- Which countries in Africa does the library have information about?
- Where can I find freely accessible online information about Africa?
- Is it possible to access the ASC library catalogue by Internet from my office?
- Can I check the shelves myself for books about a specific country or topic?
- Can I find articles in the catalogue?
- What is the best way to use the catalogue?
- Do books have to be reserved in advance?
- Can a list of titles be downloaded onto a USB-stick?
- I have a 9 to 5 job. Can I visit the library outside my working hours?
- Can I ask the library to buy a specific book?
- For my research on politics in South Africa I need newspapers, not only recent ones but also from 10-15 years ago. Do you have these in your library?
- How can I get hold of an old newspaper?
1. Which countries in Africa does the library have information about?
The ASC library has information about all African countries but the emphasis is on Africa south of the Sahara.
The collection focuses on socioeconomic, political and constitutional developments. There is also a wide selection of books devoted to anthropology, sociology, law, religion, philosophy, linguistics, literature, art, women's studies, education and history.
Most of the books and materials are either in English or French but publications in other western languages, for example Dutch, German and Portuguese, are also available, as are materials in Afrikaans. The library is trying to add to the collection as many publications as possible that have been published in Africa itself.
2. Where can I find freely accessible online information about Africa?
Freely accessible online information about Africa can be found at Connecting-Africa and via free, Africa related, e-journals. Wikipedia features various articles on African topics.
3. Is it possible to access the ASC library catalogue by Internet from my office?
Yes, access to the ASC library catalogue is freely available to everyone. Choose Library - Catalogue search - English or Nederlands
If you want to link to the ASC catalogue from your website, you can use the following web address:
4. Can I check the shelves myself for books about a specific country or topic?
The books are not arranged by subject or geographical region. When they first come in, they are given the next number available and are placed on the shelves in numerical order, not by subject. The book's shelf number can be found in the title description in the catalogue.
5. Can I find articles in the catalogue?
Yes, the catalogue includes the titles of approximately 80,000 articles (often incl. abstracts). If you wish to restrict your search in the ASC catalogue to articles only, choose the tab "Advanced" in the navigation bar at the top of the screen. A search form will appear. Select "Articles" in the section "material selection" at the bottom of the screen. When you have completed the rest of the form, click on "search".
6. What is the best way to use the catalogue?
You can search the catalogue in a number of different ways by selecting a search option from the drop-down menu above the search field. Besides the well-known way of searching with "word(s) from the title" or the author's name, you can also search in the ASC catalogue with "words from [the] abstract". Most books and articles have an abstract. By selecting "all words" you get to search in all fields - a bit like searching with Google.
If you are looking for titles on a specific subject, use the option "ASC subject heading (containing)" or "ASC subject heading (exact)" together with terms from the African Studies Thesaurus. You can consult the Thesaurus by clicking on the tab "Thesaurus" in the navigation bar at the top of the screen. The option "ASC subject heading (containing)" searches for all subject headings containing the term you have entered, e.g. if you have typed in "women" you will retrieve titles with the subject heading "women" as well as titles with the subject heading "women's work", "women's rights", "elderly women", etc. The option "ASC subject heading (exact)", on the other hand, retrieves only titles with the exact subject heading "women". This option is preferable for precise searching and retrieval.
7. Do books have to be reserved in advance?
No, the books and journals are on open shelves in the library and you can select your own materials.
8. Can a list of titles be downloaded onto a USB-stick?
Yes, it is possible to print a list of books or to download them onto a USB-stick in the library. You can also put together your own list of titles and send it by email.
To put together a list: http://opc-ascl.oclc.org
click on the title that you want to include on the list;
click on the symbol "save info" at the left-hand side of the page;
click on "myshelf" at the bottom of the page;
click on "shortlist" to choose another title and click again on "save info" and "myshelf";
when you have a list of titles, click on "my shelf" at the top of the page;
click on the symbol "save info" at the left-hand side of the page;
fill in your email address and click on "email".
9. I have a 9 to 5 job. Can I visit the library outside my working hours?
During the academic year (September - June) the library has extra opening hours on Monday evenings until 8 p.m.
10. Can I ask the library to buy a specific book?
Yes, this is definitely possible. If it is a book that fits into the ASC's collection then the library will consider purchasing it. You can give suggestions to the staff at the information desk, or contact them by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome suggestions but cannot guarantee that we will be able to honor all of them.
11. For my research on politics in South Africa I need newspapers, not only recent ones but also from 10-15 years ago. Do you have these in your library?
Yes. We have on paper recent volumes of Die Burger, Mail & Guardian, The Zimbabwean and L'Opinion. Back files (as of 1970, 1995, 2005 and 1969 respectively) are available on microfiche. Also available on microfiche: Star (1972-1999), SA Times (1995-2008), Republikein (1977-1998) and microfiches of several volumes of 40 other newspapers.
12. How can I get hold of an old newspaper?
The ASC Library has access to the database African Newspapers. This database gives fulltext online access to approx. 65 newspapers from Africa from the period 1800-1922. The newspapers originate from diverse countries (Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Uganda, Angola, Namibia, Malawi, Nigeria and others). For a full list, consult: http://infoweb.newsbank.com?db=WHNPX&d_collections=WHNPAFR1
Access is given on the basis of IP-range, so only computers within the ASC Leiden have full access to this database.
If you have not been successful in tracing a particular newspaper in one of the online databases mentioned in the African Newspapers's guide, try the following:
Search the ASC online catalogue
Start searching in our catalogue for a specific title, for example Daily News Tanzania, or get a full list of our newspapers from the ASC subject heading 'Newspapers (form)' at http://opc4-ascl.pica.nl/DB=3/REL?PPN=294928138.
Search the CRL online catalogue
If you cannot find the material you are looking for, consult the Center of Research Libraries online catalogue at http://catalog.crl.edu/search~S3/. Note that access to some of the material in this catalogue is restricted or subject to special conditions. The ASC library staff may be able to help you with the loan conditions. If borrowing is an option, we can submit the request on your behalf and contact you when the material arrives. You can consult the microfilms and/or fiches in the ASC library for the period permitted (usually 90 days). Due to the costs involved however, we have to charge for this service. The rate is currently 16 euro per reel.
If you are still not successful, consult www.worldcat.org for a combined search in more than 10,000 library collections worldwide
Contact the ASC library staff
Finally, feel free to contact our Collection Development staff on ASCCollect@ascleiden.nl to find out if we have copies of a certain paper or can acquire the specific material you need. Sample issues and small sets (fewer than 10 copies) are often collected but not catalogued in order not to clog up the online public catalogue. There is a reasonable chance that we may have copies of the paper you are looking for. If you want a complete set of a particular newspaper, you can suggest that we purchase back issues on microfilm/fiche. Every suggestion is assessed on its merits.
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