Geography Guide

College of DuPage Geography Academic Program

What is Geography? - from the Royal Geographical Society



COD LIBRARY CATALOG Find Books and Videos in the COD Library only

Outline of the Library of Congress Classification System (what C.O.D. uses to arrange its books)
I-SHARE (formerly Illinet Online): Get books from over 80 Illinois academic libraries
Interlibrary Loan, to get books and journal articles from other libraries around the country.


Why Reference Sources?

Is your research topic too big to cover in a short paper?  Is your topic so specific that sources will be hard to find?

Before you even begin your research, start the process with reference sources-- in the Library's Reference Section or online in our databases.  Reference books, like subject encyclopedias, can give you a head start and make your research easier in the long run.  Use reference sources to:

  • find a topic
  • narrow your topic
  • find keywords
  • get background information on your topic

Border Disputes: A Global Encyclopedia. (2015)

The Borderlands: An Encyclopedia of Culture and Politics on the U.S. - Mexico Divide . (2008)

Columbia Gazetteer of the World. Reference G103.5 .C65 1998

Cultural Geography: A Dictionary of Key Concepts. General GF 4 .C 858 2005.

Demographic Yearbook [United Nations]. Reference HA 17 .D 45

Dictionary of Geography. Reference G 63 .E 47 2007.

Dictionary of Human Geography . (2009)

Dictionary of Physical Geography . (2000)

Economic Geography Online Dictionary and Glossary.

Elevations and Distances in the United States.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online

Encyclopedia of Community: From the Village to the Virtual World

Encyclopedia of Geography.

Encyclopedia of Human Geography.

Encyclopedia of Islands (2009)

Encyclopedia of Urban America: The Cities and the Suburbs. (1998)

Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures: Cities and Cultures around the World. Ref. HT 108.5 .E 53 2002

Geography Basics. Reference G 116 .G 475 2004.

Glossary of Flood Terms. (

Glossary of Floodplain Terms.

The Glossary of Globalization, Trade and Health Terms. (World Health Organization)

Historical Dictionary of World Political Geography: An Encyclopedic Guide. Reference D 20 .R 16 2001.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Terminology: A Multilingual Directory.

Key Concepts in Historical Geography. Reference G 141 .M 68 2014

Key Concepts in Urban Geography. (2008)

Merriam - Webster's Geographical Dictionary . (2007)

A Modern Dictionary of Geography. Reference G 63 .W 58 2001 .

Online Dictionary of the Social Sciences.

Political Economy Terms online.

Reading Weather Maps.

Research Guide to Cartographic Resources

Topographic Map Symbols from the USGS.

Water Encyclopedia, Volume 2: Water Quality and Resource Development. Reference TD 345 .L 393 2005 v.2

World Civilizations Glossary: Concepts, Values, Terms.

Online Texts

"The Four Traditions of Geography." William D. Pattison. The Journal of Geography. Volume 63. Number 5. Pages 211-216.

Fundamentals of Physical Geography.

Geodesy for the Layman. U.S. Defense Mapping Agency, 1984.

The Geography of Transportation Systems.

Geologic Maps Guide. From the US Geological Survey and the National Park Service.

Military Geography for Professionals and the Public. Department of Defense, 1998. (Very slow due to all the graphics.)

Using Maps in Geneaology.


Print journals in the Current Periodicals section on the Lower Level:
American Forests, Geography, Illinois Geographer, National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Route 66

You must have a valid College of DuPage library card to access the electronic indexes and databases from off-campus.

Academic OneFile (formerly Expanded Academic Index ASAP). An index to over 2500 magazines and journals covering a variety of topic areas including anthropology. This database provides references, abstracts, and many times the full-text of articles. A COD library card is required for off-campus use.

Academic Search Complete [EBSCOhost]1984 to present; 1990 to present- full text). Abstracts from nearly 3000 journals and full text for 1250 journals including general reference, education, social sciences, humanities, general science, multi-cultural studies, library and information science.

