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What is the Handbook of Latin American Studies?

The Handbook is a selective annotated bibliography of scholarly works on Latin America. Edited by the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress, the multidisciplinary Handbook alternates annually between the social sciences and the humanities. The print edition, published by the University of Texas Press, includes between 3,000 and 5,000 bibliographic entries each year. More than 130 leading scholars from throughout the world choose and annotate these items. Continuously published since 1936, the Handbook offers Latin Americanists an essential guide to available resources. Today, in addition to the print edition, the Handbook is available for electronic searching on a CD-ROM (HLAS/CD), published by the Fundación Histórica TAVERA (Madrid, Spain), and via the Internet on HLAS Online.

Works reviewed include books, journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers in the disciplines of Anthropology (including Archeology, Ethnohistory and Ethnology), Art, Geography, Government and Politics, History, International Relations, Literature, Music, Philosophy, Political Economy, and Sociology. Starting with Volume 54, the Handbook also includes electronic resources. In addition, earlier volumes included other disciplines such as Cartography, Film, Folklore, Law, and so forth.

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How do I access HLAS Online?

HLAS Online includes records from volume 1 onward and introductory essays from vols. 1-49. This Web version of the Handbook, updated weekly, can be accessed at the following address: http://www.loc.gov/hlas/.

The most recent Handbook volumes (vol. 50 onward) can also be searched via HLAS Web. This site is updated instantaneously and offers robust searching features such as the ability to limit by language or place of publication.

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What is the maximum number of documents that can be returned in a search?

You have a choice on both the basic and expert search screens as to how many documents you want in your item list of a search. The default is 100 documents, but you can change this number.

The maximum possible number of items that may be retrieved in any given search is 5000 (although you can input "9999"). However, we do not recommend this path, especially because there is no way to skip over the first records of your search (which you wouldn't want to do anyway!). If you want to see the 4500th record, you must "Next Page" through the entire item list.

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Is there an order to the search results?

Although the order of the hits list may seem random at times, there is indeed a mathematical formula which ranks results according to their relevancy to your search terms. The search engine, called Inquery, was developed by the Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, which you can consult for helpful information and hints. Search results are not listed in chronological order or alphabetical order.

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How do I determine what a journal abbreviation stands for?

Most of the journals are abbreviated in the citations. You should consult the Current Journal Abbreviations List to find the full title and publication information for journals since volume 50. The entire list is the most up-to-date version. The Retrospective Journals List [volumes 1-49] is also accessible for searching. However, most occurrences in retro volumes (1-49) do have the full title of the journal following the abbreviation. If you are having trouble with an abbreviation, please contact HLAS and we will provide the full journal title for you.

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Where can I find the full text of the article or book?

HLAS Online is an annotated bibliography. To find the full text of an article or book, you must search in your local or university library. The majority of works included in HLAS are in the Library of Congress collections, however, please first try to find the material at your library. Many databases offer subscriptions to full text of journal articles, and some journals offer full text to their own material for free on the Internet. Please check with your local library to see if they have a subscription to any of these full-text databases. You can also consult the Links to Full-Text Scholarly Journal Databases Page compiled by HLAS staff. You may also be able to use Interlibrary Loan, which is available through many local and university libraries in the US and throughout the world. More information can be found on the Library's Interlibrary Loan Web Page. If you still cannot find the work, please contact HLAS and we will try to help you locate the material.

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What is the difference among formats of HLAS?

For a detailed summary of the differences among the various Handbook products, you can read a paper entitled The Handbook of Latin American Studies: Its Automated History and a Comparison of Available Formats that specifically addresses the development of electronic formats and their strengths and weaknesses. There is also a chart that explains the various functions of the 2 products: HLAS Online and HLAS/CD.

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Can I use bibliographic tools and citation managers to connect to HLAS?

One way to connect to a database that you want to search from within EndNote is by using a connection file. This allows you to construct a simple search from within EndNote and to connect to the database using what is called a Z39.50 Protocol. To do this, in EndNote 6-X go to the Tools menu and choose Connect; slide over the Connect command to get the window entitled Choose A Connection File. (Note: Versions of EndNote prior to 6 have the Connect command available from the File menu.) The Find button on the left-hand side about two-thirds of the way down the window will narrow your options. NOTE: HLAS is listed under Library of Congress. Alternatively, here is the link to the HLAS connection file:http://endnote.com/downloads/connections/library-congress-0

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How can I become a Contributing Editor to HLAS?

The Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS) depends upon the voluntary work of its more than 130 contributing editors, all of whom are recognized scholars in their fields. Contributing editors are appointed by the Librarian for a two-year period and the appointments can be renewed by the Handbook Editor. Periodically, contributing editors resign or are otherwise replaced.

Contributing editors enjoy the privilege of reviewing the latest literature on Latin America acquired by the Library of Congress before it becomes a part of the Library's main collection. In addition, CEs receive photocopies of articles from leading journals and occasionally review copies of books. Finally, as researchers, contributing editors are able to draw upon the Library's vast resources and serve as consultants in their respective fields.

Anyone interested in becoming a contributing editor should submit a current curriculum vitae to:

Editor, Humanities <or> Social Sciences
Handbook of Latin American Studies
Hispanic Division, Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue SE
Washington, DC 20540-4851

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How can I submit my work for possible inclusion in HLAS?

You may submit your work or the work of a colleague (journal article, conference paper, monograph) to the HLAS office, where it will be assessed initially by the Editor. HLAS does not generally include Master's or PhD theses. The Editor will determine if the work is within the scope of HLAS. If so, the Editor will assign the work to a contributing editor (discipline specialist), who will make a final decision about the work, and possibly annotate it and include it in the print version. Please see address directly above to send a work to HLAS.

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Comments: Ask a Librarian (10/24/12)