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Geography: Home


This guide will list some of the resources available at the COD Library that you can use to find information when doing research on Geography  topics. A list of various topics can be found below.

COD Geography Academic Program

COD Counseling Help

Over on the right are some other research tools that you can use to find information.

Be sure to ask for help at the Reference desks if you have questions or problems.

College Success Skills

Finding Country Information

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 National/Ethnic/Culture Groups here.

Global Education Research Guide

Information about the various aspects of the cultures of other countries can be found by clicking here.

Countries and Their Cultures. Reference GN 307 .C 68 2001.
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
Encyclopaedia Britannica Online . Look up the name of the country, state, or province.
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 AfricaReference DS 43 .E 53 2004
Geography of the World. (Lots of basic facts and figures.)
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.
Regional Studies Sites from the Virtual Library

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

Finding U.S. State and Canadian Province Information

The Canadian Encyclopedia
Canadian Newstream database
Canada's Diverse Peoples:  A Reference Sourcebook.   General  F 1035 .A 1 B 86 2003
Encyclopedia of Canadian Provinces.
Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Environmental History of Canada and Arctic North America. General GF 501 .W 96 2007
Historical Dictionary of Canada
Indigenous Peoples of Canada
Statistics Canada. Searchable data from Canadian federal censuses and surveys.

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

Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Reference F 106 .E 53 2006

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

New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture:  Volume  2, Geography.

...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 States. 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.
Statistical Abstract of the United States. Latest print copy on Ready Reference HA 202 .U 5 S 93.
A list of other statistical databases to try.

Atlases and Maps

Atlas Mind Map - for related concepts and terms

Map Mind Map -  for related concepts  and terms

Atlas definition

Map definition

Using Maps in Genealogy

The COD Library has a very limited number of fold out maps, located in our Flat Files.  Please ask for assistance at the downstairs Reference Desk.

Most atlases are located upstairs in the General Collection, with some are also downstairs in the Reference Collection.  Most atlases have a call number that starts with a "G" or "GA".   Other Atlases of specific places or topics or time periods can be found under different call numbers, so use the Library Catalog to find all of  these items.  In the Library Catalog search box, combine the word   Atlas  with some other keyword, like this example:   atlas AND world war

If the location for an atlas is listed in the Library Catalog record as ATLAS STAND, that is located beside the stairs near the Media Lab on the lower level.

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World

Chicago Region

See also the related Urban  Studies section below, especially the Background Readings.
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

Chicago: A Chronological & Documentary History, 1784-1970. General F 548.3 .F 87 1974
Chicago History Timeline. Online.

Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs:  A Historical Guide.   Reference  F 548.18 .K 43 2008

Chicago:  Webster's Quotations, Facts, and Phrases.   Reference  F  548.36 .C 455 2008
Chicagoland 6-County Atlas. Ready Reference G1049 .C5 A6
The Encyclopedia of Chicago. Online and Reference F 548.3 .E53 2004
Encyclopedia of Urban America:  The Cities and Suburbs.  Reference HT 123 .E5 1998
The Directory of Chicago Area Ethnic Organizations and Media. Reference F 548.9 .A 1 D 57 2012
Encyclopedia of the Chicago Literary Renaissance. Reference PS 285 .C 47 P 56 2004
Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures. Reference HD 108.5 .E 53 2002
The Geography of Illinois. (Douglas Clay Ridgely, University of Chicago Press,1921)
Illinois Biographical Dictionary. Reference CT 232 .I 448 2008
Illinois Encyclopedia. Reference F 539 .I 45 2008
Municipal Codes. Click on the city name to find the municipal code.
Place Names of Illinois. Reference F 539 .C 35 2009
Pronunciation Guide for Illinois Place Names. (Donald E. Brown, University of Illinois, 1957)

Terminal Town:  An Illustrated Guide to Chicago's Airports, Bus Depots, Train Stations, and Steamship Landings.   General  HE 310 .C 45 S 258 2014

A list of other guides to Chicago's neighborhoods and suburbs.

