Geography 4990: Senior Seminar in Geography

Professor: Gail Ludwig Librarian: Goodie Bhullar

Finding Books

The MU Libraries Gateway is the main access point to both the MERLIN & MOBIUS Catalogs. The MERLIN Catalog is a listing of all materials (books, journals, magazines, and other materials) owned by MU Libraries as well as libraries at the other University of Missouri campuses in St. Louis, Kansas City, and Rolla. The MOBIUS Catalog is a union catalog listing the holdings (over 18 million) of 68 Missouri university and college libraries. To find book, select the MERLIN Catalog from the left column of the Gateway and then do the “Keyword Search.” Type in the words describing the topic you are researching. Once you have a list of hits, select ones that look on-target. Examine the subject headings for those items. Subject headings searches generally pull up more relevant hits than a keyword search. When you search the MERLIN Catalog, the computer generally defaults to searching only the MU campus. By choosing “ALL MERLIN,” you can expand your search to the other campus of the University of Missouri system. To expand your search still further to all university and college libraries in the state of Missouri, click on the MOBIUS Catalog. Most books found in the MERLIN & MOBIUS Catalogs are requestable. Just click the “Request Item” link. Books requested through MERLIN and MOBIUS take approximately 3 working days to arrive. You’ll be notified by e-mail when your book(s) is ready for pickup. Gale Virtual Reference Library is a database of encyclopedias, almanacs, and specialized reference sources for multidisciplinary research.

Finding Articles

From the MU Libraries Gateway, click on “Find a Database” link to access over 300 articles databases. Databases are electronic indexes that provide citations to journal, magazine or newspaper articles including citations to book chapters, dissertations, etc. Like the MERLIN Catalog, these databases allow you to search by keyword, author, etc. and to retrieve citations, abstracts and often, even the fulltext of articles. Note: If you are accessing MU databases remotely, from off-campus locations, you will be asked to authenticate yourself by entering your MU pawprint.


If you need one or two articles on a geography topic, try one of the following General magazine and journal article Databases.
  • Academic Search Premier is the world’s largest academic multi-disciplinary database that provides some fulltext access to over 4,600 scholarly publications in all disciplines, including core Geography journals. More that 3,500 publications are peer-reviewed. In addition to the fulltext journals, this database offers indexing and abstracts for all 8, 052 publications in the database. Coverage is 1984 to date, updating is constant and many articles are fulltext.
  • Lexis Nexis Academic is the world’s most comprehensive full-text databases of news, business, financial, and company information. Best sources for current, up-to-date information. Includes citations and full-text to thousands of legal documents, newspapers, wire services, magazines, journals and transcripts.
  • Lexis Nexis Congressional is a comprehensive collection of information of and about the U.S. Congress. A selected full-text of bills, laws, regulations, and Congressional publications, and extensive biographical, financial, and voting information on current members of Congress.
  • Lexis Nexis Statistical provides access to federal governmental statistical sources. Links to 800 full-text documents and to 2,000 publications on federal agency web sites.
For more in-depth research, try searching Subject-related Databases. Begin at the MU Libraries Gateway. Click on Find a Database and then click on the broad subject division of Social Sciences, you will find another list, further dividing the Social Sciences division. You may want to look at all the databases assigned to Geography. Select one of th databases from the list and follow instructions on how to conduct a search. Every database has a slightly different interface, but all have help pages that contain tips and/or tutorials. Following are a selected list of Subject-related Databases that may be of interest:
  • GEOBASE indexes worldwide scholarly literature on geography, geology, and ecology, specifically human and physical geography, cartography, Geographical Information systems, international development and oceanography. It indexes over 2,060 journals from 1980 to present.
  • GEOREF indexes geology and geophysics literature—a database of the American Geological Institute, 1785 to present.
  • Web of Science indexes over 5,700 interantional journals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities. This database is good for biogeography & climatology topics. It covers the most prestigious, heavily cited journals, those with the highest impact factors, in all fields. Besides author and topic searching, this datbase allowsyou to do cited reference searching—to determine which jouranl articles have been cited previously published research. Coverage is 1990 to date, updating is weekly and there are some links to fulltext.
  • EconLit provides coverage of the world-wide literature on economics/economic geography.
  • PAIS indexes literature on public policy, social policy, and the social sciences in general. Worldwide literature on public policy.
  • JSTOR is an archive (backfiles) containing full-text articles from selected scholarly journals in ecology, economics, history, population studies, political science, education, etc.
  • Dissertation Abstracts (1861 to present) is a multi-disciplinary database of dissertations and Master theses produced worldwide.
  • STAT-USA is a comprehensive sources of economic, business, and international trade information. It includes the National Trade Data Bank (NTDB), containing extensive marketingresearch and broad arrray of current and historical economic data. Access only available within Ellis Library.

Finding the full-text copy of journal/magazine articles

If you are searching a topic in one of the above databases and find a citation to an article of interest, your next step is to locate the article. The MU Libraries own some journals in electronic format, some in print, and some we do not own in any format.
  • Article available in full-text in database: If the article’s full-text is available in the database, just click to open it.
  • If the database does not provide the full text, click on the FINDIT@MU button next to the article citation and follow the link. If the article is available electronically elsewhere, it will display automatically.
  • If there is no electronic access, it will connect you to the MERLIN Catalog to find a print copy of the journal article. If a print copy is not available, then you still have another option.
  • If neither print or electronic access is available, request the article through the Interlibrary-Loan service. Articles are usually made available to you in your email in a very few days.
  • If you already have the citation to an article in hand and you are not currently in one of the databases, go directly to the MU Libraries Gateway, and click on Find a Specific Article/Journal (left column) which takes you to FINDIT@MU.
  • Once you are in FINDIT@MU you can key in the information regarding the article and you’ll be able to get an electronic copy of the article, if we have e-access.
  • If we don’t have e-access, then you’ll be directed to the MERLIN Catalog to see if we own the journal in print.
  • If no print is available, then you’ll need to use ourInterlibrary-Loan service as described above.

Other Resources

  • World Factbook (CIA) contains overviews of the geography, people, government, economy, transportation, communications, military, etc. of countries across the globe.
  • Country Background Notes (U.S. Department of State) include facts about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations,etc. of countries.
  • Country Studies/Area Handbooks (Library of Congress) presents a description and analysis of the historical setting and the social, economic, political, and national security systems and institutions of countries throughout the world.
  • Statesman’s Yearbook (REF JA 1 .S7 2007 Ready Ref stacks)
  • Europa World Year Book (REF JN 1 .E85 2006 Ready Ref stacks)
  • Political Handbook of the World (REF JF 37 .P63 2007 Ready Ref stacks)
  • Statistical Yearbook (U.N.) (REF HA 12.5 .U63 2002 Ref stacks)