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It’s a Launch!: The HLAS Redesign is Live

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(The following is a post by Tracy North, Reference Librarian and Social Sciences Editor, Handbook of Latin American Studies, Hispanic Division and Kaydee McCann, Reference Librarian and Humanities Editor, Handbook of Latin American Studies, Hispanic Division.)

Handbook of Latin American Studies website.

The Hispanic Division recently launched a redesigned site for the Handbook of Latin American Studies (HLAS). An essential resource for anyone interested in learning about Latin America, the HLAS database provides selective reviews of noteworthy publications about Latin America from the 1970s to the present. The site is freely available worldwide every day.

Edited and compiled in the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress since the 1930s, HLAS includes works from a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from anthropology (archeology and ethnology), art, geography, government & politics, history, international relations, literature, music, philosophy, political economy, to sociology. The Handbook’s 130 Contributing Editors – scholars based in the US and abroad – review and provide annotations for over 2,000 works per year.

Latin America. Contributor: United States. Central Intelligence Agency. Created / Published [Washington, D.C. : Central Intelligence Agency, 2006]
Thanks to a redesign, the HLAS sun is shining over a crisp, bright layout and graphics that celebrate the beautiful architectural details of the Hispanic Reading Room. We’ve also added many behind-the-scenes features to help you search HLAS more easily and more effectively. The redesigned site is mobile and tablet-friendly. Take a look at the brand new site on your favorite device and try out some of the features and search tips outlined below!

At the top of the Home page, and on every page throughout the site, you’ll find a Quick Search box. To the right of the box, the Search Options drop-down menu offers easy navigation among the Browse, Advanced Search, and Keyword Search options.

Search Options


  • Responsive design enables mobile-friendly viewing and interaction across a range of devices. Responsive design is ADA-compliant, making HLAS accessible to everyone.
  • Permalinks, i.e., permanent links, for HLAS records allow you to share citations via email, on social media, or in classroom presentations. Here’s a link to a citation for a chapter on astronomy at Machu Picchu.
  • You can also create, save, and share “canned searches” for all types of searches and limits.
  • The “LC Find It” button on individual record displays (OpenURL) will help you find digital versions of books and journals described by HLAS records. If you’re in one of the Library of Congress reading rooms (, you’ll be able to link to full text content. If you’re offsite, “LC Find It” menus will link to open access titles and web search engines.
  • Map symbol

    New icons clearly indicate the type of material you’re viewing (book, journal article, electronic resource, etc.). We love the symbol for maps, which you can see in this citation for a map of national historic sites in Puerto Rico (produced by the U.S. Department of Interior).

  • Limits for type of material (book, journal article, book chapter, map/atlas, or electronic resource), place of publication, language, and date are available for most searches. You may be surprised at the number of languages and places of publication for works included in HLAS. Tip: Use the search term “HLAS” while using those limits to discover the relevant publications. Would you believe that HLAS contains over 200 works published in Poland ?
  • Linked cross references provide seamless connections among related entries. Here’s an example of one book reviewed from three different perspectives: ethnohistory, regional history, and geography.
  • Download options like “Cite” and “MARCXML” provide flexibility in the search system. “Cite” offers the ability to create a short citation on the screen, which can then be copied to an email or a document. You can also export one or a group of records in “MARCXML” or “MODS.” You can also print and/or email a single record or a selection of records.

Need more help or search tips? Consult the extensive context-sensitive search tips and help files with search examples.

We’re continuing to work on a multiyear project that will make all HLAS citations (from 1936 to the present) available through this database. For now, access to all the volumes, including the earliest ones, is available through HLAS Online, a trilingual (English, Spanish, Portuguese) interface.

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