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Environment: Social & Cultural Aspects - A Guide to Online Resources

Sustainable development, catastrophic events such as tsunamis and hurricanes, protection of wildlife areas and related topics are in the news daily. Increasingly, the social and cultural factors involved in successful planning and prevention are being considered. This guide includes information to help you begin your research in the social and cultural factors impacting our environment and environmental planning and management.

Table of Contents:

Core Scholary Databases
  • Anthropology Plus
    Anthropology Plus brings together into one resource the highly respected Anthropological Literature from Harvard University and Anthropological Index, Royal Anthropological Institute from the UK. Anthropology Plus provides extensive worldwide indexing of journal articles, reports, commentaries, edited works, and obituaries in the fields of social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies. The index offers excellent coverage of all core periodicals in the field in addition to local and lesser-known journals. Coverage is from the late 19th century to the present.
  • AnthroSource
    Current and archival journals from the American Anthropological Association (AAA). Current coverage includes 15 of the AAA's most critical peer-reviewed publications; including American Anthropologist, American Ethnologist, Anthropology and Education Quarterly, and Medical Anthropology Quarterly. The archive includes all AAA journals.
  • Communication and Mass Media Complete
    Find academic journal articles on topics in mass media, film, television, marketing, and communications in business, health, and other communication studies.
  • EconLit
    Contains bibliographic citations and selected abstracts to the professional and scholarly literature in the field of economics and allied disciplines, including journals, books, chapters in books, conference proceedings and dissertations.
  • PAIS Index
    Since its establishment in 1914, PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) has chronicled issues in the public debate through highly selective coverage of a wide variety of sources, including references to monographs, periodical articles, notes and announcements, government documents, policy reports and analytics. Addition of the Archive to our current PAIS International database extends comprehensive access to public and social policy information.
  • PAIS Int'l
    Since its establishment in 1914, PAIS (Public Affairs Information Service) has chronicled issues in the public debate through highly selective coverage of a wide variety of sources, including references to monographs, periodical articles, notes and announcements, government documents, policy reports and analytics. Addition of the Archive to our current PAIS International database extends comprehensive access to public and social policy information.
  • Population Index
    Primary reference tool to the world's population literature. Covers books, journal articles, working papers and other documents on population topics.
  • PsycINFO
    Going back to 1806, this is the most comprehensive database for psychological research. With a little guidance from this tutorial, you'll be able to go from a general idea to a very precise set of results of scholarly materials.
  • Social Services Abstracts
    CSA Social Services Abstracts provides bibliographic coverage of current research focused on social work, human services, and related areas, including social welfare, social policy, and community development. The database abstracts and indexes over 1,600 serials publications and includes abstracts of journal articles and dissertations, and citations to book reviews.
  • Sociological Abstracts
    This core database for the field of sociology contains information on sociology and social policy worldwide. Sociological Abstracts includes citations from the 1952-present.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
    CSA Worldwide Political Science Abstracts is building on the merged backfiles of Political Science Abstracts, published by IFI / Plenum, 1975-2000, and ABC POL SCI, published by ABC-CLIO, 1984-2000. The database provides citations, abstracts, and indexing of the international serials literature in political science and its complementary fields, including international relations, law, and public administration & public policy.
Core Environmental Databases
  • AGRICOLA (Ovid)
    Search here to find citations and abstracts for articles from over 600 periodicals, as well as USDA and state experiment station and extension publications, and selected books on agriculture, animal husbandry, animal and human nutrition, forestry, plant pathology, plant science, human ecology, agricultural economics, rural sociology. The basic truncation symbol is the asterisk: *.
  • Agricultural & Environmental Science Database
    This database includes the renowned AGRICOLA, ESPM, and EIS databases and provides full-text titles from around the world, including scholarly journals, trade and industry journals, magazines, technical reports, conference proceedings, government publications, and more. For those researchers who need to conduct comprehensive literature reviews, this database includes specialized, editorial-controlled A&I resources for discovery of relevant scholarly research and technical literature critical to the discipline.
  • CAB Abstracts Plus Full Text Select
    CAB Abstracts covers agriculture in its broadest sense, including crop production, forestry, environment, animal health and nutrition, veterinary science, agricultural engineering, biotechnology, soil and water, agricultural economics, recreation and tourism, rural sociology, and human nutrition and health. Indexes journal articles, monographs, conferences, and other primary literature.
