Drew University Library

Research Guide:  Anthropology 30
Spring 2006

Background Information:
Specialized encyclopedias offer starting points for research, and generally include bibliographies of recommended resources that help identify the major players in the field. Be careful of copyright dates!
Encyclopedia of cultural anthropology, 1996.
Encyclopedia of archaeology, 2001.
Latin American history and culture, 1996.
Archaeology of ancient Mexico and Central America: an encyclopedia, 2001.
The gods and symbols of ancient Mexico and the Maya: an illustrated dictionary of Mesoamerican religion, 1993.
The Oxford encyclopedia of Mesoamerican cultures, 2001.

For quick definitions of technical terms you encounter while doing your research, consult xreferplus, on the Library's Online Resources page under 'Electronic Books.' (Definitions will be more detailed and discipline-specific than those provided by Dictionary.com.)

Locating Scholarly Analyses:
Start with the Drew Catalog to locate books owned locally. Begin with a keyword search, and then check the full records of relevant titles to identify the exact terminology used by libraries to describe the topic - which often is not intuitive.

Essays and journal articles:
To locate journal articles, start with a large general database. You may do best with Academic Search Premier, which indexes about 3,000 magazines and journals. You can narrow by categories of publication - scholarly journals, magazines or newspapers - but you will have to make a determination of whether an item is academic or not - do not trust the database's judgment! Also be wary of 1-2 page articles, which are likely to be book reviews. If you do not find sufficient resources in a general database, go on to the indexes that deal exclusively with anthropology.

The core indexes within anthropology are not full-text, and include both articles in journals and essays in books. After you have identified articles, start by checking Full Text E-Journals on the Library's Online Resources page. Then consult the Drew Catalog for books or for journals not available electronically. You will have to evaluate whether the articles you find are academic or popular. For a useful checklist, consult Identifying Scholarly Journals. The large majority of articles in the databases below are scholarly, but if you're searching a general database such as Academic Search Premier, you'll really need to be on your guard!

Anthropological literature
Indexes anthropology and archaeology, including art history, demography, economics, psychology, and religious studies from publications received by Harvard's Tozzer Library.

Anthropological index online
The index of materials received by the anthropological library at the British Museum. Clunky, but usable. The more date ranges you select, the slower your searches will be.

But is it scholarly?
Use the Library's guide, Identifying Scholarly Journals, to help you decide if a specific item is academic.

Web sites:
Generally speaking, web sites are not going to be deep with academic analyses, but they can be useful for beginning to explore a topic. Since there has been much popular fantasizing around Latin American history and culture, it may be better to start with human-constructed directories such as Infomine (University of California/Riverside) or AcademicInfo (wend your way down to http://www.academicinfo.net/archysa.html -- the links on archaeology in Central and South America), rather than trusting results from Google.

A couple of reasonably strong web sites in the area:

A site focused on Andean archaeology, but with links to more general information on both archaeology and specific locations.

Anthropology resources on the Web: Archaeology/South-Central America
Links to selected web sites.