African Studies (Sub-Saharan Africa)


A. Purpose and Program Description

The Libraries seek to support the curricular and research needs of undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and research staff in the social sciences, the arts, and humanities, focusing on Africa generally. In the sciences, except for African geology and public health materials, no materials are acquired.

Columbia’s Institute of African Studies has been recognized since 1993-94 as a Title VI National Resource Center and this reflects the breadth and depth of its curricular and research programs. While all aspects of Africa are taught, there is a growing emphasis on Southern Africa.

B. General Selection Guidelines (see classed analysis for detailed statement)

Overall, the Libraries’ existing collection, its current acquisitions commitment, based upon available resources, and its collecting goal for African Studies are all at the research level.

C. Specific Delimitations

  1. Formats collected: We collect monographs, periodicals, reference tools, and scholarly series extensively, annuals, audio/visual materials, CD-ROMs, dissertations, maps, newspapers and other electronic tools selectively while textbooks are excluded.
  2. Imprint Dates Collected: We collect current and 20th century publications extensively, 19th century publications selectively while all earlier publications are excluded.
  3. Chronological Focus: We collect current, 20th and 19th century publications extensively and early century publications selectively.
  4. Languages Collected: We collect publications in English, French, German, Portuguese, Swahili and Arabic extensively, and Hausa, Zulu, Yoruba, Shona, and other African languages selectively.
  5. Place of Publication: We collect publications from North America, UK, France, Western Europe, South Africa, Nigeria, Senegal, Ghana, Zimbabwe, and Kenya extensively, and the rest of Africa, India, and other parts of Europe selectively.