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Brooks Library Research Guides: Geography
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Atlases & Maps

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection
The University of Texas at Austin has one of the best collections of maps and links to maps and mapping materials available anywhere online. Browse by geographic region and other categories. They also provide extensive lists of other relevant sites including various maps on other sites and cartographic reference tools. Additionally, their Maps FAQ provides information about their collection and links to additional resources.
The USGS Digital Map
The USGS "Digital Map - Beta" produces maps built from The National Map data. Downloading is free.

Atlas of the Evolving Earth
Print Location: Third Floor, G1046.C1 .M6 2001
The Atlas of the Evolving Earth is a 3-volume set depicting the development of the Earth and the evolution of its life-forms, presented chronologically from about four billion years ago to the present. Geological and biological developments of each era are presented with well-written text, maps, time lines, illustrations, and photographs. Sidebars describe important events and concepts. 400 full-color illustrations, photographs, and maps are included in this atlas. A glossary provides succinct definitions of important terms, and both bibliographical references and an index are included.
Color Landform Atlas of the United States
"Each state link brings up a menu of links to maps and other online information about the state. There are two main types of links on each state page: maps and images local to this site, and links to external Web sites."
MapMachine - National Geographic
Find nearly any place on Earth, and view it by population, climate, and much more. Plus, browse antique maps, find country facts, or plan your next outdoor adventure with trail maps. Resource contains images provides online and printable maps covering all aspects of the United States. There are maps for topics in biology, agriculture, boundaries, climate, the environment, geology, government, history, demographics, transportation, and water, as well as land maps. You can even try making your own map! Includes statistical information on crime, economics, energy, and health. Aerial photographs are also available, as well as raw data from map layers--see the "Mapping Professionals" tab. Nearly all of the map layers in the National Atlas Map Maker are also available for download using File Transfer Protocol (ftp). There is no charge for this service. Most of the map layers were compiled at a scale of 1:2,000,000 or a ground resolution of one kilometer. Most map layers cover the full geographic extent of the United States of America, although some cover the conterminous United States.

Oxford Reference Online: Maps Restricted Resource Resource contains images

This title now includes over 775 maps, with locator, physical and political maps for each country, over 120 island maps, state maps for North America, Canada, and Mexico, and more than 100 city maps. It is part of a suite of reference materials available through the subscription database Oxford Reference Online.

For digital collections of original maps, see also the research guide section "Images Online & in Databases."

U.S. Gazetteer

This gazetteer is used to identify places to view with the Tiger Map Server and obtain census data from the 1990 Census Lookup server. You can search for places, counties or MCDs by entering the name and state abbreviation (optional), or 5-digit zip code. Note: ZIP code boundaries do not necessarily match place boundries.

Dictionaries & Encyclopedias

Columbia Gazetteer of North America
Print Location: Reference, 1st Floor, E35 .C65 2000
The Columbia Gazetteer of North America offers entries packed with information including descriptions of physical geography; latitude, longitude, and elevation; historical, political, cultural, and economic descriptions; natural, agricultural, and other resources; transportation and trade; place names, and more.
Columbia Gazetteer of the World
Print Location: Third Floor, G103.5 .C645 1998

The three volumes of the Columbia Gazetteer of the World are an alphabetically arranged encyclopedia of places and geographical features. The Gazetteer includes entries for agriculture, airports, ports, trade, and transportation lines, cultural and mythic places, dams and nuclear plants, demography, distance to relevant places, historical and archeological points of interest, industries, latitude, longitude, and elevations, military bases, monuments and national parks, official local government place names, pronunciations and changed or variant names and spellings, political boundaries, political subdivisions and physical features, physical geography, resorts, theme parks, shopping malls, and service activities.

Additional specialized and historically interesting Gazetteers can be found here and here.

Glossary of Cartographic Terms Some full text available

A lengthy glossary of cartographic terms for use by cartographers, geologists, geographers or hydrologists.

Dictionary of Geography Restricted Resource Some full text available

Online dictionary available through the CWU subscription of the Oxford Reference Online database.  The dictionary contains terms used in both human and physical geography and particularly cartography, surveying, remote sensing, statistics, meteorology, climatology, biogeography, ecology, simple geology, soils, geomorphology, population, migration, settlement, agriculture, industry, transport, development, and diffusion.

