Geography and Environmental Studies

Course guides
Dictionaries & encyclopedias
Primary sources

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Primary subject databases
Database Description
GEOBASE Multidisciplinary database for peer-reviewed articles in geography, geology and ecology. View Full Description

Main databases

Secondary subject databases
Database Description
Geography and Environmental Sciences @ ProQuest Selected ProQuest databases for Geography and Environmental Sciences. View Full Description
GreenFILE Multidisciplinary database with scholarly, government, and general-interest titles covering all aspects of human impact on the environment View Full Description
Web of Science Core Collection Citation indexes for the arts & humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences. View Full Description

Also useful

Tertiary subject databases
Database Description
Agricultural & Environmental Science Collection Multidisciplinary database with abstracts for conference proceedings, reports, monographs, books and government publications. View Full Description
BIOSIS Citation Index Life science database with citation information. View Full Description
CGRG Internet Bibliography of Canadian Geomorphology Citations to reports, conferences, transactions, theses, journals, etc. related to the geomorphology of Canada. View Full Description
Cold Regions Bibliography Citations to journals, books, technical reports and conference proceedings View Full Description
Disease Surveillance On-Line Statistics and data for a range of years from Health Canada. View Full Description
Ecology - Oxford Bibliographies A collection of core resources in ecology, selected by experts. View Full Description
Encyclopedia of Global Change Full-text articles on climate change, ecosystems, food and water supply, population, politics and other relevant subjects. View Full Description
Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change Full-text articles on global warming, climate change and other relevant topics View Full Description
Environmental Science - Oxford Bibliographies A collection of core resources in environmental science. Selected by experts. View Full Description
Geography - Oxford Bibliographies A collection of core resources in geography, selected by experts. View Full Description
GEOSCAN Provides citations to the publications of the Geological Survey of Canada. View Full Description
National Geographic Society Publications Index Index to the society's publications, including articles, books, maps and CD-ROMs. View Full Description
PAIS Index International index to various types of publications on public/social policy and social sciences. Includes PAIS Archive. View Full Description
Population Index Worldwide demographic and population literature. View Full Description
Readex Access UN Full-text documents and citations to official UN masthead documents on microfiche. Retrieve the microfiche by document number from the Readex microfiche collection, 3rd floor. View Full Description
ScienceDirect Journals and books published by Elsevier, primarily in the sciences. View Full Description
TOXNET Multidatabase search tool for information on toxicology, hazardous chemicals, environmental health, and toxic releases. View Full Description
TRID: the TRIS and ITRD database Citations and some full text of journal articles, technical reports, and other materials for transportation studies. View Full Description
UNdata Large, comprehensive statistical database covering all countries of the world. Pulls together statistics from all the major UN sources. View Full Description
Water Resources Abstracts Index to articles, books and reports related to water resources. View Full Description
World Factbook Information on countries of the world prepared by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. View Full Description

The following are a selection of available reference items. To find more, search Primo for your keywords and include "dictionaries" or "encyclopedias" as a subject term.

A Dictionary of Human Geography / Alasdair Rogers, Noel Castree, and Rob Kitchin (eds.)

  • Oxford University Press, 2013.

Dictionary of Human Geography

  • Provides short, academic surveys of key terms by scholars in the field. 5th ed., 2009.

Dictionary of Environment and Conservation / Chris C. Park and Michael Allaby (eds.)

  • Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2017.

Dictionary of Environmental Science and Engineering / James R. Pfafflin, Edward N. Ziegler, and Joseph M. Lynch.

Ecology basics / edited by the editors of Salem Press.

Encyclopedia of Coastal Science

  • Scholarly, interdisciplinary treatment of coastal science contributed by experts. Springer, 2005.

Encyclopedia of Environment and Society

  • Combines major issues, concepts, and problems concerning the interaction between humans and nature. Sage, 2007.

Encyclopedia of Geography

Online, 6-volume set with over 1,200 entries in six major fields in geography written by experts. Sage, 2010.

Encyclopedia of Global Change

  • Full text articles on ecosystems, climate change, food and water supply, population, and more.

Encyclopedia of Human Geography

  • More than 300 entries written by scholars in their respective fields. Sage, 2006.

Encyclopedia of Soil Science

  • Full-text articles covering covering the salient aspects of soil physics, chemistry, biology, fertility, technology, genesis, morphology, classification and geomorphology.

