PS 240: Introduction to Latin American Politics
Library Guide ~ Fall 2009
Leadership Assessment: a 5-step guide to finding biographical, political and news resources!
1. Locate biographical information on your chosen leader
2. Gather background information on the country of interest
3. Find analyses of the current political situation in journals and magazines
4. Find current news of political events in your country
5. For further information…
1. Biographical information
Step beyond biography.com with these resources. (BSC user ID & login is required for off-campus access)
Biographical info on more than half a million people (plus images) and links to recent articles about these individuals.
Click on the “People” tab to access biographical profiles and news.
Search across multiple reference sources to locate biographical information on your leader and put it in context. Also a good source for country information.
Includes biographical profiles, information from Britannica Book of the Year annual summaries, and links to websites.
2. Background Information
There are several online sources that can help you gather background information on the current leaders and political & social realities in Latin American countries:
Background Notes (
Brief profiles giving basic information about countries.
Another good source for finding basic information about countries.
Country Studies (Library of Congress)
Excellent book-length studies of countries’ history, culture and politics.
Political Database of the Americas (
Information on countries’ constitutions, elections, civil society, political parties, and governmental institutions. Can be searched by name of country.
Country and Regional
Information about US AID programs in Latin American countries plus links to country info.
Country Reports on Human Rights
Official State Department reports on the human rights situation in various countries.
Amnesty International Annual Report
Documents human rights violations in countries for the most recent year.
Global Road Warrior (BSC user ID & login required for off-campus access)
Social & cultural information about countries for the business traveler (or CIA agent posing as one!)
3. Journal and magazine articles
The BSC Library subscribes
to a number of journals related to
These databases contain a mixture of popular and scholarly articles from a range of magazines and journals, many of them full text. They are continuously updated.
Academic OneFile (1980 – present)
Academic Search Elite (1990 – present)
Expanded Academic ASAP (1980 – present)
Proquest Research Library (1980s – present)
The following databases specifically cover social science journals and documents.
Social Sciences Full Text (1983 – present)
Indexes around 400 journals in the social sciences; about ¼ are available full text
PAIS International (1972 – present + archive 1915-1976)
Indexes and abstracts articles from over 2100 periodicals, books & book chapters, conference proceedings, and government documents dealing with politics and public affairs.
Handbook of Latin American Studies (1936 – present)
An annotated bibliography listing books, articles, and essays published on Latin American topics, in the humanities and social sciences.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (1984 – present)
Indexes political science and government journals.
LexisNexis Congressional (full text from mid-1980s – present)
Use this database to find the full text of Congressional hearings and reports on your country.
Once you have identified some articles that sound good, you will probably notice that not all of them are available full text in the database you are searching. To see if an article is available full-text in another database, or if it's available in print or microfilm format in the Library, please consult the Ejournals link on the Library home page. If you need an article that is not available locally, you can request it through Interlibrary Loan.
4. Current news of political events
Lexis Nexis Academic (1970s – present)
“Major US and World Publications” section of this database provides
access to the full text of over 50 English language newspapers, including the
Facts on File World News Digest (1940 – present)
This searchable database offers brief news summaries; search by your leader’s name and you’ll be presented with a useful chronology of headlines going back through the years, as well as recent news. Country profiles are also available from the main page of the website.
Newspapers and magazines from your leader’s country are an excellent source of information. The “Newspapers & News” section of LANIC provides links to major newspapers by country. There are English language newspapers available for many countries. The “Magazines” section of LANIC (available at http://lanic.utexas.edu/la/region/epub ) also offers links to news magazines; however, very few of these are in English.
5. For further information…
Several sources serve as
gateways to more information on
LANIC - http://lanic.utexas.edu
Organization of American States - http://www.oas.org
Provides news and papers on issues of interest to the entire region.
Offers free publications and other resources.