BAIS 101: Country Histories

Country Histories and Profilesflags

Online Sources

    • Library of Congress Country Studies Online versions of books previously published in hard copy by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress as part of the Country Studies/Area Handbook Series sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army between 1986 and 1998. 101 countries and regions are covered. Each study offers a comprehensive description and analysis of the country or region's historical setting, geography, society, economy, political system, foreign policy, and national security.

      To cite this source, look at this example:  Heitzmen, James and Robert L. Worden, eds.   Federal Research Division, Library of Congress. India: A Country Study. Washington, DC. Sept. 1995. Web. 23 October 2012. *For the title, editor, and date of information of a country study, refer to the first entry in the table of contents of the online study, which should be the name of the country.*

    • Library of Congress Country Profiles More current information from the Library of Congress for selected countries. Profiles offer brief, summarized information on a country’s historical background, geography, society, economy, transportation and telecommunications, government and politics, and national security.
    • U.S. State Department Background Notes Includes facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, foreign relations, and past travel alerts. This resource is no longer being updated. If you don't get taken to the Background Notes page for your country, see previous editions
    • Gale Virtual Reference Library Includes over 100 encyclopedias. Search your country's name and history as keywords (e.g., El Salvador and history) or try other words (e.g., El Salvador and civil war). Includes these relevant reference sources: Countries of the World and their Leaders Yearbook (2005), Worldmark Encyclopedia of National Economies (2002), and Countries and Their Cultures (2001)
    • BBC Country Profiles  Profiles contain history, politics and economic background of countries and territories, and background on key institutions. See the timeline tab for your country.
    • Europa World Online  Includes economic, political and geographic background information and statistical data by country. A comparable resources, freely available on the Web is the CIA World FactBook.

Printed Sources 

  • Worldmark Chronology of Nations  Includes timelines for each country, with dated entries which describe the key people and events that shaped the nation. REF G 133 W93 1999, vols 1-4.
  • World Today Series Reference source on the countries of the world, offering a glimpse of a country's history, politics, cultures, and economy. REF G 1 W67 2009.
  • The Statesman's Yearbook Published annually since 1864. Provides reliable information on every country in the world including key historical events, politics, economics, trade and infrastructure. REF JA 51 S79; older editions in Stacks. 


soldiers parachuting into indochinaBooks

  • For general history books on a specific country, from the catalog, select Subject. Search your country's name and history (e.g., Belarus history).
  • For books on the economic history of a specific country, from the library catalog, select Subject. Search for your country's name and economic conditions (e.g., Belarus economic conditions).

Find Books and Videos in other Libraries Using Link+

Click on the Link+ icon in the catalog to search for books and videos in over 40 libraries in California and Nevada. Link+ items arrive in 3-4 days to arrive. They can be checked out for 3 weeks and renewed for an additional 2 weeks through your library record.  

Use Link+ to request titles that we are checked out of our library or that we don't own. Search Link+ to discover books and videos you may not have know about.



people standing in line in sudanSearch the following databases to find relevant newspaper, magazine, and journal articles. If the full-text of an article is not available, click the USF: Find Full-Text link or check to see if your article is available at the USF libraries. Alternatively, you can search the library's Journal Finder by journal name.

  • Historical Abstracts Includes citations and abstracts on all aspects of world history from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada).
  • Fusion Search the majority of the library's books and articles. To narrow your search:  add more keywords and use the limits on the left (under Publication Date, click Show More, and uncheck "Also search within the full-text of articles.")
  • New York Times Historical (1851-1993) Find New York Times articles, around the time historical events occurred. 

Finding Articles Not at USF

If the library doesn't have access to the journal article you want, you can still get it through Interlibrary Loan. With an ILLiad account, you can place your requests online. This service can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks. Be sure to start your research early!

Photo credit: AP Images/Darren Cummings and Mercy Corps/Cassandra Nelson