Encyclopedia of World Geography
Print Location: Ref G63 .E555 2002

Contains country profiles for all nation-states and dependencies of the world describing the geography, society, and economy of each. Includes color maps and illustrations, bibliographical references and an index.  Use the Browse By Subject link to do a subject search on a specific country, for example, Afghanistan--Geography will bring up citations of articles regarding some geographic aspect involving an area of Afghanistan.

McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
Print Location: Ref Q123 .M15 2003

A dictionary thorough in scope and intended for a general audience. A list of scientific fields it covers is provided in the front of the book, and included in these are aerospace engineering, biochemistry, building construction and civil engineering, communications, computer science, electronics, mapping, navigation, and ordnance.

Oxford Reference Online Restricted Resource Some full text available
With over two million entries, Oxford Reference Online is a superb cross-searchable resource to use when you are at the "looking for a clue" or "needing verification" stages of your research. Oxford Reference provides quality, up-to-date information from a series of well-respected books--and unlike Wikipedia you can cite Oxford Reference in a paper!

Use Quick Reference materials to discover a variety of Subjects, Timelines, Quotations, English Dictionaries, and Bilingual Dictionaries.

Oxford's Reference Library is divided into Subject Categories, drawn from the 308 volumes of the Oxford Reference Library. Those categories are:
ArchaeologyMedia studies
Art & ArchitectureMedicine and health
Bilingual dictionariesMusic
Classical studiesNames studies
EncyclopediasPerforming arts
English Dictionaries and ThesauriPhilosophy
Language referenceReligion
LawScience and technology
LinguisticsSocial Sciences
LiteratureSociety and culture

Assistance and advice with using the Quick Reference and the Reference Library are available at this link, and by contacting your friendly neighborhood Brooks Library Librarians.

Finding Books

Brooks Library Online Catalog - CATTRAX
Using Cattrax to find an item in the Brooks Library: 1. Enter a search term--a word, a phrase, whatever--in the search box. 2. Use the drop-down menu to select keyword/word search, title search, subject search, author search, or one of the other options. Click "Search." 3. Results that are "relevant" to your search term will be retrieved. Examine the results. Repeat steps 1 through 3 as needed. (Note: Information is often described in several different ways. You may need to try a variety of terms before you find ones that produce the best results. And spelling counts.) 4. Find your book/journal/other item. All books are shelved on the 3rd and 4th floors of the main campus library according to Library of Congress subject classification. More Information about Cattrax: You can sort your Cattrax search results by relevance, date, or title by clicking on those words below the search box. Click on a title to see detailed bibliographic information about that item. The bibliographic record or "bib record" will contain additional information about the book/item: the author, location, call number, often a summary, status, subject terms, etc. The bib record will also have a link to a location map, two ways to send the information to your mobile device, and a citation tool. The "Modify Search" link at the top of any Cattrax page is almost the same as the "Advanced Search" option. The "Modify Search" option is very useful for narrowing down your list of results. The "Limit/Sort Search" option is a way to narrow your subject, author, or title search results.
Ebsco eBook Collection Restricted Resource Some full text available
The Brooks Library has permanent access to 3037 digital books from the EBSCO eBook Collection. EBSCO eBooks are digital full-text versions of books including some in geography and related subjects. You can copy and paste from these ebooks, you can access them from off-campus, and you can save portions of them as a pdf.
WorldCat Restricted Resource
WorldCat is an essential service run by the imaginatively named Online Computer Library Center (OCLC).  OCLC is a nonprofit, membership, computer library service and research organization dedicated to the public purposes of furthering access to the world’s information and reducing information costs.

WorldCat aspires to be a library catalog for the entire world; it contains all the records cataloged by the more than 72,000 OCLC member libraries around the world.  WorldCat offers millions of bibliographic records and includes records in 400 languages.

The more than 179 million records cataloged by OCLC member libraries include books, manuscripts, websites and internet resources, maps, computer programs, musical scores, films, slides, videotapes, DVDs, newspapers, journals and magazines, sound recordings, articles, chapters, and papers.  The dates covered in WorldCat range from before 1000 BCE to literally earlier today.

The Basic Search is useful when you know precisely what you are looking for.  The Advanced Search is the default search and works well for most everyone.  There is also an Expert Search available in which you can write your own Boolean Search Expressions.

