Skip to main content
clickable transparency Dartmouth College Library
Home > Collections Program > Collection Development Policies >

African and African-American Studies

Collection Area

African and African-American Studies

General Purpose

Materials on African-American life and culture in the Dartmouth College Library system are collected not only to meet instructional needs for specific courses offered as part of the African and African-American Studies program (AAAS) but also as general resources in support of courses offered within disciplinary boundaries (e.g., history, sociology, anthropology, and others). These materials also reflect student and faculty research interests in a wide variety of academic areas, particularly in the humanities and social sciences.

Dartmouth College Program

The existing Program, given permanent status in 1978, has expanded from an initial concentration on the African-American experience to a more inclusive perspective embracing Africa and the African diaspora (especially the Caribbean) as well. Accordingly, the collection building process is also designed to meet the requirements of those whose particular interests lie in African Studies. The Program is interdisciplinary in nature. To qualify for a certificate or a minor in AAAS, students must take six courses: four in the program, including an independent research course or seminar, and two from the list of approved courses elsewhere in the curriculum.

General Subject Boundaries

The AAAS Program is comprised of elements from Humanities and Social Science disciplines (i.e., anthropology, art and archaeology, drama, comparative literature, American literature, economics, education, geography, government, history, music, religion, and sociology). Most relevant materials are held in Baker Library and are found in the Library of Congress D, E, G, H, M, P, and Z classifications, although some materials may be located elsewhere in the library system (e.g., African-American art in Sherman Art Library; folk medicine, both African and African-American, at Dana Biomedical Library; aspects of African geology and geography, and environmental studies at Kresge Library; Black entrepreneurship or multinationals in Africa at Feldberg Library). As there is no fund for AAAS, it is the responsibility of all selectors whose areas include material on African and African American Studies to collect in accordance with this policy. Such orders are tagged with Innopac code 3 of A for materials concerning Africa, and B for those about people, cultures, and societies of African descent outside Africa. Collection Development Policies in Sociology, History, Anthropology, French, and English Literature should be consulted.


Works are collected in English and all major European languages, particularly French. Almost all materials in indigenous African languages are excluded.

Geographic Areas

Although no area is specifically excluded, historical emphasis has been on the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, especially West Africa. Currently, the collecting scope has expanded to include all of the African continent, with particular attention to East and South Africa. Other areas, such as the Caribbean and Brazil, which have strong African cultural links, are also included.

Types Of Material Collected

Monographs and serials are collected most intensively, with newspapers as desirable additions to our holdings. Statistical information (either in microform or hard copy), documents (those issued by African governments as well as the United States), and technical reports are acquired as are relevant abstracts, indexes and bibliographies, and selected dissertations. Sound recordings are also collected.

Format Of Materials Collected

No formats are specifically excluded.

Other Resources Available

While there are no resources in the immediate area which can supplement Dartmouth's collection, there are several universities whose holdings are available to Dartmouth students and faculty. Among these are Boston University, whose Africana library is especially strong in African government publications and environmental materials; Yale University's excellent holdings in African literature and flagship southern Africa collection, and Northwestern University, whose collection of Africana is generally outstanding. The Library is a member of the Cooperative Africana Microform Project (CAMP,) housed at the Center for Research Libraries in Chicago, and thereby has ILL access to a very large collection of African newspapers, records, documents, and ephemera in microform; CAMP materials are included in the RLIN database. The CD-ROM database Ethnic NewsWatch (in Baker Reference) includes some 39 African-American newspapers and magazines in indexed full-text form, updated quarterly; the titles are not individually cataloged.

Revision History

Dec. 1994

LC Class

DT, E 184.5-185, HT 861-1427, PL8000-8844, and others as noted in the collecting intensity table.


Ridie Ghezzi

Current Bibliographer

Amy L. Witzel

Last Updated: 8/5/16