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Foreign Countries and Intergovernmental Organizations

Note that information about foreign governments is sometimes in different languages. Several Web tools translate information into English. Language experts believe that literal computer translations are generally poor. However, they might still meet your needs despite the shortcomings. Two services that translate information are:

Foreign Government

Global Gateway: World Culture and Resources (Library of Congress)
The "Portals to the World" section lists selected resources about countries throughout the world chosen by Library of Congress experts. Additional information includes links to digital global collections, and research guides and databases.

International Documents (Northwestern University Library)
Links connect to home pages and to major agencies within each government.

Web Sites of National Parliaments (Inter-Parliamentary Union)
Links to parliamentary home pages.

Country Overviews (Entire World)

Background Notes (U.S. Department of State)
A series of fact sheets that summarize key features of foreign nations. Data cover geography; people; government; economy; history; labor; foreign relations; and travel and business information.

Chiefs of State & Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency)
Lists government officials in nations throughout the world.

Constitution Finder (University of Richmond)
Covers constitutions, charters, amendments, and related materials from nations throughout the world.

Constitutional Law (Thomson/Findlaw)
Links to constitutions of nations throughout the world. Selected resources are not translated into English..

Country Briefings (Economist Newspaper)
Reproduces articles that appeared in the Economist, a British magazine. Data include fact sheets; forecasts; political forces; economic structures; and economic statistics. Additional features include links to related Web resources and a foreign exchange converter.

Country Indicators of Foreign Policy (Carelton University)
Create world maps or query the database about specific countries and years.  Topics cover basic demographic and economic indicators; national defense, and extent of arms imports and militarization; the environment; and political stability.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (U.S. Department of State)
A series of annual reports that evaluate respect for human rights and civil liberties in nations throughout the world. Specifics deal with due process and fair trials; disappearances; arbitrary arrests, detentions, and exiles; privacy; freedoms of speech, the press, assembly, and religion; conditions of women and children; and worker rights.

Country Specific Information (U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Consular Affairs)
Provides summarized information for Americans traveling in foreign countries. Topics cover visas; entry and exit requirements; crime and security; health; drug penalties; and issues pertaining to children.

Country Studies/Area Handbooks (U.S. Library of Congress)
Books about different countries describe and analyze politics; economics; social and cultural factors; and national security. Printed copies are available in the University Libraries. Search the BISON Catalog using keywords: "country study and name of country" (e.g., country study and Germany).

Current National Statistical Compendiums 
Capen Multimedia Center HA 154 C8 (Bibliographic Guide)
Capen Multimedia Center MicFiche HA 154 C8

Statistical Compendiums are serial publications (often yearbooks) of national governments that present social, economic and demographic data. They are excellent sources for detailed statistics.

The microfiche collection includes more than 150 countries. Arrangement is alphabetical by names of nations. Time coverage varies from country to country, some going back to the late 1970's and early 1980's. Reports may not be available for every year.

Titles for the individual publications included in this collection are listed in the BISON Catalog. To determine if a particular country is part of the collection, do a keyword search (the default search) looking for the country name and the phrase statistical compendiums , for example: kenya and statistical compendiums .

Global Integrity
A network of independent researchers, academics, and journalists that track integrity and corruption in governments.  Selected topics cover public information and the media; legislative and judicial accountability; budgeting; elections; oversight and regulations; civil service; whistle-blowers; and the rule of law.

International Data (U.S. Department of Energy)
Retrieve energy related data by nations. Information covers statistical data; forecasts; and textual descriptions of energy sectors and environments.

International Economic and Social Statistics (State University at Buffalo. University Libraries. Arts & Sciences Libraries)
An extensive guide to statistical resources covering nations throughout the world.

International Law (Thomson/Findlaw)
Lists databases and statistical resources sponsored by the U.S. government and international governmental organizations.

International Travel (U.S. Department of State. Bureau of Consular Affairs.)
The bottom part of the page links to travel alerts, short term events tourists ought to be aware of, and travel warnings, things to consider very carefully before traveling.

MSU Global Access (Michigan State University)
A database of Web sites about countries throughout the world. Retrieve information by countries or by subjects.

Nutrition Country Profiles (Food and Agriculture Organization. Economic and Social Department)
All summaries and many full texts are in English. Selected items are in French.

Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection (University of Texas at Austin)
Online maps, many of which were published by the CIA.

Portals to the World (Library of Congress)
Library of Congress subject specialists selected the most significant links to foreign nations. Topics pertaining to each country can vary, but selected subjects often include general resources; business and economics; government, politics, and law; media and communications; education; culture; security and defense; and health.

Proquest Statistical Insight (Proquest)
Indexes statistical publications of intergovernmental organizations, such as the United Nations, plus other data about foreign countries produced by the U.S. Government and trade and professional groups. Microfiche copies of almost all titles are available in the Capen Multimedia Center (MicFiche HA154 .I542). The Index to International Statistics (IIS) (Lockwood Reference HA154 .I544) is the print counterpart to the database.