Assistance is available from WorldCat at this link, and from Brooks Librarians at this link.

Summit Online Catalog
Summit is the unified library catalog of 37 universities, colleges, and community colleges in the Pacific Northwest. Through Summit you have access to over 9.2 million distinct books, CDs, DVDs, and more (that the Summit unified collection comprises over 28.7 million items virtually assures you of access to a copy of what you want or need). The unified catalog enables you to find and request items owned by any of Summit's member libraries. In general, requested items will arrive after three to five days, so it is important to plan ahead when utilizing Summit.

The Summit Catalog allows you to find not only books, CDs, and DVDs but also journal articles. In order to find an article through Summit, type a keyword, a subject, or an article title in the search box near the top of the Summit page (Advanced Search is also available). Select the "Full text articles" box (next to the Search Box or on the left side of the page). The results will be automatically sorted by "Library & Relevance," but you can also sort by author, title, or date.  Click the title link of the article or the “View Now” or “View Full Text” link to see more of the article and then download a pdf of it. (You can also click “Find It @ Your Library,” select Central Washington University, and find out what access we have to that article here.)

If the article, book, DVD, CD, etc. that you wish or need to acquire appears to be unavailable through Summit please consult one of our talented Help Desk Librarians. It is quite possible that we have access to the article through one of our other databases, or that the book, article, etc., can be gotten through Interlibrary Loan.

Finding News Articles

WorldNews Network
The World News (WN) Network was founded with the goal of being the most comprehensive, one-stop news resource on the Internet.  Currently World News has over 130 million pages indexed covering news about, among many other topics, Film, Sport, Entertainment, Science, Business, Health and every Region on Earth.

World News Network presents news from more than 1000 reputable sources including mainstream providers (BBC, CNN, Reuters, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, etcetera) and more regional and local sources (The Independent, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Times of India, etcetera). This aggregation from other sites provides a wide variety of perspectives and different interpretations of breaking news events.

Information is available in two ways through the WN site.  News links that open in a new tab go directly to the headlined article on its original site.  Links that open in the same tab provide you with a link to the article on its original site, there are also links to the left and elsewhere on the page to information that helps you put the news article in context, as well as links to other version of the story or to related stories.

Finding Scholarly Journal Articles

Academic Search Complete Restricted Resource Resource contains images Some full text available

A scholarly, multi-disciplinary database containing more than 5,300 full-text periodicals, including 4,400 peer-reviewed, scholarly journals, and with indexing and abstracting for more than 9,300 journals.  Academic Search Complete is an EBSCO database, and like most EBSCO databases it includes a "Choose Databases" link near the top of the page that enables you to search multiple EBSCO databases at the same time (an EBSCO multi-disciplinary database that is good to search at the same time as ASC is "MasterFILE Premier").

If the article whose title and abstract you found is not available in the Academic Search Complete database try clicking on "Search for Full Text".  If that option does not provide you with the full-text of the article please consult a librarian or submit an Interlibrary Loan Request.  Many articles are readily available in another database or through Interlibrary Loan and we are here to help you get the information you need!

Contains citations to approximately 680,000 books from the National Agricultural Library collections, and citations to 1.8 million professional journal articles covering 1979 to the present.
ArticleFirst Restricted Resource
The Online Computer Library Center, Inc. (OCLC) provides this index of more than 27,000,000 of the articles published since 1990.  The articles are from over 16,000 journals, covering nearly all fields of knowledge.  The items indexed include every article, news story, letter, or other item listed on the table of contents page of the journal.  This database also provides, for most items, a list of libraries that have the journal title – information that makes finding the article in the Brooks Library Collection, or through Interlibrary Loan, much easier.

Please ask the Reference Help Desk, on the 1st Floor of the Brooks Library, or at (509) 963-1021, for any assistance you might wish in searching this index or searching for citations found in the index.

Bibliography of Asian Studies Restricted Resource
As of 10/19/2012 this on-line version of the Bibliography of Asian Studies (BAS) contains 787,165 records on all subjects (especially in the humanities and social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia, published worldwide from 1971 to the present.  New records are added frequently.  This online BAS includes the full data of all of the printed volumes of the BAS as well as entries compiled since 1997.  The most important 100+ periodicals in Asian Studies, as identified by the BAS staff, are indexed as immediately as possible, but the total number of indexed journals is many times that amount; full information about the years of coverage of each and every journal is provided through the Journal Title Browse function.  In addition, various special projects have contributed substantial numbers of additional records to the database (among them journals on Southeast Asia dating as far back as 1779).

