Latin America Subject Guide

Use this guide to quickly find reputable sources and save time on your research! Contact your subject librarian or the reference librarians if you need more help. For an overview of how to research efficiently, see Steps of the Research Process.

Searching the Library Catalog for Books & Other Materials

To locate books and other materials in CCSF Libraries, select the "More Search Options" from CityCat available from the Library's Homepage. You will notice many ways to search, such as Title, Author, Subject, Subject Keyword, etc. Books in the library are organized by call number according to the Library of Congress classification system which groups items by subject. Examples of Library of Congress call numbers are appended to the reference books in the Using Reference Sources section below.

To begin research in this area, do a subject search on "Latin America" and browse through its various subdivisions such as:

Latin America
Latin America -- Civilization
Latin America -- Economic conditions
Latin America -- Politics and government
Latin America -- Relations -- United States

You may also use related subject heading such as:
Latin American fiction
Latin American studies

If you have a particular country within Latin America that you are trying to research, you may start by doing a subject search on that country. Examples are:

Cuba -- History
Peru -- Social conditions

Many subject headings pertaining to Latin America have a subject followed by the adjective assigned to the country. Examples are:

Art, Mexican
Popular music - Domincan Republic
Cooking -- Brazilian

For subjects pertaining to literature, headings are arranged by the adjective assigned to the country. Examples are:

Mexican literature
Chilean poetry
Salvadoran fiction
Argentine drama


In addition to traditional print books, CityCat, the Library's Online Public Access Catalog, also provides access to electronic books (eBooks). To access an eBook while on campus, click on the brief bibliographic record to access the full bibliographic record. From here, click on the hyperlink below "Link to an Electronic Resource". You will be redirected to another page where you may read the eBook by clicking on "View this eBook". To access this resource from off-campus, you will need the 14-digit barcode found on your CCSF photo ID.

Using Reference Sources

Reference books provide background information and overviews on a given topic. Some reference books pertaining to Latin America, arranged by the Library of Congress call number, include:

Enciclopedia Hispánica.
Barcelona : Encyclopaedia Britannica Publishers, 1991-1992.
AE61 .E52 1992 Rosenberg Reference

Gran Larousse Universal. Diccionario de la Lengua Española.
Barcelona : Plaza & Janes, 1995-1996.
AE61 .G73 1995 Rosenberg Reference

Candelaria, Cordelia Chávez, editor. Encyclopedia of Latino Popular Culture.
Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 2004.
E184.S75 E59 2004. Rosenberg Reference

Benson, Sonia G., editor. Reference Library of Hispanic America.
Farmington Hills, MI : Gale, 2003.
E184.S75 R44 2003. Rosenberg Reference

Diccionario Porrua de Historia, Biografía y Geografía de México.
6. ed. corr. y aum. México, D.F. : Editorial Porrua, 1995.
F1204 .D56 1995 Rosenberg Reference

Musacchio, Humberto. Milenios de México.
México, D.F. : Hoja Casa Editorial, 1999.
F1204 .M955 1999 Rosenberg Reference

Werner, Michael S. Encyclopedia of Mexico : History, Society and Culture.
Chicago, IL : Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 1997.
F1210 .E63 1997 Rosenberg Reference

Camp, Roderic Ai. Mexican Political Biographies, 1884-1935.
Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, 1991.
F1233.5 .C28 1991 Rosenberg Reference

Standish, Peter, editior. Hispanic Culture of Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1996.
F1234 .H794 1996 Rosenberg Reference

Camp, Roderic Ai. Mexican Political Biographies, 1935-1993.
Austin, TX : University of Texas Press, 1995.
F1235.5.A2 C35 1995 Rosenberg Reference

Latin America and Caribbean Contemporary Record.
New York, NY : Holmes & Meier, (1981-1982)- .
F1401 .L24 Rosenberg Reference

Tenenbaum, Barbara A. and Georgette Magassy Dorn., editors. Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture.
New York, NY : C. Scribner's Sons, 1996.
F1406 .E53 1996 Rosenberg Reference

Box, Ben, editor. South American Handbook.
[London] Trade and Travel Publications, ltd.; Distributed in the U. S. by Rand McNally, 2004.
F2211 .S6 2003 Rosenberg Reference

Standish, Peter, editor. Hispanic Culture of South America.
Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1995.
F2237 .H57 1995 Rosenberg Reference

Rosenberg, Jerry Martin. Encyclopedia of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the New American Community, and Latin-American Trade.
Westport, CT : Greenwood Press, 1995.
HC94 .R668 1995 Rosenberg Reference

Smith, Verity, editor. Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature.
London ; Chicago : Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.
PQ7081.A1 E56 1997 Rosenberg Reference

Krstovic, Jelena O., editor. Hispanic Literature Criticism.
Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1994.
PQ7081.A1 H573 1994 Rosenberg Reference

Sole, Carlos A. and Maria Isabel Abreu, editors. Latin American Writers.
New York, NY : Scribner, 1989.
PQ7081.A1 L37 1989 Rosenberg Reference

