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*African Studies Research Guide: Articles

Covers major background sources, databases and web sites related to African Studies

What is a Scholarly Journal?


Scholarly journals review submitted articles before they are published. Many professors require students to use scholarly journal articles as resources when writing research papers. For tips on locating scholarly journals and evaluating Internet sources, please see our Research Tool on "I am looking for journals."

Peabody Library of Vanderbilt University has produced a helpful video explaining how to identify a scholarly journal article.

Google Scholar

Google Scholar is a search tool from Google, separate from its main search engine, with its own URL ( Its purpose (says Google) is “to search specifically for scholarly literature, including peer-reviewed papers, theses, books, preprints, abstracts and technical reports from all broad areas of research.”

Google Scholar is an excellent resource BUT it does not always connect to Emory resources. A book or journal article may be in the library. Never purchase purchase an item without checking. Remember you can also borrow items from other libraries for free.

Check out a video on using Google Scholar.

Even more info: what's included, search tips, getting metrics, etc.

Open Access Journals

Sabinet Open Access Journal Collection    OPEN 4 ACCESS

A multidisciplinary collection of South African full open access journals. Includes titles that are accredited by the DHET; full text availablity varies according to title with journals going back to 2000.

African E- Journals Project:  Includes a directory of journals as well as full text of 11 journals in the humanities and social sciences including:

Finding the Actual Article

 Many databases only contain citations - information ABOUT the article, but not the article itself.

To retrieve the full-text of an article, use the Find It @ Emory button found on every Emory-owned database.

This button will link you to a menu. It will tell you:

  • Whether we have the article online and where to get it
  • How to search for the journal in discoverE if we don't have it online
  • A link to Interlibrary Loan to request the article if we don't have it

Many of the databases/indexes that specialize in African Studies do not have direct links to full-text.

For a fuller explanation of how to find the full text of such journal articles click here.

Finding Articles


For Table of Contents from the latest issues of key African Studies journals click here



The following sources have particular relevance for African Studies but African materials can be found in many other indexes as well. Use the Database Locator by Subject to find key electronic indexes for fields such as anthropology, religion and political science. Use the subject research guides to find even more information on resources for individual fields.

For lists of journals (more than 1900) published in or about Africa in all disciplines consult the African Journals Directory, part of the African e-Journals Project.


The most important of the general Africana indexes are:


Africa Bibliography. Beginning in 2011 published by Cambridge University Press and full file searchable (Emory only)

Ref Z3503 A34

Manchester, England: Manchester University Press, 1984-. Annual.
Covering mainly the social sciences and humanities, this extensive annual listing of books, essays, and articles offers the latest publications in African studies (entire continent). Covers approximately 600 journals. Arrangement is geographical and by subject. Contains an author and subject index.

AfricaBib.Org (now maintained by Univ. of Leiden)
Africabib is a combination of databases providing access to periodical and other material on Africa. Currently includes a growing number of databases  Africana Periodical Literature, a bibliography of over 36,000 citations from 300 periodicals, covering the entire range of topics relating to Africa and  African Women's Database which, in addition to including citations pertaining to women in Africa, includes conference papers, as well as references to theses and dissertations. A large and detailed bibliography entitled Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to African 1763-2001 can be found on Africabib. Has incorporated Quarterly Index of African Periodical Literature from the Library of Congress from 1991-to its cessation in 2011. The Quarterly Index was particularly strong in indexing journals produced in Africa.


Africa South of the Sahara; Index to Periodical Literature 1900-1970.

Ref Z3503 U53

Library of Congress. African Section. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1971-. 4 vol. 1st-3rd supplement. 5 volumes.
An important bibliography, gleaned from European research institutes and some 1,500 periodical titles that emphasize the social sciences. It includes citations to some 3,000 African literary works.