This is an index only.  To locate resources from this index, search the CWU Library Catalog and Summit for the book or journal title.  Please ask the Reference Help Desk, 1st Floor Brooks Library or (509) 963-1021 for aid in searching this index or searching for citations found in the index.

GEOBASE Restricted Resource

Unique multidisciplinary database supplying bibliographic information and abstracts for development studies, the Earth sciences, ecology, geomechanics, human geography, and oceanography. The database provides coverage of over 2,100 peer-reviewed journals, trade publications, book series, and conference proceedings.

Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) Restricted Resource

Contains complete bibliographic citations to articles, book reviews, documents, original literary works, and other materials appearing in more than 400 key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world about Central and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean basin, the United States-Mexico border region, and Hispanics in the United States since 1970. HAPI citations are in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, and other languages.

Scitation & SPIN Web Restricted Resource

The SPIN database (Searchable Physics Information Notices) provides the most current indexing and abstracting of major American and Russian physics and astronomy journals. SPIN contains the abstracts of over 80 scientific journals published by the American Institute of Physics and its Member Societies since 1975, as well as selected articles from other scientific journals, totaling close to 1 million articles. Scitation covers science and technology (particularly engineering) journals online portal sites, magazines, and conference proceedings. Select the "Scitation & SPIN" radio button prior to entering your search terms. 

This is a citation / abstract database only.  To search for the full text, you will need to type in the journal or book title into the Summit Catalog (see library homepage) to see if the item is at Central or to request the item Interlibrary Loan.

eHRAF World Cultures Restricted Resource Some full text available
eHRAF World Cultures – the digital version of the Human Relations Area Files – is a cross-cultural database that contains more than 350,000 pages of descriptive information on cultures, diversity and ethnic groups of the world.  The annually-growing eHRAF database is unique in that the information is organized by cultures and ethnic groups and the full-text sources are subject-indexed at the paragraph level.  The diversity of information includes full-text books, journal articles, and dissertations.

This database supports CWU curricula across a variety of disciplines -- anthropology, social studies, history, sociology, geography, language, multicultural studies, political science, human development, arts, and medicine - if you are in one of these programs this database will be your friend!

Please ask the Reference Help Desk, 1st Floor Brooks Library or (509) 963-1021 for aid in searching this resource, and / or try the tutorial materials available from the homepage of eHRAF (look under "Using HRAF" on the left) or at this link.

JSTOR Restricted Resource Some full text available

Our subscription to JSTOR (short for 'Journal Storage') contains every issue of over 600 core scholarly journals in the arts, humanities, the social sciences, as well as the natural and applied sciences.  These journals have been digitized back to the first issue published (in some cases that is the 1600s).  JSTOR also contains citations (bibliographic records) for more than 1,500 leading academic journals, as well as select monographs and other materials valuable for academic work.  (This is why it may not be a good idea to check "Include only content I can access," even if you are in a hurry.  Articles not available in JSTOR are often available in our other databases or through Interlibrary Loan.)

As always, please consult the Reference Desk or the nearest librarian if you have any questions about finding articles in JSTOR or elsewhere.

Government Information

Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands of the United States of America for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.  BLM administers over 245 million acres of land.  Most of this land is located in the 12 Western states, including Alaska.  The BLM also manages 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral rights throughout the nation.

The BLM website website contains information on their multitudinous diversity of programs (and there is a lot more information behind most of these links):
Abandoned Mine Lands Acquisition and Procurement (Doing Business w/ BLM) Alternative Dispute Resolution/Conflict Prevention Program
America's Great Outdoors Asset Management Best Management Practices
BLM Partnerships Budget Information Bureau Enterprise Architecture
Cadastral Survey Climate Change Communication Sites Management
Cultural, Paleontological Resources and Tribal Consultation Energy Filming on Public Lands
Fire Fish, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Forests and Woodlands
General Land Office Geographic Coordinate Data Base (GCDB) Grazing
Great Basin Landscape Conservation Consortium Hazardous Materials Management Helium Program
Land Tenure (Purchase, Donation, Exchange, Sales) Lands and Realty Landscape Approach for Managing Public Lands
Law Enforcement Mining and Minerals (mining claims, solid minerals) Mining Claims and Sites on Federal Lands
National Landscape Conservation System National Landscape Conservation System (NLCS) Noxious Weeds
Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) Planning Recreation
Rights-of-Way Sage-Grouse Conservation Soil, Water, and Air
US Mineral Surveyor Program Vegetation Programmatic EIS Wild Horses & Burros
Youth Initiatives    