Encyclopedia of World Climatology

  • Authoritative source with full-text articles; covers all the main subfields of climatology, supplies information on climates in major continental areas, and explains the intricacies of climatic processes.

Facts on file dictionary of environmental science / Bruce C. Wyman and L. Harold Stevenson.

New York : Facts on File, 2007. Print location: Waterloo book shelves - TD9 .W95 2007

Gale Virtual Reference Library

  • Includes the Environmental Encyclopedia, Geo-data : the world geographical encyclopedia, and more.

Oxford Companion to Global Change

  • Full text articles on the relations between technological, social, demographic, economic, and political factors as well as biological, chemical, and physical systems. Oxford University Press: 2009.

Oxford Reference: Earth Sciences and Climatology

  • Full-text interdisciplinary scholarly encyclopdias and dictionaries in the field of Environmental Studies.

Sage Knowledge

  • Full-text encyclopedias for all the social sciences. Includes Encyclopedia of GIS, Encyclopedia of Global Warming and Climate Change, Encyclopedia of Environment and Society, Encyclopedia of Human Geography, and more.

The Laurier Archives and Special Collections holds a number of archival collections focusing on Geography and the Environment, with a special emphasis on water resources, parks and protected areas, the Niagara Escarpment and biosphere reserves, as well as Canada's North.

For more information, or to use these collections, please contact the Archives.

APT Environment Fonds (1941-); 10 meters

  • Chemtura Canada Company, formerly Uniroyal Chemical and Crompton Company, is a chemical producer in Elmira, Ontario. The collection consists of material related to environmental issues in the Elmira area, largely compiled by APT Environment.

Beaver Valley Heritage Society Fonds (1975-); 1 meter

  • Non-profit citizen's organization created to preserve and protect the natural environment of the Beaver Valley in Ontario

Canadian Arctic Resources Committee Fonds (1971 -); 36 meters

  • Citizen’s committee founded to study and protect Canada’s North.

Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association Fonds (1974-2012); 7.9 meters

  • Non-profit organization that facilitated the creation of new Canadian Biosphere Reserves

Canadian Environmental Law Association Fonds (1968-); 63 meters

  • Non-profit, public interest organization established in 1970 to use existing laws to protect the environment and to advocate environmental law reforms, and free legal advisory clinic for the public.

Canadian Water Resources Association Fonds (1949-); 4 meters

  • National organization of individuals and organizations interested in the management of Canada's water resources.

George Francis Fonds (1950-); 40 meters

  • Records documenting geographer George Francis’ work with the UNESCO Man and Biosphere Program and environmental research focusing on the Great Lakes.

Great Lakes Fishery Commission Fonds (1995-); 27 centimeters

  • The Commission coordinates fisheries research, controls the sea lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies.

Kenneth Hewitt Fonds (1918-)

  • Papers of geographer Kenneth Hewitt, containing records from his research on environmental disasters and the effects of war on the environment.

John Horton Fonds (1961-2000); 2 meters

  • Papers of urban planner John Horton containing information on the Niagara Escarpment Commission, Waterfront Regeneration Trust, coastal conservation and parks and protected areas.

John Jackson Fonds (1978-2000); 14 meters

  • Environmental activist in the Niagara Region and President of the Ontario Toxic Waste Research Council.

Jill Leslie Fonds (1987-1997); 18 centimeters

  • Environmental activist and pioneer in the rails-to-trails movement in Ontario, which sought to attain public ownership of abandoned railway lines.

Theresa McClenaghan Fonds(1991-1994); 1.4 meters

  • Environmental lawyer. Papers include material regarding the proposed expansion of the Guelph Eastview landfill site.

James Gordon Nelson Fonds (1911-); 47 meters

  • Records of geographer James Gordon Nelson with an emphasis on parks and protected areas.

Rawson Academy of Aquatic Science (1978-1995); 1.6 meters

  • Non-profit dedicated to researching Canada’s water resources and the effects of water pollution.

Henry Regier Fonds (1962-); 5 meters

  • Papers of zoologist Henry Regier focusing on fisheries, the Great Lakes and the UNESCO Programme on Man and the Biosphere.

Fred Roots Fonds (1974-2004); 3 meters

  • Papers of meteorologist Ernest Frederick Roots focusing on the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme.

