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Country + Regional Information

This guide describes how to find country and regional information using a variety of research tools.

Finding Country Information Using the Library Catalogue

Subject Searching

Use the names of specific countries as subject headings. 

  • Browse Searching in Subject

Examples:

  • China
  • Iran
  • Mexico
  • Nigeria
  • Russia
  • United Kingdom

NB.  When a geographic area is used as a subject heading, attention must be paid to any name changes that the specific country may have had over time.

Example:

  • Russia

Russia is also known as: 

  • Former Soviet Republics
  • Russia (Federation)
  • Soviet Union

Subject Headings

Subject headings are used in library catalogues.  These are specific words or phrases that used to describe the subject content of a publication.  They are controlled vocabulary which ensure the consistent use of the same terminology for different publications.

The University of Calgary Library uses the following to determine subject headings for the library catalogue:

Examples:

China

  • China (Republic : 1949- )
  • China (Northwest)
  • China (Southeast)
  • China (Southwest)
  • Manchuria (China) = used for Northeast China, or China, Northeast Pacific area

Russia

  • Former Soviet Republics = used for works discussing collectively the independent countries that emerged from the dissolution of the former Soviet Union in 1991
  • Russia (Federation)
  • Russia (Territory under White armies, 1918-1920)
  • Russian S.F.S.R.
  • Soviet Union

United Kingdom

  • Do not use this term.  Instead use:
  • Great Britain = Here are entered works on the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which comprises England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, as well as works on the island of Great Britain. Works on the Republic of Ireland and on the island of the British Isles called Ireland are entered under Ireland. Works on the non-jurisdictional island group comprising the islands of Great Britain, Ireland, and smaller adjacent islands are entered under British Isles.

 

Finding Regional Information Using the Library Catalogue

REGIONAL INFORMATION


If information on specific countries cannot be found, then look for information on the geographic region to which that country belongs.

Examples:

  • Asia
  • Middle East
  • North America
  • Southeast Asia

NB.  When a geographic area is used as a subject heading, attention must be paid to any name changes that the specific region may have had over time.

SUBJECT HEADINGS FOR REGIONS OF THE WORLD

As with countries, standard terminology is used to describe a region.  Library of Congress Subject Headings are used to determine the subject headings for regions of the world.

Examples of Library of Congress Subject Headings for Some Regions

Middle East = region consisting of Asia west of Pakistan, northeastern Africa, and occasionally Greece and Pakistan. Works treating collectively the Arabic-speaking countries of Asia and Africa, or of Asia only, are entered under Arab countries.

  • Arab countries = used for works treating collectively the Arabic-speaking countries of Asia and Africa, or of Asia only. Works on the region consisting of Asia west of Pakistan, northeastern Africa, and occasionally Greece and Pakistan are entered under Middle East.
  • Orient = used for the region that extends from the Mediterranean and Red Seas to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia, etc., but excluding Siberia. Works that focus on a narrower region within the Orient are entered under the name of the more specific region, e.g. East Asia.

Central Africa

  • Do not use this term.  Instead use:
  • Africa, Central = used for works on the region of Africa that includes what are now the Central African Republic, Gabon, Congo (Democratic Republic), and Congo (Brazzaville), and also sometimes Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, Burundi, and Rwanda.

Western Africa

  • Do not use this term.  Instead use:
  • Africa, West