GIS Data at the Washington Department of Ecology

From the Web Site: "Our spatial datasets are available in ArcInfo export format (zipped E00) or shapefiles, metadata files are in FGDC format, and our view files are in GIF format. All of our coverages/shapefiles are in Washington State Plane, South Zone, NAD 83 HARN, units feet, unless otherwise noted."

GIS Data for Water Resources from the USGS

USGS spatial data related to water resources.

GeoData Distribution Site for WSDOT

From the Washington Department of Transportation, presents county, WSDOT region, and statewide datasets, from traffic logs to shoreline and precipitation distributions.

Geographic Names Information System (GNIS)

The Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), developed by the USGS in cooperation with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN), contains information for almost 2 million physical and cultural geographic features in the United States and its territories. The Federally recognized name of each feature described in the data base is identified, and references are made to a feature's location by State, county, and geographic coordinates. The GNIS is our Nation's official repository of domestic geographic names information.

National Geophysical Data Center

NOAA's National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) provides scientific stewardship, products, and services for geophysical data from the Sun to the Earth and Earth's sea floor and solid earth environment, including Earth observations from space.  Browse through the rest of the website for information on space weather and the sun, geomagnetic data and models, bathymetry or ocean depths, topography, and natural hazards like hurricanes and tsunamis.

National Park Service--Interactive Map Center Resource contains images Some full text available

"The IMC contains information about and maps of national parks. The IMC delivers base maps and park brochure maps for geographic reference and navigation to and within parks."

National Wetlands Inventory (U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service produces information on the characteristics, extent, and status of the Nation's wetlands and deepwater habitats. Congressional mandates in the Emergency Wetlands Resources Act requires the Service to map wetlands, and to digitize, archive and distribute the maps. With funding from other Federal, State, Tribal, local and private organizations, the Service has produced final maps for much of the nation. About half are digitized and available to the public on the Internet. Private companies provide NWI data in various other media. Hard-copy maps are available through Cooperator-run Distribution Centers.

Shoreline Aerial Photos of Washington State

From the Washington Department of Ecology, The collection of over 10,000 photographs provides a valuable educational monitoring tool for coastal managers and the public.

TIGER/Line files from the U.S. Census Bureau

The TIGER/Line files are a digital database of geographic features, such as roads, railroads, rivers, lakes, political boundaries, census statistical boundaries, etc. covering the entire United States.

U.S. Geological Survey - USGS
A website focusing on "the timely, relevant, and impartial study of the landscape, our natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten us." Includes science features, news, current publications, and links to geographic information systems.

Your portal to U.S. Government scientific and technical information and data "searches over 55 databases and over 2100 selected websites from 13 federal agencies." Browse topics for links to a wide range of online information sources in areas such as Earth and Ocean Sciences, Mapping and Cartography, Computers, Communications, and Mathematics, Natural Resources and Conservation, and many more. Now also available as Mobile!

Handbooks & Guides

Topographic Map Symbols

Introduction to topographic maps, including how to read them, and a description of topographic map symbols.

Washington Place Names Database

Washington Place Names was written by Gary Fuller Reese, while Managing Librarian for the Tacoma Public Library's Northwest Room and Special Collections. The site provides a search engine for looking up the origin of city and town names in Washington State. Try out your own town!

Images & Primary Resources

American Memory Collection (Library of Congress) Resource contains images Some full text available

American Memory is the Library of Congress’s digital collection of American historical materials. Containing more than 9 million items, American Memory is organized into more than 100 thematic collections based on the original format, subject, or who first created, assembled, or donated them to the Library.