Border and Migration Studies This database has streaming videos and other print content on various aspects of life along borders.

Electronic Journals in Geography List.

Google Scholar. This provides access to many free full-text articles, as well as citations to many other articles.

Handbook of Latin American Studies. Citations-only database from the U.S. Library of Congress.

Illinois Periodicals Online. This database includes full-text articles from "Illinois Heritage", "Illinois History", "Illinois History Teacher", and the "Illinois Municipal Review".

Latin American Periodicals Tables of Contents (LAPTOC). No full-text articles, just bibliographic citations to articles.

Military and Government Collection of articles. Citations and full-text articles dealing with the military and various governments.

National Newspapers(ProQuest). This includes the Chicago Tribune, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.

Open Access Journals Directory (DOAJ) (free full-text journal articles)

Policybot. This is a database of over 18,000 public policy reports and documents, most of them full-text & free online.

Project MUSE. This is a collection of thousands of full-text academic articles on a wide variety of topics.


Antipode journal online website, with some FREE CLASSIC and THEMED articles. FULL-TEXT ARTICES are available from 1998 until one year ago in the Academic Search Complete database listed above. This journal is indexed by many databases linked above, but they do not contain full-text articles. Copies of the articles may be requested for free through the Interlibrary Loan Service (click here).

The Industrial Geographer.

Investigaciones Geograficas: Boletin del Instituto de Geografia . Free online journal (2000-) in Spanish from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM).

Social Geography. A free online journal.

More COD Library journal and newspaper article databases.
Does the C.O.D. Library own the journal that I need? Look up the Journal Title in the Library Catalog.
Explanation of Scholarly Journals
Explanation of the Difference Between Magazines and Journals
How to Read a Research Study Article.


Introduction to Place Names

Use these reference tools to find explanations of various location names.

Gazetteer of British Place Names.

Gazetteer of Illinois. Reference F539 .P36 1993

Geographic Names Information System: GNIS. U.S. Geoglogical Survey (USGS).

Geographical Etymology: A Dictionary of Place-Names.. (1887)

The Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names Online.

Glossary of Toponymic Terminiology. (from the United Nations.)

A Guide to the Ancient World: A Dictionary of Classical Place Names. General DE 25 .G 72 1986

Historical Gazetteer of the United States. Reference E 154 .H 45 2006

A History of the Origin of the Place Names connected with the Chicago and North Western and Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha Railways. (1908)

The Illinois Atlas and Gazetteer. Reference Atlas Stand G 1405 .D 4

Lippincott's Pronouncing Gazetteer. A complete pronouncing gezetteer, or geographical dictionary, of the world. Containing a notice and the pronunciation of the names of nearly one hundred thousand places. With the most recent and authentic information respecting ... every portion of the globe ... (1856).

A List of Illinois Place Names. Reference F 539 A 3 1968

Native American Placenames of the United States. Reference E 98 .N 2 B 75 2004

Nicknames of Places : Origins and Meanings of the Alternate and Secondary Names, Sobriquets, Epithets and Slogans for 4600 Places Worldwide. Reference G 105 R 65 2006

The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. (Henry Gannett, 2nd ed., 1905, U.S.G.S.)

Penguin Encyclopedia of Places . (gazetteer) (3rd ed.) (1999)

Place Name Changes, 1900 - 1999. General G 103.5 .R 657 1993

Place Names: How They Define the World. General G 105 .R 36 2001

Place Names in the Midwestern United States. Reference F 351 .58 2000

Place Names of Illinois. Reference F 539 .C 35 2009

Placenames of Russia and the Former Soviet Union. Reference DK 15 .R 66 2014

Placenames of the World : Origins and Meanings of the Names for 6,600 Countries, Cities, Territories, Natural Features, and Historic Sites. Reference G 105 .R 66 2006

Pronunciation Guide for Illinois Place Names. (Donald E. Brown, 1957)

