UCL 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 shelf-mark for the book, journal or DVD's location. We have instructions on how to find a book.

An example of a book location is: Science ANTHROPOLOGY Q 63 HAR

This book is in the Science library, in the Anthropology collection (2nd floor), Q 63 is the shelf-number 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.

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), and the History section in the Main Library (2nd floor). Books are classified according to UCL's own classification scheme. Additionally useful items may be located in other libraries, depending on your specialism, e.g environment, heritage or health. Increasingly, where possible, books are available electronically.

All our books our indexed via Explore - use the Library Catalogue filter to search for books and journals by title. Ebooks 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). 

Older and less heavily used material is held in the Stores service. Store books should be requested online via Explore, and will normally be available for collection within one working day. 

New students should refer to our getting started guide for general information on borrowing, finding books on your reading list etc.

Journal collections

Most journals are available online. Search Explore using the UCL Journals filter and follow the View Online or SFX links. Alternatively, a full list of e-journals is also available. 

Where held in print, the location of a journal may be found by searching Explore.  These are usually located within the relevant subject area's physical (hard copy) collection. Some items are held in Store and may be requested. Journals are not borrowable, but may be photocopied or scanned in the library.

Online resources

Indexes, abstracts and ebooks

The Library subscribes to a number of bibliographic databases, these require you to login using your UCL user ID and password.

These may be particularly useful for African Studies students:

Other Internet Resources

AV Resources

Full text Resources

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 Inter Library Loan request, for a small charge of £3.

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.

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 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 me for assistance or to make an appointment. Other services and materials include: 

In addition:
  • The ISD Service Desk is located on the ground floor of the Science Library and can be contacted for enquiries regarding your computer accounts, email, etc. ISD also provide IT training and resources, and an email address for questions about bibliographic software: biblio-support@ucl.ac.uk
  • 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.