Contact Information
  • Librarian: Marion Frank-Wilson
  • Location: Herman B Wells Library E660
  • Phone: (812) 855-1481
Libraries & Subjects
last updated: 1/9/2013

A732: Introduction to the Bibliography of Sub-Saharan Africa

General Information:

Spring Semester 2013
Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30-10:45
Wells Library Room E252 (with some exceptions)

Schedule of Class Meetings (link)

Instructor of Record:

Marion Frank-Wilson, Librarian for African Studies
Indiana University Main Library E660
phone: (812) 855-1481

Teaching Instructors: 

Adam Clemons

Sarah Keil

Office hours:

Dr. Frank-Wilson is generally available from 9-5 in her office, but it is a good idea to call or email ahead to make sure she will be there. Adam and Sarah will be available after class or by appointment.


The objective of this course is to teach students the efficient use of research collections at Indiana University, other institutions in the U.S. and abroad, as well as during their field research in Africa.  Students are introduced to important general and specialized research sources.  There are exercises and assignments on how to use these sources, as well as on search strategies that enable participants to find materials on their own throughout their graduate studies.  Special attention is given to electronic sources, how to use and evaluate them, and to their relationship to existing print sources.

Apart from bibliographic surveys, there are discussion sessions and reading assignments that place the study of bibliography in the larger context of trends in the field of African Studies, libraries, librarianship, and archives in the U.S. and Africa, as well as in the context of publishing industries and the rapidly changing world of electronic information.

Required Text:

Kagan, Alfred, Reference Guide to Africa: A Bibliography of Sources, 2nd ed. Lanham, Md., & London: the Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2005. (Available for purchase on

Course Requirements:

Since most of the information in this course is conveyed during class sessions, class attendance is required. In general, absences should only be for illnesses or emergencies.

Brief bibliographies will be distributed for those materials not listed in the textbook, and lists with additional background readings have links from the respective sections in the syllabus.

There will be assigned readings for the class, class discussion, in-class exercises, as well as written exercises related to using some bibliographic sources, and a final course project.

Assignments and Grade Distribution:

Class Participation/Attendance: 10% [reading, in-class exercises, leading discussion of one article in class]

Presentation: 30%

Final Course Project: 60%

Late submissions of assignments will not be accepted.

Course Project:

Each student is required to prepare a bibliographic essay and annotated bibliography on a topic of interest. Students may select a topic of practical use to them for current coursework, dissertation research, or future fieldwork. The number of citations/sources to include in the bibliography should be between 60 and 70 sources (not less than 60).  Each student must prepare a presentation of the course project to be presented during the last two class sessions. It is impossible for the instructor to accept late submissions. Since a copy of each project is retained in the African Studies Library Office, students who want a marked copy returned should turn in two copies of their paper.

Guidelines for Leading Article Discussion:

Each student is required to lead discussion of one article throughout the semester, selection of which will take place during the first week of class. It is expected that you will give a brief overview (5 minutes) of the article, along with your assessments of its strengths and weaknesses. You will then initiate a general discussion of the article. Prepare 3-4 questions to guide the discussion, along with your reaction to the article. Leading an article discussion is a course requirement, but no written assignment needs to be turned in.

Projects and assignments must be prepared in accordance with a standard bibliographic style. Any of the style guides listed below may be used:

Chicago Manual of Style. REF Z253 .U69 2003


At Main Library Reference Desk and in Information Commons Reference; also available on-line for IUB-affliliated users.

MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. REF LB 2369 .G53 2003


At Main Library Reference Desk and in Information Commons Reference.

For government publications:

The Complete Guide to Citing Government Information Resources. Z7164 .G7 G37 1993

At Main Library Reference Desk and GIMSS Reserve.


For electronic sources, see also:

Important Dates:

January 10: Meet in Wells Library E174

January 29: Course project topic due

February 7: Meet in Wells Library 043

February 14: Initial outline w/ bibliography sub-categories due

March 5: 10 annotated sources for course project due

March 7: Meet in Wells Library E174

March 11-15: Spring Break, No Class!

March 28: Another 10 annotated sources for course project due

April 4: Meet in Wells Library 043

April 23: Class Presentations

April 25: Class Presentations; Course project due

Academic honesty: 

Plagiarism is using other people's work (words, ideas, images, etc.) without giving them credit.  If you use phrases that are from other authors' works, use quoteation marks around those phrases and cite the quotations and/or ideas in footnotes.  Please contact me if you have questions about citations.  For more information, also see the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities, and Conduct.


This syllabus is up to date as of Monday, January 7, 2013. Though no major adjustments are anticipated, please note that the instructors reserve the right to change the syllabus and/or class schedule as necessary, especially to accommodate guest speakers. To the best of our ability, due dates (except article discussions) will not change. Notification of adjustments to the syllabus will take place via Oncourse messages, email, and (when time permits) in class.

last updated: 1/9/2013