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Geography: A Research Guide

This guide is intended to serve as a starting point for locating information pertaining to geography using both print and electronic resources available through the University at Albany Libraries.

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Country Specific Sources

Resources listed on this page are for general geographic dictionaries and encyclopedias.  In addition, the Libraries own many country and region specific reference materials.  To find them in the catalog, do a key word search on the country or region of interest and the type of material you seek.  For example, try searching "china and encyclopedia" or "caribbean and dictionary."

Geographical Dictionaries


  • Cultural Geography: A Critical Dictionary of Key Concepts, edited by David Atkinson. London: I.B. Tauris, 2005. Contains more than thirty essays covering the most important concepts in cultural geography. [Ref GF 41 C852 2005]    
  • Dictionary of Geography, by Susan Mayhew.  New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.  This reference work covers words and terms encountered in both human and physical geography. Each entry provides an initial brief definition followed by a more in-depth explanation. Included also are also key economic and population statistics.  [Ref G 63 M39 1997]
  • Dictionary of Human Geography, edited by R.J. Johnston, et al.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. This includes definitions of terms, concepts, theories, and organizations in the contemporary study of human geography. Includes short bibliographies.  [Ref GF 4 D52 2000]
  • Dictionary of Physical Geography, edited by David S.G. Thomas and Andrew Goudie.  Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.  Contains over 2,000 entries, covering terms in the field with an international perspective.  [Ref GB 10 D53 2000]
  • Encyclopedic Dictionary of Physical Geography, edited by Andrew Goudie, et al.  Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1994.  Includes concise definitions and longer articles on vocabulary and concepts in physical geography. Includes short bibliographies.  [Ref GB 10 E53 1994]
  • Houghton Mifflin Dictionary of Geography: Places and Peoples of the World.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.  This dictionary contains about 10,000 brief entries covering geographic place names and the major peoples, ethnic groups, and languages of the world.   [Ref G 63 H68 1997]

Geographical Encyclopedias

  • Encyclopedia of Human Geography, by Gerald R. Pitzl. Westport, CT: Greenwood Pub., 2004. This encyclopedia has about 300 entries covering concepts, theories, and key people associated with human geography over a significant span of time. [Ref GF 4 P58 2004]
  • Encyclopedia of World Geography, edited by R.W. McColl.  New York: Checkmark Books/Facts On File, 2005. This three volume set is a good resource for understanding basic concepts in geography.  Over 700 entries cover prominent individuals in the history of geography and cartography; world regions, boundaries, and places; and tools applicable to the field. Appendixes include world rankings, a world atlas and many other maps. [Ref GF 63 E556 2005]
  • World Geographical Encyclopedia, edited by Sybil P. Parker.  New York: McGraw-Hill, 1995.  This is a five volume illustrated set.  Typical entries include an overview of the natural environment, population, economy, history and culture of the region.  [Ref G 63 E5213 1995]
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations, Gale Group staff.  Detroit : Gale Group, 2001.  This six volume set contains 200 articles covering 194 countries.  The first volume covers the family of organizations that comprise the United Nations system, and the sixth volume provides biographical profiles of world leaders.  [Ref G 63 W67 2001]