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Resources for Geography

17th Century Triptych Dymaxion Projection Globe Close up View of a Globe

Geography is the study of the earth's surface and the interaction of human societies with their surrounding landscape. It has ties to both the physical and the social sciences. The student of geography might use books and journals, maps and atlases, reference books and government documents in research. This guide describes some of the most important reference tools in the field of geography. It is not complete; don't hesitate to ask a librarian for further assistance. Note: The Robert Moline Map Library, one of the largest map collections in the state, is housed in Nobel Hall.

Table of Contents:

Indexes and Databases
For more information and additional suggestions, see the Databases Guide for Geography.
  • Academic Search Premier,uid&profile=ehost&defaultdb=aph

    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database, Academic Search Premier indexes nearly 8,050 publications and provides full text for nearly 4,600, including more than 3,500 peer-reviewed journals. Coverage also includes many newspapers and popular magazines and spans virtually every area of academic study since 1975. Updated daily. Access is provided by the Electronic Library for Minnesota (ELM). View our Academic Search Premier tutorial.

    NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. See a Reference Librarian for assistance in finding another database to use. An index to worldwide literature on geography, geology, and ecology. Sources indexed include journal articles, books and book chapters, conference proceedings, and reports. Subjects covered include cartography, climatology, energy, the environment, geophysics, meteorology, and more.
  • GeoScienceWorld

    GSW provides access to the full text of more than 40 journals in the earth sciences. The default search includes both GSW journals and the GeoRef index. To limit your search to GSW full text journals only, select "All GSW journals" on the Quick Search or Advanced Search menu.
  • Online Geographical Bibliography

    An electronic index to journal articles, books, and maps in the field of geography from the American Geographical Society collection. This work covers topics such as biogeography, climatology, human geography, hydrology, and physical geography as well as regional geography. Coverage until 2005.
  • Web of Science (Web of Knowledge) SSCI AHCI ISTP ISSHP

    The Science Citation Index Expanded, the Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI). Besides indexing a wide range of journals in the sciences, social sciences, and history, this resource allows you to search for articles that cite a specific author or published work. Coverage from 1997 to the present. Click on the "Web of Science" tab to limit your search to one or more specific citation databases.
Reference Works
  • Geography in General
  • Columbia Gazetteer of the World
    This three-volume compendium lists the exact location of places around the world, as well as giving a very brief definition or description. Recently updated to reflect new and renamed places.
    • Location(s): Ref G 103.5 .C645 2008
  • Dictionary of Geography

    Offers over 6,000 brief definitions of topics in the field, including geographic aspects of meteorology, climatology, biogeography, ecology, geology, population, migration, agriculture, industry, transport, and development.
  • Dictionary of Human Geography
    This work defines and discusses not only concepts but other terms and topics in the field of human geography.
    • Location(s): Ref GF 4 .D52 2000
  • Encyclopedia of Geography
    This 6-volume set includes more than 1,200 entries related to six broad subject areas in geography: physical geography; human geography; nature and society; methods, models & GIS; history of geography; and people, organizations, and movements. Includes index and bibliographies.
    • Location(s): Ref G63 .E554 2010 v.1-6
  • Encyclopedic Dictionary of Physical Geography
    Gives definitions and discussions of terms and concepts in the field of physical geography.
    • Location(s): Ref GB 10 .E53 1994
  • Feminist Glossary of Human Geography
    A specialized dictionary that tries to capture significant changes in the field as they relate to theory and gender. Includes geographic approaches to such topics as sisterhood, nature, identity, and justice. The bibliography at the back of the volume provides a gateway to the most important books and essays on the topic.
    • Location(s): Ref G 63 .G5 1999
  • Focus on American Regions
  • American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia
    A single-volume work consisting of essays organized by broad topic, including landscapes and people, society and culture, community and social life, economy and technology, and public life.
    • Location(s): Ref F 351 .A534 2007
  • Encyclopedia of the Great Plains
    A thematic introduction to the people and the culture of the plains, organized by topics such as African Americans, architecture, film, images and icons, Native Americans, politics and government, protest and dissent, and water.
    • Location(s): Ref F 591 .E4856 2004
  • Greenwood Encyclopedia of American Regional Cultures
    Covers eight regions, offering insight into their culture and aspects of popular culture, religion, food, folklore, and language.
    • Location(s): Ref E 179.5 .G744 2004
  • New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture
    This 12-volume set covers all aspects of the cultures of the southern United States, including volumes on religion, language, foodways, environment, literature, music, law and politics, and more.
    • Location(s): Ref F 209 .N47 2006
  • New Encyclopedia of the American West
    Covers the American frontier and the West from pre-colonial times - encompassing "the West" in the American imagination, not just the geographic area west of the Mississippi. Alphabetically organized, with articles on people, events, places, concepts, and topics.
    • Location(s): Ref F 591 .N46 1998
  • World Regional Geography
  • Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture
    The 5,000+ articles in this resource give a remarkably complete overview of current knowledge about the region. Entries are arranged alphabetically by country, by topic (such as slavery, art, Asians in Latin America), and biographically. Articles are written by experts and are followed by selective bibliographies.
    • Location(s): Ref F 1406 .E53 2008
  • Encyclopedia of Modern Asia
    Intended to be the most comprehensive standard reference work on the region, this set covers East, Southeast, South, Central, and West-Southwest Central Asia, from Japan to Turkey, Khazakstan to Indonesia. The focus in on the twentieth century, with articles covering places, peoples, geography, the arts, economics, religion, and more.
    • Location(s): Ref DS 4 .L48 2002
  • Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa
    Covers a wide variety of topics in politics, history, economics, religion, sociology, culture, and geography of 23 predominantly Muslim countries. Articles are intended for a non-specialist readership, and controversial issues are covered in a non-partisan manner.
    • Location(s): Ref DS 43 .E53 2004
  • Encyclopedia of the Arctic
    Covers the physical and cultural geography of the arctic, including ecology and the environment, economics, history and archaeology, oceanography, peoples, and politics.
    • Location(s): Ref G 606 .E49 2005
  • Encyclopedia of the Developing World
    A three-volume encyclopedia covering countries and regions, organizations, significant figures, and topic relating to the developing world including Africa, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
    • Location(s): Ref HC 59.7 .E52 2006
  • Europe Since 1945: An Encyclopedia
    Though its focus is primarily on political developments, this set also covers cultural, economic, and social trends since World War II. Short, well-documented articles on prominent people, places, events, and institutions.
    • Location(s): Ref D 1051 .E97 2001
  • New Encyclopedia of Africa
    Covers the peoples, civilizations, and history of Africa. Articles cover countries, individuals, ethnic groups, and many topics such as African art, transportation, gender, ecosystems, symbolism, and religion.
    • Location(s): Ref DT2 .N48 2008
Browsing for Books
Books are shelved in general subject categories using the Library of Congress classification system. You may want to supplement your use of the catalog with browsing shelf areas for your topic. Below is a brief listing of some of the subject locations in the field of geography.
  • CC Archaeology
  • D,E,F History
  • G Geography (General)
  • GA Cartography
  • GB Physical Geography
  • GC Oceanography
  • GF Human Ecology. Anthropogeography
  • GN Anthropology
  • HB Demography
  • HF 1-8000 Economic Geography
  • QC 851-999 Meteorology. Climatology


