29 September 2006

Africa: The African Studies Companion: A Guide to Information Sources

book review

Washington, DC — The African Studies Companion: A Guide to Information Sources

Edited by Hans M. Zell

ISBN: 0-9541029-2-4 (ISBN-13: 978-0-9541029-2-0) Format: Print and online

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864 pp. 234x156mm cased Published 31 May 2006

£148.00/€222.00/$296.00, online access bundled with print (not available separately)

First off, I must say that this book comes in both print and electronic format and is unique in that it covers such a broad range of topics and is not geared towards a particular audience or field, but is a resource for anyone interested in Africa.

It's the fourth edition of the book and the book's 864 pages includes current sources of information, primarily in English, on any and everything African. This includes online resources on Africa, reference tools, resources for African languages, guides to statistical sources, economic, financial and population data, cartographic and geographic information sources, film and video/DVD resources, journals and magazines, more than 250 African newspapers and information on the African press, major African studies library collections both inside of and outside Africa, African studies academic programs worldwide, major African and international organizations, major foundations, donors, government and aid agencies, African studies associations, societies, and networks, and online forums and mailing lists.

For those familiar with previous editions, this new edition includes new sections on the African press and newspapers and on African studies centers, programs, and courses worldwide. The online information has also been significantly updated.

The book's mission is to “provide a compact, time saving and annotated guide to print and electronic information resources and to facilitate easy access to a wider range of information in the African studies field”. Do not be daunted by the book's 864 pages. This book is extremely handy and easy to use. Even the online resources, though the editor acknowledges the URLs often change, are very practical and useful. The index and table of contents offer easy access to the material.

The book is great for students, scholars, educators, researchers, and anyone interested in Africa. There are even some resources for French speakers. It's one of those books you keep on your desk, to be relied on often.

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