Spring Place Names and Historic Data on Springs, Licks and Selected Water Wells in Illinois : A Two Part Compendium. Reference F 539 .R 44 2008

What do You call a Person From....? Reference PE 1582 .A 3 D 5 1990


Anthrolopology (with a section of resources on Ethnic and Culture groups)
Chicago Region and Neighborhoods
Fake News
Food and Culture
Political Science
Science and Politics
Statistics for Demographics and Business/Economics
Urban Studies


You can try searching our Library Catalog for reference books on countries by doing a keyword search like this:
name of the country AND (encyclopedia OR dictionary)

You can also look up information about various Ethnic/Culture Groups here.

Brazil Today : An Encyclopedia of Life in the Republic. Reference F 2504 .B 73 2012

Countries and Their Cultures. Reference GN 307 .C 68 2001.

Country Information and Statistics, from World

Country A collection of cultural, historical, statistical, and geographic information about countries.

Country Statistics and Reports from the Population Reference Bureau

Country Studies. A series of textbooks on all countries, with chapters on the various features of each country.

Culture and Customs of.... books in a series about different countries and ethnic groups

Eastern Europe: An Introduction to People, Lands, and Cultures . Reference DJK 9 .E 25 2005.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online . Look up the name of the country, state, or province.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Cultures. Reference F 1406 .E 515 2000

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Russian Cultures. Reference DK 510.32 .E 53 2007.

Encyclopedia of India.

Encyclopedia of Modern Asia. Reference DS 4 .L 48 2002.

Encyclopedia of the Developing World. Reference HC 59.7 .E 52 2006

Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Reference DS 43 .E 53 2004

Geography of the World. (Lots of basic facts and figures.)

Legal Systems of the World: A Political, Social, and Cultural Encyclopedia. Reference K 48 .L 44 2002.

Mexico: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History. (2004)

Maplandia. Lots of different geographical information available at this site.

Nationmaster. You can use this site to find statistics and make charts.

New Encyclopedia of Africa. Reference DT 2 .N 48 2008.

Rankings of Countries by democratic development, press freedoms, human rights, rule of law, corruption, civil liberties, economic freedom, from World

Regional Studies Sites from the Virtual Library

REGIONAL SURVEY SERIES, arranged by country name, with lots of recent economic and political information.

... Africa South of the Sahara. Reference DT 351 .A 37.
... Central and South-Eastern Europe. Reference D 1058 .C 46.
... Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia. Reference D 1058 .E 37.
... Far East and Australasia. Reference DS 1 .F 3.
... Middle East and North Africa. Referece DS 49 .M 5.
... South Asia. Reference DS 334 .S 68.
... Western Europe. Reference D 1050 .W 4.

U.S. Relations with Other Countries Information

The World Factbook [CIA]. This official government web site has maps and hard data on all the countries of the world.

World Education Encyclopedia: A Survey of Educational Systems Worldwide. . Reference LB 15 .W 87.

World Geographical Encyclopedia. Reference G 63 .E 5213 1995

THE WORLD TODAY SERIES, arranged by country name, with lots of recent economic and political information.
... Africa. Reference DT 1 .D 6.
... East and Southeast Asia. Reference DS 502 .H 53.
... Latin America. Reference F 1401 .L 3252.
... The Middle East and South Asia. Reference DS 44 .N 67.
... Nordic, Central, and Southeastern Europe. Reference DL 1 .N 67.
... Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Reference DJK 1 .S 452.
... Western Europe. Reference D 901 .W 47.

The Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life. Reference GN 333 .W 67 2009



Canada. (The World Today series) Reference F 1001 .C 1225
The Canadian Encyclopedia. Reference F 1006 .C 36 1988.
Canada's Diverse Peoples: A Reference Sourcebook. (2003)
Encyclopedia of Canadian Provinces.
Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador.
.Environmental History of Canada and Arctic North America. General GF 501 .W 96 2007
Statistics Canada. Searchable data from Canadian federal censuses and surveys.