Additional journals may be available in full text through various subscription databases.

Print journals are housed in the periodicals collection on the first floor of the library.

  • Annals of the Association of American Geographers
  • Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
  • Geographical : the Royal Geographical Society magazine
  • Geography Teacher
  • Global Environmental Change
  • Journal of Geography
  • Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
  • Journal of the American Planning Association
  • Landscape Journal
  • National Geographic
    This general interest magazine contains articles about world news, culture, politics, social issues, and geography. Articles are usually short with a large number of photographs.
  • National Geographic Traveler
  • Places
  • Planning
  • Professional Geographer
Resources & Tools for GIS and Geospatial Data
  • Geography Software at Gustavus - Connect via Gustavus Virtual Lab

    Gustavus Virtual Lab allows students remote access to a full virtual desktop lab machine. Use Virtual Lab to connect to Geography software from your personal machine or from labs (such as the Library labs) on which the Geography software is not installed.

    a US government clearinghouse for federal, state, and local geospatial data. Includes tools for creating maps (a "what" and "where" query form pulls up available files) as well as a selection of ready-made maps.
  • Map Collections, 1500-2004

    from the Library of Congress. Historically important maps organized thematically.
  • Minnesota Maps Online

    from the Minnesota Historical Society; includes the first government land survey from 1848 to 1907 as well as BML maps through 2001.
  • Perry Castaneda Library Map Collection

    from the General Libraries, University of Texas at Austin, this site provides an excellent and frequently updated list of over 2,400 online maps in digital form. Organized primarily by region and country, this site also includes maps of current interest, linked to world events.
  • Places in the News

    from the Library of Congress, provides maps of places that are currently getting attention. Part of their Geography and Maps collection.
  • Places Online

    from the Association of American Geographers, this is a map-based set of links to "the world's best" sites for visual information about places around the world, chosen to provide a high-quality sense of a specific place.
  • TerraFly

    a project housed at Florida International University. By selecting a specific place, this sites provides aerial satellite images. You can zoom in and out or "fly" across an area. Additionally, by clicking on a point in any US location, detailed data opens in another window, down to the block level. This project combines information from the Census, NASA, the Geologic Survey, and other public sources into a single, powerful tool.
  • American FactFinder

    Provides a wealth of information about populations and places in the United States, drawing on census data. The powerful search facility can be used to pinpoint tables of data and to create maps based on the variables you supply. Mapping tools enable creation of thematic maps from national to street level.
  • National Atlas

    allows for downloading data sets and making your own maps by applying layers of information. Also includes printable maps of the states and other information.
  • National Map: The Nation's Topographic Map for the 21st Century

    An amazing tool. The viewer allows users to zoom in on any part of the U.S. and choose map layers that include elevation, roads, water, land use, and even detailed aerial satellite images. Whether you're examining a region, a state, or a few city blocks, this tool offers access to a wealth of cartographic information.
Photo Credits (L to R)

Geographica Restituta Per Globi Trientes -
Dymaxion Projection Globe -
IMG_5147 -

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