The original formats include manuscripts, prints, photographs, posters, maps, sound recordings, motion pictures, books, pamphlets, and sheet music. Each online collection is accompanied by a set of explanatory features designed to make the materials easy to find, use, and understand. Collections may be browsed individually, searched individually (including full-text searching for many written items), or you may search across multiple collections, by region, and by date.

American Memory will continue to expand online historical content as an integral component of the Library of Congress’s commitment to its mission "to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity for future generations".

Central Washington Historical Aerial Photograph Project Resource contains images
United States Department of Agriculture aerial black & white photographs from Benton, Douglas, Kittitas, and Yakima counties are available to view online or download from this easy-to-use site. Help, though sparse, seems sufficient. All or predominantly images from 1949 and 1954.
David Rumsey Historical Map Collection

The David Rumsey Historical Map Collection has over 11,000 maps online. The collection focuses on rare 18th and 19th century North and South America maps and other cartographic materials. Historic maps of the World, Europe, Asia and Africa are also represented. Collection categories include antique atlas, globe, school geography, maritime chart, state, county, city, pocket, wall, childrens and manuscript maps. The collection can be used to study history, genealogy and family history.

Map Collections: 1500-2004

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. Map Collections is organized according to seven major categories. Because a map will be assigned to only one category, unless it is part of more than one core collection, searching Map Collections at this level will provide the most complete results since the indexes for all categories are searched simultaneously.

Western Waters Digital Library Some full text available Resource contains images Resource contains audio

From the earliest European explorers to the time of modern engineers and hydrologists, the vast reserves of water within the Western United States have been the cause of both great excitement and concern. This compelling digital library brings together a wide range of documents (including legal transcripts, water project records, and personal papers) that document the Columbia, Colorado, Platte, and Rio Grande river basins. The project was completed with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and twelve university libraries in eight western states. On the homepage, visitors can perform advanced searches, or elect to browse by the institution holding the original. Browsing is a good option; visitors can look over troves that include "Native American Water Rights in Arizona", "The Platte River Basin in Nebraska", and "Las Vegas: Water in the West". The tabs to limit format do not appear to be functional on the home page, but limits are available in the upper right corner of the results page. Text, images, audio, and EAD (finding aids for archives collections) are the available format limits. Advanced search is also available.

Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection Resource contains images

"Early Washington Maps: A Digital Collection is the product of a partnership between the University of Washington Libraries Map Collections and Washington State University's Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections. The maps of this collection have been drawn solely from the collections of these two institutions and are widely varied, ranging from large-scale geographical maps to small hand-drawn sketches of settlements. In the time period spanned by this project, the Pacific Northwest went from being considered 'parts as yet unknown' to being the subject of literally thousands of maps concerned with geography, transportation, climate, population, cultures, politics, tourism, and other topics."

Organizations & Directories


EnviroLink is a non-profit organization... a grassroots online community that unites hundreds of organizations and volunteers around the world with millions of people in more than 150 countries. EnviroLink is dedicated to providing comprehensive, up-to-date environmental information and news.

Nature Network

Nature Network is the online meeting place for you and fellow scientists to gather, talk and find out about the latest scientific news and events. Science is an international endeavor and deserves a global stage for discussion. Scientists can also benefit from interactions at the local level. That's why you'll see an increasing number of local city hubs on Nature Network, starting with Boston and London.


Book Index with Reviews Restricted Resource Some full text available

Book Index with Reviews™ (BIR) is a comprehensive database that provides information on over 5 million book titles.  BIR also contains almost 800,000 full-text searchable book reviews from some of the most trusted reviewers: Library Journal, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and the New York Times Book Review.

Fiction and non-fiction book titles are included in the database, in all genres, to help you find books to read for fun, for information, or for research.  BIR’s subject headings/genres and flexible search engine can help you find out about popular titles that are currently available, along with those that will soon be published or released.

Statistics & Measurements

Geography IQ

"GeographyIQ is an online world atlas packed with geographic, economic, political, historical and cultural information. In addition, GeographyIQ brings together a number of other resources including maps, flags, currency conversion as well as climate and time zone information."

