Research in Pacific Islands Studies

Pacific Island Studies

Following is a selected list for starting research in Pacific Islands Studies.

Contact Librarian: Miriam Rigby, 541-346-7202 or for further assistance in finding what you need!

Starting Your Research

These sources are useful because they provide synopses of a research field, background information on a specific issue, or help you identify a research topic by perusing them.


Scholarly encyclopedias are great for their short, information packed articles summarizing the history and scholarly views on a subject. Articles are usually written by an expert in the field, and often have citations to help you find further relevant information. There are many general encyclopedias, like Brittanica or Americana, with Pacific Islands content (ask @ the Reference Desk if you don't find what you need); below please find a select list of encyclopedias that focus on Pacific Island nations.

TIP: You'll find many more resources near these on the Reference bookshelves, space limitations preclude listing all available sources:

Dellasta Encyclopaedia of Papua New Guinea KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 740.M35
Encyclopedia of Human Evolution and Prehistory KNIGHT REFERENCE GN 281 .E53
Encyclopedia of Papua and New Guinea KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 740.E5
Encyclopedia of Prehistory (Vol. 3 East Asia and Oceania) KNIGHT REFERENCE GN 710.E53
Encyclopedia of World Cultures (Vol. 2 Oceania) KNIGHT REFERENCE GN 307.E53
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Maori Life KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 423.R45
The Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia
**The most recent and comprehensive of the encyclopedias.
Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life (Vol. 3 Asia and Oceania) KNIGHT REFERENCE GN 333.W67
Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations (Vol. 4 Asia and Oceania) KNIGHT REFERENCE G63.W67

Reference Books

If you're looking for biographical information on King Kamehameha, the history and cultural meaning of PawPaw in Papua New Guinea, statistical information on Palau, or thematic maps(atlas) of Polynesia the following list of selected sources can offer authoritative answers to everyday questions.


The MAP Department has extensive holdings on the Pacific Islands representing many different aspects of the Islands - their geography, environment, social/cultural issues, etc. The following selected general atlases can help you get started, please consult with MAP staff for further assistance):

Atlas de la Polynésie française MAP LIBRARY G 2970 .A75
Atlas of Micronesia MAP LIBRARY G 2900 .K3
Atlas of the South Pacific MAP LIBRARY G 2862.S6A8
Coastal zones of the Pacific : a descriptive atlas MAP LIBRARY QH 541.5.C65 C595
Cultural atlas of Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific MAP LIBRARY DU 107.N55
A descriptive atlas of the Pacific Islands : New Zealand, Australia, Polynesia, Melanesia, Micronesia, Philippines MAP LIBRARY G 2860.K4
Global GIS database. Digital atlas of South Pacific [computer file] DOCUMENTS-US/CR I 19.121:62-D
Language atlas of the Pacific area MAP LIBRARY G 2861.E3L3


Asia and the Pacific (Handbooks of the Modern World) KNIGHT REFERENCE DS 5.A79
The Far East and Australasia: Contains excellent essays on each Pacific Island country portraying succinctly its history, politics, economy, etc. Also contains statistical information, and a directory of high level government office holders. KNIGHT REFERENCE DS 1.F3, located on TABLE 5 near the Reference Desk
The International Year Book and Statesman's Who's Who KNIGHT REFERENCE JA 51.I57
Peoples of the World: Asians and Pacific Islanders KNIGHT REFERENCE GN 308.3.A83 M6
PNG: A Fact Book on Modern Papua New Guinea KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 740.R36
The Statesman's Yearbook: The Politics, Cultures, and Economies of the World KNIGHT REFERENCE JA 51.S7


Useful tools to identify materials on various subjects, such as prehistory, religion, environment, etc. Also search the UO Library Catalog, Orbis, or WorldCat (more info on this below) to find books, etc. on the Pacific):

Hawaiian National Bibliography 1780-1900 KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 4701.F67
Pacific Basin and Oceania KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 17.F79
Papua New Guinea KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 740.M33
Samoan Islands Bibliography KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 4891.H65
Solomon Islands Bibliography to 1980 KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 4898.E37


The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 422.D48
Who's Who in Pacific Navigation KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 19.D78
World Biographical Index: Good source for citations to biographical sources (doesn't include biographical information online). Search UO Library catalog to see if UO owns source.


Worldmark Chronology of the Nations: Look in volume 3 (Asia) for chronologies of selected Pacific Island nations KNIGHT REFERENCE G 133.W93


There are many more dictionaries in the UO Libraries' collections, to find them search the UO catalog by subject, e.g. Fijian language dictionaries. Alternatively, browse the shelves between PL6110-6600):

A Baruya-Tok Pisin-English Dictionary KNIGHT REFERENCE PL 6621.B38 L48
Hawaiian Dictionary KNIGHT REFERENCE PL 6446.P795
Illustrated Hawaiian Dictionary KNIGHT REFERENCE PL 6446.W53
Reed Dictionary of Modern Maori KNIGHT REFERENCE PL 6465.Z5 R895
Samoan Dictionary KNIGHT REFERENCE PL 6501.4.M55


A Finding Aid to Reference Books in South Pacific Studies KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 28.3.G72
Te Hikoi Marama: A Directory of Maori Information Sources KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 423.A1 S94


Great sources for succinct explanations of key historical events and figures. For more in-depth articles on the history of the Pacific search Historical Abstracts or Hawaii Pacific Journal Index.

