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HWST 457 Research Guide: Home

About this Guide

Created for students in HWST 457 ʻĀina Mauli Ola: Hawaiian Ecosystems to help find secondary literature and primary sources on a Hawaiian ecosystem and the human-environment interaction in that ecosystem. Need research help? Email Hawaiian Collection librarian Kapena Shim,

Note on ecosystems. A good way to find info about ecosystems is to lead your searches with place names that have ecosystems you are interested in. Since names vary over time, brainstorm all possibilities. Such as, common name today, i.e. Hawaiʻi Kai vs. Maunalua, and socio-political/tenure land divisions such as ʻili, ahupuaʻa, moku, and mokupuni.

Environmental Background

Environmental Review Program (formally Office of Environmental Quality Control)
Online library of 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).

UH Mānoa's OneSearch
Searches the Hawaiian Collection's holdings as well as the holdings of many peer-reviewed journal databases that our library does and does not subscribe to. You'll also find EISs and EAs and additional sources that speak to environmental background of the ecosystem you are researching, such as theses, studies, and reports. You can lead your keywords with place names and/or physical and biological aspects, such as water, beaches, plant, animal and marine life. Also do an Advanced Search Institutional Repository search to look in ScholarSpace and eVols.

Google Scholar
Simple broad search for scholarly literature such as peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, abstracts and articles, from academic publishers, professional societies, government, universities and other scholarly organizations.

Cultural and Archaeological Studies

UH Mānoa's OneSearch
Searches the Hawaiian Collection's holdings of cultural and archaeological studies and reports. To find these studies and 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. Once you have a results list, filter results by "Held by Library."

  • Any field: place name archaeolog*
  • Any field: place name cultural
  • Any field: place name histor*
  • Any field: place name AND Subject: antiquities

State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD)'s Library
SHPD's libraries, in Kapolei and on Maui, holds many cultural and archaeological surveys, reports, and other studies that were submitted to the State Historic Preservation Division as part of statutory requirements for projects that impact historic properties and disturb the ground. 

  • To locate materials in their library, search their database Hawaiʻi Cultural Resource Information System (HICRIS) for archaeological reports they have digitized. The coverage of digitized historical materials is strong for all the islands except a small part of Hawaiʻi Island and half of Oʻahu (from ʻAiea to Kahaluʻu). Below are detailed steps to search in HICRIS.
    • First, created an account.
    • Second click the "Search" tab on top, then click the "Library" section. You will only want to search the "Library" section. All other sections are meant for other parties SHPD deals with and are not accessible to the general public. 
    • Third, do a simple place name keyword search in the "Library Item Title" field. Note, the TMK field does not work the best. You can easily find a final report by filtering by "Library Item Type."
    • Fourth, once you have results, adjust columns to make it easier to review the results list and read the titles of available reports.
    • Fifth, download the item by clicking the "Go To" icon, then click the item's title, then click the "ViEW" button (top right) in the "Attachments" section.
  • If you have any trouble with this and/or if an attachment is not available, you can email the SHPD librarian at for help. Please also note that if you have a Tax Map Key (TMK) number, I suggest you email the librarian right away for any related reports because the SHPD library is organized by TMK. The format for a TMK number is I-Z-S-PPP-ppp. For example 3-9-2-118-043.
    • I = Island (County) Number (1 digit) (1 Honolulu, 2 Maui, 3 Hawaii, 4 Kauai)
    • Z = Zone Number (1 digit)
    • S = Section Number (1 digit)
    • PPP = Plat Number (3 digits)*
    • ppp = Parcel Number (3 digits)*
      *Add leading zeros to the numbers if contain less than 3 digits.

Nā Mea ʻImi Ka Wā Kahiko: An Annotated Bibliography of Hawaiian Archaeology, 1988
Excellent source to find additional cultural and archaeological studies and reports that perhaps are not in OneSearch. This bibliography is only available in print. References are annotated and grouped by island. There is also a cross-referenced island, district, and ahupuaʻa index. 

