This guide provides basic information sources that will direct researchers to many of the most important books and articles on Latin America in the humanities and social sciences. If you need additional help researching Latin American topics or using reference sources, please contact the Department for Spain, Portugal and Latin America (SPLAT)office on the fifth floor.

NOTE: Titles in this guide are located in Watson Library Reference Department unless otherwise indicated. For additional internet sources, please consult the SPLAT Web site at

Research Guides

Covington, Paula H., ed. Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Sources. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
Z 1601 .L3225 1992
An interdisciplinary guide to reference and bibliographic sources on Latin America and the Caribbean. Arranged by discipline, each chapter includes an introductory essay, a bibliographic section, and a "resources" section containing brief descriptions of relevant special collections.

McNeil, Robert A., ed. Latin American Studies: A Basic Guide to Sources. 2nd ed. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1990.
Z 1601 .L324 1990
A guide to sources and techniques for research in Latin American studies. Sections describe key sources by format, such as encyclopedias, statistics, newspapers, and subject bibliographies. Also covers career development, associations, travel, and principal library and archival collections in Europe and the United States.

Cobos, Ana María. Latin American Studies : An Annotated Bibliography of Core Works. Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland & Co., c2002.
Z 1601 .C536 2002
An annotated bibliography of approximately 1,400 recommended books published from 1986 through 2000 in the field of Latin American studies. Includes sections on reference works, descriptive accounts and travel guides, the humanities, language and literature, the social sciences, and science and technology.

Grieb, Kenneth J., editor-in-chief. Research Guide to Central America and the Caribbean. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.
Z 1595 .R47 1985
A guide to topics and sources for research on Central American and Caribbean countries. Includes topical essays on each country and many useful essays on regional research themes. Also includes descriptions of important archival and library collections for regional research.

Werlich, David P. Research Tools for Latin American Historians: A Select, Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland Publishing, 1980.
Z1601 .W47 Watson Stacks
An excellent, concise guide to the most important bibliographical resources in Latin American history. Also pertinent to researchers of other Latin American topics.

Handbooks and Yearbooks

Latin America and Caribbean Contemporary Record. London: Holmes and Meier. 1983 to 1989.
F1401 .L3253
Annual guide to current social, political, and economic event and issues, organized in five parts. Includes topical essays, country essays, original documents, and political and economic data.

South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. London, Europa Publications, 1985-
F1406.5 .S68 Reference Desk
This handbook, issued every two years, surveys political and economic conditions of Latin American and the Caribbean Each country entry includes historical and economic essays, a statistical survey, a directory of the government agencies, organizations, media, banks, etc. Includes a selective English-language bibliography for each country.

Area Handbook Series. Washington, DC: U.S Federal Research Division.
Anschutz - Government Documents
The studies provide individual monographs about most countries in the world and describe each country's physical environment and its present society in terms of its economy, politics, social conditions, and military situation. They also contain historical background material. Each study includes an extensive bibliography related to the country it covers, with the emphasis on English language publications. Older editions are published under the title Area Handbook of [Country]. Newer editions can be found under the title [Country]: A Country Study. The series can also be found online through the SPLAT Web site at or at

Anthropological Handbooks

Steward, Julian H., editor. Handbook of South American Indians. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1946-1963. 7 volumes.
F 2229 .S75
This series provides authoritative introductory essays on the native cultures of South America.

Wauchope, Robert, general editor. Handbook of Middle American Indians. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1964-1976. 16 volumes; and Supplement, 1981-1986. 5 volumes.
F 1434 .H3
This series contains authoritative introductory essays on the ethnography, linguistics, and other aspects of native cultures of the Mesoamerican region.


Archaeology of Ancient Mexico and Central America: An Encyclopedia. New York : Garland Publishing, 2001.
F1218.6 .A73 2001
Comprehensive work devoted to pre-Columbian archaeology of the Mesoamerican culture area including cultural areas where pre-Columbian cultural traits were carried by migrants, from the U.S. Southwest to northern Ecuador. In more than 500 articles by the major experts in the field, this work brings the most recent scholarship to an examination of regional environments and their cultural evolution. Excellent tables and charts.

