WRTG: Libya Research


IC Library Print & Media Resources

Recommended Subject Searches

NOTE: As of this writing, the IC collection is meager on the subject of Libya.  Below I have emphasized Subject Headings with a broader geographical focus, in which you may find Libya treated as a subtopic--including the various empires in which Libya has been a colony.

Banks and banking--Libya
Libya--Politics and government
Libya--Politics and government--1969-
Libya--Social life and customs
Libyan Desert--Antiquities

Africa, North--Antiquities
Africa, North--Antiquities, Roman
Africa, North--Colonization
Africa, North--Commerce
Africa, North--Description and travel
Africa, North--Economic conditions
Africa, North--Economic conditions--Congresses
Africa, North--Emigration and immigration
Africa, North--Environmental conditions--Case studies
Africa, North--Foreign economic relations
Africa, North--Politics and government
Africa, North--Social life and customs

Mediterranean Region--Antiquities
Mediterranean Region--Civilization
Mediterranean Region--Economic conditions
Mediterranean Region--History
Mediterranean Region--Religion

Rome--History--Empire, 30 B.C.-284 A.D.
Rome--History--Empire, 284-476
Byzantine Empire--History--To 527
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
Turkey--History--Ottoman Empire, 1288-1918
United States--History--Tripolitan War, 1801-1805
Qaddafi, Muammar

Petroleum industry and trade--Government policy--Middle East
Petroleum industry and trade--Middle East
Petroleum industry and trade--Political aspects--Arab countries
United States--Foreign relations--Arab countries

For Subject Headings and a range of resources on Islam see my research guide to Islam

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

Note: For Subject (or People or Person) searches, the databases below follow the Library of Congress in spelling  Qaddafi with a Q.  But as a Keyword you might see what the G spelling used in Wikipedi retrieves, as well as other transliterations such as Kadhafi.
     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 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 Qaddafi or Libya 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 Libyan Conflict, Libyans, and Ethnology--Libya.
     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 Libya, Libyans, Libyan Foreign Relations, Libya International Military Intervention, and Tripoli, Libya)and then open the "Subdivisions" link underneath.  Among the most substantial subdivisions for Libya are Demonstrations & Protests, Economic Aspects, International Relations, 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 Libyan 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.
     And Finally Note: Since this is a Keyword search, if your topic is Qaddafi you might want to also try the Gaddafi spelling for the small fraction of articles that use it. 
     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.

      New York Times (1851-2009)  gives access to the full text of the New York Times 1851-2006: Reset the default search of "citation and document text" to "citation and abstract" (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 "citation and abstract" search and only broaden it to "document text" if you retrieve too few hits). 
     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 Italy seizing Libya as a colony, set the date range for 1912-1927, or for contemporary accounts of the ascendency of Qaddafi, set a date range of 1969-1977.

     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 "More" under "Top Stories by Country" on the lower left and choose Libya.

     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.  You can also run a Subject search on Sunnis or Sufism.  And you can enter Libya as a "Subject Geographic Name."
     : Click on the "Thesaurus" above the search slots and enter Libya and then open the "48 Narrower Terms" link for a look at the range of materials here. 

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Dr. Brian Saunders

Humanities Librarian
(607) 274-1198

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Reference Resources

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Web Resources

Web Search Engines

Google Advanced Search: When doing research on the Web, always use the Adanced Search version of Google. This not only provides more flexibility in entering search terms, but more importantly it allows you to target the Web domains that are likely to provide the most authoritative information.
   Under "Need More Tools?" you will find the "Search within a site or domain" slot. You may enter only one domain at a time, but it's worth targeting each of the three domains likely to supply the best information: colleges and universities (enter the "edu" tag), nonprofit organizations (enter the "org" tag), and the United States government (enter the "gov" tag). 

Web Directories

      Web Directories differ from search engines like Google in that all the online resources have been selected and annotated by editors, thereby promising a much higher degree of quality control.  

Selected Sites

  • Country Studies: Libya: The Research division of fhe Library of Congress is revising some of this material, but most is still here and provides a good, brief overview of the country's history from the Phoenicians up to 1987.  Note that for the "Country Profile" there is an updated version from 2005. 
  • Al Jazeera (English): Africa: An independent Arab news station from Qatar. Libya has been featuring prominently on this Africa page lately, and also try a keyword search on Libya.
  • Council on Foreign Relations: Libya: Reports from an influential think tank .  Note that the default is "Most Recent" articles, but just to the right you can open "Complete List."
  • Brookings Institution: Libya: From this leading think tank, a wide selection of reports and analyses. Note that there is a link to a second page of titles--"More on Libya"-- at the bottom of this first page.
  • Business Source Premier (Special Business Interface)  (log-in required): Choose "Country Reports" on the right and then enter Libya.  Note that these reports require you to open a record and then chose a date at the upper right--which retrieves the full text.

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.