James H. Thomason Library

SPANISH 201-202 Course Guide: Hispanic Culture
Locating Background Information

Tortilla Maker, Diego Rivera, Mexico,
1925, painting, University of California at San Diego

ArtSTOR Image Database
Spanish Dictionaries
  Print Encyclopedias
E-book Encyclopedias
Book Series
Citation Style
Locating Books
Locating Articles
Article Databases
Journal Finder
Locating Images
Locating Statistics
Internet Resources

Get Help


   denotes recommended resource

  denotes Library subscription

Reference Sources  
Spanish Dictionaries   back to top

Collins Spanish-English, English-Spanish Dictionary, HarperCollins Publishers, 1997.

Main Level, Reference:  R 463.21 Sm53C

Collins Spanish Dictionary [CREDO Reference], HarperCollins, 2005.
Comprehensive and authoritative, with all the words and phrases you need, including specialist vocabulary from every field.

The Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary (English-Spanish)

The Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary (Spanish-English)  [Oxford Reference Online], 2004.

Completely updated to include the very latest vocabulary, the Concise Oxford Spanish Dictionary offers authoritative coverage. Brand-new features include in-text notes on life and culture in the Spanish-speaking world.

Streetwise Spanish Dictionary/Thesaurus: The User-friendly Guide to Spanish Slang and Idioms, McGraw-Hill, c2001.
Main Level, Reference:  R 463.21 G41S

PRINT Encyclopedias

back to top

Use the index in the last volume of multi-volume sets to find more information. Click on call # links below for item descriptions in THOMCAT.

The Cambridge Companion to Modern Latin American Culture, Cambridge University Press, 2004.  
Upper Level, Circulating Collection:
980.03 C144C

The Cervantes Encyclopedia, Greenwood Press, c2004.

Main Level, Reference: R 863.3 M312C [2 vols]

Professor Howard Mancing endeavors to put Cervantes and his works into "a series of contexts: historical, cultural, personal, literary, critical, textual and intertextual."

Encyclopedia of Contemporary Latin American and Caribbean Cultures, Routledge, 2000. 
Main Level, Reference: R 972.9003 En19E [3 vols]

Encyclopedia of Cuba: People, History, Culture, Greenwood Press, 2003.
Main Level, Reference: R 972.91 En19E [2 vols]

New title! Encyclopedia of Hispanic-American Literature, Facts on File, 2008.

Main Level, Reference: R 810.9868 R145E

New title! Encyclopedia of Latin America, Facts On File, 2010.
Main Level, Reference: R 980.01303 En19R [4 vols]

v. 1. Amerindians through foreign colonization (prehistory to 1560) / J. Michael Francis, volume editor -- v. 2. From colonies to independent nations (1550s to 1820s) / Mark A. Burkholder, volume editor -- v. 3. Search for national identity (1820s to 1900) / Monica A. Rankin, volume editor -- v. 4. The age of globalization (1900 to the present) / Thomas M. Leonard, volume editor



Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture, Scribner's: Macmillan Library Reference USA, c1996. 
Main Level, Reference: R 980.003 En19E [5 vols]

Encyclopedia of Mexico: History, Society & Culture, Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
Main Level, Reference: R 972.003 En19E [2 vols]

Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World, Holt, 1993.
Main Level, Reference: R 305.8003 En19E
Includes population figures, location, language, religion, main economic occupations and some history on contemporary peoples and ethnic groups of the world. Index includes alternate spellings, alternate names, and cross-references to additional information. 

Encyclopedia of Religion, Macmillan Reference, 2005.

Main Level, Reference: R 200.3 En19E [15 vols]

Also available online [Gale Virtual Reference Library]

Encyclopedia of Urban Cultures: Cities and Cultures Around the World, Grolier, 2002. 
Main Level, Reference: R 307.7603 En19E [4 vols]


Encyclopedia of World Cultures, G.K. Hall, 1991-1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 306.097 En19E [10 vols]

Lists and describes more than 1,500 global cultures including specific tribes and indigenous groups. Based on research of social scientists, it is the source for historical, social, political, economic, linguistic, religious, and other information on virtually every existing culture. Volumes 7 and 8 cover South America and Middle America and the Caribbean.

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America, Gale Research, 1995.

Main Level, Reference: R 305.800973 G131G  [2 vols]

Essays on specific culture groups in the United States, emphasizing religions, holidays, customs, and languages in addition to providing information on historical background and settlement patterns. Each essay lists organizations and research centers; name, address, and contact information for periodicals, radio, and television stations; and a further readings section.

Also available online [Gale Virtual Reference Library]


The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Garland Publishing, 1998-c2002.
Main Level, Reference:
R 780.9 G183G [10 vols, 10 CDs]

Tells the story of music, culture by culture. Each volume includes an overview of the region, a survey of its musical heritage, traditions and themes; and a description of specific musical genres, practices, and performances. A compact disc of music by region accompanies each volume (in back of book). 

