The African Diaspora: History 477X
Mulatos de Esmeraldas (Ecuador), Adrián 
Sánchez Galque, 1599; Museo de las 
Américas / © Museo del Prado

[ library research | selected web resources | research tips | class syllabus ]

Library Research

Library Catalog
Search ISU's Library Catalog to find out what the Library owns (or provides access to) on your particular topic. Includes books, videos, cd-rom's, cataloged websites, journals, and more.


Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience Kwame Anthony Appiah & Henry Louis Gates, Jr., eds. (REF DT14 A37435 1999)
Massive and lavishly illustrated encyclopedia on African and African diaspora civilization and history, unique for its thoroughly afrocentric approach to all topics. Longer entries are signed, and include brief references to other related articles in the encyclopedia. Includes an unannotated select bibliography, and world maps.

Black Handbook (REF DT20 .B86 1997)
Helpful dictionary organizes information and brief definitions, with the following chapters as focal points: people; places and events; terms, movements and ideas; colonialism, liberation and war; countries of Africa and the African diaspora; political parties and leaders, inter-governmental organizations and treaties; rebellion, emancipation and civil rights in the USA; and chronology of African and the African diaspora. Includes an index.

Crossing Boundaries: Comparative History of Black People in Diaspora Darlene Clark Hine & Jacqueline McLeod, contributors. (Currently on order, 1/2000)
Comparative diaspora historigraphy, focusing on identity and culture, domination and resistance, and geo-social history in the Atlantic world.

Encyclopaedia Britannica Guide to Black History (ISU only)
Online multimedia encyclopedia includes basic background information on U.S. events and individuals, with particularly strong coverage of civil rights and music; other topics may not be as well covered. Also includes annotated African American web links of interest. Contents are searchable only by chronology or by broad topic.

Encyclopedia of African-American Culture & History. (REF E185 .E54 1996)
Authoritative signed essays profile individuals, regional histories, academic disciplines, and a fascinating range of cultural and historical topics. Roughly two-thirds of all entries in this indispensable five-volume set are biographical.

Encyclopedia of Pre-Colonial Africa (GEN DT2 E53 1997)
One-volume encyclopedia focuses on archaeology, history, languages, cultures, and environments. Includes bibliographies and maps.

Historical Dictionary series (REF DT381 to DT3337 range)
Series of dictionaries relevant to specific African countries such as Angola, Benin, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), and many others, most of which are shelved in Reference in the call number range listed above. Dictionaries provide short, paragraph length entries for historical events, people, movements, organizations, political parties, and general concepts relevant to an understanding of that particular country's history and its people. Dictionaries vary in length, contents, and publication date, but most include bibliographies for further reading.


America: History & Life (ISU only)
This online database provides bibliographic citations and abstracts on research journal articles relevant to the study of United States and Canadian history dating from prehistoric times to the present, from more than 2100 journals. Also includes citations for dissertations, book reviews, film and video reviews. Coverage is publications from 1964-present.

Black Studies on Disc (Library only)
This CD-ROM provides bibliographic citations to books, videos, manuscripts, art objects, journal articles, book reviews, and other materials pertaining to African American and African diaspora studies. Includes an electronic version of the important Index to Black Periodicals, as well as the library catalog from the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Focus is on the humanities, social sciences and the arts. Note that the Schomburg Center will not loan out unique items through Interlibrary Loan. Check other catalogs for holdings.

Book Review Index (REF Z1035.1 B642q)
Citation index to book reviews of scholarly and leisure books on all topics and for all readers. Includes author and title index; organized by year and by author. Covers 1965-present.
(Note: Many reviewing journals (such as Choice and Library Journal) tend to publish very brief, one paragraph reviews; look for research journals (such as American Historical Review) for longer reviews.

Expanded Academic ASAP (ISU only)
Citation and (often) full-text database of periodical literature on many subjects, including history. Especially useful for locating book reviews. Updated daily; coverage is from 1994-present, with earlier backfiles (back to 1980- ) available for some publications.
(Note: After completing a search in the database, you may need to arrow down onscreen to the bottom of the webpage to see any search results.)

