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Frequently Asked Questions about the AfricaBib databases

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How do I conduct a search by subject or author only?
How do I get access to the documents that I find in a search?
Once I have made my choices for a search, how do I get the search to take place?
Do I need to search by region and by country in order to get 'everything' in a search?
Do I need to capitalize words such as country names or author names while requesting a search?
How do I search the databases for materials on Africa in general and not by region or country?
How do I enter an author's name for an author search? Are first and last names required?
How does "Whole record" searching work?
Can I perform a Boolean search of the databases?
Can I do a search by volume or issue?
How do I search AfricaBib by country or region?
Can I export search results?
How can I get a list of all the periodicals indexed in the "Africana Periodical Literature" bibliographic database?
If I have error corrections, additions or comments, how do I get them to you?
Is there any page that I can go to that will tell me about the databases?
Who owns and manages AfricaBib and where is it located?
How often are the databases and bibliographies making up AfricaBib updated?
Where can I find the former subject categories for the Periodical and Women databases?
What does ISNI mean? What does the image do?
Is there any way to use AfricaBib when I have limited internet access, because of low speed or high cost?

How do I conduct a search by subject or author only?
On the first page of each database is a link "to search the database". When clicked, the link will take you to the "Search form" where you can use the "Author" field or the "Subject" field to search for publications.

How do I get access to the documents that I find in a search?
AfricaBib's databases are bibliographic databases. If the full text of a citation is available on the internet, you will see a clickable See this document before the title. However, most publishers restrict access to the full text of their material by IP address, that is the unique number each PC gets on the internet. So often you might find that you cannot access an article, especially in a home situation. Most universities do have access to these publishers' sites.
JSTOR has a website that hosts many academic periodicals with full text articles. Universities in Africa and other not for profit institutions in Africa may access these articles at JSTOR for free thanks to the JSTOR African Access Initiative.
Otherwise you will have either to go to a library that has the materials you need or go to the Inter-library Loan department of any library. Their job is to help you get access to these documents.

Once I have made my choices for a search, how do I get the search to take place?
At the bottom of the search screen, you will find three buttons to the right of Sort by. They read Year, Author, and Title. Once you have chosen the parameters by which you want your search to be conducted, you are given the option to decide just how you want your bibliography to be produced. Sort by Year will produce a bibliography chronologically arranged by date, oldest to most current. Sort by Author will produce your bibliography alphabetically by author, and choosing Sort by Title will produce a list that is alphabetical by title. Then click on the "SEARCH" button.

Do I need to search by region and by country in order to get 'everything' in a search?
It is very unlikely that searching using a country and region choice will produce positive results. The reasons for this are that every citation is coded individually. Regional headings are assigned in most cases only when a document cannot be assigned a country code. There are times though when a citation can receive both codes. This can happen, for instance if the article is about Sub-Saharan Africa and they use a case study on Ghana. Then the regional heading for Sub-Saharan Africa would be used, as would the heading for Ghana. In most cases, searches are requested on the country level or the regional level only.
NOTE: If you find that your searches are not yielding any results, check to make sure that you are only searching for either a country or a region, but not both. In most cases you will not be able to perform a query on both fields simultaneously.

Do I need to capitalize words such as country names or author names while requesting a search?
It is not necessary to capitalize while using any of the databases. The searches are not case sensitive, searching for TOGO or togo will give the same results.

How do I search the databases for materials on Africa in general and not by region or country?
In the choices for region you will find the choice for Africa. Materials that are produced by this search, are ones that could not be assigned a country or regional code. They will include materials that in most cases cover Africa as a whole continent.

How do I enter an author's name for an author search? Are first and last names required?
Author searches can be conducted either way. You can use the last name with a comma and then the first name or initial or just by typing in the last name. An effort has been made to standardize name entries. In a database this size that is not always that easy to do. I would suggest that the first author search should be just the last name only. If that gets you too many hits, try the first name if you know it, but also try using the first name initial as many authors use their first name as well as their first name initial when publishing.

How does "Whole record" searching work?
The Whole record search searches most fields in every record.

Can I perform a Boolean search of the databases?
No, there is no provision for Boolean searching of AfricaBib databases. All entries are additive (using a Boolean AND within and between each search field), essentially meaning that all search fields must hit for a record to return.
Looking for the title "Africa After 11 September" typing "Africa AND September" in the "Title" search field will give no results; type "Africa after" or "11 September" or "Africa September" to get the title.

Can I do a search by volume or issue?
Yes, you can do a search by volume or issue by adding &vl= and/or &is= to the URL in the address box in the top of your browser window. E.g. looking for volume 17 and issue 5 of a particular periodical, add '&vl=17&is=5' to the URL, and you will only get the articles of this volume/issue. You can also look for starting page and ending page adding &sp= and &ep=. Use small caps only! E.g. query_p.php?pe=journal+of+african+economies&vl=23&is=2&sp=257&ep=289.

How do I search AfricaBib by country or region?
Once you have chosen the specific database in AfricaBib that you want to use, you can search a country by clicking your mouse on the name of a country or you can click directly on the location of the country on the map. To search a region, you can go to the list of regions on the first page of the database, or you can type the name in the "Geographic term" field on the "Search form".

Can I export search results?
Yes, you can export search results in RIS format to programmes such as Reference Manager, EndNote or ProCite. At the top and bottom right-hand side of the search results page there is an "Export" button. A click on this button downloads the references on this page in RIS format to your PC; if your search returns more than one page with results you will need to click the Export button on each page to download all the references.

How can I get a list of all the periodicals indexed in the "Africana Periodical Literature" bibliographic database?
A list of the journals and periodicals indexed in the period 1974-2008 is available here. This list allows you to see titles by a chosen letter.

If I have error corrections, additions or comments, how do I get them to you?
At the bottom of the first page of each database you will find a link that will allow you to send an e-mail.

Is there any page that I can go to that will tell me about the databases?
A link on the home page of AfricaBib will lead you to a page that will give you information about the databases. A link for this same information specific to each database is also included on the first page of each database.

Who owns and manages AfricaBib and where is it located?
A link on most pages called "About AfricaBib" will provide you with this information.

How often are the databases and bibliographies making up AfricaBib updated?
All databases and bibliographies are updated when possible. As information becomes available it is made accessible to you.

Where can I find the former subject categories for the Periodical and Women databases?
The former subject menus have been replaced with open "Subject" search fields. A clickable list of the categories can be found at the bottom of the "About this database" of the Periodical database and the Women database.

What does ISNI mean? What does the image do?
ISNI stands for "International Standard Name Identifier". ISNI is the ISO certified global standard number for identifying contributors to creative works, including researchers, writers, artists, performers, publishers, and more (see isni.org). It is part of a family of international standard identifiers, e.g. ISBN, and ISSN. It consists of 16 characters (16 digits, or 15 digits plus an X). In AfricaBib more than 40000 ISNI numbers have been assigned to authors, editors and 'About persons'. Clicking on the ISNI image performs a search on the specific ISNI number within the current AfricaBib database.

Is there any way to use AfricaBib when I have limited internet access, because of low speed or high cost?
AfricaBib has a light version at m.africabib.org, or click on the image in the top-left corner of the home page. Here you can search for text in the title of publications only, but the size of the webpages is much smaller than in the full version.

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