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Last updated on April 28, 2009


Background Notes on Countries of the World
    • Summarizes each country's history, economy, and foreign policy
    • Updated on a staggered basis every few years
    • The latest edition of the paper copy is in the Map Library as G59.U58

CIA World Factbook

    • Brief information about a country's population, ethnicity, politics, and economics
    • The corresponding paper copy is in Doc.Cen. G 122 .U56--Doc.Ref.

Columbia Gazetteer of the World

    • Dictionary of places and place names, including cities, bridges, maritime or geological features, states, provinces
    • Each entry provides detailed information on the place, its history, and current economy as appropriate
    • Search by place name, type of place or keyword

Commonwealth on Line

    • Brief identification of the 53 British Commonwealth countries with information on their society, history, geography, and politics
    • Links to official government web pages

Country Commercial Guides (State Dept)

    • Economic and political factors for U.S. citizens exporting to various countries
    • Includes laws, contacts, key imports and exports
    • Choose name of country and report type country commercial guides from the main menu

Country Briefings (Economist Intelligence Unit)

    • Brief economic and economic policy forecasts
    • Summary economic data for past four years (GDP, unemployment, consumer prices)
    • Lengthier summary of recent political history
    • Current exchange rates
    • More extensive analysis (country reports, country surveys, risk data, cost of food) are available to UMich Users through EIU campus license

Country Profiles (ELDIS)

    • Arranged by country with links to newspapers, profiles, government agencies and statistics as well as economic, demographic, and environment reports
    • Sources primarily include US and international documents, such as the IMF country reports or FAO special studies

Go Global

    • Calculate distances and compare time between major world cities
    • National holidays for the current month
    • Voltage and power converter requirements in various countries
    • Use the links on the lefthand side of the screen

Historical Abstracts (UMich Only)

    • Indexes 2000 journals on world history since 1450 (excluding U.S. and Canadian)

Human Development Report (UNDP)

    • Web version summarizes regional and country statistics on economic, social, and educational development
    • Each annual version focuses on an individual topic
      • 1995 issue addressed gender equality
      • 1997 issue carried poverty statistics by country with additional data on life expectancy, literacy, and per capita gross domestic product
      • 2001 on technology and 2006 on the global water crisis
    • Paper copy (Doc. Cen. HD 72 .H92) carries murder, rape, drug crime, and prisoner statistics for selected industrialized countries appear in the statistical appendix

eHRAF Collection of Ethnography (UMich Only)

    • Books and articles on cultures of the world
    • Texts converted by the UMich Humanities Text Initiative on an on-going basis
    • Search by simple keyword, Boolean logic, or Outline of World Cultures classification

INCORE Internet Country Guides

    • Guides to 15 Third World countries where ethnicity has spawned conflict
    • Countries include Chechnya and Russia, Burundi, Myanmar, India, Pakistan
    • Includes annotated links to governmental and non-governmental organizations addressing the conflict, news sources, and e-mail groups

International Network Information Centers (UTexas)

    • Sections on Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Russia/Eastern Europe
    • Considerable background information on individual countries
    • Includes references to discussion and newsgroups

Libary of Congress Country Studies

    • Extensive discussion of a country's social, economic, defense, and foreign relations policy
    • For approximately 71 countries
    • For additional printed reports, consult MIRLYN with a search: (name of country} and "country study"
    • Previously known as Army Area Handbooks

MSU Global Access

    • Database of countries of the world
    • Information includes history, socio-economic data, languages, and travel information
    • State Department and CIA publications supply the backbone but country information includes unique links to business and travel information
    • Searchable by country, theme, resource type, and constituent

Nations Online

    • Worldwide population characteristics, including race, religion, access to sanitation
    • Maps and detailed information about individual countries including links to government agencies, major newspapers, sports, city populations, time zones, flags
    • Currency converters and international airport codes

Orders, Decorations and Medals

    • Military and civilian medals awarded by individual countries

Parliaments on the Web (IPU)