H-Net Reviews
Online archive of signed scholarly history reviews written for H-Net, the digital community for history scholars and researchers. Reviews date back to 1993, and are browsable by year, author, and title; a search engine helps focus retrieval.

Historical Abstracts (ISU only)
This online database provides bibliographic citations and abstracts on research journal articles relevant to the study of world history (except that of the United States and Canada) dating from prehistoric times to the present, from more than 2000 journals. Also includes citations for dissertations, book reviews, film and video reviews. Coverage is publications from 1952-present.

J-Stor Search (ISU only)
J-Stor is an electronic journals archive that includes back issues of important African American titles such as Journal of Black Studies, Callaloo, Journal of Negro History, and Transition, as well a number of "mainstream" history journals such as American Historical Review and Journal of Modern History. Contents of these back issues, including individual reviews, can be searched by keywords, author, date, and by journals. Search results are full-text facsimiles of the journal articles.

PAIS (ISU only)
Provides access to journal articles, government documents, reports, statistics, and other resources dealing with domestic and international public policy materials on business, government, demographics, law, political science, public administration, education, and other areas, 1972-present. ( In database, click on Change Display if citations lack journal names or book titles.)

SAGE Race Relations Abstracts (REF HT1501 .S3x)
Print index contains bibliographical essays on specialized international race-related topics, and annotated abstracts for journal articles and books dealing with race relations. Broad subject index. Produced by the Institute of Race Relations, London. Quarterly, 1975- .

Selected Web Resources

African Diaspora (throughout Latin America)
List of links to various resources that focus on the African diaspora throughout Latin America, including Brazil and the Caribbean region. Includes several bibliographies. Individual resources are in English, Portuguese, and/or Spanish. From LANIC, Univ. Texas at Austin. See also LANIC's country specific pages, including those for Haiti and Jamaica.

African Studies Center
Perhaps the premier academic website that organizes scholarly web resources relevant to African studies. Accessible by country, by region, or by topic; includes search engine, bulletin board, conference announcements, and more. From the University of Pennsylvania.

African Voices
Interactive presentation of African history, from ancient civilizations to the present. Flash or QuickTime software is necessary to view the entire site, though text and bibliographies are included. Compiled and mounted by the Smithsonian.

Africans in America
Companion website to the PBS documentary film series of the same name. Includes detailed background of the slave trade and the African diaspora in North America from 1450-1865, profiling individual people and events (including a brief section on Olaudah Equiano), with numerous facsimile images of historical documents and period engravings. Although the website's individual chapters are not always easy to navigate from page to page, click on Resource Bank Contents anywhere in the website to get a listing of the table of contents.

French website and e-journal dedicated to the history and cultures of the African diaspora throughout the world. Includes online articles on Black artists in Québec, Caribbean music, Blacks in Colombia, and much more. Many articles have been translated into English, though the bulk of the website is in French.

Afro-Cuba Web
Afrocentric collection of Afrocuban resources, with many photographs and suggested readings. Includes online essays by scholars such as Lisa Brock, Manning Marable, James Early, Pedro Pérez Sarduy, and many others. Includes a very effective search engine; in English.

BBC Windrush Files
Companion website to the BBC documentary on the "first wave" West Indian / Jamaican postwar immigration to Great Britain, dating from 1948. Includes essays, many photographs, and interactive features.

Black Mexico Home Page
History, photographs, a bibliography of works in Spanish and in English, relevant links elsewhere, and current research from anthropologist and Stanford graduate student, Bobby Vaughn. In English.

Center for Black Music Research
Authoritative definitions, bibliographies, discographies, and links to online vendors for African diaspora musical styles, including rhythm and blues, reggae, Cuban son, Dominican and Haitian merengue, Puerto Rican bomba and plena, plus pan-Caribbean salsa, and Brazilian samba. From Columbia College.