Magill, Frank Northen, editor. Masterpieces of Latino Literature.
New York, NY : HarperCollins, 1994.
PQ7081.A1 M29 1994 Rosenberg Reference

Ryan, Bryan, editor. Hispanic Writers : a Selection of Sketches from Contemporary Authors.
Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1991
PQ7081.3 .H58 1991 Rosenberg Reference

Brower, Keith H. Contemporary Latin American Fiction : an Annotated Bibliography.
Pasadena, CA : Salem Press, 1989.
PQ7082.N7 B76 1989 Rosenberg Reference

Barretto, João C. Latin American Fiction in Translation : a Bibliography.
San Francisco, CA : City College of San Francisco, Rosenberg Library, 2004.
(also available on the web at:
PQ7087.E5 B377 2004 Rosenberg Reference.

Stavans, Ilan and Harold Augenbraum, editors. Encyclopedia Latina : History, Culture, and Society in the United States.
PQ7087.E5 B377 2004 Rosenberg Reference

Luis, William, editor. Modern Latin-American Fiction Writers : First Series.
Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1992.
PS21 .D5 v.113 Rosenberg Reference

Luis, William and Ann González, editors. Modern Latin-American Fiction Writers : Second Series.
Detroit, MI : Gale Research, 1994
PS21 .D5 v.145 Rosenberg Reference

Cobos, Ana María and Ana Lya Sater. Latin American Studies : an Annotated Bibliography of Core Works.
Jefferson, NC : McFarland, 2002.
Z1601 .C536 2002 Rosenberg Reference


Use databases for specialized and the most up-to-date information, especially academic (scholarly) sources that are not available for free on the Web. See the Articles & Databases page for a full list of databases available.

Note: Most periodical databases are part of the private, passworded Web, so you will need to have a current CCSF Photo ID card with a barcode to access those to which CCSF subscribes.

Gale Powersearch
There are currently 14 databases within Powersearch available to the CCSF community. A listing of the databases may be accessed here.

For this group of databases, you will find articles with

a) a citation only
b) a citation with an abstract of the article
c) a citation with the full text of the article.

By default, the limit to full-text articles is selected. If you wish to maximize your search results to include articles for which there is only a citation or a citation with an accompanying abstract, you may uncheck this limit.

Advanced search mode. This keyword search option allows you to specify words or terms in your search.


Zapatistas AND human rights
NAFTA AND economic reform
Chile AND civil rights
Venezuela AND oil production

Browse subjects
You may browse a major subject such as Mexico by typing "Mexico" in the Find Subject box provided and then either clicking on the "Search" button or hitting the "Enter" key on the keyboard. At the next screen, select the "+" sign next to View subdivisions. At the next screen, you may select the appropriate subdivision containing the cluster of citations you would like to look at.

Examples of other subject headings include:

Mexico - Revolution, 1910-1920
Diaz, Porfirio
Latin America -- Relations -- United States
International trade - Latin America
Cuba -- Revolution, 1959



EBSCOhost is an online reference system consisting of 22 databases which offer a variety of proprietary full-text periodical articles from leading publishers and information providers. A listing of the databases may be accessed by selecting "Choose databases" near the top of the screen.

By default, the limit to full-text articles is selected. If you wish to maximize your search results to include articles for which there is only a citation or a citation with an accompanying abstract, you may uncheck this limit.

Advanced search mode. This keyword search option allows you to specify words or terms in your search. Enter the words or phrases in the boxes provided.


History AND church AND Mexico

Latin America AND neoliberalism

CQ Researcher
Provides full-text articles on topics ranging from social and teen issues to environment, health, education and science and technology.

Browse by topic:
Example: Mexico

Quick search:
Example: economic development and Mexico


Providesl information on 192 countries of the world. Reports include historical, political, economic, business, environmental, geographic, and demographic information.

Under "Quick Links", select your country of choice.


In addition to databases supplied by the CCSF Library, you may access a rich variety of databases through the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL). You will need an SFPL card with a valid barcode number for access. To obtain a free SFPL card, visit any branch of the SFPL, present a valid California ID and fill out an application. A library card will be issued on the spot.


Below are some examples of academic/scholarly websites pertaining to Latin America. If you use a search engine, such as Google, remember to evaluate the quality of the results.

Latin American Network Information Center
(LANIC) facilitates access to Internet-based information to, from, or about Latin America.
        Academic Journals from Latin America

        Magazines from Latin America

        Newspapers from Latin America

Internet Resources for Latin America
provides access to many information resources for Latin American studies.

Handbook of Latin American Studies
Handbook of Latin American Studies is a bibliography on Latin America consisting of works selected and annotated by scholars.

Library of Congress Country Studies / Area Handbook
Library of Congress Country Studies / Area Handbook are electronic versions of books published about many countries.

Citing your references

In order to create your "Works Cited" list or Bibliography, you may access guides for the MLA (Modern Language Association) and the APA (American Psychological Association) formats here.