Prosperity (Legatum Institute for Global Development (LIGD)
Measures national prosperity in 50 nations, including the U.S., through variables that affect a satisfying life, rather than hard economic data, such as GDP. Examples include:

  • Growth in Invested Capital
  • Low Dependence on Foreign Aid
  • High Levels of Education
  • Good Governance
  • Low Dependence on Commodity Exports
  • Low Costs of Bureaucracy
  • Economic Openness
  • Freedom of Choice
  • Good Health
  • Equality of Opportunity
  • Strong Religious Faith
  • High Levels of Income
  • Favorable Climate
  • Political Rights and Civil Liberties
  • Low Unemployment Rates
  • Low Divorce Rates

World Development Indicators

World FactBook (U.S. Central Intelligence Agency)
Lockwood Documents US PrEx 3.15: (1981+ with gaps)
CAPEN Multimedia Center US CD-ROM 531: PREX 3.15/ 2: (1995-1998)
Law G122 .U56a (1982+ with gaps)
LAW Koren CD-ROM G122 .U56a (1995-1998)
Presents almanac-type information about foreign countries. Topics deal with geography and environment; demography and vital statistics; ethnicity; religion; government; economy; and transportation and communications. Features of the online version let users view variables comparatively across all nations, and view rankings of selected data items.

Country Overviews (Business Information)

Country Commercial Guides ( U.S. Commercial Service-a consortium of approximately a dozen federal agencies involved in foreign trade)
Describes business and economic situations in foreign countries and the political climate as it affects U.S. business. Essays describe leading trade prospects for U.S. business; economics; environment; politics; marketing U.S. products and services; trade regulations and standards; investment climates; and financing and business travel.

Retrieve Country Commercial Guides from:

Doing Business In... (Price Waterhouse)
Law Library-call number varies
A series of guides to doing business in foreign countries. Separate publications cover each nation. Subjects pertain to taxation; regulations, financial reporting; labor; economic trends; business-government relations; the financial sector; foreign investments; and corporate structures. Use the annual Exporters' Encyclopaedia for comparable information in a summarized version.

[Etiquette & Protocol] (
Topics cover appointments, dress, gift giving, entertaining, deal making, and public behavior in almost 60 countries.

Exporters' Encyclopaedia - title varies (Dun & Bradstreet)
Lockwood HF 3011 E9 (1963+; most recent in Reference)
Summarizes requirements business people must meet to import products and services into countries throughout the world. Data include country profiles; communications; key contacts; trade regulations; expected documentation; marketing and advertising; and customs and etiquette.

globalEDGE (Michigan State University. International Business Center)
Brings together in one Web page hundreds of resources for international business people. Topics cover economic situations, risks, cultures, and tips for doing business in dozens of countries; industry analysis; resources for teachers; and self diagnostic tools to determine if your company should trade internationally. Several features require free online registration.

International Trade (State University at Buffalo. University Libraries. Arts & Sciences Libraries)
Describes selected resources about international trade.

Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs)

European Union (EU)

IGO Publications Ready Reference Collection (Columbia University)
Lists reference sources organized by international agencies. 

International Development Organizations Web Archive (University of California-Berkeley)
A guide to organizations and their publications pertaining to development gender equality, reproductive health, poverty, and HIV/AIDS

International Monetary Fund (IMF)
IMF attempts to facilitate balance of payment adjustments and promote international monetary cooperation; stability among exchange rates; economic growth; and high levels of employment. The Country Information page links to full texts of reports for approximately 200 nations.

International Organization Web Sites (Union of International Associations)
Links connect to dozens of international organizations throughout the world.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Home Page
OECD is an organization of developed nations that advocates market economies. Links connect to OECD publications about countries throughout the world. Retrieve information by countries or topics.

United Nations Home Page
UN documents collected by the University Libraries are cited in the Libraries Catalog . Additional materials are indexed in Proquest Statistical Insight and available on microfiche in the Index to International Statistics (IIS) Microfiche Library. Additional key UN resources include:

  • United Nations Bibliographic Information System (UNBIS)
    The catalog of the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the library of the UN Office in Geneva.
  • United Nations Common Database (UNCDB)
    The United Nations compiles statistical data from multiple international agencies into this single database.
  • United Nations Development Programme (United Nations)
    Provides information for over 160 nations. Select the Regions option on the home page to view either regional data or reports relevant to specific countries. A good part of the information is not translated into English.
  • United Nations Documentation Research Guide
    Provides basic information about the UN and its activities and an overview of UN publications.
  • United Nations Official Document System (ODS)
    Provides online access to General Assembly, Security Council, and Trusteeship Council documentation issued since 1993. Database administrators add older information to the system regularly.
  • United Nations Population Fund
    Reproduces reports on African, Middle Eastern, European, Asian, and Latin American nations that outline UN activities regarding population and reproduction.
  • United Nations: WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources (Elizabethtown College)
    Present background information about the United Nations, descriptions of major UN Web sites, and links to selected UN databases.