Chronicle World -Changing Black Britain
Interesting online journal includes scholarly articles and essays on the African diaspora in the UK and elsewhere. Includes a history "time capsule" webpage on Blacks in London.

Digital Schomburg: African American Women Writers of the 19th Century
Full-text collection of numerous writings of African American and African-diaspora women of the nineteenth century. Includes search capabilities.

Dread History
Subtitled "The African Diaspora, Ethiopianism, and Rastafari," this online collection of essays and images has been assembled by the Smithsonian Institute, and includes a bibliography and glossary of Rasta speech, Jamaican terminology, and other words.

Ghanaian NewsRunner
Online newspaper for the Ghanaian community in the Netherlands. Articles available for reading online or free downloading. Includes chat forum and Ghana-related links.

John Henrik Clarke Africana Library
Massive collection of digital historical texts, slave narratives, and periodicals, with bibliographies, links to other library catalogs with strong Africana collections, and links to unique projects, including one on African writing systems such as nsibidi (commonly seen in Cuban santería materials). From Cornell.

National Museum of African Art
Includes exhibits, general information, free publications, and information on education programs related to ancient to contemporary African and African diaspora art and artists. (Note: The kente cloth design on this page comes from the exhibit, Wrapped in Pride: Ghanaian Kente & African American Pride.)

Sacred Arts of Haitian Vodou
Online exhibit features superb art reproductions of paintings, textile flags, altars, libation bottles, and other Vodou-inspired art pieces and objets, and extensive authoritative information on the history, culture, and rituals of vodou in Haiti. From the American Museum of Natural History.

Slave Movement during the 18th and 19th Centuries
This website from the University of Wisconsin makes available to registered users selected raw data on the slave trade to the Americas. Specific data includes "Records of Slave Ship Movement between African & the Americas, 1817-1843," "Angola Slave Trade in the 18th Century, 1723-1771," and various records regarding the slave trade to Cuba, Jamaica, Rio de Janeiro, and elsewhere. An invaluable resource.

Universal Black Pages: The Diaspora
Partial listing of important diaspora links, organized by Universal Black Pages, one of the premier African American megasites. Larger UBP site includes search engine and information on many other topics.

World Wide Samba Home Page
Chiefly a world-wide listing of samba schools, organizations, web pages, videos, books, and other resources. The section "Samba World Wide" is particularly useful, as it defines various manifestations of samba schools and other Afro-Brazilian musical forms and expressions often confused with samba. Includes glossary, e-mail list, discussion and chat room, and events line.

Research Tips

How to Critically Analyze Information Sources
Comprehensive online tutorial in the form of questions to consider when evaluating both print and Web materials, written by reference librarians at Cornell University. Includes brief definitions and helpful examples of primary versus secondary resources.

Longman Online: The American Nation
Online American history textbook from Longman and written by John A. Garraty. Includes excerpts from numerous primary sources (chiefly diaries and memoirs), including accounts by Olaudah Equiano and Alexander Falconbridge on the slave trade. Includes sample quizzes to test knowledge, activities, images, glossary, and links.

Norton Multimedia Assignment Bank
Online companion to the well-known Norton African American Literature anthology includes useful starting points for writing essays, with an emphasis on writing and learning collaboratively. Includes brief sample assignments on Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative, Black separatistism from the ACS to the UNIA, and many more topics all including questions, illustrations, and suggested sources to read. By Charles Hannon.

Online Citation Manuals
List of popular style manuals (such as the MLA, Turabian's, and the Chicago Manual of Style) and links to their Web versions. Call numbers are also given for their print counterparts in ISU's Parks Library.

Researching Online
Exhaustive and authoritative online textbook provides much useful information on when and how to use the Internet for scholarly literary research. URLs to sample sites and listserv addresses are provided, along with instructions on how to make use of numerous Internet services. Includes links to other helpful sites. From Literature Online, a website supplement to Kennedy & Gioia's textbook, Literature (7th edition).

Evaluate the librarian

Iowa State University Library, Ames, IA 50011
Last updated: 06 April 2001.
Created: 21 December 1999.