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Cia World Book - CIA Produces Top Notch Reference Tool

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Believe it or not, some of the best publicly available information about any country in the world is available for free to anyone with a computer and it comes from the normally very secretive Central Intelligence Administration (CIA).

The CIA’s World Factbook (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/) is an online encyclopedia of geographic, economic and political information for 266 different countries. Researchers from intelligence analysts to school children find use for the World Factbook’s very readable entries.

Originally printed in 1962, the World Fact Book was a classified annual publication. Updated every two weeks by staff in Langley, Virginia, the World Factbook was first made available to the public in 1971. In 1981 it became an annual. All the information contained on the site is considered to be in the public domain and can be used as desired.

A typical World Factbook entry begins with very basic information including a map, country flag, and a few photos. Each entry also contains the following sections:
*Geography
*People
*Government
*Economy
*Communications
*Transportation
*Military
*Transnational Issues

Each section includes a number of subsections that allow researchers to drill deep for information.

For example, the “Geography” section contains everything from detailed topographical maps to descriptions of environmental issues to GPS coordinates.

Under the “Economy” subheading, information ranges from gross national product, major industries and specific output of resources such as oil.

According to the CIA’s website, the World Factbook is an example of “finished intelligence.” That is to say that information has been thoroughly vetted and is, in some ways, comparable to the information sent directly to the president.

In fact, the CIA lists both the World Factbook and the President’s Daily Brief as examples of finished intelligence.

Information in the World Factbook is presented in a neutral fashion regardless of a nation’s relationship with the U.S. Government. Entries on Iran and North Korea read the same entries on Canada and the United Kingdom.

The CIA’s World Factbook is one of the most read publications produced by the U.S. Government.

Whether a researcher is working on a basic school reports or preparing due diligence, World Fact book is an outstanding resource.

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