Historical Dictionary of Guam and Micronesia KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 500.W84
Historical Dictionary of Honolulu and Hawai'i KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 629.H7 C73
Historical Dictionary of Oceania KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 10.H57
Historical Dictionary of Papua New Guinea KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 740.5.T87
Historical Dictionary of Polynesia KNIGHT REFERENCE DU 510.C73


The following titles provide general background information, on authors & literary criticism of their works. For additional literary criticism articles search the MLA Bibliography.

Indigenous Literature of Oceania: A Survey of Criticism and Interpretation KNIGHT REFERENCE PN 849.O26 I53
LISITALA: A Bibliography of Pacific Writers KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 4501.L57
Writers from the South Pacific KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 4501.S57


Following are selected general statistical sources to get started, there are many additional sources available depending on what type of statistic you are interested, e.g. agriculture, health, literacy, or statistical yearbooks published by a particular nation, etc. For further assistance please consult with Document Center staff.

Human Development Report DOC-LC HD 72.H85 (Current issue in DOCUMENTS REFERENCE
International Historical Statistics: Africa, Asia, and Oceania 1750-1993 KNIGHT REFERENCE HA 4675.M552
Key Indicators of Developing Asian and Pacific Countries DOCUMENTS REFERENCE HC 411 .A754a
Statistical Indicators for Asia and the Pacific DOCUMENTS REFERENCE HC 411 .S73
Statistical Yearbook for Asia and the Pacific KNIGHT REFERENCE HA 1661.S8
United Nations Statistical Yearbook KNIGHT REFERENCE HA 12.5.U63
World Bank Atlas KNIGHT REFERENCE G 1046.G1 I5
World Development Report DOCUMENTS REFERENCE - HC 59.7 .W659

Journals (CURRENT PERIODICALS ROOM, 2nd floor, Knight Library

Browse through the table of contents of recently published Pacific Islands journals to identify a contemporary research topic for your research paper. These journals can be found in many different call number (subject areas) sections:

DU Pacific Islands: History, culture, general. The section with the greatest number of journals.
GN 662-700 Pacific Islands: Anthropology
PR 9645 Pacific Islands: Literature

Finding Articles

To look for articles in journals, newspapers, or magazines, you will need to start with an index. An index will allow you to search by subject (guaranteed article largely or wholly about this subject), by keywords (like an Internet search, article will appear if it matches the exact words you typed in, no guarantee that the focus of the article), or by author, etc.

Following is a select list of indexes that explicitly focus on the Pacific Islands. Because Pacific Islands Studies is an interdisciplinary field, there are many subject specific indexes (e.g. anthropology, history, literature, environmental studies) that also will be helpful in your research. Please ask @ the Reference Desk for assistance for help in finding or using the appropriate index(es)!

Hawaii Pacific Journal Index Produced by the University of Hawaii Library, it indexes journals published in Hawaii and the Pacific.
South Pacific Bibliography KNIGHT REFERENCE Z 4001.S65
Previously known as the South Pacific Periodicals Index (1979-1981) [KNIGHT REFERENCE Z4501.B53] and the Bibliography of periodical articles relating to the South Pacific (1974-1978) [KNIGHT REFERENCE - Z4501 .B53]): Produced by the University of the South Pacific, it indexed a wide variety of journals from the Pacific and beyond in its early days. Currently, it is a bibliography of the new holdings of the USP Library.

Finding Books

  • UO Libraries Catalog
    Identify books by topic, title or author; identify journals and magazines owned by the UO Libraries. To find journal articles on your topic, use the databases listed in the section above. Once you have a citation, you can check the library catalog by doing a title search on the name of the journal to see if we have it here.
    • If the UO Libraries does not own the journal, fill out an interlibrary loan form to request a copy of the article from another library.
    • If the UO Libraries does not own the book, or other material you want, try Summit or WORLDCAT and request through them.
  • Summit (formerly Orbis Cascade Alliance Union Catalog)
    Orbis Cascade Alliance is a consortium of libraries in the Pacific Northwest whose combined collections greatly exceed the size of the UO Libraries collection. Request books and other materials (but not journal articles) through Summit if the UO copy is checked out, missing, or if UO doesn't own a copy.
    • Delivered within 3 *working* days or less
    • 3 week checkout period with renewal option
    • Free service for UO students, faculty, and staff
    • Click on REQUEST THIS ITEM link when looking at full record to borrow material.
  • WorldCat
    Worldcat provides access to library catalogs from around the world AND you can request materials from most of them. The database contains more than 40 MILLION bibliographic records describing books, journals, maps, musical scores, manuscripts, etc. Once you are looking at the full record for an item you want you can request it by clicking on the ILL button (top button bar) and filling out the form. Delivery time varies, consult with the Reference Department or the Interlibrary Loan Department for more information.
  • Browsing the shelves
    Try the following call number areas to get a taste of the UO Libraries' holdings (please ask @ the Reference Desk if you cannot find what you want):
    • DU Pacific Islands: History, culture, general. The section with the greatest number of books & journals.
    • GN 662-700 Pacific Islands: Anthropology
    • PR 9645 Pacific Islands: Literature
    • *To find a particular author's works, search the UO Library Catalog.

Web Resources

There are a handful of websites that try to cover all the islands or regions (Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia) within the Pacific. For help finding additional websites please ask @ at the Reference Desk.

TIP: To get the best retrieval when searching for Pacific Islands information don't forget that they are also generally referred to as the South Seas, the South Pacific, and Oceania. Alternatively, narrowing your search to one of the regions or a particular country will give you more focused results.


Created by lib-systems-student on Aug 7, 2012 Last updated Apr 30, 2014