Introduction to African History: History 311
[ library research | news sources | web resources | research tips | primary source assignment ]


Library Catalog
Search ISU's Library Catalog to find out what the Library owns (or provides access to) on your particular topic. Includes books, videos, cd-rom's, cataloged websites, journals, and more.

Africana Index at Univ. of Michigan Libraries
The University of Michigan is one of nineteen libraries in the US with superb African collections. The Africana file is a database of citations to African and international books and other materials on African topics. Search ISU's Library Catalog for local holdings, or WorldCat to identify other holding libraries to obtain materials via ILL.

Cooperative Africana Microfilm Project
Extensive microfilm collections of rare and hard-to-locate sub-Saharan African materials, including personal papers and archives, government publications, newspapers, journals, and other materials; obtainable via ILL. From the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Search the Foreign Newspapers database to find African newspapers, and the main CRL Catalog for other materials. Also includes a list of CAMP Member Libraries with links to their library catalogs, African Studies Programs, and Africa-related resources.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online
Online version of this well-known encyclopedia contains all the text in the print version, though keyword searching allows easy identification and retrieval of all relevant entries. Includes some graphics, such as digital photos and maps, plus links to related articles and websites.

Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara (REF DT351 E53 1997)
New four-volume authoritative set provides signed articles, maps, photos, statistics, and bibliographies for further reading. Includes appendices on "African Studies outside Africa," which is a long essay detailing the history of African Studies programs worldwide; a chronology of African history organized by date and by region; and an eighty-six page chart listing of "Ethnic and Identity Groups," with information on name, location, linguisitic affiliation, population estimate, and more.

Encyclopedia of Pre-Colonial Africa (GEN DT2 E53 1997)
One-volume encyclopedia focuses on archaeology, history, languages, cultures, and environments. Includes bibliographies and maps.

Historical Dictionary series (REF DT381 to DT3337 range)
Series of dictionaries relevant to specific African countries such as Angola, Benin, Mozambique, Nigeria, and many others, most of which are shelved in Reference in the call number range listed above. Dictionaries provide short, paragraph length entries for historical events, people, movements, organizations, political parties, and general concepts relevant to an understanding of that particular country's history and its people. Dictionaries vary in length, contents, and publication date, but most include bibliographies for further reading.


Africa & the Middle East
BBC World Service news presents selected top news stories from throughout Africa, many accompanied by sound files. Also includes Focus on Africa Magazine.

Africa News Service Online
Online version of this well-known news magazine, and for two decades one of the primary news agencies for Africa news stories reported by US media. Includes investigative reports, interviews, surveys, and headline news relevant to African nations. Searchable by region, individual country, and by topic. In English.

Africa Regional Coverage
Current news coverage provided by the Associated Press, the Washington Post, and selected foreign press bureaus. Provided online from the Washington Post; includes interactive maps of Africa that can be searched or help pin-point news articles by geographic region. In English.

Electronic Journals & Newspapers on Africa
Extensive annotated listing of current African and international electronic publications about Africa and specific African nations. A part of the African Studies World-Wide Web Virtual Library, from African Studies Librarian Joseph Caruso, at Columbia University.

New York Times Index (REF AI21 .N42)
Print index to articles appearing in this newspaper, dated from September 1851 - present. Microfilm copies of the newspaper itself are in the Library's Microform Center.

Palmer's Index to the Times (REF AI21 .T48p)
Print index to the London Times, dating from 1790-1905. Microfilm copies of the newspaper itself are in the Library's Microform Center. See also the Official index to The Times, (REF AI21 T48a), 1906- present (under various names and slightly different call numbers).


Africana Conference Paper Index
Searchable online index (choose Local Databases on NuCat screen) from the University of Michigan Libraries provides citations to international published proceedings from scholarly conferences and meetings dedicated to African topics. Search ISU's Library Catalog for local holdings, or WorldCat to identify other holding libraries to obtain materials via ILL.

