The resources for African Studies are varied. For individual countries in Africa the Historical Dictionaries of Africa series may be consulted. These are listed under separate titles such as Historical Dictionary of the Republic of Cameroon and Historical Dictionary of Nigeria and are held in the Reference Room. They should be searched separately in the online catalogue. The online catalogue can also be searched for circulating books on the topic. The following represents a selection of resources on Africa and includes resources on people of African descent in the diaspora (e.g. United States, the Caribbean).
The Hofstra University Library Online Catalogue link is available from the Library webpage.
It can be most easily searched by keyword, title, author and subject. A guided search is also available. Searching by numbers is usually not useful unless you know the exact ISBN or Library of Congress call number or other numbers associated with items.
A keyword search will look for a word or phrase anywhere in the record of an item. It is a broad search with can produce relevant item. It also frequently produces a large number of irrelevant items. Within each item record are “official” subjects. These are Library of Congress subject headings. It is suggested that you begin with a keyword search, or several keyword searches using synonyms, and examine the Library of Congress subjects within the records. When you find Library of Congress subjects which appear to be more or less on your topic you may click them on or type the subject into the subject box on the search page. (It is easier to click on the subject, especially if it is a lengthy one since subjects must be typed in exactly as they appear in the subject box.) Subject searches tend to produce fewer items which are more relevant.
You may need to do several searches with keywords and subjects to find all the items you need.
Guided searches allow you to search for any combination of keywords, parts of titles, parts of authors’ names, and parts of Library of Congress subjects. (You do not have to type the full subject in the box in this type of search).
Author searches are good if you know the author’s name. Remember to invert! The catalog should direct you to variant spellings of the author’s name as well as to pseudonyms.
Title searches are good if you know the title. Leave off words like “The”, and “An” at the beginning of titles when using this sort of search.
You can also limit your search by “Collection” which means by the University Library’s circulating collection (mostly items held in Axinn Library which can be taken out), Law Library, Reference (non-circulating items) and Periodicals. A periodical search in the catalog gives you only the names of journals held in print. It does not tell you if we hold the journal electronically in a database and it does not give you access to the contents of the journal. University students may use the Law Library and take out circulating books there.
Journal Finder is also available on the University Library’s webpage. It is best used only if you know the title of journal you are searching for. It gives you information on all journals held in the University Library, electronically or in print. For a journal held electronically it should tell you in which databases it is held as well as give you the exact date range for which it is held. It should allow you to link to the database. You may browse under specific disciplines in Journal Finder.
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