    • List of all countries with a parliamentary system
    • Links to their web sites if available
    • PARLIN provides basic parliamentary and electoral information (e.g. constituencies, voter qualifications) for all countries as well as the latest election results (voter turnout; statistics on elected officials by party, profession, sex, and age; textual analysis

Peace Corps

    • Summary of Peace Corps activities in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean
    • Summarizes the agricultural, environmental, economic, educational, and health situations in each region
    • Links to information about individual countries

State Department Travel Advisories

    • Includes health, crime, potential conflict, and embassy information for travellers
    • Revised periodically as needed


Chiefs of State and Cabinet Ministers (CIA)

    • Quarterly list of officials arranged by foreign country

Political Leaders, 1945- (Univ.Basque Country)

    • Lists rulers of individual countries, 1945 to the present
    • Arranged by country with the name, office, dates of term, regime (civilian/military) or party membership
    • Related data bases include contemporary women leaders, African rulers, and heads of state dying under suspicious circumstances

Political Obituary (Univ. of the Basque Country)

    • Brief death notices for major political leaders throughout the world
    • Arranged by year and month, 1990 to present
    • Index is in English; entries are in Spanish


    • Chronological list of rulers and primary ministers arranged by country or international agency
    • Provides dates in office as well as birth and death dates
    • Essentially begins during the early 19th Century


Foreign Government Information on the Web
    • Links to web sites by and about foreign governments
    • Foreign policy usually found on the web pages of the Head of State as well as defense and trade agencies

Additional Sources of Foreign Government Policy

    • Background Notes on Countries of the World
      • Politics, foreign policy, human rights, history, economic and demographic information from U.S. State Department
    • Country Economic Policy and Trade Practices
      • Economic statistics and foreign trade practices
      • Annual publication of U.S. State Department
      • Updated through January 20, 2001; further updates at State Department website
    • Embassies
      • Foreign web sites in various countries
    • International Relations
      • Peace and conflict networks, simulations, treaties, international think tanks
    • Newspapers
      • Includes foreign newspapers and U.S. sources, such as World News Connection and Open Media
    • Military Statistics
      • Correlates of war, military expenditures, strength of armed forces
    • Periodicals
      • Several scholarly political science periodicals provide the lead article in the current issue
    • United Nations
      • Speeches not available on the Internet but often the text of draft letters and UN press releases often reflect developments

United States Foreign Policy

    • Historical and current sources
    • President as well as defense, intelligence, state, and trade agencies
    • Includes books, articles, news, peace networks


Amnesty International
    • Annual country reports on human rights practices
    • Multiple investigations for individual countries

Annual Report on International Religious Freedom (State Department)

    • Extensive country reports on religious rights
    • Includes percent of religious adherents, outbreaks of violence
    • Government laws protecting religious freedom
    • Updated through January 20, 2001; further updates at State Department website

Bibliography for Research On International Human Rights Law

    • Extensive bibliography of paper, electronic and Internet sources
    • Covers treaties case law, research guides, periodicals, and country situations

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

    • State Department annual report on human rights violations in individual countries beginning 1993

Crosspoint Anti-Racisim

    • Annotated links to 1500 organizations fighting racism around the world
    • Primarily arranged by country

For the Record

    • Summary of human reports reports given by individual countries to the United Nations
    • Hot links to the full text
    • Part of the Human Rights Internet

Forced Migration Online

    • Special reports on forced migration
    • Covers causes and repatriation issues, such as property laws

Gendercide Watch

    • Gendercide is the extermination of one sex (e.g. men of fighting age, women of child-bearing age, etc.)
    • Detailed case studies of 20th Century gendercide incidents
    • Current news articles

Human and Constitutional Rights (Columbia University)

    • Links to foreign national web sites on human rights (e.g. Supreme Courts, human rights watch groups)
    • Links to international and regional organizations monitoring human rights
    • Human rights treaties

Human Rights on the Internet (ACRL)

    • Annotated bibliography of human rights activist sources on the Internet
    • Includes Meta sites, annual surveys and lsits

Human Rights Watch

    • Full text of country reports on human rights in various countries
    • Breaking news and background reports
    • Web site includes search engine
    • Last updated January 25, 1997