Africa-Wide: NiPAD
Includes 17 databases from three continents resulting in a database of 3.2 million references (some with abstracts). Includes books, periodical articles, maps and musical recordings. Among the databases included are IBICUS (development information from Francophone Africa) African Studies Abstracts (and its earlier title) from 1988, and the School of Oriental and African Studies Library Catalogue: Africa from 1989. Updated quarterly

African Journal Archive is a retrospective digitisation project of full-text journal articles published in Africa, in the Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, providing access to a multi-disciplinary, multi-country digital archive of Africa’s research and cultural heritage contained in its journal literature. Plans are to include 200 journal archives. Also of interest Sabinet Open Access Journal Collection which currently comprises 46 South African journals, which may be searched individually, and provides immediate access to the PDF versions of 6 000+ full-text articles.

African Studies Abstracts Online(ASA)
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. Over 100 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. Library has the earlier title, 1983-1994. African Studies Abstracts and its predecessor, Documentatie blad, are available in paper, Ref Z3501. L37.


AllAfrica Global Media is a multi-media content service provider, systems technology developer and the largest electronic distributor of African news and information worldwide.

A Current Bibliography on African Affairs.

Ref Z3501 C8

African Bibliographic Center. Washington D.C.: Greenwood Periodicals for the African Bibliographic Center, 1973-2002. Quarterly.
This three part work offers bibliographic essays, book reviews, original studies and a listing of newly published books, articles, government documents, and visual aids. Most citations are annotated. Includes about 2, 000 entries each year. Until vol. 30 (1999/2000) arrangement was primarily geographical, the current arrangement is by broad subject with a geographical index. Subject focus has also shifted to include more anthropology (including medical) and archaeology. Includes North Africa. Now published by Baywood Publishing.

International African Bibliography. Bibliographie Internationale Africaine.

Ref Z3503 I53

London: Internationale Africaine Institute, January 1971-. Quarterly.
Serving as a continuation of the bibliography of current publications in the journal Africa, 1929-1970, this quarterly lists current books, articles, and papers. Includes over 4000 citations each year. Arrangement is geographical. Has unique indexes by ethnic group and language. Currently published in association with the Centre of African Studies at the Library, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London by K. G. Saur.


Academic Search Complete
Indexes scholarly journals in the social sciences, business, humanities, general science, multi-cultural studies, and education as well as major daily newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Christian Science Monitor. Full-text is available from 1990. Spanish version also available.

Africa E-Journals Project. Michigan State University. Includes backfiles for 11 African-produced journals. Not maintained.

African Journals Online offers table of contents and abstracts for 50 journals published in Africa in a variety of fields.

African Studies Centre (Leiden, The Netherlands)
Search their web catalog for citations from African Studies Abstracts as well as their general collections. Note that African Studies Abstracts is also included in  Africa-Wide: NiPAD .

AFRICANA CONFERENCE PAPER INDEX is a searchable database maintained by Herskovits Library of African Studies at Northwestern of their sizable collection of conference proceedings. The collection is largely in English or European languages.

Anthropology Plus
Unites Harvard University’s “Anthropological Literature” and the Royal Anthropological Institute’s (UK) "Anthropological Index". It indexes articles and essays in over 2500 journals and edited works on all aspects of anthropology and archaeology, including art history, demography, economics, geography, geology, genetics, psychology, religion and sociology.

  • NOTE: Anthro Plus is a bit difficult to search -- it does not search abstracts or full-text (but does link to full-text) so when you search you are only searching titles and a few keywords assigned to each article. To get better results, try using general/broad search terms.

Ref Z3501 S34 Bibliographies for African Studies, 1970-1986. Compiled by Yvette Scheven. London; New York: H. Zell Publishers, 1988.
This publication cites several thousand bibliographies issued as books, articles, parts of edited volumes, etc., relating to sub-Saharan Africa.

Ref Z3501 A1 B52 Bibliographies for African Studies, 1987-1993. Compiled by Yvetter Scheven. London; New Jersey: Hans Zell Publishers, 1994.
Updated version of the above title. Many find Scheven's work is an excellent starting point for research.

