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African Newspapers

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African Newspapers is misnamed! It might better be called “Historical” African Newspapers, because that's what it offers. This database contains no current news or information about Africa, but instead a collection of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century newspapers from some parts of southern, western, and eastern Africa. They're written in multiple languages, including English, but many are non-African. In many cases, though not all, these newspapers were probably written for European colonial readers and not African ones, so they may frequently lack an African perspective on the issues and events covered. The database's search mechanism is easy to understand, and allows the user to search for articles by keyword, date, place of publication, newspaper title, and/or language. Searches performed often provide useable and on-point results. However, the user is only able to do a keyword search in the newspaper title and/or full text of each article. Additional search options would be preferable, such as by subject or article title. Without these, the search mechanism is somewhat inflexible. Lists of results are easy to browse and understand, and individual articles or newspaper pages are generally simple to view, navigate, reduce, or magnify. Readability can be a problem in some cases, however, as the text in some newspapers is faded and illegible even at the highest magnification. Pricing for this database can vary substantially depending on the type of institution subscribing, specifically whether or not it's associated with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL). Its contract provisions are fairly standard; although additional charges or conditions for remote access can be imposed on some subscribers, and the use of database content for interlibrary loan is restricted. This database would only be of interest to those institutions studying the social, political, and/or economic history of the countries it covers, and then only for those who can afford the cost, which in some cases can be substantial.

Publication date: July 1, 2011

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