internet theater magazine of reviews, features and annotated listings (current listings and reviews).


      The Dance in Mind, 1976-1983 / Deborah Jowitt : Some full-text reviews of dance performaces, dancers, and choreographers. GV 1599 J66 1984.

      For more titles like this, look in the online catalog for "Dance--reviews" as a keyword or subject search.

      Contact Us for assistance in finding more reviews of performances.


        Data and Statistics

        Historical Statistics of the United States, Millennial Edition Online 

        American FactFinder
        Population, housing, economic, and geographic information from the U.S. Census

        Statistical Abstract of the U.S.
        Authoritative and comprehensive summary of statistics on social, political, and economic conditions from a wide range of agencies and sources, back to 1878.

        Selected Historical Census Data
        From the U.S. Census Bureau

        Social Explorer 
        Easy access to demographic data and mapping, some data back to 1940. 
        Indicators of diversity, opportunity, quality of life and health for various racial and ethnic population groups in all U.S. metro areas

        Historical Census Browser (UVa)

        Abstracts and data sets in the world's largest archive of computerized social science data.

        CIS Statistical Universe 
        Index to over 100,000 U.S., International, and Intergovernmental statistical publications. Some are also available fulltext. 

        Statistics from more than 100 agencies in the United States Federal Government.

        State & Local Sourcebook 
        Includes statistics from state and local governments in the areas of education, finance, technology and more.

        EconData.Net: United States socioeconomic data at the state and regional level, and Statistical Resources on the Web another collection of primarily U.S. sources

        National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS) provides, free of charge, aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2000.

        National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership Great clearinghouse of local level data -- collaborative effort by the Urban Institute and local partners

        Association of Religion Data Archives : ARDA collection includes data on churches and church membership, religious professionals, and religious groups in the U.S. to the state, county, and metropolitan area level. Increasingly it has data for other countries as well.

        Outside the United States

        Historical -- Still in Paper but Very Useful

        International historical statistics: Europe, 1750-2000, Ref HA1107 .M5 2003
        International historical statistics: Americas, 1750-2000, Ref HA175 .M55 2003
        International historical statistics: Africa, Asia & Oceania, Ref 1750-2000 HA4675 .M552 2003


        WDI Online 
        Database of World Development Indicators providing international social and economic indicators and statistics (1960-- ) from the World Bank (AC). For other World Bank sources, see Data and Research.

        GenderStats -- include themes that range from health and education to political participation and poverty from World Bank, United Nations, and national statistics. 

        United Nations Data 
        More than 450 statistical time series for countries from around the world covering a wide range of economic and socio-demographic topics (AC)

        United Nations Statistical Division: International Agencies 
        Good entry to the wide range of agencies.
        Demographic and Health Surveys 
        Data on population, health, HIV, female circumcision (FGM), etc. from over 75 countries.

        International Data Base (IDB) 
        Demographic and socio-economic statistics for 227 countries and areas of the world. Created bythe Census Bureau's International Programs Center.

        OFFSTATS: Official Statistics on the WWW 
        OFFSTATS lists web sites organized by country name, offering free and easily accessible social, economic and general data from official or similar "quotable" sources, especially those that provide both current data and time series.

        Foreign Governments 
        Great source for official government data from around the world.

        POPLINE®(POPulation information onLINE) Reproductive health, fertility, demographics, environmental health, women in development, and HIV/AIDS. Abstracts are included, and many include free fulltext articles.

        International Financial Statistics (IMF)
        CD ROM at the reference desk (Ref desk HG 2002.I627) Contains time series which summarize balance of payments: trade and reserves, and data on monetary expansion and contraction, government surpluses and deficits, production, prices and interest rates. Most data goes back to 1948 and is updated monthly.

        Current Social Science Research Reports
        Research and data in economics, sociology and health.

        Internet Crossroads in Social Science Data.

        CIA World Factbook 
        Basic demographic and economic statistics for the countries of the world.

        Davidson Data Center & Network (DDCN) 
        Integrated, fully searchable database on transition and emerging markets. DDCN archives and provides free access to socio-economic micro and macro data on transition economies.

        United Nations Common Database (UNCDB) More than 450 statistical time series for countries from around the world covering a wide range of economic and socio-demographic topics

        Demographic and Health Surveys Data on population, health, HIV, female circumcision (FGM), etc. from over 75 countries.

        IAU: Higher Education Systems 180 countries and territories worldwide.