IPUMS USA: Integrated Public Use Microdata Series
This rich source of census-based data from 1850 to 2000, with data from the American Community Surveys 2000-2011 is presented by The Minnesota Population Center at the University of Minnesota. It "consists of more than fifty high-precision samples of the American population drawn from fifteen federal censuses and from the American Community Surveys of 2000-2011." samples, not all of the data from any given census. "Census microdata are composed of individual records containing information collected on persons and households....Microdata stand in contrast to more familiar 'summary' or 'aggregate' data." Once registered, you can download data as well as use their tools for data extraction and analysis. Their User's Guide is essential for best results. Also, see the FAQ for more clarification. Also highly valuable for statistical and historical research are the Census Forms and Instructions, which show exactly what was on the forms and what enumerators were instructed to do, and the published census volumes
GeoStat Center: Collections--Historical Census Browser [University of Virginia Library]

One of the University of Virginia Library's Electronic Centers, the Geostat Center contains most of the spatial and social science data available through the University Library system. Much of the information is digital, but theyalso house the physical map collection, paper copies of many codebooks, software manuals, and reference books pertaining to spatial and statistical analysis.

NationMaster is the world's largest online database for comparing countries in the world, with all of the same features in StateMaster, as well as an educational area with free lesson plans and the unique GeoLabs, which give students all over the world an opportunity to navigate through the database and send results to their teacher via e-mail. 

State & County QuickFacts

From the U.S. Census Bureau,get quick, easy access to facts about people, business, and geography. Resource contains images Some full text available

StateMaster is a free resource which allows users to compare US States with over 3,000 different statistics. The site has graphing, plotting, mapping and correlation tools, as well as thousands of maps and flags and detailed state profiles.

Web Sites

Alexandria Digital Library (ADL)
The Alexandria Digital Library (ADL) is a distributed digital library with collections of georeferenced materials. ADL includes the operational library, with various nodes and collections, and the research program through which digital library architectures, gazetteer applications, educational applications, and software components are modeled, prototyped, and evaluated. ADL provides HTML clients to access its collections and gazetteer, and provides specific information management tools, such as the Feature Type Thesaurus for classing types of geographic features, as well as downloadable software code.
Digital Library for Earth System Education (DLESE)
DLESE links to a variety of resources for all levels from kindergarten through professional. The collection includes "lesson plans, scientific data, visualizations, interactive computer models, and virtual field trips." Narrow your search by grade level, resource type, and collection, as well as educational standards addressed. For example, you might search for "wildfire" and limit it to K-2 to find "Smokey Kids" and similar, or limit it to Graduate/Professional to retrieve the records for the USGS Western Ecological Research Center and others. Remember to click "search" after each time you change any parameter, and remember your limiters do not change until you specifically change them, even if you return to the home page to start a new search.
TED Talks Resource contains video
TED started in 1984 focused on technology, entertainment, and design, but has branched out to encompass, as they say, "Ideas Worth Spreading." Their first 6 talks were posted online in 2006 and they continue to post these highly popular, inspired talks by some of the great thinkers of our time as video presentations. Try searching "hydraulic fracturing," "natural resources," "urban planning," "historic preservation," or "civil liberties," for a few examples. Don't bother with the quote marks, though. A very basic search apparently does not recognize phrase searching. It also does not understand Boolean search terms, resulting in a lack of precision exacerbated by the "fuzzy" search which retrieves any term sharing a common stem (e.g. dog, doggerel, and donut). No advanced search that I found, and no transcripts. Scroll down to find links in the left margin to full lists of the talks.

Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI)

The Canadian Geospatial Data Infrastructure (CGDI) makes Canada's geographic data, applications and services readily accessible on-line for decision making and business planning.  "The GeoConnections Discovery Portal is your gateway to millions of geospatial data products. Browse metadata records or search by subject, coverage or product type to find, evaluate, visualize and access the geospatial data you need."

Country Studies

The Country Studies Series presented by the Library of Congress, is a descriptve analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.  For a similar website, see the U.S. State Department's website called "Background Notes" at 

EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal

From the World Resources Insitute, comprehensive online database that focuses on the environmental, social, and economic trends that shape our world.

Intute: World Guide

A series of guides for over 270 countries and territories. These include features, demographics, geography data, interactive world maps, satellite photosscrollable city images, and links to resources about each country within the Intute database. You can even compare data between countries. You may go straight to the entry for a specific country via the dropdown menu, or you can search for satellite images and features by keyword.