  • Compendex
    Provides extensive indexing of scholarly and technical periodicals, conference proceedings, and report literature in all engineering disciplines including applied physics, electronics, materials science, and related fields in science and management. Indexes nearly 3000 sources worldwide.
    A collection of electronic books on various environmental science and environmental engineering topics.
  • Environmental History Bibliography
    From the Forest History Society, this searchable database "contains over 35,000 annotated citations to books, articles, and dissertations published from 1633 to the present and is updated online quarterly. Approximately 1500 citations are added each year. Items are selected because they provide a historical perspective" on environmental topics.
  • Geobase
    GEOBASE is a multidisciplinary database of indexed research literature on the earth sciences, ecology, geology, human and physical geography, environmental sciences, oceanography, geomechanics, alternative energy sources, pollution, waste management and nature conservation.
  • GeoRef
    Index to the worldwide literature of geology, geophysics, geochemistry, paleontology, hydrogeology , hydrology, and mineralogy. Publication types covered include journal articles, books, conference proceedings, government publications, theses, reports, and maps. Provides citations, with a small percentage accompanied by abstracts. Produced by the American Geological Institute.
  • Pollution Abstracts
    Combines information on scientific research and government policies in a single resource. Topics are extensively covered from the standpoints of atmosphere, emissions, mathematical models, effects on people and animals, and environmental action in response to global pollution issues. Includes material from conference proceedings and hard-to-find documents, along with information from primary journals in the field. This database is one component of the "Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management (ESPM)" database. To identify additional results with a broader scope, consider conducting your search in ESPM.
    • Location(s): Also available at: BIO-MED Periodicals stack no.162; WALTER Sci/Eng Ref (Index) Quarto TD172 .P65; MAGRATH REFERENCE (Index)
  • PubMed
    This is the primary source of journal article for the health sciences. You can search MEDLINE and preMEDLINE databases with full text access to all MEDLINE e-journals subscribed to by the University of Minnesota TC Libraries. MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic database/article index that contains over 17 million references to journal articles. Coverage is from 1949 to the present. Over 5200 journals worldwide in over 37 languages are accessible.
  • Water Resources Abstracts
    Includes water-related topics covering the characteristics, conservation, control, pollution, treatment, use and management of water resources. Abstracts are drawn from journals, books, conference proceedings, and technical reports in the physical and life sciences, as well as from engineering, legal and government publications. This database is one component of the "Environmental Sciences & Pollution Management (ESPM) database. To identify a additional results with a broader scope, consider conducting your search in ESPM.
Popular Press & Governmental Indexes
  • Academic Search Premier
    The world's largest academic multi-disciplinary database. Includes full text access to over 4,000 scholarly (peer-reviewed) publications back to 1975. A great place to start your research on any topic. Find search tips on their help page.
  • Business Source Premier Enhanced
    This resource is licensed by the MINITEX Library Information Network with state appropriations from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office (MHESO) and the Minnesota Department of Education.
    This version of Business Source Premier provides makes it easy to find articles along with other specialized reports. These inlcude company profiles and industry reports from Datamonitor, country profiles from research advisory services such as the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) and market research from various trade publications. A good resource for business and economic topics and global studies.
  • CQ Researcher
    Designed as a starting place for research, 48 reports per year provide background on current topics of widespread interest. The reports define the issues and include a chronology and extensive bibliographies.
  • Factiva
    Full text articles and transcripts from news sources, business magazines, and websites with international and foreign language coverage. Includes daily newspapers, television transcripts, newswires, and all editions of the Wall Street Journal. Financial information for publicly traded companies, stocks, funds, currencies, and common market indexes. Limited to 7 simultaneous users.