World Bank Home Page
The World Bank is among the largest sources for development projects. The Countries section includes national profiles; summary data; and detailed reports on development projects. When using the search engine, type plus (+) signs in the search box to retrieve precise information. For example, the search "+Algeria +housing +education" retrieves materials about housing and education in Algeria.

A World Bank database, World Development Indicators, is especially useful. (Most recent copy permanently loaded on a Lockwood Reference Department computer) It covers 800 statistical indicators for 152 nations and 14 regions over a 40 year time series. An abbreviated version of the database is available at Printed editions are at Lockwood HC59.69 .S63 (1998+; latest in Reference)

World Health Organization (WHO) Home Page
WHO is the UN's specialized agency for health. Five options provide data by countries; topics; publications; research tools; and links to additional resources.

U.S. Foreign Aid 

Development Experience Clearinghouse (U.S. Agency for International Development)
A database of over 100,000 technical reports and project evaluations. Many items are full-text.

U.S. AID Publications (U.S. Agency for International Development)
The Agency for International Development (AID) coordinates American non-military foreign aid. Examples include development assistance, agricultural assistance, and humanitarian aid following natural disasters. The Our Work and Policy links describe work in selected areas including health; poverty; environment; and education, and the Locations link lists information about specific nations. References within AID's Budget & Spending link ( are particularly useful.

  • Foreign Assistance Dashboard illustrates where U.S. foreign aid goes.
  • Congressional Budget Justification to Congress includes AID’s Annual Performance Report for the previous fiscal year and its Annual Performance Plan for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Overseas Loans and Grants (Greenbook) summarizes data about foreign assistance since 1945, emphasizing the most recent years.
  • Official Development Assistance is a report submitted to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD), Development Assistance Committee that describes American foreign assistance.
  • Dollars to Results, links AIDs spending to results in selected developing countries.



Action Africa (Includes the American Committee on Africa (ACOA), Africa Fund, and the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC))
Action Africa promotes political, economic, and social justice in Africa. Arrangement is by countries and issues. Topics deal with general resources; trade and investment; economy and development; human rights; peace and security; and education.

African Studies Internet Resources (Columbia University)
Topics cover online catalogs from major libraries; bibliographies; African Studies journals and newspapers; resources by regions and countries; resources by topics; and links to other university Web sites.


Asian Development Bank
Select information by topics or by countries. The country approach includes links to assistance plans; economic trends and key economic indicators; summaries of development projects; and publications. Selected publications are full text.

Virtual Library: Asian Studies (WWW Virtual Library)
Connects to information about the entire continent, including regional and country guides.


Environmental Performance Reviews Programme (U.N. Economic Commission for Europe. Environment and Human Settlements Division)
Environmental Performance Reviews evaluate efforts to reduce pollution and manage natural resources; integrate environmental and socioeconomic policies; and harmonize environmental conditions and policies with other nations. Emphasis is upon Eastern Europe and the former Soviet republics. Selected topics cover planning; waste management; air and water pollution; agriculture; transportation; energy; health; minerals; and economic regulations.

European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
EBRD attempts to promote development among the new market economies in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Select the Countries and Sectors link to view detailed information for 27 nations and major issues. The Projects section includes case studies and project summaries that are often unpublished.

European Union (State University at Buffalo. University Libraries. Arts and Sciences Libraries)
Presents guides to the literature; encyclopedic sources; catalogs and indexes; business information; and good starting points.

WWW Virtual Library: International Affairs Resources (Elizabethtown College)
Links to local, national, and regional search engines; international organizations; and virtual libraries for the European Union, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Latin America (includes Mexico)

Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC/CEPAL)
The link to the Analysis and Research section is particularly useful. Issues covered include population; labor; education; social security; housing; health; foreign trade; local and regional development; agriculture; natural resources; and the environment. All references have abstracts and many are full texts. A large number of documents are in Spanish.

WWW Virtual Library: Latin American Studies (University of Texas at Austin. Latin American Network Information Center (LANIC))
Arrangement is by countries and topics. Selected subjects discuss the economy and development; education; government; humanities; social science; science; media and communications; and society and culture.

Near East

Center for Middle East Public Policy (CMEPP) (Rand Corporation)
Conducts research covering political, socioeconomic, and technological developments in the Middle East.

Middle East Studies Internet Resources (Columbia University Libraries)
Organization is by region, countries, and subjects. Selected topics cover history; biography; economics; food; language and literature; minorities; music; religion; and political violence.

North America (Canada)

Canadian Documents (State University at Buffalo. University Libraries. Arts & Sciences Libraries)
Links to major resources for Canadian government documents.