Bishop Museum's Anthropology Manuscript Database
Searches manuscripts from past cultural and archaeological projects held in Bishop Museum's Archives. You can search either the author, title, publication year, or museum project number to find manuscripts. Do a simple KEYWORD search for your place name in the title field. If you find any publications of interest, search in OneSearch to see if the Hawaiian Collection has it.

Bishop Museum's Anthropology Projects Database
Searches reports from current and past projects undertaken by the Bishop Museum's anthropology department. Do a simple KEYWORD search for your place name in the locality field or use the island and district fields to browse the places covered in the database. If you find any publications of interest, you may want to search in OneSearch to see if the Hawaiian Collection has it.

Ethnographic Studies and Recorded Histories

Ulukau's Kumu Pono Associates Publications
Use Ulukau to browse selection of ethnographic studies published by Kumu Pono Associates.

  • To find these publications, in the main search box, type in "Kumu Pono Associates". Outside of Ulukau, you can find additional publications by them on their website, as well as do the same search in OneSearch and filtering results to "Held by Library".

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.

Newer digital repository that holds the Ka Leo Hawaiʻi radio program audio recordings from the Hui Aloha ʻĀina Tuahine of UH Mānoa broadcast in 1972-1986. This database aims to fully transcribe and index the recordings but not all of the recordings are transcribed or indexed. Looks like 59 out of 417 recordings have been completed so far. There is also a Kū I Ka Mānaleo section that features short excerpts on different topics. 

Ka Leo Hawaiʻi Radio Recordings @ UHM CLT
UHM's Center for Language and Technology (CLT) has also made available the same audio recordings (except the excerpts) as Kaniʻāina. They are available online through their "Language Audio" portal. The advantage to using this portal is that all the recordings are indexed by guests, callers, and topics discussed every 5 minutes in each radio program.

Ka Leo Hawaiʻi Recordings @ eVols
Collection of recordings from 1991-2000 when Puakea Nogelmeier, Tuti Kanahele and Hauʻoli Akaka hosted the program. The recordings are only indexed by interviewee which are listed in the subject field.

Bishop Museum's Archive Catalog
Mary Kawena Pukui did extensive ethnographic interviews with kūpuna across the pae ʻāina. The recordings, interviewees, and the topics discussed are searchable in the Bishop Museum's archive catalog. Note, these recordings are only accessible in person to listen to at the Bishop Museum's Archives.

Papakilo Database's "Simple Search"
Searches across the many cultural and historical collections in Papakilo from partners such as the Bishop Museum, Hawaiʻi State Archives, State Historic Preservation Department, Ulukau, and the Hula Preservation Society to name a few. These collections have a mix of resources such as archival records/finding aids, publications, index cards and entries that lead to new sources, historic sites and place name data, and OHA maps and reports, and much more. 

Māhele Records and Maps

Lloyd J. Soehren's Catalog of Hawaiʻi Place Names
Compiled from many māhele records, survey maps, and other sources, searches for various place names and natural features and identifies the source(s) that the names and features are mentioned in for cross-referencing. Includes Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Kaʻula, Lānaʻi, Lehua, Maui, Molokaʻi, Niʻihau, and Oʻahu. Excluded for now: Leeward Island, Nihoa. Also partially available on Ulukau, in browsable and drill-down formats. You can also search this collection on Ulukau using their "Inoa ʻĀina Hawaiʻi" or "Hawaiian Place Names" search scope.

Papakilo Database's "Search for Mahele Records"  
Using the "Search Mahele Record" search, 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.

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. 

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.

After clicking "Expert" on the homepage, provides access to the buke māhele, foreign and native testimonies and land commission awards. Also includes a selection of survey maps from the Hawaiʻi Land Survey Division. The main advantage with this database is that it provides a searchable transcription of Land Commission Awards and translations of native testimonies.

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.

More Guides

These research guides will point you in the right direction to find additional information about the ecosystems and places you are researching that can further help you find resources around the three sections of your research project: Environmental background, Cultural use and traditional land tenure, and Contemporary context. Note, there is some overlap of resources between these guides and with the resources listed on this page.

Hawaiʻi Place Names
Hawaiʻi Ahupuaʻa Research
Tutorial on Māhele Records
Hawaiʻi General Research