Columbia International Affairs Online is an important site for foreign policy information. It includes books, conference papers, reports etc. from a variety of public policy centers including the Carter Center

HRAF World Cultures (eHRAF - Human Relations Area Files)
Full-text ethnographies of over 360 culture groups. Extensively indexed by subject. Key resource for cross-cultural comparison.

ELDIS contains full text articles on many African topics related to development and the environment.

A refereed online journal of bibliographies on any aspect of Africa. Bibliographies must have at least 75 entries.

This is an academic discussion list that also includes a table of contents service for academic journals dealing with Africa.

Hein Online is an important index to legal literature.

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. A print version is available (Z6205 .A534).

HUMAN RELATIONS AREA FILES COLLECTION OF ETHNOGRAPHY is a cross-cultural collection of full text information on all aspects of cultural and social life around the world. First issued on microfiche (mic. 848 ) and now available electronically as eHRAF, HRAF allows users to find information on individual cultures and to compare cultures. Over 50 African groups are represented. A list of cultures available in all formats is available.

Indexes books and journals in European languages on Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world.

Ref Z3501 I542 International African Bibliography, 1973-1978: Books, Papers in African Studies. Edited by J. D. Pearson. London: Mansell Press, 1982.

A cumulation of the quarterly issues from 1973-1978 of the title bibliography. This work indexes all of the Africa except Egypt


This web site has a number of useful features about national parliaments throughout the world including directory information and the Parlit Database which contains citations to articles, books, and reports dealing with national parliaments elections, and related topics.

This is an important source for the full text of back runs of (no current issues) for major journals including African Affairs and Journal of African History. You can also search the collection by author, subject, etc

This database provides access to news, business, medical, educational and legal sources. The sources include international, national, and regional newspapers; magazines; trade journals; newsletters; wire service reports; and transcripts of television and radio news programs.


A selective list of the latest books, pamphlets, government publication, reports of public and private agencies, and periodical articles relating to business, economic and social conditions, public administration, and international relations, published throughout the world. Print version available (Ref. Z7129 P92) Succeeds Public Affairs Information Bulletin and P.A.I.S. Foreign Language Index.

Political Science Complete indexes over 2000 political science journals.

Indexes books, journals, working pages and other materials on population topics. A print version is available through 1995, (Z7164 .D3P65).

Provides access to scholarly journals published by major university presses. Project MUSE covers the fields of literature and criticism, history, the visual and performing arts, cultural studies, education, political science, gender studies, and many others. Includes Africa Today and Research in African Literature.

An online version of the print index published by the U.S. Library of Congress' Nairobi Office. Indexes over 300 journals from 9 African countries. Paper copies and microfiche are also available in Ref. 23503 Q38 and LC 1.30/ 8-4 in Documents Collections.

The QIAPL has now been incorporated in the Africana Periodical Literature database.  The above link will take you to it to the collection.


Proquest Databases
Formerly known as Periodical Abstracts. Covers publications from academic journals and popular magazines in the humanities, social sciences, general sciences, and business. Full text available starting in 1991.

USAID Documents, the USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse,, is a large online database of over 50,000 technical and program documents available for download from the U.S. Agency for Internatioal Development.

WEB OF KNOWLEDGE (formerly Web of Science)
A unique database that allows you to follow the WEB of footnotes from an original article to those which have cited it. Despite the title, the WEB covers social sciences, arts and the humanities in addition to science. The database can also be used to search for articles by subject, author, journal, and/or author address. This is an electronic successor to Science Citation Index, Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts & Humanities Citation Index, all from 1975 to the present. References from WOS databases may be exported to EndNote.

WNC 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 and succeeds the microfiche of the Foreign Broadcast Information Service housed in the Documents Collection on Level One of Woodruff Library. An electronic index to the microfiche collection of FBIS Daily Reports (1975-96), including the Daily Report for Sub-Saharan Africa, is also available.

For women's issues check the Women's Studies Research Guide

Sample Journals & Indexes


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