African American and Diaspora Studies
The Pennsylvania State University Libraries collect many materials related to the study and teaching of Africa. Among the items that can be found at the Libraries are books, maps, journals, videos, and electronic resources on Africa.
To assist the community of Penn State faculty and students interested in exploring the political, historical, socioeconomic, and cultural aspects of Africa, this site has been developed to help you locate library resources. Since the study of African incorporates several disciplinary perspectives, materials are housed throughout the subject libraries at University Park, with the bulk of the collection at Pattee Library and Paterno Library.
Articles from journals the Penn State Libraries do not own can be obtained via ILLiad [the Libraries' Interlibrary Loan system].
AfricaBib is a combination of databases providing access to periodicals and other material on Africa. The two major databases include
Bibliography of Africana Periodical Literature Database
a bibliography of over 36,000 citations from 300 periodicals covering the entire range of topics relating to Africa
African Women's Bibliographic Database
in addition to including citations pertaining to women in Africa, this database includes conference papers, as well as references to theses and dissertations
A large and detailed bibliography entitled Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to African 1763-2004 can also be found on AfricaBib.
ASA (African Studies Abstracts) Online
Produced by the African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands, each quarterly issue contains about 450 abstracts of collective volumes, journal articles, and chapters from edited works, arranged geographically. Some 240 journals are regularly scanned. Almost half of these are published in Africa. Emphasis is on material in African studies (south of the Sahara) and third world development emphasizing social sciences and the humanities. About half of the entries are in English.
African journals online
This comprehensive database offers tables of contents and abstracts for 230 journals published in Africa in a variety of fields. Even though the Libraries only subscribe to a select number of these journals, this is a valuable resource that should not be overlooked.
The following databases are available to researchers with a Penn State Access Account:
This is an important source for the full text of back runs (no current issues) of 15 major journals in African Studies, including African Affairs and Journal of African History. In addition, JSTOR provides access to over 300 full-text journals in a wide variety of disciplines, including Anthropology, Economics, Feminist and Women's Studies, Geography, History, Language and Literature, Political Science, Population Studies, and Sociology.
Provides access to scholarly journals published by major university presses, with access to the full text of 9 titles in African Studies, with additional coverage of journals in the humanities and social sciences.
Covers publications from academic journals and popular magazines in the humanities, social sciences, general sciences, and business. Contains many full-text articles.
Covers the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada, which are covered in America : History and Life). Historical Abstracts includes information on articles indexed since 1970, and on books and dissertations from 1979.
MLA International Bibliography
A worldwide index of references to journal articles, dissertations, books, and parts of books pertaining to modern literature, folklore, film, drama, languages, and linguistics. It excludes book, drama, and film reviews. Includes indexing from 1963 to the present, and incorporates the MLA Directory of Periodicals.
The main research tool available for the fields of anthropology and archaeology. AnthropologyPlus combines Anthopological Literature from Harvard University and Anthropological Index from the Royal Anthropological Institute (United Kingdom) into a single database. Covers journal articles, reports, edited works, and obituaries in anthropology and related fields. Coverage is from late 19th century to the present.
CIAO (Columbia International Affairs Online)
An important site for theory and research in international affairs. CIAO publishes a wide range of scholarship from 1991 onward that includes working papers from university research institutes, occasional papers series from non-governmental organizations, foundation-funded research projects, proceedings from conferences, books, journals, and policy briefs.
Indexes books, journals, working papers, and other materials on population topics. It presents an annotated bibliography of recently published books, journal articles, working papers, and other materials on population topics. This website provides a searchable and browsable database containing over 45,000 abstracts of demographic literature published between 1986 and 2000.
Full-text book and serial publications from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Includes Country Statistical Profiles and economic data.
Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
Provides references and abstracts from public affairs magazines, major newspapers, professional journals, and books devoted to politics and political analysis.
Women's Studies International
Women's Studies International is one of the most comprehensive women's studies resources available. Citations and abstracts are drawn from a variety of essential women's studies databases which range in coverage from classic works and core studies to the latest scholarship in feminist research.