John Swaigen Fonds (1967-); 4 meters

  • Papers of lawyer John Swaigen documenting such issues as agricultural pollution, anti-idling bylaws, and storage of hazardous waste in Ontario.

John Theberge (1967-) 63 centimeters

  • Papers of environmental scientist John Theberge documenting his research into Canada’s wolf populations and the founding of Kluane National Park and Preserve.

Cold Regions

  • Arctic Portal. A "comprehensive gateway to the Arctic on the internet" that includes an integrated document library and project directory, interactive mapping, and on-demand webcasts. Sponsored by various organizations including the IPY and numerous academic institutions.
  • Arctic Theme Page "provides access to widely distributed Arctic data and information for scientists, students, teachers, academia, managers, decision makers and the general public."
  • Canadian Arctic Resources Committee is an organization of individuals who share an interest in northern Canada and believe the north should be treated with deliberation, care, and good stewardship.


  • EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal. Offers searchable databases, data tables, country profiles, maps, and articles in ten topical sections.
  • Global Historical Climatology Network (GHCN) This data set is composed of annual temperature, precipitation and pressure reading covering a period from 1880 to 1998.
  • Institute for the Study of Society and Environment This database is designed to foster cross-disciplinary research needed to promote a better understanding of how weather, climate and global change impact society.
  • National Geophysical Data Center is operated by the US Dept. of Commerce-NOAA-NESDIS. This site provides environmental data in the fields of marine geology and geophysics, paleoclimatology, solar-terrestrial physics, solid earth geophysics, and glaciology. Each discipline includes links to the World Data Center.
  • National Wildlife Federation "is the USA's largest member-supported conservation group, uniting individuals, organizations, businesses and government to conserve and protect wildlife, natural resources, and the Earth's environment upon which we all depend, in order to achieve a peaceful, equitable and sustainable future."
  • United Nations Environment Programme. Brings together environmental information based on themes and regions.
  • U.S. Climate at a Glance . The data provided is intended for the study of climate variability and change throughout the USA.



  • Geologist's Lifetime Field List provides the geologist or traveler with a listing of essential or desirable locations to visit. In addition, the site links to information on many geological wonders of the world. The site is heavily illustrated with quality photographs.
  • Selected Web Sites for Geoscientists. This site provides direct links to: guides to the Internet for earth sciences; data sources; index to journal articles & technical reports; abstracts & table of contents from journals; library catalogues; choice web sites; directories; selected government agencies; associations and universities with geology departments & schools.
  • U.S. Geological Survey: a bureau of the US Dept. of the Interior, which provides reliable and impartial information to describe & understand the Earth. This web site provides highlights into current new releases as well as links to a variety of educational topics in the areas of biology, geology, mapping and water.
  • Vents Program "conducts research on the impacts and consequences of submarine volcanoes and hydrothermal venting on the global ocean."
  • Volcano World claims to be the Web's premier source for volcano information. The site relies heavily on photographs, satellite images and illustrations. There are multiple links within the text of each volcano's description.


  • Hydrology Web provides a list of hydrology and related resources on the Internet. The site is maintained by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Maps and GIS

  • Canadian County Atlas Digital Project. A "searchable database of the property owners' names which appear on the township maps in the county atlases. Township maps, portraits and properties have been scanned." Search by people's names or county names.
  • Canada's Geographical Names Website provides access to 500,000 geographical names in Canada. The reference service provides basic locational information including maps which can be downloaded.
  • CartoMundi offers more than 5,000 digital map reproductions of Europe and the Mediterranean, as well as over 50,000 references to cartographic documents. Coverage is 195 countries held in about 20 different map libraries.
  • GeoGratis is an initiative of the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing. This site provides a wide variety of geospatial data, without charge, for geographic areas across Canada.
  • Geospatial Data Resources: University of Waterloo Map Library.
  • National Atlas of Canada is responsible for the development and maintenance of an authoritative synthesis of the geography of Canada. The site provides an index to the base maps, thematic maps. and digital services, reflecting social, economic, environmental & cultural elements of Canada.
  • Ontario Historical County Maps Project: Scanned images of historical county maps of Ontario; also includes a searchable web database mapping application. From University of Toronto.
  • Ontario Historical Map Digitization Project: an OCUL project that provides digital access to over 1000 early topographic maps of Ontario at the 1:25,000 and 1:63,360 (one inch to one mile) scales, covering towns, cities, and rural areas in Ontario over the period of 1906 to 1977.
  • Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection has over 2000 map images for all parts of the world.
  • Population Index, 1986-1999. A reference tool to the world's population literature. It provides an annotated bibliography of books, journal articles, working papers and other material.
  • Scholars GeoPortal: a web-based tool to access geospatial datasets licensed by your university library. The GeoPortal includes land-based vector data (water, cultural features, etc.), census geography, orthophotography, and more.
  • Socioeconomic Data and Applications Center (SEDAC) is an offshoot of NASA and "focuses on human interactions in the environment" by matching population data with earth science data sets, as well as environmental science information.
  • University of Waterloo Geospatial Centre, Digital Projects page. Many projects covering areas of local interest, including digitized historical air photos, Region of Waterloo historical streets, City of Kitchener Fire Insurance Plan (1908).


