WRTG: Syria Research

IC Library Print & Media Resources

Selected Subject Searches


Syria--History To 333 B.C
Syria--History--333 B.C.-634 A.D.
Islamic Empire
Islamic Empire--Civilization
Islamic Empire--History
Islamic Empire--History--661-750
Islamic Empire--History--750-1258
Islamic Empire--Politics and government
Islamic Empire--Social conditions
Islamic Empire--Social life and customs
Syria History 750-1260
Turkey--History--Ottoman Empire, 1288-1918 
Syria--History--Insurrection, 1925-1927
Syria--History--20th century
Syria--History--Protests, 2011-

Syria--Politics and government
Syria--Politics and government--20th century
Syria--Politics and government--1971-2000
Syria--Politics and government--2000-

Ḥizb al-Baʻth al-ʻArabī al-Ishtirākī (Syria)  [ruling party, sometimes spelled Ba'ath]
Assad, Hafez, 1930-2000
Assad, Bashar, 1965-

Syria--Foreign relations
Syria--Foreign relations--Iran
Syria--Foreign relations--Israel
Syria--Foreign relations--Lebanon
Syria--Foreign relations--Soviet Union
Syria--Foreign relations--United States

Syria--Social conditions
Syria--Social conditions--21st century
Syria--Social life and customs
Syria--Religious life and customs
Islam: See my research guide Islam & the Islamic World
Shiites--Middle East
Jews, Syrian--Israel
Syria--Church history [Christianity]
Jacobites (Syrian Christians)
Syriac Christians

Middle East--Antiquities
Art--Middle East
Architecture--Middle East
Middle East--Civilization
Middle East--Civilization--To 622
Middle East--Economic conditions
Middle East--Economic conditions--1979-
Middle East--Economic policy
Middle East--Ethnic relations
Middle East--Foreign relations
Middle East--Foreign relations--Soviet Union
Middle East--Foreign relations--Russia (Federation)
Middle East--Foreign relations--United States
Middle East--History
Middle East--Politics and government
Middle East--Politics and government--1979-
Middle East--Politics and government--21st century
Middle East--Religion
Middle East--Social conditions
Middle East--Social life and customs

Arab countries--Economic conditions
Arab countries--Economic policy
Arab countries--Ethnic relations
Arab countries--Foreign relations
Arab countries--Foreign relations--United States
Arab countries--History
Arab countries--Intellectual life
Arab countries--Politics and government
Arab countries--Politics and government--1945-
Arab countries--Social conditions
Arab countries Social life and customs

Not in the IC Library?

     WorldCat via FirstSearch  is a "union catalog" that allows you to search the holdings of over 10,000 libraries from accross the country and around the world. Check WorldCat to discover what the entire universe of possible resources looks like for your topic. 
User Advisory:
  • Because this is such an enormous database you need to choose a "Limit Type to" before you begin. Most commonly you will be looking for "Books," "Visual Materials" (for example DVDs), or "Sound Recordings."
  • I recommend you avoid the "Author phrase," "Title phrase," and "Subject phrase" search fields and use "Author," "Title," or "Subject" instead. The "phrase" searches must be exact and are unforgiving.
  • If your topic is time-sensitive, try focusing on a recent time span under Year.
  • When you find an item you want you can request an interlibrary loan by opening the WorldCat record and clicking on "ILL (order via interlibrary loan)," which you'll find toward the top of the record under "External Resources." This will connect you to Ithaca College Library interlibrary loan, where you log in using your usual Netpass name and password. Logging in opens a form where all the identifying data will have automatically been transferred from the WorldCat record. All you have to do is click "Submit."