Global Business Etiquette: A Guide to International Communication and Customs,  Praeger, 2006.
Main Level, Reference:
 R 395.52 M364G  

Hispanics in Hollywood: An Encyclopedia of 100 Years in Film and Television, Lone Eagle Pub., 2000.  
Main Level, Reference: R 791.4 R33H

The Latino Encyclopedia, Marshall Cavendish, c1996.
Main Level, Reference: R 973.0468 L349L [6 vols] 

The Mexican American Experience, Greenwood Press, 2003.

Main Level, Reference: R 973.046872 M475C

A superb resource focused on the fastest growing population group in the US. Building on a long history of related scholarship, this well-organized work attempts a basic yet comprehensive coverage of the history of Mexican Americans, focusing mainly on the Southwest U.S.


New Catholic Encyclopedia, Catholic University of America, 2003.

Main Level, Reference: R 282.03 N42N [15 vols]

St. James Guide to Hispanic Artists: Profiles of Latino and Latin American Artists, St. James Press, c2002.  
Main Level, Reference: R 704.0368 Sa22S 

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life, Gale, c1998.  
Main Level, Reference: R 305.8003 W893W  [4 vols] 
Provides information on 500 cultures of the world, covering twenty different areas of daily life including clothing, food, language, and religion.

E-book Encyclopedias back to top

Book Cover
Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America Bookcover
Encyclopedia of World Poverty Bookcover

Cassell's Peoples, Nations, Cultures [Credo Reference], Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2005.

A fascinating and informative guide to the myriad discrete ethnic and cultural groupings that have inhabited our planet over the past 6000 years. It presents - in a simple and easy-to-follow A to Z structure within five regionally based sections: The Americas, Africa, Europe, South and Central Asia and the Middle East, and East and Southeast Asia and Oceania (these 5 links open on campus; use main link when off-campus and login).

Catholic Encyclopedia [New Advent]

Full and authoritative information on the entire cycle of Catholic interests, action and doctrine. It records all that Catholics have done, not only in behalf of charity and morals, but also for the intellectual and artistic development of mankind. It chronicles what Catholic artists, educators, poets, scientists and men of action have achieved in their several provinces.

Country Studies [Library of Congress]

Most country studies are available online at this site. See also Area Handbook Series titles available in print for check-out at Thomason Library.

Encyclopedia of Religion [Gale Virtual Reference Library], Macmillan Reference, 2005.

Also available in print, Main Level, Reference: R 200.3 En19E [15 vols]

Encyclopedia of Social Welfare History in North America [SAGE eReference], SAGE Publications, 2005.Information about how Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. have dealt with social welfare issues, some similar across borders, others unique, as well as descriptions of important events, developments, and the lives and work of some key contributors to social welfare developments.

Encyclopedia of World Poverty [SAGE eReference], SAGE Publications, 2006.

Gale Encyclopedia of Multicultural America [Gale Virtual Reference Library], Gale Group, 2000.

Essays on 150 culture groups of the United States, emphasizing religions, holidays, customs, and languages in addition to providing information on historical background and settlement patterns. Also available in print, Main Level, Reference: R 305.800973 G131G

Gran Enciclopedia Planeta

[Spanish Reference Center, PlanetaSaber, Britannica]
A comprehensive Spanish-language encyclopedia featuring 145,000 articles plus timelines, an atlas, and a dictionary.

Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary [CREDO Reference], Omnigraphics, 2005.

A compendium describing holidays, festivals, commemorations, holy days, feasts and fasts, and other observances from all parts of the world. The entries cover popular, ethnic, religious, and historic events of international, national, regional, and local significance.

Cambridge World History of Food [CREDO Reference], Cambridge University Press, 2000.


A monumental two-volume work encapsulating much of what is known of the history of food and nutrition. It offers a geographical perspective on the history and culture of food and drink and takes up subjects from food fads, prejudices, and taboos to questions of food toxins, additives, labeling, and entitlements.

Print Book Series back to top


The Latin America Readers 

The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Duke University Press, 2002.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 982 Ar37A

The Brazil Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Duke University Press, 2004, c1999.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 981 B739B2

The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Duke University Press, 2003.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 972.91 C891C2

The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics, Duke University Press, 2003.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 972 M574M2


Area Handbook Series

History, government & politics, geography, society.
Hispanic country handbooks available for checkout @ PC:

Brazil, A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1998.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 981.064 B739B  

Chile, A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1994.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 983 C437C  

Cuba: A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 2002.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 972.91 C891C  

Guyana and Belize: Country Studies, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1993. Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 988.1 G99G  

Honduras: A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1995.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 972.83 H755H  

Mexico: A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1997.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 972 M574M  

Peru, A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1993.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 985 P435P  

Uruguay, A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1992.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 989.5 Ur8U  

Venezuela, A Country Study, Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1993.
Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 987 V556V

Country Studies [Library of Congress]

Most country studies are also available online at this site. 

