Library Services


African Studies

Anthropology reading room

How to Search, find and locate items

To find and locate items, use Explore. This will give details of the library site, collection and exact shelfmark for the book, journal or DVD's location. We have instructions on how to find a book.

An example of a book location is Anthropology Q 63 HAR.

This book is in the Science library, in the Anthropology collection (2nd floor), Q 63 is the shelfmark for books on Art, music, dancing, theatre, masks and film in Africa, and HAR is the first three letters of the author's surname (last name).

Items with 'Quartos' listed within their shelfmark are larger sized items which are shelved within their subject collection, but in shelfmark order on a shelf labelled Quartos.

Older or lesser-used material marked on Explore with the word Store should be requested using the Stores request form and will normally be available for collection within one working day from the Science Library ground floor help point. Find out more about the Stores service.

New students should refer to the getting started guide for general information on borrowing, finding books on your reading list and so forth.

Book collections

Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the subject area, books useful for African studies are located within a variety of libraries and collections. Many books are housed within the Geography and Anthropology sections in the Science Library (1st and 2nd floor respectively), and the History section in the Main Library (2nd floor). Books are classified according to UCL's own classification scheme (called Garside classification). Additionally, other useful items may be located in other libraries, depending on your specialism, for example, environment, heritage or health. Increasingly, where possible, books are available electronically.

All books our indexed via Explore. Use the 'library catalogue' filter to search for books by title or author or to do a subject search. E-books can also be found on Explore and should be searched in the same way as printed material (you will need your UCL user ID and password for off-campus access). 

Journal collections

Most journals are available in electronic format only. Read more about Electronic resources @ UCL for full details. Search Explore using the 'journal title' filter and follow the 'view online' links to get to full-text. Alternatively, a full list of e-journals is also available. 

Journals are also called 'preiodicals'. Where held in print, the location of a journal may be found by also searching Explore. Most print journals are kept in dedicated spaces in collection reading rooms. Some items are held in Stores and may be requested. Journals cannot be borrowed but may be photocopied in the library. Click here for instructions on how to find printed and electronic journals.

Electronic resources

UCL library subscribes to a number of bibliographic databases; these require you to login using your UCL user ID and password.

The following databases and full-text resources are most useful for African Studies:

Indexes, abstracts and e-books

  • Abstracts in Anthropology;
  • Africa Bibliography;
  • African Journals Online;
  • Anthropological Index Online;
  • ASSIA (Applied Social Sciences Index and Abstracts);
  • CINAHL Plus;
  • EconLit;
  • Global Health;
  • GreenFILE;
  • International African Bibliography Online;
  • Music Database;
  • Performing Arts Database;
  • IBSS (International Bibliography of the Social Sciences);
  • MLA International Bibliography;
  • Screen Studies Collection;
  • Web of Science;
  • World Bank eLibrary.

Full-text resources

  • Cambridge Companions Online;
  • Cambridge Histories Online;
  • Cambridge Journals Online;
  • JSTOR;
  • OECD iLibrary - index of OECD publications with full text. Abstracts only for IEA publications.

A full list of abstract and full-text databases is available. There is a separate list of resources available recommending those that are most useful for African Studies.

Audiovisual resources

  • Ethnographic Video Online;
  • Kanopy;
  • BoB (Box of Broadcasts) National.

Statistical Resources

  • World Bank Data - statistics on development in countries around the globe, collated by the World Bank.


Can't find what you're looking for? Try another librarysuggest a purchase, or consider placing an interlibrary loan request.

General Resources

Find out more about using other libraries, and links to other library catalogues.

Please check other libraries' access requirements before visiting.

The British Library is a useful resource and all UCL staff and students can apply directly for reference access. You will need to bring identification showing proof of address (e.g. utility bill), proof of signature (e.g. driving licence) and proof of student or research status (UCL ID card) in order to obtain a reader's pass.

The Institute of Historical Research Library is a reference collection of published primary sources covering the history of Western Europe and its colonial history from the fifth century to the present. University staff and postgraduate students need to provide proof of current university status and proof of address. Undergraduate students additionally need to provide a copy of letter of recommendation from a member of library staff.

Senate House Library (Senate House, Malet Street) has a strong collection in languages, the arts and social and historical sciences, and is especially strong in periodicals holdings. Any registered member of UCL can join the library and borrow from there. Please check their membership information for details on how to obtain a Senate House library card.

The SOAS Library (School of Oriental & African Studies) has excellent collections in African, Asian and Middle East material, which is relevant for regional studies. It is available for reference use by any member of UCL, but only academic staff and research postgraduates may borrow from there. 

The LSE library (London School of Economics) holds the best collection in the UK for economics and has substantial material on social sciences and anthropology. It is available for reference use by any member of UCL, but only academic staff and research postgraduates may borrow from there.

A wide range of training and support is available for members of staff and students. Please feel free to contact the subject librarian (details on the right) for assistance or to make an appointment. Other services and materials include: 

  • Forthcoming training sessions;
  • Guides and leaflets;
  • Help is also available through our Enquiry Services: library@ucl.ac.uk;
  • News and updates are available via Twitter @UCLLibraries and news feed;
  • The ISD Service Desk is located on the ground floor of the Science Library and can be contacted for enquiries regarding your computer accounts, e-mail, computer hardware and software troubleshooting and so forth;
  • Training is available for research students via the UCL Doctoral School, including information skills sessions run by library staff;
  • Do get in touch with your subject librarian (details on the right) if you would like to ask about researching specific topics or using the resources and databases for African Studies.
  • Research Support: Services for researchers includes access to resources, undertaking research, disseminating, evaluating & preserving research;
  • Information on Open Access;
  • UCL Discovery showcases UCL's research publications, giving access to journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, digital web resources, theses and much more, from all UCL disciplines.