Urban Studies

 Art and Picture Collection, The New York Public Library. "Singla cherry blossom at Ueno Park. (Flower season at Tokyo)" New York Public Library Digital Collections. Accessed October 13, 2015. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/c261ef12-e4fb-3577-e040-e00a18067776
New York Public Library Digital Collections

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective information research in urban studies.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian: 
Jennie Correia
103 LeFrak Center, Barnard Hall

Reference Sources - Books
Journal Articles - Data & Stats
Maps - Writing & Citing

Finding Background Information/Using Reference Sources

Consult scholarly reference sources to get an overview of a topic, an introduction to a theory, definitions to discipline-specific terms, and more. Urban studies is an interdisciplinary field, so both specific and broad resources may be useful.

Encyclopedia of Housing

Encyclopedia of Urban America: The Cities and Suburbs

International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences

International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences

Oxford Handbook of Urban Planning

ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global: Comprehensive collection of full-text dissertations and theses, with citations, abstracts and full-text PDFs available depending on when the dissertation or thesis was published. Dissertations and theses usually have extremely detailed bibliographies and can be an excellent starting point for research.

Finding Books

CLIO: Online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard Library, but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library.

Search tips: To find items about a specific topic, first try a keyword search in All Fields.

  • Use "quotation marks" to search for an exact phrase: "community gardens".
  • Use * for truncation (to find variant endings of a word): plan* will search for planners, planning, plans, etc.
  • For more complex search, use Boolean Keyword searching:
    • AND finds records which have all the search terms you entered;
    • OR finds records which have one of the search terms you entered, as well as records which have more than one of the terms. OR finds MORE.
    • Use parentheses to group terms: Brooklyn AND (buses OR subways)
  • To find primary sources in CLIO, try adding keywords: archives, correspondence, diaries, interviews, narratives, memoir, oral histories, sources.

You can also find related materials by browsing the stacks. Approximately 18,000 volumes, a tenth of our collection, are now available in Milstein rooms 406, 406A, and 409 in Butler Library. Also check the stacks in Butler as well as the collections at Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library and Lehman Library.

Urban Studies call range: HT; see also HD (land use), HE (transportation), L (education), NA (aesthetics), RA (public health)

HT51-1595 Communities. Classes. Races.
HT51-65 Human settlements. Communities.
HT101-395 Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology.
HT165.5-169.9 City planning.
HT170-178 Urban renewal. Urban redevelopment
HT201-221 City population. Including children in cities, immigration.
HT231 Effect of city life.
HT251-265 Mental and moral life.
HT321-325 The city as an economic factor.
HT330-334 Metropolitan areas.
HT351-352 Suburban cities and towns.
HT361-384 Urbanization. City and country.
HT388 Regional economics. Space in economics.
HT390-395 Regional planning.
HT601-1445 Classes.
HT621-635 Origin of social classes.

WorldCat: Searches the catalogs of libraries worldwide. If we don't have a book you want, or if it's already checked out to someone else, you can request it via Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan.

Finding Articles

America: History and Life with full text: Index of literature covers the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. The database indexes journals from 1964 to present and includes citations and links to book and media reviews.

Annual Reviews (also known as AR): Provides critical literature reviews of current research topics in biomedical, physical and social sciences.

Anthropology Plus: Articles, reports, commentary, and edited works in social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology, ethnology, archaeology, folklore, material culture, and interdisciplinary studies from 19th century to the present.

Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals: Citations to articles in worldwide architecture and related periodicals with primary emphasis on architectural design and history but coverage as well of archaeology, landscape architecture, interior design, furniture and decorative arts, garden history, historic preservation, city planning, urban design, real estate development and environmental studies. You will find both scholarly and popular periodical literature, as well as publications of professional associations, American state and regional periodicals, and the major serials on architecture and design of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Australia. Coverage is mainly from 1934 to the present, with selective coverage back to 1741.

HUD User Bibliographic Database From the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and dedicated to housing and community development issues. Contains more than 10,000 full-abstract citations to research reports, articles, books, monographs, and data sources in housing policy, building technology, economic development, urban planning, and related fields.