Chicago is a huge and ethnically diverse city that has long been divided into many diverse neighborhoods, which are officially known as Chicago Community Areas (CCA's). The Community Areas all have numbers assigned to them by the city government, although these numbers are usually not mentioned in journal or news articles. You need to know the number of the community area in order to do effective research in many databases and reference publications. Click on this link to see a map of the Chicago Community Areas.

Chicago Community Areas

What is Gentrification?
What is a Neighborhood?
What is an Ethnic Neighborhood?


America's Changing Neighborhoods : An Exploration of Diversity through Places.
Chicago Neighborhoods and Suburbs: A Historical Guide.  Reference  F 548.18 .K 43 2008
The Chicago 77: A Community Area Handbook.  Reference  F 548.6 .Z 36 2014
Chicagoland 6-County Atlas.  Ready Reference  G1049 .C 5 A6
The Directory of Chicago Area Ethnic Organizations and Media.  Reference  F 548.9 .A 1 D 57 2012
The Encyclopedia of Chicago.  Online and Reference  F 548.3 .E5 3 2004
The Ethnic Handbook: A Guide to the Cultures and Traditions of Chicago's Diverse Communities.  General  F 548.9 .A1 E 87 1996

The Newberry Library Chicago Neighborhood Guide. A bibliography covering books, articles, maps and websites for the Chicago neighborhoods.

The general call number for books about DuPage County is:  F 547 .D9.

DuPage County Cultural and Historical Sites Inventory.  Reference  F 547 .D 9 D 87 1996
DuPage County Historical Museum. This library, located in Wheaton, has a large collection of DuPage County history books as well as plats of survey for the county.
DuPage County QuickFacts from the U.S. Census
DuPage County Website
DuPage Roots. A history of DuPage County.  Reference  F 547 .D 9 T 49x 1985
Family Maps of DuPage County, Illinois: With Homesteads, Roads, Waterways, Towns, Cemeteries, Railroads, and More.  Reference  F 547 .D 9 B 69 2007
History of DuPage County, Illinois. (1874) by Rufus Blanchard
A History of the County of DuPage, Illinois. (1857) by C.W. Richmond.  Reference  F 547.D 9 H 578 2010
Inventory of Historical Landmarks in DuPage County: Interim Report.  Reference  F 547 .D 9 I 5 1974
The Phoenix Land: The Natural History of DuPage County.  General  QH 105 .I 3 L 3 1995
Wheaton Public Library. The Wheaton Public Library has a large collection of local history and geneaology resources.
Other local libraries in the county will have information on their towns. A list of public libraries in DuPage County can be found here: DuPage County Libraries

An Atlas of Biodiversity : Chicago Wilderness, A Regional Nature Reserve. Reference QH 105 .I 3 S 95 1997
Chicago Community Areas. Map of the 77 Chicago Community Areas.
Chicago: Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Interactive and downloadable maps for the city of Chicago.
Chicago, Illinois, and Regional Demographics and Maps. This Governors State University Library website has links to detailed information on Chicago geography, census reports, and demographics.
Chicago in Map: 1612 - 2002.. General F 548.3 .H 96 2005
Chicago Transit Authority. Online route maps for buses, METRA, and the "EL."
Chicagoland 6-County Atlas. Ready Reference G 1049 .C 5 .A 6 2003

Chicago's Wealth Divide, from Crain's Chicago Business
City of Chicago Police Districts and Community Areas.
Cook County, Illinois: Maps and Gazeteers. Extensive collection of historical maps for Cook County.
Illinois Digital Map Library. Digitized county maps, mostly from the 1800's, sponsored by the U.S. Genealogy Web Project.
Illinois Historic Maps. From the University of Texas map collection.

Maps of 2000 Census Tracts for Northeastern Illinois.  Atlas Stand.
Old Maps Online: Chicago Area. Digitized historical maps of the Chicago area from the late 1800's to the early 1900's.
Radical Cartography: Chicago Boundaries. Dot mapping technique shows the racial transition in Chicago from 2000 to 2009, with an overlay of the CCA boundaries.