Cambridge Encyclopedia of Latin America and the Caribbean. 2nd ed. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992.
F1406 .C36 1992
Concise, one-volume work includes sections on physical environment, economy, peoples, history, politics and society, and culture. Includes over 60 maps and suggestions for further reading in each section.

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Cultures. London: Routledge, 2000.
F1406 .E515 2000
Three-volume set presents more than 4,000 entries that document social, political and cultural developments from the 1920s to the present day.

Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture. Edited by Tenenbaum, Barbara A. New York: C. Scribner's and Sons, 1996.
F1406 .E53 1996
Authoritative five-volume work contains nearly 5,300 biographical, geographical, and thematic entries.

Encyclopedia of Latin American Politics. Westport, Conn. : Oryx Press, 2002.
F1410 .E56 2002
This exceptional work offers an in-depth presentation of developments in Puerto Rico and the 20 Latin American republics since the early 1800s, focusing primarily on the 20th century. Well illustrated with maps and photographs, and containing both a glossary and a good index, this important volume offers clear explanations of events, individuals, and dynamics.

Latin America, History and Culture: An Encyclopedia for Students. Edited by Tenenbaum, Barbara A. New York: C. Scribner's and Sons, 1999.
F1406 .T46 1999
Four-volume basic work on Latin America.

Oxford Encyclopedia of Mesoamerican Cultures: The Civilizations of Mexico and Central America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
F1218.6 .O95 2001
Extensive three-volume work is composed of 617 lengthy articles addressing biographies, general contextual essays, and very specific topics. The geographic area covered includes Mexico through southern Mesoamerica. Though emphasis is placed on the past, contemporary cultural groups are also covered.

General Bibliographies

Handbook of Latin American Studies. Gainesville: University of Florida Press. 1935 to date.
Z 1605 .H23
HLAS is a selective, annotated subject bibliography of journal articles and monographs in the humanities and social sciences. Includes many Spanish and Portuguese publications. Since 1965, one volume on the social sciences and one on the humanities is published in alternate years. A summary article highlighting important publications precedes the bibliography for each field. Each volume has subject and author indexes. There is a three-year time lag in its publication (see HAPI for more up-to-date publications).

Handbook of Latin American Studies Online. (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1936- ).
HLAS, the most respected bibliographical publication in Latin American Studies (see above entry), is keyword-searchable online covering all published volumes and those in progress. The database includes bibliographical references and critical summaries of books, book reviews, bibliographic essays and periodical articles in the social sciences and the humanities. HLAS is also available by connecting to the SPLAT Web site at

Bibliography of Latin American and Caribbean Bibliographies. Madison, Wis.,: SALALM Secretariat, 1984 to date.
Z 1601 .S38 subser
Supplements Bibliography of Latin American Bibliographies (1968) by Arthur E. Gropp, Bibliography of Latin American Bibliographies (1971), Bibliography of Latin American Bibliographies--Social Sciences and Humanities (1979), edited by Daniel Raposo Cordeiro, and Bibliography of Latin American Bibliographies, 1975-1979 (1982), edited by Haydee Piedracueva.

Gropp, Arthur E. Bibliography of Latin American Bibliographies Published in Periodicals. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press, 1976.
Z 1601 .A2 G76 1976
A companion to Gropp's Bibliography of Latin American Bibliographies, this work covers publications from the period 1929-1965. It lists articles which are bibliographic in nature or which have substantial bibliographies appended. For later years see Handbook of Latin American Studies or Hispanic American Periodical Index (HAPI).

Medina, Jose Toribio. Biblioteca Hispanoamericana, 1493-1810. 7 volumes. Ed. facsimilar. Santiago de Chile: Fondo Histórico y Bibliográfico José Toribio Medina, 1958-62.
Z 1601.M5 1493-1810
This extensively annotated work by Latin America's greatest bibliographer covers the entire colonial period, and includes over 8,400 references to books and periodicals listed in chronological order.

