Library Research Guide

Guide to the Library: 2010-2011

The Centro Library and Archives (CLA) is devoted to collecting, preserving and providing access to resources documenting the  history and culture of Puerto Ricans. Established in 1973 as a component of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, the Centro Library and Archives was dedicated to activist and educator, Evelina López Antonetty in 1986. The Centro Archives, known as the Archives of the Puerto Rican Diaspora, were formally established in 1989. The collections include books, newspapers, periodicals, audio, films and videos, manuscripts and other archival materials, photographs, prints,  recorded music, and electronic resources. The Library and Archives provides services to CUNY faculty and students, scholars from other communities and institutions, and the general public. Constituents are diverse and come from all areas of  the United States and abroad.

Centro Library and Archives invites students, faculty members, researchers and the general public to visit THE facilities to use library and archival resources when conducting research on Puerto Rican studies topics.  The Library also provides quick reference service by telephone and email.  To contact the Library call 212.396.7877 or send an email to  To contact the Archives  212.396.7877 or email

During the Fall and Spring semesters the Library is open  Monday to Thursday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, and Fridays from 12 noon to 6:00 pm.  The Archives is open from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Fridays.  The visit to the Archives is by appointment only. To make an appointment call 212.396.7877 or email

The reading room has: computers for accessing the library catalog, databases, and the internet;  microfilm readers;  audiovisual station; and a photocopy machine that can be operated by a CUNY copy card available for purchasing on the 4th floor.

Centro Library and Archives have collections of books, journals, newspapers, archival materials,  microfilms, films and videos, audio recordings, theses and dissertations, and government publications;  all related to topics on Puerto Rican studies.  The Library and Archives materials are for library use only.

Although we do not directly participate in any interlibrary loan system, many of the books and journals deposited at CLA are held by other CUNY libraries and may be available through ILL from these or other libraries nationwide including libraries in Puerto Rico.  When CUNY students and faculty are interested in a specific title held by Centro, they should also look in other CUNY libraries to find out if any of the other libraries hold the resource, as it may be available for checkout at any of these libraries, or by ILL from other libraries.

All ILL transactions are processed by Hunter College library. Hunter College Library will process the request  and will notify the users when the materials are available for pick up. For details on the ILL service available at Hunter College Libraries refer to

Centro Library and Archives catalog is part of the CUNY libraries union catalog system. To search the catalog for materials held only at CLA, go to Hunter College Libraries site ( and at the search screen select “Centro” from the menu of libraries. Then, follow the instructions for searching the catalog.  For CUNY students and faculty searches in all CUNY libraries is also possible from the same search screen. 

Instructions for searching the catalog
Refer to ”INSTRUCTIONS FOR SEARCHING THE CUNY LIBRARY CATALOG” section on this guide, and “Searching by subjects” below.

Searching by subjects
The Library uses the Library of Congress Subject Headings to index its materials by topics. Below is a list  of common subject headings/ keywords for searching our collections on the CUNY catalog. Be aware that these are not the only terms used to catalog Centro materials. If you need help formulating  a search in the CUNY catalog, please request the assistance of a reference librarian at Centro Library and Archives. They can guide you in constructing search strategies using relevant headings and keywords to find relevant resources. They can also guide you on the use of the different resources available at CLA.


Puerto Ricans--Biography.
Puerto Ricans--Civil rights--New York(State) Puerto Ricans--Civil rights--United States.
Puerto Ricans--Cultural assimilation--New York (State)--New York
Puerto Ricans---Cultural assimilation--United States
Puerto Ricans--Domestic life--New York(State)--New York
Puerto Ricans--Economic conditions.
Puerto Ricans--Education
Puerto Ricans--Emigration and immigration-- History. Puerto Ricans--Employment.
Puerto Ricans--Ethnic identity
Puerto Ricans--Fiction.
Puerto Ricans--Government policy--New York (State)--New York. Puerto Ricans--Hawaii--History.
Puerto Ricans--Health welfare
Puerto Ricans--History.
Puerto Ricans in literature
Puerto Ricans--Music.
Puerto Ricans--New York (State)--New York


Puerto Rico--Bibliography.
Puerto Rico--Biography.
Puerto Rico--Census.
Puerto Rico--Civilization.
Puerto Rico--Economic conditions
Puerto Rico--Economic policy.
Puerto Rico--Emigration and immigration
Puerto Rico--History.
Puerto Rico--History--Archival resources.
Puerto Rico--History--To 1898.
Puerto Rico--History--War of 1898
Puerto Ricans--Poetry
Puerto Ricans--Political activity
Puerto Ricans--Race identity.
Puerto Ricans--Religion.
Puerto Ricans--Social conditions.
Puerto Ricans--Social life and customs.
Puerto Ricans--United States--History.
Puerto Ricans--United States--Intellectual life.
Puerto Rico--Intellectual life.
Puerto Rico--Languages.
Puerto Rico--Politics and government.
Puerto Rico--Population
Puerto Rico--Relations--United States.
Puerto Rico--Social conditions
Puerto Rico--Social life and customs.