List of COD databases for finding Statistics

Business Loans in the Chicago Region: Access to Credit. Fact sheet from the Woodstock Institute listing business loans by race and area.
Catalog of Administrative Data Sources for Neighborhood Indicators.
Chicago Community Area 2000 Census Profiles.    

Chicago Community Areas 2020 Census Profiles                            

Chicago Health Atlas
Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning (CMAP). Click on the DATA tab for demographic, land use, and transportation data.
Chicago Police Crime Statistics. Search for weekly as well as historical statistics by District Number.

Chicago's Wealth Divide, from Crain's Chicago Business

City of Chicago Data Portal. Browse or search historical as well as current data on the city of Chicago, including current employee names and salaries, building permits, and crimes.
Cities Ranked and Rated.Reference HT 123 .C585 Statistics by city, including housing, income, and racial distribution.
Cook County QuickFacts from the U.S. Census
Cook County Statistical Abstract
Demographia. Wide range of Chicago data including commuter information, growth rate, and population density. Compiled by Wendell Cox Consultancy.
DuPage County QuickFacts from the U.S. Census
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Statistics and information for Chicago and other midwest cities.
Illinois Congressional District Demographic Profiles. Search by Congressional District Number to get data on sex, age, race, and ancestry for that district.
Local Community Fact Book: Chicago Metropolitan Area: Based on the 1970 and 1980 Censuses. Reference and General HA 730 .C5 L63 1984
Statistical Abstract of the United States. Ready Reference and General HA 202 .U5 S93
Young Children in Chicago. Statistical data on children, ages 0-5, in the 77 Chicago neighborhoods.

Economic Geography

See also the related Urban Studies section down below, especially the Background Readings.

Economic Geography Mind Map - for related concepts and terms

Economic Geography

Economic Geography of Energy

Facilities Location Decisions for Business

Industrial Location

Political Economy Terms online.

Public Assistance

Spatial Econometrics


Atlas of British Social and Economic History (1700-1988)  General Collection HC253 .A86 1989b

Atlas of Economic Complexity

Atlas of Global Development

Atlas of Global Inequalities

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

Books on  the general  topic of Economic Geography can be found at the "HF 1025" call number area in the General  collection.

Other books on the economic geography of specific places or topics or time periods can be found under different call numbers, so use the Library Catalog to find these items.

Economics Research Guide

Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

COD Academic GIS Certificate Program

What Is GIS?
GIS DAY in November!

Geography and Visual Information background reading

Geography:  Electronic and Digital Resources background reading

Geostatistics definition

Remote Sensing background reading

Spatial Relationships background reading

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

List of Case Studies on Geographic Information Systems


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

ARCGis Living Atlas of the World

ARCUSER online GIS magazine from ESRI.

Bibliography for GIS, from ESRI.

The Center for Spatially Integrated Social Science (CSISS)

Chicago GIS Data.

Cook County GIS Department

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 Geographic Information Science

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 Dictionary, from ESRI.

GIS Training/Education Community Information Page, from ESRI.

GIS for Housing and Urban DevelopmentU.S. National Research Council 2003.

GIS Research Methods: Incorporating Spatial Perspectives. 

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 (NHGIS).

Illinois Geographic Information

See also the section  above on finding U.S. State 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 American Midwest: An Interpretive Encyclopedia. Reference F 351 .A 534 2007

American Regional Cultures:  The  Midwest Region. General F 357 .M 59 2004

The Artesian Waters of Northeastern Illinois. (1919)

Cook County GIS Information

DuPage County Flood Maps.

DuPage County Interactive Map of Communities.

Environmental History of the Northeast and Midwest United States. General GF 504 .N 86 C 85 2005

Gazetteer of Illinois. Reference F539 .P36 1993

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

Geography of the Middle Illinois Valleyby 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. Genealogy 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.