  • Congressional Publications & Executive Branch Documents
    Congressional Publications & Executive Branch Documents provides access to full-text, indexing, and abstracts of published and unpublished Hearings, Congressional Committee Prints, and Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. The full list of searchable congressional publications and date coverages includes:
    • Legislative Histories 1969-Present
    • Bills & Laws 1789-Present
    • Committee Prints & Misc. Publications 1789-Present
    • Congressional Record Bound Edition & Predecessors 1789-Present
    • Congressional Record Daily Edition 1985-Present
    • CRS Reports 1916-Present
    • Hearings 1824-Present
    • House & Senate Documents 1789-Present
    • House & Senate Reports 1789-Present
    • Serial Set 1789-Present
    • Executive Branch Documents 1789-1945
  • ProQuest Global Newsstream
    Global Newsstream enables users to search the most recent global news content, as well as archives which stretch back into the 1980s featuring content from newspapers, newswires, and news sites in active full-text format. Provides access to news from the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Australia.
  • World Bank: Documents & Reports,,detailPagemenuPK:64187510~menuPK:64187513~pagePK:64187848~piPK:64187934~searchPagemenuPK:64187283~siteName:WDS~theSitePK:523679,00.html
    A searchable database of over 27,000 World Bank documents, many available in full-text. Searches can be done by author, title, keywords, country or region, sector (agriculture, economic policy, environment, etc.), document type, year, and report number. This database includes country economic and sector work documents, project documents, and research & working papers. Browsing is possible by country, document type, and sector. Most reports are available in the database as Word documents, pdfs or in html text.
Key Organizations & Agencies
  • American Planning Association
    "The American Planning Association is a nonprofit public interest and research organization representing 37,000 practicing planners, officials, and citizens involved with urban and rural planning issues. Sixty-five percent of APA's members work for state and local government agencies. These members are involved, on a day-to-day basis, in formulating planning policies and preparing land-use regulations. APA's objective is to encourage planning that will meet the needs of people and society more effectively."
  • American Society of Landscape Architects
    "Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects is the national professional association representing landscape architects. Beginning with 11 original members, ASLA has grown to more than 16,200 members and 48 chapters, representing all 50 states, US territories, and 42 countries around the world. ASLA promotes the landscape architecture profession and advances the practice through advocacy, education, communication, and fellowship."
  • American Sociological Association - Section on Environment and Technology
    "The purpose of the Section on Environment and Technology is to promote sociological research and professional activity in relation to environmental and technological issues. The term "environment" is understood to encompass both the natural and built environment. The term "technology" is to be understood to include the origins and consequences of technology, sociological aspects of technological risk and assessment, the impacts of technology on social behavior, organization, and environment."
  • Greenpeace International
    Greenpeace is a confrontational environmental action group that combats environmental mismanagement all over the world. Their web page links to various studies, reports, associations and other information.
  • International Association for Impact Assessment
    "IAIA is a forum for advancing innovation, development and communication of best practice in impact assessment. Its international membership promotes development of local and global capacity for the application of environmental assessment in which sound science and full public participation provide a foundation for equitable and sustainable development."
  • National Association of Environmental Professionals
    NAEP is a "multidisciplinary, professional association dedicated to the promotion of ethical practices, technical competency, and professional standards in the environmental fields. Our members reflect a diversity of employers, including government, industry, academia, consulting firms, and the private sector in the U.S. and abroad. They have access to the most recent developments in environmental practices, research, technology, law and policy." The site includes a good set of links.
  • National Environmental Directory
    "The most complete and most comprehensive environmental directory in the United States...of more than 13,000 organizations in the United States concerned with environmental issues and environmental education." Searchable by keyword, by organizational name or browsable by region.
  • National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE)
    "The National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) has been working since 1990 to improve the scientific basis of environmental decisionmaking. We envision a society where environmental decisions by everyone are based on an accurate understanding of the underlying science, its meaning and limitations, and the potential consequences of their action or inaction. The Council specializes in programs that bring together diverse individuals, institutions and communities to collaborate. The Council works closely with the many communities creating and using environmental knowledge to make and shape environmental decisions, including research, education, environmental, and business organizations, as well as governmental bodies at all levels." The web site links to reports and other useful information including EarthPortal, a megasite linking to key information on recycling, energy and other key issues.
  • Environmental Indicators and Outlooks (OECD),2688,en_2649_34283_1_1_1_1_1,00.html
    " High quality environmental information is indispensable for responsive and cost-effective policies. The OECD provides leadership in the development of indicators to measure countries' environmental performance and provides harmonised data on environmental progress in OECD countries. It advises on methodologies for environmental indicators and accounting systems; it issues recommendations that help countries improve their environmental information systems and produce reliable environmental data." From this page you can access various reports - such as the OECD Environmental Indicators - and other reports and data sets.