IC Library Databases (Articles)

Recommended Databases

     ProQuest Research Library : is another comprehensive database with substantial full text.  Use the "Thesaurus" (above the search slots) to preview what Subject Headings are available.  Subect searching can be a more efficient way to search than with only Keywords, since it guarantees that the articles retrieved actually be about the Subject--not just use a particular word. 
     Note that to the right of your search results you can limit your retrieval by "Source Type" (including Magazines, Newspapers, Scholarly Journals),  "Document Type," (including Cover Story, Editorial, or Interview), "Document Feature" (including Photographs, Illustrations), and "Location."
     Above each set of articles you retrieve ProQuest will display related Subject searches to help either broaden or narrow your focus.
     User Advisory: ProQuest is fussy about entering Subject searches in the designated search slot. If your subject is a person, enter the name--last name first--in the "Person" slot; if a named group of any kind--Microsoft, the Catholic Church, Radiohead, the New York Mets--enter it in "Co/Org"; if a place--such as Syria--enter it in "Location."

     Academic Search Premier  Comprehensive subject coverage with considerable full text.  Note that there is a “Subject Terms” link just above the search boxes, allowing you to search the index of Subject Headings--often a good first stop for more efficient Subject searching whereby you are guaranteed that your topic is indeed a main subject of the articles retrieved. 
     User Advisory: Like ProQuest (see above) this database divides its Subject searches into more specific categories, including People and Geographic Terms--which is where you should enter Assad or Syria respectively.
     A good initial strategy in this database is to search a likely topic in the Subject Terms and when you find it “explode” the term by double clicking it--this brings up a list of related Subject terms.  You can check as many terms as you like before "adding" them to your search by AND-ing or OR-ing them together. Among the Subject Headings available are Syrians; National characteristics, Syrian; Syrian Art; Painting, Syrian; Archetecture, Syrian; Gods, Syrian; and Syrian refugees, 
     User Advisory: For any retrieved set of articles, there will be a box displayed on the left that will limit the articles to “Scholarly” journals—just check the box and click the “Update Results” button below.

     General OneFile is a comprehensive databases--covering virtually any topic from a wide range of disciplinary angles. Use the default Subject search to find an appropriate Subject Heading for your topic (the main Headings here are Syria, Syrians, Syrian Foreign Relations, Syrian, Army, Damascus, Syria, and Aleppo, Syria) and then open the "Subdivisions" link underneath.  Among the most substantial subdivisions for Syria are Demonstrations & Protests, Economic Aspects, Finance, International Relations, International Trade, Military Aspects, Political Aspects, and Social Aspects.
    If the best available Subdivision is still too broad, open the set of articles and add Keywords in the "Search within these Results" slot at the upper left. 
     User Advisory: When General OneFile displays a retrieval set, it opens to just the magazines.  For more scholarly articles open the Academic Journals tab.
      JSTOR : covers a wide range of scholarly journals in most disciplines, always beginning with the first issue of each one.  This provides 100% full text access to articles from not only the first half of the 20th century but even the second half of the 19th.  (This is our only database where you can retrieve scholarly articles on Haiti across a wide range of disciplines published in the 1900-1970 period.)  Be aware, however, that at the other end of the date range articles don't appear full text in JSTOR until at least 2-3 years after publication.
     JSTOR offers only a Keyword search of its complete full text, so retrievals are large, but the relevancy ranking does a good job of putting the strongest matches on the first few pages.  This relevancy ranking does not weigh date, however, and will display a mix of articles written decades apart.  So if your topic is time sensitive, be alert to publication dates.
     User Advisory: The academic journals covered here feature numerous book reviews, so it's a good idea to tick the "Article" limit below the search slots so you won't be overwhelmed by book reviews on your topic.  
     Also note the "Date Range" limit, which in a database with an archive this deep can be very useful.
     And Note: This is an excellent database for full text scholarly articles on every aspect of Syrian history and culture.  But because it offers only keyword searching of full text, it pays to be make your search terms as specific as possible.
       LexisNexis Academic  News:  Offering a keyword search of 100% full text from a vast number of national and international newspapers, this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed with articles in which your search terms are mentioned anywhere—first or last paragraph—or any number of times—once or ten times—use commands to target articles in which your topic words are mentioned early or mentioned often.
     Use the hlead command (headline and lead paragraphs) to target articles in which your topic words occur in the prime news-story position of headline or first paragraphs. For example: hlead(fracking and pollution) will retrieve just the articles in which the words “fracking” and “pollution” are used in the headline or first paragraphs. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses after hlead, with no space between.
     Use the altleast command to target articles in which your topic words occur a set number of times. For example: atleast5(“gay marriage”) will retrieve only the articles where this phrase is used at least 5 times—indicating that it must be a main topic. You can plug in any number after atleast—atleast3 or atleast7. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