Citation Style back to top

Humanities: Documenting Sources [Research and Documentation Online], Bedford/St. Martins, 2003.

Online MLA style manual with guidelines and examples.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th edition, Modern Language Association, 2009.
Main Level, Reference: R 808.02 M72M [2 copies, Reference Desk & Reference Collection ]

Writing Center, Presbyterian College
Citation styles, writing guides, and scheduling an appointment with a tutor.

Locating Books back to top


Use the online catalog to locate books in Thomason Library. You can search by author, title, keyword, or subject.

  • Search for a person, as AUTHOR or SUBJECT, with last name, then first name:              
  Vargas Llosa, Mario [as AUTHOR]
  Vargas Llosa, Mario [as SUBJECT]

  • SUBJECT searching requires use of Library of Congress subject headings. The terms below are examples of subject headings related to Hispanic culture:
  Cuba--Social Conditions  
  Mexico--Social Conditions  
  Feminism--Latin America  
  Hispanic American Women  
  Hispanic Americans  
  Hispanic Americans--Ethnic Identity  
  Hispanic Americans--Social Conditions  

Subject searching is an effective and precise method of searching the catalog, however, KEYWORD searching has benefits, also.

  • Try a KEYWORD search if you are unsure of the exact title or the correct subject heading to use. Search using two or three of the most significant words from the title or subject you are trying to find. Place phrases in "quotation marks."

  • Connect words with AND, OR, NOT to focus your search.

  • Try truncation at the end of a word stem to retrieve singular, plural, and other variations of the word.  Use an asterisk (*) to truncate from 1 to 5 characters. Use a double asterisk (**) to include word endings with an unlimited number of characters.
KEYWORD Searching Tips

· Add * to the root of a word to truncate

or expand a term:
cultur* = culture, cultures, cultural

· Use AND between words to narrow your search:
   AND  medic*

· Use OR between words to expand your search and
group words with parentheses:
Peru AND (health OR medic*)

Try KEYWORD searching with ThomCat, other library catalogs & library databases.

PASCAL Catalog

If you need books in addition to those found at Thomason Library, try your search here for books in other academic libraries in SC. Through PASCAL Delivers you can order books online for delivery within 3-4 working days. This service for current PC students, faculty, and staff is a project of PASCAL- Partnership Among SC Academic Libraries. Borrowers will be notified by e-mail when requested items arrive at Thomason Library. Click here for searching and ordering tips.


A catalog of books and materials at libraries worldwide. Try searching here to find ALL books available on a topic. Materials available at Thomason Library are highlighted and others can be borrowed through ILL or searched in the PASCAL Catalog.

Interlibrary Loan

ILL is available to PC students, faculty and staff in order to share resources between libraries. Click link for instructions.

Locating Articles back to top
Article Databases back to top

Academic Search Premier  [EBSCOhost]Pascal Logo

Search for journal and magazine articles in ALL academic disciplines.

Academic Search Premier - Humanities [EBSCOhost]
Search this subset of full text peer-reviewed humanities journals (language, literature, history) indexed in Academic Search Premier.

Gale Biography in Context [Thomson Gale]

Search for a person by name or search for people who fit a profile based on personal facts such as birth and death year, nationality, ethnicity, occupation or gender, or combine criteria to create a highly-targeted custom search. Includes biography and full-text articles from hundreds of periodicals.

Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context [Thomson Gale]

Browse viewpoints, articles, news, statistics on Human Rights, Illegal Immigrants, Emmigration & Immigration, Poverty, Racism, and more. Choose a topic or enter search terms.

MLA International Bibliography  [EBSCOhost]
Use for literature and language topics. Indexes critical literary and language scholarship and provides access to journals and serials published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. Nearly 45,000 records are added annually.

An archive of over 350 full-text journals which can be searched at this site. Other PC databases link to JSTOR articles through Journal Finder, which guides the user to full-text articles. As an archive, JSTOR does not provide the most current three to five year issues of the journals as specified by the publishers in their agreements with JSTOR.


Full-text news articles.

New York Times Archive [ProQuest Historical Newspapers]

Full-text & full-image articles from 1851 to 1939.

Project MUSE Basic Undergraduate Collection 
Current and recent volumes of 112 core journals in the humanities and social sciences.


Journal Finder back to top

Journal Finder provides access to PC's electronic and print journals,

magazines, and newspapers in one convenient location.

Your search results in PC article databases contain many direct links to article full-text.

If no direct links are shown, follow the
"Check Journal Finder"
link to find full-text (follow steps below).



Example of an article citation:

Chitra Ragavan, Terror on the streets,

U.S. News & World Report 137.21 [vol.issue]
(Dec 13, 2004): p 20.



If you already have a citation and are trying to find the article, click the link below and follow the steps to determine whether full-text is available for the article you need:

  1. Note the date of the journal issue you need before following Journal Finder link.
  2. Type the title of the journal or magazine in the top box (example: US News &World Report ).
  3. If more than one title is shown, click on your title.
  4. Note the dates available online for that journal If "Full Text Online" is not available, look under "Full Text in your Library" -we may have what you need in print.
  5. Click on a database that covers the date you need.
  6. Choose, year and issue OR volume and issue, then look through contents of that issue for the article you need. Articles are usually listed in page number order.
  7. Full text articles are usually in HTML or PDF format. Click on a link to view the article. If you have questions, please contact a Reference Librarian.

Images back to top


Comprised of approximately 300,000 digital images of visual material from different time-periods, cultures, and disciplines derived from several source collections that are the product of collaborations with libraries, museums, photographic archives, publishers, slide libraries, and individual scholars.

The Bridgeman Art Library Archive [CREDO Reference], Bridgeman, 2005.
An outstanding archive of images drawn from collections throughout the world. Every subject, concept, style and medium is represented, from the masterpieces of national museums to the hidden treasures of private collections. Fine art is just one of the sources of images; design, antiques, maps, architecture, furniture, glass, ceramics, anthropological artefacts and many others also feature in the collection.
The Bridgeman Art Library Archive
Locating Statistics   back to top

The American People: Census 2000, Russell Sage Foundation, 2005.

Upper Level, Circulating Collection: 304.60973 Am355A

CQ's State Fact Finder 2007, CQ Press, 2007.

Main Level, Reference: R 317.3 H825C

 Hispanic Population of the United States [U. S. Census Bureau]

Reports, tables, census data from 1990 and 2000, and FAQs. Some tables in Excel, CSV, PDF and PowerPoint.

State Rankings 2009: A Statistical View of America, CQ Press, 2009.
Main Level, Reference: R 317 St29S 2009

The Who, What, Where of America: Understanding the Census Results, Bernan Press, 2003.

Main Level, Reference: R 312.0973 Un3C 2000

The World Almanac and Book of Facts [FirstSearch]

Includes the full-text of all of the Almanac titles, key facts on a wide variety of subjects internationally, and essential facts and statistics about the United States - current and historical.

Also available in print, Main Level, Reference Desk: RR 310 W89 2008 [1999-2008 available]

Internet Resources back to top

A world leader in providing country specific geopolitical intelligence on each of the countries of the world with demographic, political, economic, business, cultural and environmental information in the form of Country ReviewsTM, daily news coverage from several regional news services for every country, CountryWatch Data, the CountryWatch Map Gallery, the weekly Political Intelligence Briefing and the associated Intelligence Wire.

Human Rights Watch: Latin America pages  [Human Rights Watch]
An independent, non-governmental organization, HRW
is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. HRW researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses in all regions of the world, then publishes those findings in dozens of books and reports every year, generating extensive coverage in local and international media. Use navigation links on right side of page to select a specific country.

Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC) [University of Texas at Austin]

This site provides information, research, discussion, and analysis of religion in Latin America. It serves as a gateway for information on the Roman Catholic Church as a historical, social and political actor in Latin America from colonial times to the present. Also provides information on non-Catholic religiosity in Latin America, with special emphasis on mainline Protestantism, Pentecostalism, and Mormonism, as well as Judaism and Islam. Includes links to sources about specific countries, many in Spanish. Use the Site Map to select subjects or countries.


Latin American Pamphlet Digital Collection [Harvard College]

Harvard's Widener Library is the repository of many scarce and unique Latin American pamphlets published during the 19th and the early 20th centuries. 

This collection of Latin American pamphlets includes links to page images of each title. The collection includes more than 5,000 items dating from the early 19th to the early 20th century. Many include maps, photographs and other illustrations.



Latino Art and Design

Latino Culture and History [Encyclopedia Smithsonian, Smithsonian Institution]

NACLA-Knowledge Beyond Borders [North American Congress on Latin America]

An independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1966 that works toward a world in which the nations and peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean are free from oppression and injustice, and enjoy a relationship with the United States based on mutual respect, free from economic and political subordination. To that end, our mission is to provide information and analysis on the region, and on its complex and changing relationship with the United States. This site provides English-language news and analysis not found anywhere else—for journalists, policymakers, activists, students and scholars in North America and throughout the world.
See also print journal NACLA Report on the Americas print and online availablilty [Journal Finder].


Get Help back to top
Stop by the
Reference Desk

Teresa Inman 833-8313
Dan Lee 833-8437


Hours: 8.30 am - 10 pm for research questions & assistance. Personal appointments also available.
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