Africana Studies Senior Seminar


Anatsui, El (2009). Intermittent Signals (Close-up). photograph by Erik Anestad, via flickr

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective  research for the Africana Studies Senior Seminar.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian:
Vani Natarajan
208C Lehman

Finding Books and Media

CLIO includes the online catalog of Columbia University Libraries, Barnard Library, and Union theological Seminary (Law Library and Teachers College Library have separate catalogs). To search within the CLIO catalog, select "Catalog" from the left-hand menu.   CLIO also includes records of CUL materials held offsite, which you can use CLIO to request.

Beyond Barnard and Columbia

BorrowDirect allows you to borrow books directly from the libraries of Brown, Cornell, Dartmouth, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale, in addition to select libraries of Harvard and MIT. Items requested through BorrowDirect typically deliver in 3 to 4 business days, with a 6-week loan period + one 6-week renewal.

Interlibrary Loan lets you borrow books, music scores, and selected audiovisual items (i.e. maps or films) that are not currently available at Columbia University Libraries. You can use ILL to request PDF scans of journal articles, as well. ILL has a larger scope of participating institutions than Borrow Direct.

New York Public Library has a Digital Collections search feature. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, located in Harlem, has a wealth of primary and secondary sources in African and African disaporic studies.

Worldcat is a union catalog that brings together the collections of over 72,000 libraries around the world. Search here for items held in other libraries.


Journal Articles: Subject Specific Databases

EBSCO and Proquest host and aggregate subject-specific databases across a range of disciplines and source types. Search all of the databases in EBSCO or Proquest at once by clicking into either EBSCO or Proquest, search a few in combination, or search them individually.


  • Africa-Wide Information features citations and abstracts to books and journal articles in African Studies, including content from the sources South African Studies, African Studies, and African HealthLine.
  • America: History and Life indexes journal articles covering the history and culture of the United States and Canada, from prehistoric times to the present, while Historical Abstracts covers world history (excluding the United States and Canada) from 1450 to the present. Both of these can be searched simultaneously on the EBSCOHost Platform.
  • Gender Studies combines databases in women's studies, men's studies, and child development & adolescent studies, along with selected material on sexuality studies. Sources covered include journal articles, books, conference papers, reports, dissertations, web sites, and more.
  • Social Sciences Full Text covers both applied and theoretical aspects of the social sciences, with content from 1983 to the present and full text coverage starting from 1995 to the present.


  • Arts and Humanities Full Text includes articles, in full text, from over 500 journals across a range of disciplines: modern languages and literatures, history, cultural studies, philosophy, art, classics, geography, and anthropology, among others.
  • Ethnic Newswatch
  • GenderWatch offers access to a full-text collection of international journals, magazines, newsletters, regional publications, special reports and conference proceedings devoted to women's and gender issues.
  • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences indexes over 2,700 journals and about 7,000 books each year; fields covered include anthropology, political science, sociology, and economics.


Journal Articles: General Databases

JSTOR includes page images of key scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences. Coverage spans the late 19th century to the present.

ProjectMUSE provides full text scholarly journal articles, with citations and abstracts, from key sources in the humanities and social sciences. Content is updated daily, and coverage is extremely current


Primary Source Collections

African American Historical Serials Collection

Black Studies Center describes itself as a “fully cross-searchable gateway to Black Studies.” The database combines Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, The HistoryMakers Videos and full transcripts for interviews with 100 contemporary African Americans, International Index to Black Periodicals (coverage up to 2006), historical black newspapers, Black Abolitionist Papers, and the Black Literature Index.

Confidential Print. Africa, 1834-1966

Proquest Historical Newspapers brings together digitized collections of major United States newspapers from the 19th century to the present, among them 9 major African American newspapers. You can search the contents in full text.

Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice

Women and Social Movements International collects published and manuscript sources documenting women's activism around the world, from the nineteenth century onward. Sources include letters, memoirs, conference proceedings, pamphlets, books, and journal articles, among others. Women and Social Movements in the Unites States focuses on records of U.S. based movements.



Genderstats provides statistics and basic demographic data on gender, population dynamics, labor force structure, education, and health, from a variety of international and US-based sources. Compiled by the World Bank.

Proquest Statistical Insight provides statistical data from U.S. government publications from 1973, state and private sources from 1980, and international organizations from 1983

UNData covers economic and socio-demographic statistics for countries around the world. Published by the United Nations Statistics Division.

World Databank includes various World Bank data sources, among them the WDI's (World Devleopment Indicators).


Writing and Citing

OWL: Purdue University Online Writing Lab provides general and subject specific writing tips and techniques, along with research advice and detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, and Chicago styles.

Research and Documentation Online serves as the online version of Diana Hacker's guide Research and Documentation in the Electronic Age. It provides detailed citation and formatting standards for the APA, MLA, Chicago, and CSE styles, along with tips for research in subjects within the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Other features include a glossary of research terms, a list of additional style manuals organized by subject, and tips for evaluating sources.

Zotero is a free, open source program that allows you to quickly save, organize, format, and share your bibliographic citations.



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