Illinois:  Webster's Quotations,  Facts, and Phrases.   Reference  F 539 .I 548 2008

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.

Place Names in the Midwestern United States. Reference F 351 .P 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

Latin America / Caribbean

An Atlas and Survey of Latin American History.

Atlas of Mexico.   Reference  G 545 .P 535 2018

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

Dictionary of Latin American Cultural Studies.

Encyclopedia of Colonial Latin America

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

Encyclopedia of Early Modern Latin America (1820's to 1900)

Encyclopedia of Modern Latin America:  1900 to the Present.

Encyclopedia of Pre-Colonial Latin America

History Atlas of South America.   General  G 1701.S 1 E 4 1998

Iconic Mexico:  An Encyclopedia.

Latin America and the Caribbean:  Atlas of Our Changing Environment.  General GE 160 .L 29 U 55 2010

Mexico:  An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History.   General  F 1234 .C 67 2004

Place / Location

Introduction to Place Names

Place Names Mind Map - for  related concepts and terms

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

Dictionary of American Regionalisms:  Local Expressions from Coast to Coast

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.)

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

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

Placenames of the Civil War

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

Rural Studies

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

Blue Collar Culture:  From NASCAR to the Jersey Shore.   General  HD 4901 .B 59 2012

Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia.   Reference  SK 33 .S 646 2000

Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Food Systems

Encyclopedia of Community:  From the Village to the Virtual World

Encyclopedia of Rural America:  The Land and People.   Reference   E 169.12 .E 5 1997

Encyclopedia of Rural Crime

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

The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Homes through History.   General  NA 7105 .S 74 2009

The New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture:  Agriculture and Industry

Poverty in the United States:  An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, and Policy.   Reference  HC  110 .P 6 P 598 2004

Rural America at a Glance (statistics)

The Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture.  Reference  NA 7205 .C 27 1994


Russia / Eastern Europe

The Aral Sea Encyclopedia.  General  GC 1023.425 .A 73 A 73 2009

Atlas of Russia's Intact Forest Landscapes.  General  G 2141 .K 1 A 8 2002

Atlas of the Ethno-Political History of the Caucasus.  Reference  G 2163.51 .S 1 T 813 2014

The Black Sea Encyclopedia.

Carpathian Rus':  A Historical Atlas.  General  G 6966 .S 1 M 34 2017

Cultural Atlas of Russia and the Former Soviet UnionGeneral  DK 32 .M 62 1998

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

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

Ethnic Groups of North, East, and Central Asia:  An Encyclopedia.

A Geography of Russia and its Neighbors.   General  DK 510.28 .B 55 2011

Historical Dictionary of Azerbaijan

Historical Maps of Europe.  General   G 1797.21 .S 1 S 9 2000

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

Restless Empire:  A Historical Atlas of Russia.  Reference  G 2111 .S 1 B 3 2015

The Routledge Atlas of Russian History.   General  G 2111 .S 1 G 52 2007

Urban Studies

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

Cities in American Political History.

Encyclopedia of American Urban History.

Encyclopedia of Community:  From the Village to the Virtual World. 

Encyclopedia of Housing.  General  HD 7287 .E 53 1998

Encyclopedia of the City. Reference HT 108.5 .E 63 2005.

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

Encyclopedia of Urban Studies. Reference HT 108.5 .E 634 2010.

Encyclopedic Dictionary of Landscape and Urban Planning: A Multilingual Reference Book.

Guide to Urban Politics and Policy in the United States.

Key Concepts in Community Studies.

Key Concepts in Urban Geography . General GF 125 .L 38 2008.

Key Concepts in Urban Studies . Reference HT 109 .G 68 2005.

The Oxford Encyclopedia of American Urban History.

The Urban Dictionary

The Wiley - Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies

World Encyclopedia of Cities. Reference HT 108.5 .K 87 1993.


Cities, Towns, and Settlements in U.S. History:  Themes in U.S. History

Urban Life:  Readings in the Anthropology of the City.   General  GN 395 .U 725 2018

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