Index to Current Urban Documents: The resource features citations and municipal records including plans, surveys, and budgets from approximately 500 U.S. and Canadian cities and counties.

Journal of Planning Literature (JPL): This quarterly journal includes review articles and abstracts of recent literature in city and regional planning and design. A typical issue contains refereed literature reviews; a Council of Planning Librarians (CPL) Bibliography; abstracts of recent journal articles and dissertations; and bibliographic listings. JPL offers an understanding of the state of knowledge of the field for use in research or professional practice.

LexisNexis Academic: This full-text database features over 18,000 sources including newspapers, journals, wire services, newsletters, company reports and SEC filings, case law, government documents, transcripts of broadcasts, and selected reference works.

PAIS International (Public Affairs Information Archive): Indexes articles, books, conference proceedings, government documents, book chapters, and statistical directories in the area of public affairs. Topics include business, government, international relations, banking, environment, health, social sciences, demographics, law and legislation, political science, public administration, finance, agriculture, education, and statistics.

Sociological Abstracts: Abstracts and indexes the international literature in sociology and related disciplines in the social and behavioral sciences. The database provides citations from 1963 to the present to journal articles, book reviews, books, book chapters, dissertations, and conference papers. Records for journal articles added after 1974 contain in-depth abstracts.

Urban Studies Abstracts. Features bibliographic records covering essential areas related to urban studies, including urban affairs, community development, urban history, and other areas of key relevance to the discipline. Records are selected from many of the top titles within the discipline, including Journal of Urban Affairs, Urban Studies, and Canadian Journal of Urban Research.

Finding Data & Statistics

For help finding and analyzing data, check out the Empirical Reasoning Center (ERC). The ERC's calendar lists when staff is available to answer your questions. No appointment necessary!

American FactFinder: Population, housing, economic and geographic data for the United States from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Center for Economic Studies (CES): Public use microdata and Synthetic microdata available for researchers from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS): Provides demographic and historical research using U.S. Census microdata. They do request that you "Use it for GOOD -- never for EVIL".

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR): Over 7,000 data studies on a wide range of social science topics. Ability to filter by author, time, geography, and more.

National Historical Geographic Information System (NHGIS): Provides aggregate census data and GIS-compatible boundary files for the United States between 1790 and 2013.

Social Explorer: Helps to visually analyze and understand the demography of the U.S. through the use of interactive maps and data reports. Primary functions include Demographic Data Analysis, Interactive Map/Report Design and Software Development.

State of the Cities Data System (SOCDS): Produced by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), this resource offers data for individual Metropolitan Areas, Central Cities, and Suburbs.

Finding Maps

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection: Focuses on 18th and 19th century North and South American cartographic materials and includes atlases, globes, school geographies, maritime charts, and a variety of separate maps including pocket, wall, and manuscript maps.

Digital Sanborn maps, 1867-1970. New York/New Jersey: Collection of large scale fire insurance maps from the Sanborn Map Company. Provides detailed information about New York and New Jersey locations. Details include information such as street names, street and sidewalk widths, property boundaries, building use, the size and shape and construction materials, and much more. Textual information includes construction details, ownership and building use.

GIS and Statistical Data Resources: From Columbia University Digital Social Science Center.

Lehman Library Map Collection: Resources for different types of maps in Columbia University Lehman Social Sciences Library.

Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division/New York Public Library (NYPL): One of the world's premier map collections in terms of size, scope, unique holdings, diversity and intensity of use. Established in 1898, holdings include more than 433,000 sheet maps and 20,000 books and atlases published between the 15th and 21st centuries. The collections range from the global to the local scale and support the learning and research needs of a wide variety of users.

NYPL Maps Warper: This tool digitally overlays historical maps from the NYPL's collections to match today's precise maps. You can browse already rectified maps.

Spatial Data on the Internet: From Columbia University Digital Social Science Center.

Writing and Citing

Barnard guides to citation management: Learn about different options for citation management software such as Zotero, EndNote, and Mendeley.

The Craft of Research: Online book that can help guide you through the full research process.

Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL): General and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Quick Guide to Data Citation from the International Association for Social Science Information Services Technology (IASSIST)


Last updated January 29, 2016

Subject Code: