Statistical, Political, Directory and other Country Information

U.S. Government Handbooks

World Factbook (2000-2018) is produced annually by the Central Intelligence Agency and provides brief surveys of the economic, geographic and political conditions of numerous countries.
HathiTrust Online Version (1981-2013)

National basic intelligence factbook. 1975-1980
Online Version

Army Area Handbooks series (1957-1977)  --  Country Studies (1977-2004, a few later)

Area handbook series. Washington, D.C.: American University, Foreign Area Studies
--HathiTrust Full Text (1984-1998)
--Earlier volumes in HathiTrust have individual records, so search  "Area Handbook" China
--Defense Technical Information Center Search “Area Handbook” Country name

Continued by: Country Studies of the Library of Congress

Country Studies. Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress, 1986-2004

Country Profiles 2004-2008
--Latest update of brief country data


A variety of serial publications offer overviews of political and social conditions (politics, economics, organizations, press, etc.) and current events for countries worldwide.

Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) offers Country Reports and Country Profiles with online political and economic information going back to around 1996.  Country Reports Archive, 1952-1995.

Europa world year book [before 1989 titled Europa year book], 1959- . London: Europa Publications
Current Online Version
HOLLIS Record 1989-
HOLLIS Record 1959-1988
--Includes list of major newspapers.
--Since 1963 has a Recent History section for each country summarizing events for the last few years.
--There are Europa yearbooks on particular parts of the world. Find them by searching in HOLLIS: Europa Publications Limited.

International year book and statesmen’s who’s who, 1953-

Statesman’s year-book, 1864- . London: Palgrave.
Online Version (1864- )
Google Books

Strategic survey, 1966- . London : The Institute for Strategic Studies.
HOLLIS Record (Print)
Online Version
--Annual. Worldwide review of international relations.

Whitaker's almanack. [before 1992 titled Almanack for the year of our Lord…) London: J. Whitaker, 1869- .
Widener | Harvard Depository | Br 3700.101 (2002-2011)
Widener Br 3700.101 (1869-1992)
Widener | RR 4262.2 Latest
Google Books


Individual Country Reports (American University) lists yearbooks of individual countries with links to online versions.  Where no online version (or no older editions) exist, look up title in HOLLIS. HOLLIS may have older print editions than are listed in this guide.

Country Statistical Yearbooks (University of Wisconsin)

Country Information Sources (HKS)

There are many helpful specialized scholarly encyclopedias, dictionaries, and handbooks in Widener and other libraries that can give you an overview of a specific topic. You can try searching in HOLLIS for your subject (see the HOLLIS page for finding the proper Subject terms) plus the words encyclopedias or dictionaries. Thus: “United States” AND Immigration AND (encyclopedias OR dictionaries).



American National Biography is the standard American source for biographies of major figures. Can do searches of occupations and limit by date.

World Biographical Information System includes full text of thousands of biographical dictionaries accessible by name of biographee.

Biography and Genealogy Master Index (BGMI) indexes thousands of English-language biographical dictionaries and other compendia. Not full text; one must do HOLLIS searches for retrieved sources.

Additional sources in Finding Biographical Information.