Black Studies on Disc (Library only)
This CD-ROM provides bibliographic citations to books, videos, manuscripts, art objects, journal articles, book reviews, and other materials pertaining to African American and African diaspora studies. Includes an electronic version of the important Index to Black Periodicals, as well as the library catalog from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Focus is on the humanities, social sciences and the arts. Note that the Schomburg Center will not loan out unique items through Interlibrary Loan. Check other catalogs for holdings.

Fourth World Documentation Project: African Documents
Links to online full-text documents on topics such as the Great Lakes conflict, statements made before the United Nation's Working Group on Indigenous Populations, and others. Many documents are not dated; some date back to the 1980's.

Historical Abstracts (ISU only)
This online database provides bibliographic citations and abstracts on research journal articles relevant to the study of world history (except that of the United States and Canada) dating from prehistoric times to the present, from morethan 2000 journals. Also includes citations for dissertations, book reviews, film and video reviews. Coverage is publications from 1952-present.

J-Stor Search (ISU only)
J-Stor is an electronic journals archive that includes back issues of important African American titles such as Journal of Black Studies, Callaloo, Journal of Negro History, and Transition, as well a number of "mainstream" history journals such as American Historical Review and Journal of Modern History. Contents of these back issues, including individual reviews, can be searched by keywords, author, date, and by journals. Search results are full-text facsimiles of the journal articles.

PAIS (ISU only)
Provides access to journal articles, government documents, monographs, reports, statistics, and other resources dealing with domestic and international public policy materials on business, government, demographics, law, political science, public administration, education, and other areas, 1972-present. ( In database, click on Change Display if citations lack journal names or book titles.)

Selected Full-Text Digital Periodicals
Online list of electronic African journals published on the web or available via services such as J-Stor and Project MUSE (both of which are available to ISU patrons). Also includes African American periodicals; list maintained by Cornell University's Africana Library. Some journals include search capabilities.


Africa Research Central
A new online repository of African primary source materials, from the UC Santa Barbara Libraries. Includes links to archival repositories around the world, and useful links to relevant associations and organizations.

Africa South of the Sahara
This scholarly and authoritative research site can be browsed by topic or by region. It includes annotated links to electronic resources of all kinds, including web sites, discussion groups and listservs, bibliographies, reports, documents, online newspapers, and more. Search engine will search entire Stanford Library site, not just the African pages. Includes an excellent section on African history links organized by topics, plus an entire page of Primary Sources online. Compiled by Karen Fung at Stanford University, for the Electronic Technology Group, African Studies Association. Highly recommended.

African Studies Center
Another premier academic website that organizes scholarly web resources relevant to African studies. Accessible by country, by region, or by topic; includes search engine, bulletin board, conference announcements, and more. From the University of Pennsylvania.

H-Africa Home Page
This WWW page describes the H-Africa scholarly discussion group (focus is on African history) and how to subscribe, plus provides links to sample discussion threads, documents, a dissertation database, table of contents of various Africanist journals, and other resources. Other more specialized African history discussion groups and resources include H-AfResearch, a forum for African history researchers using primary sources, H-SAfrica, with a focus on southern African history, and H-West Africa, with a focus on the history of western African nations, peoples, and cultures. All include reviews, discussion threads, and links.

Herskovitz Library
From Northwestern University, one of the premiere US library collections of African materials. Includes descriptions of their collections, plus digitized historic posters.


How to Critically Analyze Information Sources
Comprehensive online tutorial in the form of questions to consider when evaluating both print and Web materials, written by reference librarians at Cornell University. Includes brief definitions and helpful examples of primary versus secondary resources.

Library Research using Primary Sources
An excellent and thorough online guide that provides definitions and many examples on the basics (such as knowing the difference between primary and secondary sources), with specific tips on how to locate primary sources in library catalogs and elsewhere. From the UC Berkeley Libraries.

Online Citation Manuals
List of popular style manuals (such as the MLA, Turabian's, and the Chicago Manual of Style) and links to their Web versions. Call numbers are also given for their print counterparts in ISU's Parks Library.

Evaluate the librarian

Iowa State University Library, Ames, IA 50011
Last updated: 06 April 2001.
Created: 01 February 2000.