     LexisNexis Academic  Law Reviews: Offering a keyword search of 100% full text law reviews (publishers of scholarly articles on legal issues), this is an easy database to use poorly and a bit tricky to use well. In order not to be overwhelmed by articles in which your search terms are mentioned in passing but are not the prime focus, use the atleast command to target articles in which your topic words are required to appear at least a certain number of times. For example, atleast5(“gun control”) or atleast7(genes and patents) will retrieve only the articles in which those terms are used repeatedly. Note: the term or terms to which you want this command to apply must be put in parentheses with no space between the number you choose and the first parenthesis.
     Use the date range offered under Advanced Options. Because this is a large database of 100% full text, one of the most effective ways to retrieve fewer than 1000 hits is to set up a time frame. Note: if you use the calendar icons to set beginning and end dates, you need to choose a year, a month, and a day for each. Without the day, the date won’t register.

      New York Times (1851-2009)  gives access to the full text of the New York Times 1851-2006:  Use the "date range" limits to target the primary sources available here--contemporary reports. Without a date range limit you may retrieve hundreds of articles written decades after the events they discuss.  For instance, if you want contemporary accounts of the temporary merger of Syria with Egypt as the United Arab Republic, you could search that name, selecting a date range 1958-1962, or for contemporary accounts of the ascendency of Qaddafi, set a date range of 1969-1977.
     User Advisory: Reset the default search of "Anywhere" to "Anywhere except full text" (since this is a Keyword search of 100% full text, you are likely to generate too many passing mentions of your search terms if you search all the text; first try the more focused "anywhere except full text" search and only broaden it to "Anywhere" if you retrieve too few hits). 

     Facts on File World News Digest : This database offers a much less sophisticated archive of news wire stories than LexisNexis or the New York Times above, but the chronology is easy to follow and there are a wealth of internal links.  Click on "Countries" on the top of the home page and choose Syria.

     ATLA religion database with ATLASerials : Our religion and theology database.  To browse the Subject Headings available here, click on "Indexes" above the search slots  and select "Subjects ALL"  from the drop-down menu.  Then enter Islam and browse all the possibilities.   And you can enter Syria as a "Subject Geographic Name"--if you scroll down to the bottom of the search field options menu to the right of the search slots--and then add either Islam or Christianity as a Subject term.
     : Run a Subject search on Syria and scan one or two pages of the articles, for a sense of what's available here. The add keywords for more focus: architecture or painting or museums or mosques, etc. 

     CQ Researcher  publishes weekly reports devoted to a single issue in the news, including health, criminal justice, internaional affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy. Each report provides an "Overview," "Background," "Current Situation," "Outlook," "Pro/Con," and "Chronology." All reports feature charts/graphs of relevant statistics and accompanying photographs. In February 2013 CQ devoted an issue to Unrest in the Arab World--which looks at the Arab Spring across the Middle East but includes a good deal of specific information on how it has played out in Syria.

Contact Us

picture of Dr. Brian Saunders

Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

Search Argos

Selected Ebook Central Titles


Web Resources

Selected Web Sites

  • Country Studies: Syria: The Research division of fhe Library of Congress produced this in 1987, so it's politically dated, but it still provides a good, brief overview of the country's history from the fourth millennium up to 1987. Note that for the "Country Profile" there is an updated version from 2005. 
  • Internet Islamic History Sourcebook: Specific references to Syria and its cities are scattered here, but this is still a good gateway to Islamic history resources on the Web.
  • The Islamic World to 1600: an extensive online "tutorial" from the University of Calgary, sovering the Middle East from the 600s to the 1600s.
  • Brookings Institution: Syria: From this leading think tank, a wide selection of reports and analyses. Note that there is a link to "View all research on Syria" at the bottom of this first page.

Citation Help

MLA Citation

MLA is the citation style used by most disciplines in the Humanities. Here is my guide to the latest (2016) update of the MLA style.