For detailed instructions on how to use the CUNY Libraries catalog go to:

CUNY Libraries provide access to numerous online databases, some of which provide bibliographic data and full text of documents including journal articles. For users outrside the CUNY communities, online searches on these databases is not possible. However, users that are not affiliated with CUNY can have access to these databases in the library. Some of these databases treat topics and works related to Puerto Rican studies.  Among the databases that can be used when conducting research on Puerto Rican topics are:

JSTOR is a service that provides access to references and content to over one thousand academic journals and other scholarly documents.  A general search using the phrase “Puerto Rican” yielded 22,180 related articles. For a list of journals related to Latin American studies refer to the session “Journals Related To Latin American Studies Indexed in JSTOR”on this guide.

This database is one of the many research tools available through OCLC FirstSearch. It indexes journal articles in many disciplines. It indicates if Hunter College owns the journal title and provides full bibliographic description. A general search using the phrase “Puerto Rican” yielded 1,131 related articles. A feature of this and any other OCLC FirstSearch database is that an ILL request for the resources can be placed in the spot.

HAPI ONLINE: The Database of Latin American Journal Articles
The Hispanic American Periodicals Index (HAPI) contains over 275,000 journal article citations about Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Brazil, and Hispanics/Latinos in the United States.  HAPI currently provides over 60,000 links to the full text of articles appearing in more than 600 key social science and humanities journals published throughout the world. A search using keywords “Puerto Rican” produced 750 articles. A search using “Puerto Rico” produced 2,676 articles. Centro Journal is indexed in HAPI.  HAPI can only be accessed from the reading room of the Centro Library.
Latin America Data Base (LADB)
The Latin America Data Base is an English language Latin America news service from the  University of New Mexico. LADB produces three weekly electronic publications: NotiCen, NotiSur, and SourceMex and maintains a searchable database of over 28,000 articles from numerous Latin American news sources and journals. A search using keywords “Puerto Rico” yielded 1,690 hits.

National Newspaper Index
This database from Gale provides access to the text of articles published in newspapers from around the nation. A search using keywords “Puerto Rico” yielded 2,731 hits and the keywords “Puerto Rican” yielded 678 hits.

New York State Newspapers
Also from Gale, this database provides full text access to articles treated in newspapers published in the state of New York. A search using keywords “Puerto Rico” yielded 1,716 articles, and the keywords Puerto Ricans yielded 112 hits.

Music Index
This subject-specific database can also be used to find articles on topics related to Puerto Rican studies. A search using keyword “salsa” yielded 1,033 hits. A search using keywords “Puerto Rico” yielded 635 hits.

MLA International Bibliography
Online database resource for research on literary topics, authors, and their works. Its coverage includes all genres and disciplines, all time periods, and all regions of the world.  It includes the full-text scholarly articles from more than 360 academic journals and literary magazines and  excerpts from scholarly monographs, literary correspondence and diaries.   A search using keyword phrase “Puerto Rico” yielded 2,450 hits. Another search using “Puerto Rican Literature” yielded 2,460 articles; another search combining the terms “Bilingualism”, “Puerto Rican”, and “Spanish” produced 25 hits; a combined search using keywords “code switching”, “Spanish language”, and “United States” produced 55 articles.

Social Sciences Full Text
Index and full text of journals from WilsonWeb published in the U.S. and  elsewhere. A search using the terms “Puerto Rican” produced 798 articles.

Urban Studies Abstracts
An EBSCO database that includes article citations and full texts.  A search using the terms “Puerto Rican” produced 101 articles.

WorldCat, the world largest library union catalog is a database that contains records of the holdings of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. When a search is performed in WorldCat, the results show the libraries that hold the item including your library. WorldCat contains several functions. Among the most popular ones are: 1) the ability to get citations of library materials in five common styles, and export them to a variety of formats including EndNote and RefWorks. WorldCat also has the ability to connect to your library catalog directly from its cite. It contains several databases than can be searched individually or globally.