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    The mission of this US governmental agency is " to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people."
  • United Nations Environment Programme
    The mission of this UN agency is "to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations."
    • ECOLEX (Gateway to Environmental Law)
      "ECOLEX is a database providing the most comprehensive, global source of information on environmental law. ECOLEX is an information service on environmental law, operated jointly by FAO, IUCN and UNEP. Its purpose is to build capacity worldwide by providing the most comprehensive possible global source of information on environmental law."
    • UNEP/GRID-Arendal
      GRID-Arendal is an official United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) centre located in Southern Norway, with out posted offices in Geneva, Ottawa and Stockholm. The web sites includes important links for information, background and data.
  • Worldwatch Institute
    Home page for this international environmental group. The page includes access to many of their reports, news, information and links.
Web Sites and MegaSites
  • Cultural Environmental Studies: A Resource Site
    "While there is a good deal of important work treating the environment and environmentalism on the web, there is too little that deals with cultural approaches to environmental issues. This site of the American Studies Program of Washington State University is dedicated to furthering the cultural study of environments, or CULTURAL ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES."
  • EarthTrends Environmental Information
    "Welcome to EarthTrends, an online collection of information regarding the environmental, social, and economic trends that shape our world. Much of the environmental information on the internet is fragmented, buried, or only available at a price. EarthTrends gathers data from the world's leading statistical agencies, along with WRI-generated maps and analyses, into a single database for rapid searching and retrieving."
  • EnviroLink Network
    "EnviroLink is a non-profit organization... a grassroots online community that unites hundreds of organizations and volunteers around the world with millions of people in more than 150 countries. EnviroLink is dedicated to providing comprehensive, up-to-date environmental information and news." Information on the site can be searched by keyword or browsed by topic. The site includes excellent linnks to both academic and government information.
  • Environment - Ecology (Sociosite)
    This page from Sociosite provides hundreds of links to reports, statistics, agencies and other sites with relevant information.
  • Environmental Law (U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works)
    " Compilations on this website contain the PDF version of the text of Federal environmental and public works laws, as amended by subsequent Public Laws enacted through the Public Law and date indicated on the first page of each compilation. Although substantial efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy and currency of the compilations, the providers of the compilations are not responsible for any errors in the compilations and will update the compilations only as time permits." The links are extensive and cover various aspects related to the subject.
  • National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE)
    "A universal, timely, and easy-to-use single-point entry to environmental information and data for the use of all participants in the environmental enterprise." The web site links to other useful information including EarthPortal, a megasite linking to key information on recycling, energy and other key issues. The site includes a searchable index to over 1500 publications of the Congressional Research Service related to the environment.
  • Society Pages
    An excellent set of links, blogs and other useful information related to sociology, politics and society. Created and maintained by University of Minnesota Sociology professors Doug Hartmann and Chris Uggen, this is an excellent place to learn how the principles, ideas and research in the field relate to our lives and help explain and understanding the world around us.
    Searchable database of federal government reports, data and web sites; limited in scope, but a good starting point for government-produced information.
  • Environmental Protection Agency
    The home page for this governmental agency includes a keyword search function for retrieval of information and reports.
Need Books or Other Materials Beyond this List?
The link below is to the companion guide which covers books, encyclopedia, data sets and other information. More Related Guides and Library Information
  • Climate Change
    This subject covers: the atmosphere and its phenomenon, the climate, the weather and weather forecasting (meteorology).
  • Current Issues
    This subject covers: contemporary social, economic, political or cultural issues as covered in news and opinion sources as well as some scholarly and public policy resources.
  • Environmental Health
    This subject covers: the science of controlling those conditions or forces surrounding man which influence human health.
  • Environmental Policy
    This subject covers: the course or general plan of action by a government, a person, or another party to limit change to the natural environment. These changes are most often human induced.
  • Public Affairs
    Public policy, management and organization issues, public law and regulation.
Important Collections on Campus
  • Government Publications Library
    Regional Federal Depository Library for U.S. government publications; depository for Minnesota, Canada, United Nations, and the European Union. Other official foreign and intergovernmental publications. See also: St. Paul Campus Libraries and the Law Libr
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