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Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS): A Resource Guide

General Search Overview

The Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS) is available in print and online. In both cases, HLAS provides description of thousands of books, articles, and other materials. Scholars add 2,000-3,000 new annotations per year. Because the books and articles are selected by professors, they are the "scholarly," "reliable," and "academic" sources that instructors usually require for assignments like research papers. Searching HLAS will allow you to do a targeted search for resources related to Latin America. A number of HLAS records have direct links to open access books, articles, and other resources like photographs, music, and manuscripts.

This research guide focuses on showing you how to search HLAS Web. If you are interested in searching the legacy database, HLAS Online, please see the Experienced Researchers section of this guide.

Search Tips

The easiest way to begin searching HLAS Web is by using the HLAS Quick Search box. Try using words that you want to see in the results. You don't have to have an exact title or author in mind.

HLAS header - Quick Search

Quick Search

The Quick Search box (pictured above highlighted in yellow) is present on all pages of HLAS Web in the page header.

Quick Search is a great place to start your research if you do not have a lot of information on a topic, if you are not searching for a specific title or author, or if you are searching for a simple idea or phrase. Quick Search uses a keyword search—results will include all of the words you searched in any order. Enclose words in quotes to search for an exact phrase ("Brazilian history").

Quick Search uses a type of search called Keyword (all words). It is a very broad search and it is the best search to use when you're not sure which fields contain the words or phrases you need or when your searches return no results. You can find more information about Keyword (all words) and Quick Search in the system's help pages.

Image showing HLAS Search History option

Start With What You Know

When you have found a book or article that you're interested in, look it up in HLAS and use the subject links in the HLAS records to find related titles. You can also use the author link to see if the author has written other articles or books on the same topic. Start with what you know, and work from there.

Search History

Use the Search History option to re-execute or revise any searches performed in the current search session. (When you close your browser or the browser tab, your search history will not be saved. Likewise, your session will reset after one hour of idle time or if you click the logo at the top of each page.) Search History includes the searched words, the type of search, the number of results, and the option to do the same search again or revise it.

Browsing Tips

Another way to search HLAS Web is by using the Browse option. Browse is ideal when you already know an author, title, or subject heading.


In most Browse searches, punctuation (e.g., semicolons, periods, hyphens, slashes, etc.) found at the end of words or phrases is ignored. Your search queries should include punctuation found in the middle of words (i.e., coups d'etat) and numbers.


For searches using contains, truncation is not automatic. Instead:

  • Use quotation marks (" ") to identify words you want searched as a phrase (e.g., "Lebanese migration")
  • Use a percent sign (%) as a single character wildcard, either inside or at the end of a search term (e.g., wom%n retrieves woman and women).
  • Use a question mark (?) as a multiple character wildcard, either inside or at the end of a search term (e.g., scien? retrieves science and scientific).


Screenshot of Browse search

Limits are available for four Browse search types: Titles Beginning With, HLAS Subjects Beginning With, HLAS Journal Titles Beginning With, and HLAS Identifier. To narrow these searches, open "Add Limits" and select:

  • Year Published
  • Language
  • Type of Material (e.g., book, journal article, map/atlas)
  • Place of Publication (i.e., country or US state or Canadian province)

Limits are not available for Headings Browse Lists of authors or subjects since Browse allows continuous paging from the first to the last heading and shows cross-references in HLAS.

Print, Save, Email, and Cite

Image of a full HLAS record

You may Print, Save, Email, or Cite one record or a group of records in HLAS Web.

From a Titles List, you have the option to "Select All" records on the current page of your search results or to mark individual records by checking the box to the left of the brief record information. Unless you reset the number of records displayed per page, the records you select will be retained when you page forward and backward through your search results. After making your selection, click "Print," "Save," "Email," or "Cite," located to the right of "Select All" at the top or bottom of the page. These options offer quick and easy ways to save bibliographic information for one or multiple sources at one time.