NOTE: The above databases are not the only ones that can be used to find materials related to Puerto Rican studies. When conducting research on specific topics of this field, select a database that treats the specific subject and perform searchers using relevant keywords according to the topic being researched. A common qualifier under different topics is “Puerto Rican”.  This phrase combined with other terms relevant to the specific field may produce more significant results. If you need help when searching resources relevant to Puerto Rican studies in the CUNY library catalog or any databases that CUNY subscribes to; or in any other database, website or library catalog, request the help of a librarian at Centro Library and Archives.

For a list of databases CUNY libraries subscribe to see section “Database Catalog”

Centro Journal is a multidisciplinary, bilingual, refereed publication that welcomes scholarly articles in the humanities and the social and natural sciences, as well as interpretive essays, interviews, fiction, reviews and art. It is primarily and academic publication directed at disseminating the growing body of scholarship about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans.

Centro Journal is an award-winning journal.  Our 2003 issue (Vol. 15, no. 2) won the 2004 American Graphic Designer Awards for "Best Cover" and "Best Overall Journal." Our Spring 2006 (Vol. 18, no. 1) and Fall 2006 (Vol. 18, no. 2) each won 2007 awards for Best In-house Design from the prestigious Graphic Design USA magazine. The Spring 2007 number (Vol. 19, no. 1) won the 2008 award for Best In-house Design from Graphic Design USA.

The journal is indexed in: Abstracts in Anthropology; Academic Search Premier; Alternative Press Index; America: History and Life; Caribbean Abstracts; CONUCO-Consorcio Universitario de Indización; Current Contents/Social & Behavioral Sciences (CC/S&SBS); HAPI-Hispanic Periodical Index; Historical Abstracts; International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS); ISI Alerting Services; Latindex; Left Index; Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts; MLA International Index; OCLC PAIS; Red de Revistas Científicas de América Latina, el Caribe, España y Portugal (RedALyC); Scopus; Social Science Citation Index (SSCI); Social Services Abstracts; Social Scisearch; Sociological Abstracts; Ulrich Periodicals Directory; H.W. Wilson Humanities Index; Worldwide Political Science Abstracts.

Centro journal is held by numerous academic libraries in U.S. including some libraries in Puerto Rico, and in foreign countries’ institutions that are members of WorldCat -the OCLC union catalog system- to include Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

The library subscribe to the journal and it holds the entire run of the publication. Soon all the articles of the journal will be indexed in the library catalog where they will be retrievable by author, title, and specific topics using the same cataloging rules used to index books and other library materials. Also, it will be possible to access the full text from the library catalog. Meanwhile, to find articles by subject, title or author in the journal, access any of the above mentioned databases where the journal is indexed, and perform a relevant search.  Currently some of the texts can be accessed online at:


Pew Hispanic Center  *
Founded in 2001, the Pew Hispanic Center is a nonpartisan research organization that seeks to improve understanding of the U.S. Hispanic population and to chronicle Latinos' growing impact on the nation. The Center does not take positions on policy issues. It is a project of the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan "fact tank" in Washington, DC that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It is funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, a public charity based in Philadelphia.
The Pew Hispanic Center conducts and commissions studies on a wide range of topics with the aim of presenting research that at once meets the most rigorous scientific standards and is accessible to the interested public. The Center also regularly conducts public opinion surveys that aim to illuminate Latino views on a range of social matters and public policy issues.

•   Demography - The patterns of Hispanic population growth and settlement across the United States.
•   Economics - The wealth, well-being and wages of Latinos over time and in comparison to others.
•   Education - The outcomes and the factors that produce them as well as Latino views on education policy issues.
•   Identity - Attitudes towards a variety of matters shape the ways that Latinos see themselves and their place in U.S. society.
•   Immigration - The foreign born as a factor in population growth, their origins and characteristics.
•   Labor - Hispanic's role in the labor force and the impact of business cycles on their employment and wages.
•   Politics - Levels of participation, views on policy issues and partisan loyalties.
•   Remittances - The billions of dollars sent home by Latino immigrants, how they are sent and how they are spent.
* From Pew Hispanic Center website

Library of Congress

The Library of Congress serves as the National Library of the U.S. It contains not only library materials published in the fifty states and U.S. territories and commonwealths, but also from all over the world. The library holds books, journals, maps, audiovisual materials, posters, photographs, archival materials, manuscripts, etc. Its catalog is one of the largest single library catalogs in the world. The Library of Congress hold numerous materials by and about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. It is a good source for locating titles to be further searched in other catalogs.

New York Public Library

The public library for residents of the city of New York, it contains over 20 million books and other library materials. A search using ”Puerto Rican” produced 2,525 records. A search using “Puerto Rico” produced 2,942 records.