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Ethiopia: Resources for K-12 Readers

This guide presents some useful electronic works and databases for learning about Ethiopia. It is intended to support the K-12 outreach activities of the University of Pennsylvania's African Studies Center.

The POWER Library - Pennsylvania Online World of Electronic Resources

As a Pennsylvania resident or school student, you have access to the POWER Library, a wonderful collection of online databases. Individual e-resources accessible through POWER Library will be identified below.

Access to POWER Library is provided through Pennsylvania public libraries and Pennsylvania public school districts. Within Philadelphia, there are three ways to access Power Library:

If you're not a Philadelphia resident, worker, teacher, or student, then ask at your local public library! Outside Pennsylvania, most states offer similar access to the same e-resources.

There is no excuse for being ignorant! Taxes and donations pay for POWER Library and other e-resources offered by the Free Library. Use these e-resources, and require your students to use them, too.

Getting Started

These e-resources provide overviews of Ethiopia, its geography, its history, its social and political characteristics, and other information.

Ethiopia: A Country Study / Thomas P. Ofcansky and LaVerle Berry, eds. Washington, DC: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1991. With 21-page country profile, updated April 2005.
A great book-length overview of Ethiopia's history, environment, society and economy, and government, politics, and national security issues. The Country Study series ceased in the earlly 1990s, but the Library of Congress has been providing recent article-length updates.

Gale Virtual Reference Library - Free Library access
This collection of online editions of familiar reference works includes:
  • Africa: An Encyclopedia for Students
  • Worldmark Encyclopedia of the Nations
  • Countries of the World and Their Leaders
  • Cities of the World
  • Countries of the World and Their cultures
These will provide long articles on Ethiopia, on its capital Addis Ababa, and on major Ethiopian personalities and other related topics.

Oxford Research Online - POWER Library access
This collection, similar to the Gale Virtual Reference Library, provides online editions of Oxford University Press reference works. See especially:
  • A Guide to Countries of the World
  • A Dictionary of Contemporary World History
  • The Oxford Companion to the Politics of the World
Most of these works are single volumes: although their articles will cover the same range as GVRL's, they'll be brief.

Economist Intelligence Unit: Country Profile: Ethiopia. Annual. 2003-present.
Available through InfoTrac OneFile - Free Library access
The EIU's annual country profiles are essential reading for political leaders, business people, and scholars. They typically provide a narrative account of the past year's current affairs and economic developments, and they present many tables of useful statistics.

Special Topics


Biography Resource Center - Free Library access
Article-length and briefer biographies across all subjects.
SEARCH TIP! Use Advanced Search: Nationality = Ethiopian

Oxford Research Online - POWER Library access
In addition to other general and special-topic reference works, see especially:
  • A Dictionary of Political Biography

Literary Criticism

Contemporary Authors - POWER Library access
Article-length biographies of writers, mostly twentieth-century or more recent. Articles include personal data, title lists; some articles will include interviews, examples of literary criticism.
SEARCH TIP! Use search key Nationality = Ethiopian

Scholarly literary criticism and book reviews can be found in several fulltext collections:
Literature Resources is a focused collection of brief reference articles, scholarly journal articles, and book reviews from major reviewing sources (New York Times Book Review, Library Journal, and the like). Expanded Academic and Humanities F/T are broader fulltext collections: expect to see scholarly journals such as Research in African Literature, African Arts, African Studies Quarterly.

Art and Archaeology

Oxford Art Online - POWER Library access
The online version of the famous Grove Dictionary of Art. This recently-updated version of the enormous, authoritative encyclopedia expands to include non-Western art, architecture, and antiquities.
  • Sample entries include: "Ethiopia and Eritrea", "Rock church", "Aksum"

Online exhibits and Image collections

Journal articles and magazine articles