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History: Africa: Reference

Reference sources - what are they?

Materials which are referred to for brief or general information. Examples include:

  • Background or overview synopses (encyclopedia)
  • Definitions (dictionary)
  • Synonyms (thesaurus)
  • Statistics
  • Biographical Details
  • Maps (atlas)

Reference sources - how to search them

Reference resources are organized in an order that aids searching (alphabetically, chronologically, etc).  Most include an index which points users to the appropriate section.  Tips for searching:

  1. Decide on your search terms
  2. Try searching with them
  3. If not satisfied with the results, try searching a synonym or related idea

Things to watch out for:

  • Is the computer searching only the title/header of the entries or the full-text of the information?  You will get more results, but more of them will be irrelabent if you are searching the full-text.
  • Are you searching for a proper noun (name, place,...)?  Make sure that the spelling is correct and try variations if it originated in a foreign language.
  • Searching for something by date?  This is trickier than it sounds.  If possible, search for an event name or topic rather than a date, e.g. civil rights movement or hippies or flower children rather than 1960s.


Encyclopedias & Handbooks

Search a group of online encyclopedias on this topic. Place here GVRL subcollection widget, if available.

Or, search individual titles below:

Print Encyclopedias

Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World
Call Number: Ref GN 495.4.E53 1993

Black Africa: a comparative handbook
Call Number: Ref DT 352.8 .M67 1989

Africa south of the Sahara
Call Number: Ref DT 351.E53 1997

Dictionnaire des Civilizations Africaines
Call Number: Ref DT 352.4.B3

Historical atlas of Africa
Call Number: Ref G 2446.S1H5 1985

The Middle East and North Africa
Call Number: Ref DS 49.M5 2000

Encyclopedia of African History
Call Number: Ref DT 20 .E53 2005

Encyclopedia of twentieth-century African History
Call Number: Ref DT 29 .E53 2002

Encyclopedia of precolonial Africa: archaeology, history, languages, cultures, and environments
Call Number: Ref DT 2 .E53 1997

The African studies companion: a guide to information sources
Call Number: Ref DT 19.8 .Z45 2003


African Development Indicators
Call Number: Ref HC 800 .A5653 1996

International historical statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania, 1750-2000
Call Number: Ref HA 4675 .M552 2003

Internet Resources

Portals and Web Directories


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