Reference tools provide generally agreed upon "facts" or common knowledge -- 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.
Facts - Online
- CQ Global Researcher (international)
- Oxford international encyclopedia of peace
- Political handbook of the world
- Europa world
- CIA World Factbook
- Political Risk Yearbook Online
- Encyclopaedia Britannica online
- 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 highly suspect when it comes to "how and why" questions especially those concerning intense conflicts. Use it -- but use it with caution!
Links to online referernce collections that may contain helpful sources depending on your topic.
Facts - Print
Selected examples of print reference sources. All titles are located in the General Reference Collection (1st floor, Hesburgh Library). Browsing the reference collection using the examples listed below as starting points can be very effective.
- Religion and violence: an encyclopedia of faith and conflict. BL 65 .V55 R45555 2011
- Encyclopedia of conflict resolution. HM 136 .B783 1997
- Encyclopedia of violence, peace, & conflict. HM 291 .E625 2008
- Encyclopaedia of war, peace and global security. JZ 5588 .E53 2005
- National cultures of the world: a statistical reference HA 155 .P37 1997
- Ethnic cultures of the world: a statistical reference GN 495.4 .P37 1997
- Proquest Statistical Datasets (data sets & graphs)
- Proquest Statistical (stats, charts & tables)
- United Nations Statistics Division (demongraphics)
- UNESCO Institute for Statistics (cultural)
- World development indicators (economic)
- Africa Development Indicators (economic)
- Infonation Advanced (graphs)
- OECD iLibrary (economic stats)
- Human Development Reports
- World Bank Data
- World Health Organization
- Finding data & statistics (Subject Guide)
Maps - Online
Maps - Paper
Examples of specialized atlases available in the Hesburgh Library Reference Collection. The Libraries also have a collection of large, detailed maps published by various U.S. government agencies.
- Historical dictionary of the Arab-Israeli conflict. DS 119.7 .K85 2006
- Historical atlas of the Holocaust. G 1797.21 .E29 H5 1996
- The Penguin atlas of diasporas. GN 370 .C43 1995
- A world of insecurity: anthropological perspectives on human security. HM 671 .W67 2010
- Global geopolitical flashpoints: an atlas of conflict. JC 319 .A52 2000