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Library Research Guides

Cultural Competence

Increase intercultural awareness and competencies for traveling abroad and living among culturally diverse populations.

Basic Facts

World Factbook (website)

The CIA's basic statistical and factual reviews of countries' geography, society, government, economy, energy, communication, transportation, military and transnational issues.

Europa World Plus (database)

Regularly updated profiles, statistics and economic and political essays of regions and countries. 

GlobalEdge (website)

Business-oriented insight to states, countries, trade blocs, markets and industries. Country short facts and statistics cover social sciences. Includes external links to cultural resources. 

NativePlanet Indigenous  Mapping (website)

Demographic overview of indigenous communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Includes resource links for each group.

News Sources

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Global Road Warrior (database)

This database provides basic country facts and lengthier articles on business, security, health, utilities, communication and entertainment. Addresses some stereotypes and demonstrates popular phrases in foreign languages. eBook versions available in Library Catalog Search.

CultureGrams (database)

Simple and easy to read overviews of over 200 countries, focusing on different populations’ customs, lifestyles and societies from an American perspective. Includes a Kids, USA, Canada and World Edition.


Global Affairs Canada Country Insights (website)

The Canadian government's country profiles and guides to national cultures from Canadian and local perspectives. Includes resource links for additional information on culture, history, geography, etc.

Commisceo Country Guides (website)

Country guides discuss language, culture, customs and etiquette. This website also features additional blog posts regarding cultural awareness.

Countries and Their Cultures (2001 ebook)

National entries include information on history, ethnic relations, urbanism, government, society, economy, religion, health, arts, food, etc.

Native Peoples of the World (2013 ebook)

Introductory entries of native groups, countries and some related concepts.

Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life (2009 ebook)

Volumes organized by continent, entries by ethnic or national group. Covers history, language, politics, customs, religion, social issues, daily life, relations, etc.


eHRAF World Cultures (database)

This ethnographic database covers multiple aspects of cultural and social life and can be browsed alphabetically by group name, or by region or country. Includes document collection. Text may include anthropological terminology.

Encyclopedia of World Cultures (1991 ebook)

Volumes organized by continent, entries by ethnic group. Includes introduction, history, economy, social relations and organization, religion, etc. This encyclopedia builds onto eHRAF information but may be dated in comparison.

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Culture Shock series

Travel guide titles by country. Covers land and history, society, customs, local views, lifestyle, food, touristic activities, language, work and fast facts. Commentary can be blunt and colloquial.

Cultures and Customs series

Introduces region's territory and history, then covers religion, customs, media, cinema, literature, and arts in more depth. 

Culture Smart series

Travel guide titles by country. Covers country overview, various ethnic groups, values and attitudes, customs and traditions, etiquette, local lifestyle, entertainment, transportation, business and communication.

Popular Culture in the Contemporary World series

Overview of contemporary regional popular culture. Covers music, social movements, sports, performances, tourism, literature, icons, language, media, cinema, religion and arts.

Historical Dictionaries

Encyclopedia titles by country. Brief entries on concepts, major historical and recent events, places and people. 

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Images, Videos & Graphs

CalPhotos: People & Culture (website)

Photo bank of people and places.

Ethnographic Video Online (database)

Videos of family, cultural identity, gender roles, arts, religion, etc.

Hofstede Country Cultural Dimensions Ratings (website)

Graphical representation of countries' ratings of power distance, individualism, masculinity, uncertainty avoidance, long term orientation & indulgence.