Human Rights Web

    • Extensive guide to human rights organizations, databases, and newsgroups worldwide
    • Includes inter-governmental and private web sites and documents


    • Web site for 150 of the world's relief, development and refugee assistance agencies
    • Links to information on refugees and disaster relief
    • News items, such as the status of foreign aid bills, Kurdish refugees
    • Description of the American Council for Voluntary Action's humanitarian programs

International Freedom of Expression Clearing House

    • Searchable data base of 4500 action alerts and news items on freedom of expression abuses in various countries

Internet in the MidEast and North Africa: Free Expression and Censorship (Human Rights Watch)

    • A 1999 report examining the laws and censorship in Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Tunisia and Yemen
    • Policy recommendations

Press Freedom Online (Committee to Protect Journalists)

    • Approximately 2000 short reports on harassment of journalists worldwide
    • Reports include name, country, harasser, and type (imprisonment, censored, etc)
    • Searchable by data, country, region, news organization

Privacy International

    • Individual reports for 50 countries on privacy issues and laws
    • Extensive material on general privacy issues, including Freedom of Information, national ID cards, electronic money, electronic surveillance, And workplace surveillance

Religious Rights (UNESCO)

    • Religious rights provisions of individual national constitutions
    • International treaties with religious rights provisions
    • Bibliography of sources and discussion groups

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

    • "Refworld" is an extensive, searchable data base of United Nations, legal, treaty, and statistical information on refugees
    • "Refworld" also includes "Country" reports with descriptive text on the status of refugees by country as well as statistics
    • Information about the UNCHR and its publications, news releases, and documentaries

United States Committee for Refugees

    • Annual reports and statistics about refugees by country
    • Glossary of terms and links to refugee service organizations

Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century

    • Web site of the Special UN General Assembly Session of June 2000, known as "Beijing +5"
    • Progress and obstacles to women's progress in health, poverty, safety, education, economics
    • Country reports from government and non-government sources
    • Links to UN web sites on improving the status of women

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library

    • International human rights treaties arranged by subject and searchable by keyword
    • United States human rights laws, speeches, reports, and historical materials
    • International refugee and asylum information

Women's Human Rights Resources (Univ.Toronto)

    • Treaties, conventions and web links to resources on women's rights around the world
    • Subjects include education, genital mutiliation, girls, housing, health, marriage, slavery, and violence
    • Carefully annotated


Columbia Gazetteer of the World
    • Dictionary of places and place names, including cities, bridges, maritime or geological features, states, provinces
    • Each entry provides detailed information on the place, its history, and current economy as appropriate
    • Search by place name, type of place or keyword

Google Maps

    • Detailed physical and geopolitical maps of the world
    • Use frame in lower righthand side to navigate
    • Can switch to and from geographic to satellite view

Map-Related Web Sites (Univ.Texas)

    • City, state, and country maps from around the world
    • Historical and weather maps
    • Reference section includes gazetteers, distance locators, and time zone maps

National Symbols

Anthems of the World
    • Audio of national anthems using Midi
    • Text of national anthems available selectively in English and/or native language

Flags of the World

    • Large color illustrations of national flags

Related Web Pages (UMich)

News Media
    • Links to newspapers from around the world
    • Information on Foreign Broadcast Information Service/World News Connection translations
    • United States radio broadcasts (Voice of America, Open Media)
    • U.S. media coverage of world events


    • Political parties and political issues from around the world
    • Election web sites, world-wide election calendars, and election news


    • International sources with world-wide statistical coverage
    • Primarily demographics and economics
    • Additonal sources found under Statistical Resources on the Web (UMich)


    • International Taxes
      • Annotated links to web sites explaining the tax codes of individual countries
      • Limited list of countries but web sites often provide good information in English

    • Taxman International
      • Extensive links to the finance ministries and taxation web sites of individual countries

Grace York, Coordinator, Documents Center
Alex P. Watson, Documents Assistant, 2007
The University of Michigan Library

Since March 10, 1996 this page has been accessed

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