Third World Resource Directory, 1994-1995. edited by Thomas P. Fenton. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books, 1994.
Z 7164 .U5 T46 1994
Annotated guide to monographs, serials, and audiovisual resources from and about the Third World. Resources are arranged by region and country and by 39 topics (e.g. agriculture, conflicts and military intervention, rainforest, women). Also includes a directory of nongovermental organizations.

Electronic Indexes and Databases

ClasePeriodica. México, D.F.: Departamento de Bibliografía Latinoamericana de la Dirección General de Bibliotecas de la UNAM, [2003?]-
ClasePeriodica is an index of Latin American and Caribbean journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. The database combines Clase which indexes documents specializing in the social sciences and humanities and Periodica which covers journals specializing in science and technology. ClasePeriodica contains information from articles, essays, book reviews, monographs, conference proceedings, technical reports, interviews and brief notes published in scholarly journals in the Spanish, Portuguese, French and English languages.

HAPI, Hispanic American Periodicals Index Online. Los Angeles: Latin American Center, University of California. 1970 to date.
A standard reference source, HAPI is an annual author and subject index to about 500 journals, in all languages, related to Latin American studies. Includes articles, documents, reviews, and bibliographies. Available on all networked library workstations or via the SPLAT Web site at or the KU Libraries Web site at A print copy is also available.

Handbook of Latin American Studies Online. (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1936- ).
HLAS, the most respected bibliographical publication in Latin American Studies, is keyword-searchable online covering all published volumes and those in progress. The database includes bibliographical references and critical summaries of books, book reviews, bibliographic essays and periodical articles in the social sciences and the humanities. There is a three-year time lag in its publication (see HAPI for more up-to-date publications). HLAS is also available by connecting to the SPLAT Web site at A print copy is also available.

¡Informe!: Revistas en Español. Foster City, CA : Information Access Company. Current year + 2 years.
Provides full-text access to 60 popular Spanish-language magazines and 100 pamphlets. Topics includes cultural issues, health, politics and current events. Can be accessed in either English or Spanish. Contains bilingual citations. ¡Informe! is available on all networked library workstations or by connecting to the KU Libraries Web site at

General History

Cambridge History of Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1984-1996.
F 1410 .C1834 1984
Authoritative survey of Latin America's history, published in 11 volumes. Each volume covers a historical period and a number of themes. The most recent volume includes bibliographical essays emphasizing recently published material.

Book Reviews

Archivo biográfico de España, Portugal e Iberoamérica Series I and II. München: Saur, 1986-1992.
CT1344 .A73 1986 Microforms-Microfiche
CT1344 .A74 1993 Microforms-Microfiche
A compilation on microfiche of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American biographical information from biographical sources published between 1600 and 1950.

Guía a las reseñas de libros de y sobre Hispanoamérica/Guide to Review of Books from and about Hispanic America. Río Piedras, P.R.: Ediciones Puerto, 1960-1965, 1972-1990.
Z 1035 .A1 G84
Indexes reviews in over 700 journals related to Latin America. Summaries are in English and Spanish. See also HAPI.


Mundo Lo, Sara de. Index to Spanish American Collective Biography. Boston: G.K. Hall, 1981-1985. 4 vols.
Z 1609 .B6 M86
Annotated index to biographical information recorded in collective biographies published since 1600. Arranged by country, it covers Spanish America and the Caribbean. Includes author, title, name and geographical indexes.

Current Events Sources

The KU Libraries receive a number of newspapers from Latin America and the Caribbean that are available in the Periodicals Reading Room.

Factiva. New York : Dow Jones & Reuters
Online provides access to over 8,000 business and news sources, many in full-text. Sources include news wires (Dow Jones and Reuters), company reports, trade journals, web sites, pictures, and newspapers, including daily coverage of the Wall Street Journal. Sources are available in 22 languages. provides information on over 22,000 public and private companies. Searching is available by industry, region, subject, company, source, and language. Free text searching is also possible.