Internet Public Library Arts & Humanities Resources

Interesting and sometimes educational websites are featured on this annotated, topical gateway of websites.  Each website is recommended and annotated by a librarian working for the Librarians Internet Index as a quality resource.  You can also quickly group resources by domain type, so it is easy to see which sites are commercial, from organizations, and from the government.

Map History & History of Cartography

Gateway to websites discussing and providing online maps displaying the history of cartography, specifically early map making.  The website includes links to websites that provide citations of books and articles on specific maps and cartographers as well.

OAIster Catalog of Digital Resources
OAIster is a catalog more than 25 million records of open access digital resources from around the world including digitized books and articles, born-digital texts, audio files, images, and movies. It is searchable by title, author or creator, subject, language, and keyword, and more. Searching in the OAIster Catalog is by Boolean Search (And, Or, Not. See Colorado State University's explanation at The available Limiters are Year, Document Type, and Language. You can create an account that will enable you to save searches. NOTE: Sometimes OAIster may direct you to items that are access restricted. The Librarians in the ARC or at any of the service desks can help you with accessing information that is ‘access restricted’ and with any questions that you might have.
Physical Sciences, Engineering,Computing and Math from INFOMINE
Most major disciplines in these areas are well covered. Basic science resources are emphasized though there is much of an applied nature as well. Climatology (incl. climate change information), paleontology and environmental science information with a physical science leaning are included.
U.S. Board on Geographic Names
The U.S. Board on Geographic Names maintains uniform geographic name usage for the United States Federal Government.  This site provides access to databases of domestic geographic names, foreign geographic names, Antarctic names, and undersea features.
World Resources Institute

Covers environmental research topics in terms of agriculture, business practices and solutions, climate, energy, ecosystems, and resources. There are also pages highlighting environmental trends, and another area provides citation and abstract information for WRI's publications, with most available in full text. These publications include articles, powerpoints and datasets of reliable and current data on a number of environmental studies done under the World Resources Report Series.

Items Of Interest

Exploratorium Learning Studio Resource contains audio Some full text available

The Exploratorium, a science museum founded in 1969 by physicist Frank Oppenheimer, contains a number of science / art / human perception exhibits within the San Francisco Palace of Fine Arts.  The Exploratorium's website acts as both an exhibit space for sound and video webpages, and as an indexed megasite of award-winning web pages covering all areas of science.

PIVOT (Formerly COS Funding Opportunities) Restricted Resource
COS Funding Opportunities has been replaced by COS PIVOT.
This database provides access to funding opportunities as well as scholar profiles, with the ability to add your own scholar profile and to view the profiles of various research organizations.  PIVOT allows you to also prioritize and save your searches to receive weekly alerts.

You must register your own account and log in thereafter in order to use PIVOT. 
Registration and log in is in the upper righthand corner of screen.  Previous CWU users of COS Funding Opportunities may log in with their existing username and password, as the accounts have been transferred over into PIVOT. For more information, please see: Pivot Video Tutorials.

Note: For some opportunities, sponsors accept only a limited number of proposals or applications from an institution, or require an institution to rank or prioritize applications before submission.
If an opportunity is marked "Internal Coordination Required," please contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Research before applying.
Maps In Our Lives

The online companion to this 2006-2007 library exhibit "explores surveying, cartography, geodesy, and geographic information systems." Includes annotated images from the exhibit; for example, the online surveying section "features maps illustrating the historical evolution in surveying with maps of George Washington's farm executed between 1760 and 1999." Also includes images of all objects, and a video clip. From the Library of Congress.

National Geographic: Lewis & Clark Resource contains images Some full text available

Interactive site includes maps, biographies, photographs of trails, childrens' educational activities, and more.

Scientific American: Ask the Experts

"Queries range from the profound (Is it possible to travel through time?) to the everyday (How does a.microwave oven cook food?) and from the interesting (What illnesses do insects get?) to the surprising (How do whales sleep without drowning?"

Key to Icons

Restricted Resource = Restricted resource
Some full text available = Some full text
openURL = OpenURL enabled

Resource contains images = Images
Resource contains video = Video files
Resource contains audio = Audio files

Subject Specialist
Picture: Gerard Hogan

Gerard Hogan
Research Librarian, Coordinator of Reference Services
Tel: (509) 963-1961

Call Numbers/Subjects