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Resources for My Subject

African Studies Library: Databases

Where to find...

On this page is a selection of useful electronic databases for African Studies.

Some may require your Raven login, especially if you are not on campus.

For a comprehensive list of online resources available to you, searchable by subject and keyword, please see the eresources & ejournals LibGuide.

If you have a database to recommend, please get in touch!

African Studies

  • - (open access) : This bibliographic database consists of approx. 225,000 African studies publications and is an amalgamation of the following 6 databases: Africana Periodical Literature; African Women; Women Travellers, Explorers and Missionaries to Africa; Islam in Africa; Kenya Coast; Water (Hosted by the African Studies Centre Leiden)

  • Africa Bibliography (Raven login) : Includes monographs, chapters, articles, and pamphlets.  Coverage: all regions of Africa, including North Africa.  Works are in English, Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Swahili, Spanish & Afrikaans. Subject coverage: social and environmental sciences, humanities and arts, and some items from the medical, biological and natural sciences.
  • Africa Yearbook Online (Raven login): The Africa Yearbook covers major domestic political developments, the foreign policy and socio-economic trends in sub-Sahara Africa – all related to developments in one calendar year. 
  • African Digital Research Repositories (open access) : The following list of known repositories within the African continent has been compiled by the International African Institute as a service to African studies research and scholarship in line with our remit to promote the dissemination of knowledge from and on Africa. It is unlikely to be comprehensive and will be regularly reviewed and updated.
  • African History - Oxford Research Encyclopedia (Raven login) : *New Resource* the ORE provides in-depth overviews of the major areas of research and will continue to grow with the field over time.
  • African Studies Abstracts Online (open access) : ASA Online provides a quarterly overview of journal articles and edited works on Africa in the field of the social sciences and the humanities available in the ASC library (Leiden)
  • African Studies Companion Online (Raven login) : contains over 1800 entries covering guides and resources for African languages, Africa cartography and maps, African film, African studies journals, magazines and newsletters, media guides and news sources for Africa, the African press, African studies library collections worldwide, national archives in Africa, centers of African studies and African studies programs worldwide, awards and prizes in African studies, and a wealth of other subjects. 

Data & Research Repositories

  • Commonwealth iLibrary : an online searchable repository of the Commonwealth Secretariat’s publications. 
  • Connecting-Africa (open access) : Connecting-Africa is a gateway to African research information and materials produced worldwide. It provides access to 59490 publications from 93 repositories as well as information on 1354 Africa experts (researchers, policymakers, development practioners) and on 890 organisations (research or development-related institutes with expertise on Africa).
  • ILISSAfrica (open access) : The internet library sub-Saharan Africa (ILISSAfrica) is a portal that offers an integrated access to relevant scientific conventional and digital information resources on the sub-Saharan Africa region. Information scattered on private or institutional websites, databases or library catalogues is brought together in order to facilitate research.
  • Open Data for Africa (open access)

History, Law & Politics

  • Apartheid Through the Eyes of South African Political Parties, 1948-1994 (Raven login) : Trace the evolution and decline of white minority rule in South Africa.
  • African Diaspora (Raven login) : With a focus on communities in the Caribbean, Brazil, India, United Kingdom, and France, the collection includes never-before digitized primary source documents from 1860 to the present.
  • Cambridge Histories Online (Raven login)
  • Colonial Africa in Official Statistics, 1821-1953 (Raven login) : Study over a century of British colonial rule in Africa through official government statistics.
  • Empire Online (Raven login) : This resource brings together manuscript, printed and visual primary source materials for the study of 'Empire' and its theories, practices and consequences.
  • Encyclopedia of Political Thought (Raven login) :  The entries range in size from shorter definitions and biographies to extended treatments of major topics and traditions. Tracing the evolution of political thinking from antiquity to the present.
  • Foreign Law Guide(Raven login) : Broad in content and global in scope, the FLG is an indispensable resource for comparative law research and a fundamental tool for developing a foreign and comparative law collection.For detailed enquiries contact Squire Law Library.
  • Historical Abstracts (Raven login) : Historical Abstracts is a reference guide to the history of the world from 1450 to the present (excluding the United States and Canada). This database offers annotated references to information on topics from the Renaissance to the present -over 1.5 million entries in all. 1800+ journals published throughout the world are covered in the database, including key historical journals from virtually every major country.
  • Nelson Mandela Digital Archive (open access) : The aim of the archive is to locate, document, digitise, and provide access to all archival materials related to Nelson Mandela.
  • Public Affairs Information Service (Raven login) : This resource covers issues in the public debate through selective coverage of a wide variety of international sources including journal articles, books, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference papers, web content, and more.
  • Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice (Raven login) : An essential resource for the study of slavery, the African American experience and world history spanning over five centuries.
  • Struggles for Freedom: Southern Africa (Raven login) : This collection focuses on the complex and varied liberation struggles in the region, with an emphasis on Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (Raven login) : Worldwide Political Science Abstracts provides abstracts and indexing of the international literature of political science and international relations, along with complementary fields, including international law and public administration/policy.

Religion & Theology

  • ATLA Religion Database (Raven login) : ATLA Religion Database provides information on topics such as biblical studies, world religions, church history, and religion in social issues. This database is the definitive index for religious and theological literature.
  • Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism (Raven login) : Brill’s Encyclopedia of Global Pentecostalism Online provides a comprehensive overview of worldwide Pentecostalism from a range of disciplinary perspectives.