U.S. States
American Ethnic Geography: A Cultural Geography of the United States and Canada

American FactFinder. Searchable statistics and maps from Census Bureau censuses and surveys. Includes census information for the US and US territories.

The American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia. Reference F 351 .A 534 2007

...The Great Plains Region. General F 591 .G 75 2004
...The Mid-Atlantic Region. . General F 106 .M 586 2004
...The Midwest Region . General F 357 .M 59 2004
...The New England Region. General F 4 .N 47 2004
...The Pacific Region. . General F 851 .P 1955 2005
...The Rocky Mountain Region . General F 721 .R 74 2004
...The South Region . General F 209 .S 68 2004
...The Southwest Region. General F 786 .S 747 2004

America's Changing Neighborhoods : An Exploration of Diversity through Places.

America's Natural Places: The Midwest.

Black America: A State-by-State Historical Encyclopedia. (2011)

Contemporary Immigration in America : A State-by-State Encyclopedia. (2015)

Encyclopedia of American Folklife. Reference GR 105 .E 53 2006

Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Reference F 106 .E 53 2006

Encyclopedia of New Jersey. (2004)

Encyclopedia of the Great Plains. Reference F 591 .E 4856 2004

New Encyclopedia of the American West . Reference F 591 .N 46 1998

...Grasslands of the United States. General GF 503 .S 54 2007
...New England and the Midwest. General GF 504 .N 86 C 85 2005
...Northeast and Midwest United States. General GF 504 .N 86 C 85 2005
...Southern United Staes. General GF 13.3 .S 6 S 68 2006
...United States West Coast.

Highpoints of the United States: A Guide to the Fifty State Summits. (2000)

Latino America : A State-by-State Encyclopedia. Reference E 184 .S 75 L 35555 2008

An Outline of American Geography: Regional Landscapes of the United States. (1992)

Political Encyclopedia of U.S. States and Regions. Reference JK 2408 .P 623 2009

State and Local Government web sites directory.

State Maps on File. Reference G 1200 .F 3 1984.

SAGE STATS. A database of recent statistics organized by states and topics.

STATISTICAL ABSTRACT OF THE UNITED STATES. Latest print copy on Ready Reference HA 202 .U 5 S 93.

Statistics selected by your Geography from Federal Stats/Map Stats.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of the States. General E 156 .W 67

Illinois Geographic Information

The Illinois State Geological Survey. The main source of cartographic information in the state.

The Illinois State Water Survey. The main source for information on rivers and lakes in the state.

The Artesian Waters of Northeastern Illinois. (1919)

Chicago and Cook County, Illinois - Digital Atlas.

DuPage County Flood Maps.

DuPage County Interactive Map of Communities.

Gazetteer of Illinois. Reference F539 .P36 1993

The Geography of Illinois, by Douglas Clay Ridgeley (1921)

Geography of the Middle Illinois Valley, by Harlan H. Barrows (1925)

Geography of the Upper Illinois Valley and History of Development. (1916)

How to Read Illinois Topographic Maps.

The Illinois Atlas and Gazetteer. Reference Atlas Stand G 1405 .D 4

Illinois Digital Map Library. From the U.S. Geneaology Web project.

Illinois Encyclopedia. Reference F539 .I45 2008

Illinois Fire Insurance Maps from Sanborn

Illinois: A Geographical Survey. Reference F 541.8 .I 45 1996

Illinois Geography quick facts.

A List of Illinois Place Names. Reference F 539 A 3 1968

Origin of the Names of Stations on the Line of the Illinois Central Railroad Co.

A Physiography of the Region of Chicago. (1927)

Place Names in the Midwestern United States. Reference F 351 .58 2000

Place Names of Illinois. Reference F 539 .C 35 2009

The Prairie Province of Illinois: A Study of Human Adjustment to the Natural Environment. (1931)

Pronunciation Guide for Illinois Place Names. (Donald E. Brown, 1957)

Spring Place Names and Historic Data on Springs, Licks and Selected Water Wells in Illinois : A Two Part Compendium. Reference F 539 .R 44 2008


What Is GIS???????
GIS DAY in November!

