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Rutgers University Libraries

African Studies: Find Books and Media

Resources for African History, Current Events, Arts, Literature and Cultures, and Social Science Disciplines.

Using the Library Catalog to Find Books and Media

Helpful Hint: Begin with a keyword in the Library Catalog to help you identify the official subject headings for your topic. A keyword search is a broad search that looks for words or phrases anywhere in the record of an item in the catalog. Finding and searching just the subject headings in the records will give you a more focused and relevant results list. 


A keyword search for "climate change" and "west africa" ("double quotes" to search for a phrase) will give you a very long results list, containing many books that do not actually discuss climate change in West Africa. If you look at the detailed records for the few results that are relevant, you will notice that they use subject headings such as:

Climatic changes -- Africa, West
Climatic changes -- Environmental aspects--Africa, West
Environmental policy -- Africa, West
Africa, West -- Climate

If you click on these subject headings in a record, you will catch additional titles that were not get returned in the first keyword search, and your result list will be more focused, useful.

You can use the same search strategies in WorldCat.

For example, we might begin with a Keyword search: zanzibar and architecture. This is a fine start, but upon examining these results, we find additional, more precise, search terms:

City planning -- Tanzania -- Zanzibar
Historic preservation -- Law and legislation -- Tanzania -- Zanzibar
Urban policy -- Tanzania -- Zanzibar
Urban renewal -- Tanzania -- Zanzibar (Zanzibar)
Architecture -- Tanzania -- Zanzibar (Zanzibar)
Zanzibar -- History

Other Catalogs


Use this catalog to locate materials at other libraries. Materials not owned by Rutgers may be requested through interlibrary loan.

Center for Research Libraries

The Center for Research Libraries houses over 4 million volumes of research materials that are rarely held in North American libraries. Because the Rutgers University Libraries have membership with the Center for Research Libraries, materials are available to Rutgers users via interlibrary loan.

Library of Congress

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