  • Encyclopaedia of Islam (Raven login) : The third edition of Brill’s Encyclopaedia of Islam is an entirely new work, with new articles reflecting the great diversity of current scholarship. The new scope includes comprehensive coverage of Islam in the twentieth century and of Muslim minorities all over the world.
  • Encyclopedia of the Bible and its reception online (Raven login) : This reference work compiles recent scientific research on the reception of the Bible in an array of academic disciplines such as classical, literary and religious studies and archaeology as well as in cultural fields like literature, visual arts, music, film and dance.
  • Encyclopedia of the Qu'ran (Raven login) : The Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online is an encyclopaedic dictionary of qur’ānic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis extended with essays on the most important themes and subjects within qur’ānic studies.
  • Mundus (Internet Archive) : Gateway to Missionary collections in the UK. 


Cultural Heritage, Arts & Literature

  • ACRAH Bibliographies (open access) : These bibliographies are an English-language resource for people investigating issues of race and ethnicity in art and visual culture.

  • African Writers Series (Raven login) : For over 40 years, Heinemann's African Writers Series published the key texts of modern African literature. It has a unique importance in the history of postcolonial writing. This online edition includes over 250 volumes of fiction, poetry, drama and non-fictional prose, including works by Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Steve Biko, Buchi Emecheta, Nadine Gordimer, Bessie Head, Doris Lessing, Nelson Mandela, Dambudzo Marechera, Christopher Okigbo, Okot p'Bitek and Tayeb Salih.

  • AODL - (open access) : AODL provides free universal access to cultural heritage materials from and about African countries and communities. It brings together tens of thousands of digitized photographs, videos, archival documents, maps, interviews and oral histories in numerous African languages, many of which are contained in curated thematic galleries and teaching resources. 
  • ArtStor (Raven login) : Database of digital images & accompanying scholarly information for use in art history and other humanistic fields of learning including the related social sciences. Includes approx. 300,000 images covering art, architecture & archaeology.
  • eHRAF Archaeology (Raven login) : eHRAF Archaeology is an award-winning online database covering the prehistory of a sample of archaeological traditions around the world. Designed to facilitate comparative archaeological studies, this database is organized into archaeological traditions by region.
  • eHRAF World Cultures (Raven login) : eHRAF World Cultures contains ethnographic collections covering all aspects of cultural and social life. eHRAF is unique in having subject indexing at the paragraph level. This allows detailed and precise searching for concepts not easily found with keywords.
  • Ethnologue Languages of the World (Raven login) : Explore the world's languages.  Find, read about, and research the world's 7,111 known living languages. 
  • World Heritage Sites : Africa (Raven login) :  serves researchers in African studies, anthropology, archaeology, architecture, art history, Diaspora studies, folklore and literature, geography, and history, as well as those focused on geomatics, advanced visual and spatial technologies, historic preservation, and urban planning.

Development & Economics

  • Economics websites (compiled by Marshall Library of Economics) : Compiled pages provide a brief introduction to a wide range of online resources of particular relevance to students of both Economics and Development Studies.
  • Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) Country Data (Raven login) : Economic and business statistics reports (Currently only South Africa is included)
  • FOCUS: Sub-Saharan Africa(open access):The Open Knowledge Repository contains the World Bank’s premium research dealing with key aspects of development in Sub-Saharan Africa. This site contains thousands of published books, journal articles, economic and sector studies, working papers, and knowledge briefs.

Current & Archival Online News Collections

Science, Technology & Medicine

  • AfricArxiv : digital archive for African research communication, dedicated to foster research and collaboration among African scientists, enhance the visibility of African research output and to increase collaboration globally.
  • arXiv : electronic archive and distribution server for research articles. Areas include: physics, mathematics, computer science, nonlinear sciences, quantitative biology and statistics.
  • History of Science, Technology & Medicine (Raven login) : International bibliography for the history of science, technology, and medicine and their influence on culture.
  • PsycINFO (Raven login) : more than 2 million citations and summaries of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, and dissertations, all in psychology and related disciplines.
  • PubMed (Raven login) : contains 16 million citations from MEDLINE and other life science journals for biomedical articles. Includes links to full text articles and related resources.
  • ScienceDirect (Raven login) : Explore scientific, technical, and medical research on ScienceDirect.


  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS) (Raven login) : This database includes over 3 million bibliographic references to journal articles and to books, reviews and selected chapters dating back to 1951. It is unique in its broad coverage of international material and incorporates over 100 languages and countries. Over 2,800 journals are regularly indexed and some 7,000 books are included each year.
  • Oxford Bibliographies(Raven login) : Includes the following subject collections: Anthropology, Film & Media Studies, International Relations, Sociology 
  • Oxford Research Encyclopedias (Raven login) : Working with international communities of scholars across all fields of study, ORE are developing new comprehensive collections of in-depth, peer-reviewed summaries on an ever-growing range of topics.
  • Scopus (Raven login) : Scopus is a navigation tool covering the world's largest collection of abstracts, references and indexes of scientific, technical and medical (STM) literature. Seamless links to full-text articles and other library resources make Scopus quick, easy and comprehensive. 
  • Web of Science (Raven login) : The Web of Science (citation indexes), published by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI), is a multidisciplinary database, with searchable author abstracts, covering the journal literature of the sciences, social sciences and arts. It indexes major journals in these disciplines. Because the information stored about each article includes the article's cited reference list (often called its bibliography), you can also search the databases for articles that cite a known author or work. 

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