The table below will help you to find the right area for browsing the shelves to obtain materials about Africa. To identify specific call numbers and shelf locations search The CAT, the library's online catalog.
|Subject||Call Number Range|
|Africa - General Studies (including history, ethnography, politics)||DT 1 - DT 3415|
|Human Geography and Ecology, Africa||GF 700 - GF 758|
|Folklore, Africa||GR 350 - GR 360|
|Politics, Africa||JQ 1870 - JQ 3981|
|Law, Africa||KQ - KTZ|
|Music, Africa||ML 350|
|Language and Literature, Africa||PL 8000 - PL 8844|
Encyclopedias and other reference works provide background information and overviews of topics. Typically they summarize what is known in the field and can be a good starting point for research. For information about specific countries also see the section below on Country Information.
Country studies / Area Handbook series
Available online since 1988, this is a U.S. government-produced series of monographs on individual countries throughout the world. There are volumes for most African nations. This series is well-written and contains extensive bibliographies.
Heavily statistically based descriptions of countries, including data on economics, language, religion, and population. Produced by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Also available online via the U.S. Government Printing Office.
Political Risk Yearbook
An analysis of the business and political climate of various countries. Designed primarily for use by business, the analysis can be useful in identifying trends in politics and economics. Coverage is for selected countries only:
Background notes series
Prepared by the United States Department of State, these publications provide information about the land, people, history, government, political conditions, economy, and foreign relations of countries. Also available online via the U.S. Department of State.
A selected list of African Studies periodicals currently available in the Penn State Libraries:
Aethiopica : International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies (University of Hamburg, Germany)
African Security Review [ISS (Institute for Security Studies)]
This website features high-quality analysis and progressive advocacy on African issues, with particular attention to priority issues affecting the entire continent.
Aggregates and indexes content from over 125 African news organizations, plus more than 200 other sources, who are responsible for their own reporting and views.
The following databases are available to researchers with a Penn State Access Account:
LexisNexis Academic focuses primarily on business and law topics, with additional general news (international, national and local), medical, and reference resources. Most material is full-text. For Business, LexisNexis features company and industry news, detailed company financial data, and includes major accounting journals. In Legal Research, the database provides texts of federal and state court decisions, federal and state agency regulations, and law journal articles.
World News Connection [WNC]
World News Connection is an online news service that offers an extensive array of translated and English-language news and information. Compiled from thousands of non-U.S. media sources, including African, the information in WNC covers significant socioeconomic, political, scientific, technical, and environmental issues and events. Goes back to 1994.
The following African newspaper titles are available via PressDisplay Electronic Image Databases:
The Penn State University Libraries hold a vast collection of microforms (microfilm, microfiche, and micro-opaques) on a wide variety of subjects. The collections are housed in the News and Microforms Library, located on the ground floor, West Pattee Library. Among the materials on Africa are:
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library)
This site links you to one of the premiere research libraries for black culture. Dedicated to protecting, preserving, and providing access to materials relating to peoples of African descent from around the world, the Schomberg Center currently contains over 5,000,000 items.
Frederick D. Patterson Research Institute
The mission of the Institute is to "design, conduct, and disseminate the type of research that helps guide policymakers, educators... toward improving the education opportunities and outcomes of African Americans".
The African Studies Center, The University of Pennsylvania
"The African Studies Center at the University of Pennsylvania is recognized as a vital and forward-looking center where researchers, students and cultural and business entities come to gain knowledge of contemporary and historical Africa."
African Studies Internet Resources, Columbia University Libraries
"Columbia University's collection of African Studies Internet Resources is an on-going compilation of electronic bibliographic resources and research materials on Africa available on the global Internet, created under the purview of the African Studies Department of Columbia University Libraries. Electronic resources from Africa are organized by region and country."
African Studies Association (ASA)
"The African Studies Association was founded in 1957 as a non-profit organization open to all individuals and institutions interested in African affairs. Its mission is to bring together people with a scholarly and professional interest in Africa."
Office of the Special Adviser on Africa (OSAA)
United Nations office established to enhance international support for Africa's development and security through its advocacy and analytical work, to assist the Secretary General in improving coherence and coordination of the UN system support to Africa, and to facilitate inter-governmental deliberations on Africa at the global level, in particular relating to the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD).
United Nations Public Administration Network (UNPAN) : Africa
UNPAN promotes the sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices throughout the world in sound public policies, effective public administration, and efficient civil services, through capacity-building and cooperation among the United Nations Member States, with emphasis on South-South cooperation and UNPAN's commitment to integrity and excellence.
Africa South of the Sahara
Selected Internet resources on a variety of issues about Africa compiled by the Stanford University Library.