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African Studies: Other Ways to Search for Books: Gumberg Library

Other Ways to Search


Searching for books on African subjects in the QuickSearch online catalog can be complex, because there are a number of levels at which you can search. You can search at the:

  • Continental level (the pre-set searches in the Find Books boxes are mainly a healthy selection of these)
  • Regional level (East Africa, West Africa, North Africa, Southern Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa)
  • Country level (Nigeria, etc.)
  • Tribal/Ethnic/People group level (Yoruba, Igbo, etc.)

If you search at the continental level, the books you find will have a tendency to talk about Africa at the that level, giving broad coverage of topics, but will not necessarily deal with the subjects in specific parts of the continent, in specific countries, or amongst specific people groups.

So you will probably need to search at the lower, more-specific levels as well. Here are examples of some possible searches:

East Africa AND economics

Nigeria AND government

Yoruba AND sex roles

Advanced Search

A very powerful and flexible way to search the QuickSearch Catalog is use the Advanced Search. In order to do this you must first get to the QuickSearch Catalog. You may do so by clicking the link on the menu at the top of the screen.

Then click on the "Catalog" tab.

Now click on "Advanced Search" on the right below the search box.


On the Advanced Search screen, type your first concept into the first search box. Then pull down the menu to the left of it and choose Subject from the list. Then type your second concept in the second search box, and pull down the menu to the left of it and choose Subject.This will ensure that both of your concepts are searched as Subjects. (This is a more exact way to search.) Then click Search to run your search.


If you do not find enough searching for your concepts as Subjects, pull down the menus to the left of each search box and choose Keyword. (This is a way of broadening a search. It will search for your concepts in all parts of the catalog records.) Then click Search to run your search.