The Government Accountability Office recently identified our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan as one of 13 urgent issues facing the next President and Congress. Today on Guide of the Week, we’ll talk about some librarian produced guides from the ALA GODORT Exchange Wiki that can help inform citizens, Congress and President-Elect Obama on these countries.
Your first stop should be these three excellent country guides produced by the University of Colorado at Boulder (UCB):
- Afghanistan: Country Guide (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
- Iraq: Country Guide (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
- Pakistan: Country Guide (University of Colorado at Boulder Government Publications Library, 2008)
Each of the country guides above is divided into the following sections: Government Information, Country Profiles, Articles & Databases, Diplomatic Relations, Health, Peacekeeping & Military Information, Resources in the UCB Catalog and Related Topics. The “Government Information” section contains links to information direct from that country’s government. This can be useful if you are looking for an unfiltered view of a country. One thing I really like about the “Country Profiles” section of UCB’s country guides is that they don’t stop with the CIA World Factbook or the State Department’s Background Notes. These sources, while good, are just one perspective. The UCB guides adds profiles from a number of countries plus international organizations. So have a look at how Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are viewed by Australia, Human Rights Watch, the European Commission and the BBC, among others.
Once you’re done with the country-specific guides, check out the guides below if you need more background (historical, social, etc) on these regions of the world.
- U.S. State Department Microform Collections on Middle East and North Africa Last (Univ. of California–Berkeley) updated 9/11/2006
- Intelligence (Bert Chapman, Purdue University, 2001) Last updated 3/10/2008
- Middle East Conflicts (Grace York, Univ. of Michigan, 1997) Last updated 7/26/2006
- Depository Library Web Sites on Terrorism and Homeland Security (Karen Hogenboom, University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, 2004) (GODORT Education Clearinghouse)
The microform collection at Berkeley provides historical background on America’s activities in the Middle East going back into the 19th Century. This information is not online, but knowing about these collections might help you order materials through Interlibrary Loan.
Bert Chapman’s guide on Intelligence contains some links to reports on Iraq as well as information about the intelligence communities role in our current wars.
Grace York’s guide reminds us that the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are not the only conflicts going on in the world and provides materials on the various conflicts going on in the Middle East.
Finally, since both Afghanistan and Iraq were portrayed as being part of the “War on Terror”, it seemed appropriate to include Karen Hogenboom’s guide to terrorism resources from Federal Depository Libraries. Karen’s guide has a link to Kathy Amen’s War in Iraq/Afghanistan page that I think you will also find helpful.
Since I’m not covering each guide listed here in my usual “Guide of the Week” depth, you know that there is lots more in each of the guides. So go check them out. If you find them helpful, send the guide links to your Senators and Representatives. It’s their transition too! And if you’re a docs librarian with a guide to some of the urgent issues listed above, then please QUICKLY post your guide to the Handout Exchange.
Next week I’ll be dealing with librarian produced guides relating to “protecting the homeland.” So if you have any guides relating to that topic, please try and post them to the Handout Exchange this week.
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