Reference tools provide background information, the who, what, where and when -- and a bit of the how and why -- for any topic. They include subject and biographical dictionaries and encyclopedias, almanacs, chronologies, directories and atlases. Many, especially dictionaries and encyclopedias, are now available online. Many others, especially historical atlases and chronologies are still only available in print.
- Encyclopaedia Britannica online
- Oxford international encyclopedia of peace
- Political handbook of the world
- Europa world
- CQ Researcher (domestic U.S.)
- CQ Global Researcher (international)
- Wikipedia can be a great quick help in identifying the "who, what, when and where" of any given issue -- subject to later verification. Librarians use it all the time. However, it can be very suspect when it comes to "how and why" questions especially those involving conflict situations. Use it but use it with caution!
Selected examples of print reference sources. All titles are located in the General Reference Collection (1st floor, Hesburgh Library).
- Chronological History of U.S. Foreign Relations. E 183.7 .b745 2003
- Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. E 183.7 .E52 2002
- Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy. E 183.7 .H28 2004
- Greenwood Encyclopedia of International Relations. JZ 1160 .N65 2002
- The Statesman's Yearbook. JA51 .ST29
- Political Risk Yearbook. (e.g. Vol. 8 Central & South Asia) JQ 98 .A1 P64
- World at risk: a global issues sourcebook. JZ 1242 .W67 2002
- Encyclopaedia of war, peace and global security. JZ 5588 .E53 2005
- SIPRI yearbook: world armaments and disarmament. UA 10 .I55
Examples of specialized atlases available in the Hesburgh Library Reference Collection.
- Historical dictionary of the Arab-Israeli conflict. DS 119.7 .K85 2006
- The state of the Middle East: an atlas of conflict and resolution. G 2205 .S6 2008
- Global geopolitical flashpoints: an atlas of conflict. JC 319 .A52 2000
- A to Z maps online (political, physical, outline & others)
- United Nations Cartographic Section (all regions but not all countries)
- Google Earth (no printing)