LATIN AMERICA DATA BASE (LADB). Latin American Institute, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque.
An archive of over 23,000 recent and current full-text articles on Latin America, including Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. News reports are synthesized from regional and international sources, mostly from newspaper reports and journal articles. Subjects covered include politics, economics, human rights, environment, drugs and military. Articles appear in English only. Dates from 1986 and is updated quarterly. LADB also contains a full-text database of selected Latin American economic publications. The database, called the Economies of Latin America Archive, includes serials, reports, and working papers produced by governmental agencies, academic research institutes, and non-governmental organizations in approximately twenty countries in Latin America. Most articles are in Spanish. Coverage in the database begins with 1994 or 1995 volumes. Available on all networked library workstations or via the SPLAT Web site at or the KU Libraries Web site at

INFO-LATINOAMERICA. Baltimore, MD: National Information Services Corporation.
Info-Latinoamerica contains many business-related full text articles (beginning with 1995); and citations (indexing and abstracts) to more general articles on economics, politics and related social and cultural issues (covering 1988- to date). The database is compiled from over 1,500 leading international and domestic newspapers, journals, news magazines, newsletters, and other sources. Approximately 15,000 records are added per year. Available on all networked library workstations or via the SPLAT Web site at or the KU Library Home Page at

LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe. [Miamisburg, OH]: LEXIS-NEXIS, Division of Reed Elsevier,
An online database that provides full-text access to general and specialty news sources. Available on all networked library workstations or via the KU Library Home Page at

World News Connection WNC. [Washington, D.C.?]: National Technical Information Service.
World News Connection WNC is an online news service that offers an extensive array of translated and English-language news and information with excellent coverage of Latin America. Particularly effective in its coverage of local media sources, it is compiled from thousands of non-U.S. media sources. The information in WNC covers significant socioeconomic, political, scientific, technical, and environmental issues and events. Generally, new information is available within 48-72 hours from the time of original publication or broadcast.

Statistical Sources

Anuario estadístico de América Latina y el Caribe/Statistical Yearbook for Latin American and the Caribbean. New York: United Nations, Economic Commission for Latin America. 1973 to date.
Anschutz Library
Lastest Version Online at: (click on Anuario estadístico)
Annual compilation of tables on economic and social development in each country of Latin America and the Caribbean, population and demographic characteristics, employment and occupational structure, poverty, consumption and nutrition, health, education, housing, national accounts, domestic prices, financing and external indebtedness, external trade, balance of payments, natural resources and production of goods, and infrastructure services.

Statistical Abstract of Latin America. Los Angeles: Latin American Center, University of California Press. 1955 - to date.
HA 931 .C3
Annual 2-volume compilation of data on the Latin American countries, arranged in 12 parts: geography and land tenure; transportation and communication; population, health, education, and welfare; politics, religion, and military; working conditions and migration; illegal and legal industry; mining, energy, sea, and land production; foreign trade; financial flows; national accounts, government policy and finance, and prices; development of date; and guide to data.

Latin America and the Caribbean : selected economic and social data. Washington, D.C. : Agency for International Development, 1991-
S 18.2:C 19/2/ [PAPER] Anschutz Library Documents
Annual compilation of data on the region and on each country in Latin America, organized in sections on social indicators, economic, trade, and foreign assistance. Includes numerous tables and graphs.

Carole Travis, ed. A Guide to Latin American and Caribbean Census Material: A Bibliography and Union List. London: British Library, 1990.
Z 7553 .C3 G85 1990
Includes 700 pages of chronological descriptive bibliographies of all the censuses taken in each country of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Mitchell, B.R. International historical statistics: the Americas 1750-2000. 5th ed. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.
HA 175 .M55 2003 Anschutz Reference
A comprehensive survey of historical statistics for the Americas which presents a wide range of statistical dated obtained from official national and international abstracts of statistics. Topics include climate, population and vital statistics, labor force, agriculture, industry, commerce, transport and communications, finance, prices, education, and national accounts.

Subject Headings

Subject headings can help you identify pertinent research materials when searching the KU Libraries' Online Catalog, as well as other library catalogs, periodical indexes and other reference publications

Examples of different types of subject headings relevant to the field of Latin Studies are listed below:


This Guide for Readers was prepared by Jana Lee Krentz Bibliographer for Spain, Portugal and Latin America (SPLAT), June 2003.