Countries of the World

General Country Information

BBC News World Edition: Country Profiles

Presents country overviews, basic facts, Web links, and details on leaders and media. Includes news stories and audio and video clips from the BBC archives.

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) - access through ABI/Inform:

  • Once in the database, click the "Browse" link at the top
  • Select the link to the EIU Finance and Forecast Reports under Country Reports
  • Scroll down and click on the link next to "forecasts"
  • Filter the results by country on the right under "Narrow results by"

Country Insights

Cultural, demographic, and political information on countries. From the Centre for Intercultural Learning, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

Country Information - Export Development Canada

Profiles of foreign countries, as well as information on resources available for each country. From Export Development Canada.

Facts on File Country Profiles

Links directly to country information from Facts on File's World News Digest database.

Human Development Reports

Reports commissioned by the UN to assess long-term well-being in countries around the world

INCORE (Initiative on Conflict Resolution and Ethnicity)

Provides annotated lists of resources relating to human rights, conflict, and ethnicity for 42 countries. This includes news, email lists and newsgroups, articles and documents, maps, NGOs, and other related resources. Over two hundred full-text peace agreements can also be accessed via an interactive map

Mergent Online: Country Profiles

Select your country from the list in the bottom right corner of Mergent's home page.

Oxford Analytica Country Profiles - available through ABI/Inform

  • Once in the database, click the "Browse" link at the top
  • In the Business section, click Country Reports
  • Select the link to the Oxford Analytica Country Profiles
  • Select the tab to Browse by Location, or Browse by Subject

Political Risk Yearbook

Country reports with political and economic information.

Portals to the World

Library of Congress. Includes a wide range electronic information sources on many different countries selected by the Library of Congress. This site is organized by country or area. A range of different subject categories is available for each country. Once this project is finished all nations in the world will be included.

United Nations databases

Statistics and documents from all the major UN sources

World Development Reports, 1985 to present

Ongoing publication on economic development. From the World Bank.

World Factbook

Information on countries of the world prepared by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.

Statistical Information -- Canada

Canada Year Book

Statistics Canada

Canadian Economic Observer, 2003 -

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada

Statistics Canada. Some data freely available

Statistical Information -- United States

Bureau of Economic Analysis

United States. Department of Commerce.

Census Bureau Economic Programs

United States. Bureau of the Census.

State and Metropolitan Area Data Book

United States. Bureau of the Census.

Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1878 -

United States. Bureau of the Census.

Statistical Information -- Europe


European Union

Trends in Europe and North America

United Nations. Statistical yearbook of the Economic Commission for Europe.

Statistical Information -- International

Europa World Online

Online version of Europa World Yearbook, with statistics and other information on countries around the world.

Human Development Reports

United Nations. 1990 to present

Monthly Bulletin of Statistics

United Nations. Older issues in paper: HC 57 U66. Location: WLU 4th Floor Periodicals and the Annex

National Statistics

United Nations

Penn World Tables

Available via CHASS at the University of Toronto


Single portal for searching UN statistical databases. Published by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

World Economic Outlook Reports

International Monetary Fund. Also see HD 82.W67 Location: WLU 6th Floor Book Stacks

Parliamentary Information

Parliaments Online

(ParLine) allows searching by country to find information about that country's electoral process and the people in power.

Parliaments and Literature

(ParLit) is a searchable bibliographic database comprised of references to books and articles about the world's governments.


Lists heads of states and heads of government for most countries dating back to the early 19th century. Also lists foreign ministers of many countries, as well as the heads of key international organizations.