C.O.D. Library materials on Geographic Information Systems

A to Z GIS: An Illustrated Dictionary of Geographic Information Systems. Reference G 70.212 .A 86 2006

ARCUSER online GIS magazine from ESRI.

Bibliography for GIS, from ESRI.

The Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS)

Chicago GIS Data.

Dictionary of Abbreviations and Acronyms in GIS, Cartography, and Remote Sensing. (University of California at Berkeley Library)

DuPage County Government GIS department.

Encyclopedia of Geographic Information Science.

Encyclopedia of GIS. (2008)

The ESRI Press Dictionary of GIS Terminology. Reference G 70.212 .E 87 2001.

Geospatial Platform. Lots of information from the Federal Government.

GIS Cafe. Lots of different kinds of useful information.

GIS Commons: An Introductory Textbook on Geographic Information Systems.

GIS Data Depot.

GIS DAY! Always in November.

GIS Dictionary, from ESRI.

GIS Training/Education Community Information Page, from ESRI.

GIS for Housing and Urban Development. U.S. National Research Council 2003.

Great Lakes Information Network (GLIN) GIS Information.

GPS World magazine.

Illinois Geographic Information Systems Association (ILGISA).

Illinois GIS Data.

Key Concepts and Techniques in GIS.

National Historical Geographic Information System.

Spatial Resources for the Social Sciences (CSISS)

Yahoo GIS Directory.


For maps that you can copy or print off to go with your research papers, you can always look in our multitude of encyclopedias and atlases, in both the Reference and General collections. In addition, you can take a look at these items as well:

African History on File. Reference DT 20 .A 6194 1994.

Asia on File. Reference DS 5 .A 795 1996.

Charts on File. Reference AG 105 .C 44 1988.

Environment on File. Reference QH 541.15 .M 64 E 58 1991.

Geography on File. Reference G 1021 .F 25 1991.

Historical Maps on File. Reference G 1030 .M 37 2002.

Latin America on File. Reference G 1540 .T 6 1995.

Latin American History on File. Reference F 1410 .C 439 1996.

Outline Maps on File. Reference G 1046 .A 1 F 3 2002.

Maps on File. Reference G 1021 .M 3.

Weather and Climate on File. Reference QC 864 .W 43 2001.


Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) online maps for buses, METRA, and The "EL".
CIA Administrative and Topographic Maps. From the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Ditigital Atlas of Chicago and Cook County, Illinois.
DuPage County Flood Maps.
DuPage County Interactive Map of Communities.
Gridded Population of the World. Map representations of country or regional population.
Google Maps. Create online maps and view satellite photographs.
Historical Topographic Maps from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Illinois Digital Map Library. From the U.S. Geneaology Web project.
Illinois Fire Insurance Maps from Sanborn
Local RTA Transportation Maps.
Map Machine from National Geographic.
MapQuest Useful for local areas and detailed street maps.
Old Maps Online.
Periodical Historical Atlas of Europe to 1700 A.D.
Show Mapping. This site creates maps to using statistics on various topics to show how the countries or U.S. states rate when compared to each other.


Research Methods in Environment and Society background reading
GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives.
Researching Human Geography. General GF 21 .H 64 2002
Social Science Research Methods guide


Careers in Geography. C.O.D. Library Resources.
Geography Education National Implementation Project.
Human Geography course page for Advanced Placement Tests.
The National Council for Geographic Education.
National Geography Standards.
National Geography Standards and Lesson Plans.
National Geography Week.
The Nation's Report Card on Geography 2001 Results. (U.S. Department of Education)
The Nation's Report Card on Geography Homepage. (U.S. Department of Education)


(click there)
Look at the bottom of the page.