Skip to Main Content

GEO 368 Research Guide: Home

About this Guide

This research guide was created for students in GEO 368 Geography of Hawaiʻi to help with the Moʻolelo ʻAina - Historical Geography of Place assignment.

The Hawaiian Collection is closed stacks. Many items you find in OneSearch will need to be requested. Click here for instructions on how to request materials.

Hawaiian Collection hours? M-F 10-5pm

Need research help? Contact Hawaiian Collection librarian Kapena Shim,

When researching place, list and search all possible place names such as common name used today and names such as ʻili (land section), ahupuaʻa (land division), moku (land district), and mokupuni (island).

Example: Puheemiki, Punaluʻu, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu.

Find historical and cultural information

UH Mānoa's OneSearch
Searches the Hawaiian Collection's holdings for historical accounts, published histories, oral histories, ethnographic, agricultural, archaeological and cultural studies. To find these publications, click the link to do an advanced search. On the advanced search page, select "UHM Library" as the search scope and use one of the search templates below. Once you have a results list, filter results by "Held by Library." Try all the searches listed below.

  • "Any field" contains: place name
    • AND "Any field" contains: histor* OR archaeolog*
  • "Any field" contains: place name 
    • AND "Title" contains: cultural survey OR cultural history
  • "Any field" contains: place name 
    • AND "Title" contains: agricultur* OR "land use"
  • "Any field" contains: place name 
    • AND "Subject" contains: antiquities

Hawaiʻi Place Names Research Guide
Use this guide to find more historical and cultural information that are found in common books and resources used for place research. These sources will help you find legends, proverbs, historic sites, cultural reference. There are also resources about the importance of place and general ecology.

Ulukau's Kumu Pono Associates Publications
Collection of comprehensive ethnographic studies researched by Kumu Pono Associates. These studies have compiled historical and cultural references from various publications known for information about place, compiled land tenure and survey maps information, and have transcripts of ethnographic interviews conducted. 

Papakilo Database
Partially searches across many unique repositories important for Hawaiian research, such as the Bishop Museum and the Hawaiʻi State Archives. Also includes a fuller body of Hawaiian language newspapers (in comparison to Ulukau). This database also has a "Search Mahele Record" search that makes it very easy and efficient way to find māhele records such as the register, testimony, awards, and patents. This search also includes māhele records that were not awarded which is something Kipuka does not include.

Center for Oral History's ScholarSpace Collection
Based in the UHM's Ethnic Studies department, the Center for Oral History has done extensive oral history projects documenting communities, ethnic groups, government, historical events, individual lives, and occupations. The transcripts of these recordings are available and searchable online through ScholarSpace. Either browse or a do a keyword search using this link. This keyword search format is recommended: interview place name.

Find environmental review and cleanup documents

UH Mānoa's OneSearch
Searches the Hawaiian Collection's holdings of Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs). Also searches for reports and studies that document the efforts by the United States Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) to clean up contaminated sites around Pearl Harbor, Pearl City, Lualualei, Wahiawa, and Kaneohe. To find these reports, click the link to do an advanced search. On the advanced search page, select "UHM Library" as the search scope and use one of the search templates below. Filter results by "Held by Library." Try the searches below.

  • ʻAny fieldʻ contains: place name environmental
  • "Any field" contains: place name
    • AND "Any field" contains: Naval Facilities Engineering OR Navfac

State of Hawaiʻi Environmental Review Program
Search their online "Library of EA and EIS" for find Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs) including drafts, finals, withdrawals, acceptances, and supplemental determinations. Because rules governing the creation of these documents varied over time, they are findable in three groupings to maintain that context: EAs & EISs (Pre-1996), EAs & EISs (1996-2019), and EAs & EISs (2019-Present).

Find government studies and reports

UH Mānoa's OneSearch
Searches the Hawaiian Collection's holdings of government studies, reports and other publications at the federal, state and county level. To find this information, click the link to do an advanced search. On the advanced search page, select "UHM Library" as the search scope and use one of the search templates below. Once you have a results list, filter results by "Held by Library." Try the searches below. 

  • "Any field" contains: place name
    • AND "Any field" contains: division OR department OR county OR board
    • NOT "Any field" contains: impact OR assessment OR navfav
  • "Any field" contains: place name
    • AND "Any field" contains: army corps of engineers

Find social movements & activism

Ethnic Studies Social Movements in Hawaiʻi Resources Collection Instructions for Paste and Spellcheck
Provides digital access to a number of news articles, government documents, publications, flyers and pamphlets pertaining to various social movements and Hawaiian organizations in Hawaiʻi. Best to either browse the collection by selecting a place under the "Social Movements" section and/or doing a keyword search for the place you are researching using this link.

Hawaiʻi - EA Hawaiian Activism Movements 1960-2010
Research guide points to many Hawaiian activism and social movement resources around the themes of ʻāina, wai, armed forces, iwi kūpuna, EAducation, kānāwai, and mele kūʻē. These resources are available in the Hawaiian Collection and some are available online.

Find newspaper articles

Honolulu Star-Advertiser ProQuest Database
Search the full-text content of the Honolulu Star-Advertiser (June 6, 2010 - present), the Honolulu Advertiser (Nov. 30, 2002-June 6, 2010) and the Honolulu Star-Bulletin (Mar. 18, 1996-June 6, 2010).

Find additional news sources
Provides links to other news sources on other islands, along with TV and radio news and historic news.

Find maps and land tenure documents

There are many maps available and they are often linked closely with land tenure because they document the tenure or occupancy of land. A common example are government survey maps and tax map keys. They have land tenure information such as names of landowners, land commission award numbers and land grant numbers. They also have cultural information such as place names. Additionally, there are other historical maps with cultural and observational information that were created by locals, visitors, and explorers. These can be useful in showing place names and how their usage may have changed over time. Land tenure documents, especially the registers and testimonies of land commission awards, are useful because they provide a description on what the land was like in the 1840s/1850s. They describe what kinds of food was grown on the property and identify any natural features.

GIS database that links to māhele records, land grants, TMK maps, survey maps, and additional resources. Great place to start your research to find historical land tenure documents pertaining the place being researched. Note: It appears not all māhele records are mapped in certain areas, especially in urban Oʻahu.

Hawaiʻi Land Division Survey Maps
Using the "Map Search," access digital copies of their historic survey maps. These maps reference different māhele records. Download the index to locate the map register number or other indexes you have that has the map register number. You can also find maps in the "Miscellaneous Maps" section.

Hawaiʻi Maps @ MAGIS
UHM Library's Maps, Aerial Photos and GIS (MAGIS) department has a detailed guide on finding all sorts of maps and aerial photos of Hawaiʻi such as historical maps, topographic maps, and thematic maps.

Waihona Aina
Provides access to transcriptions, translations, and tabulations of māhele records, Land Grants, Boundary Commission, and Royal Patents. Must pay to access these documents but UH Mānoa students, faculty and staff can obtain up to 5 documents per class research assignment. A big plus with this database is that one can freely search the full-text of the transcriptions and the indexes. Another big plus is that the māhele registers and testimonies are translated.

Research Guides on Māhele records
Provides an in-depth overview on how to find māhele records. Use this tutorial guide on māhele records for step by step instructions on locating Māhele records in the various databases. Below is a brief snapshot of the databases highlighted in the two guides linked above.