The AfricaBib project was started in 1974 by Davis Bullwinkle with the gathering of bibliographic information for the Africana Periodical Literature Index. He continued this work for more than 30 years, until his retirement as director of the Institute for Economic Advancement Research Library within the Institute for Economic Advancement on the campus of the University of Arkansas, in Little Rock, Arkansas, in March 2008, when the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) in Leiden, The Netherlands, agreed to host the website and continue the AfricaBib service.
Davis holds undergraduate degrees in history and anthropology from California State University-Chico in Chico, California, specializing in African Studies in both. He also holds a Masters degree in Library Science from Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas.
He has been a professional librarian for twenty-five years and an Africana researcher for thirty and has published Africana bibliographic periodical articles on drought in Africa, nomadism and pastoralism in Africa, as well as an article on women and their role in African society.
In 1974, he began an Africana periodical indexing project that today is the Africana Periodical Literature bibliographic database.
In 1989 Greenwood Press published his three-volume bibliographic work on women in Africa during the International Women's Decade:
- African Women; A General Bibliography, 1976-1985,
- Women of Northern, Western, and Central Africa: A Bibliography, 1976-1985, and
- Women of Eastern and Southern Africa: A Bibliography, 1976-1985.
The African Women bibliographic database is the comprehensive continuation of that project.
No project the size of AfricaBib can be accomplished alone. Davis Bullwinkle worked together with many people who helped bring his project to reality. Among others he expressed thanks to his wife, Judy, a fellow librarian. "Yearly she has accompanied me to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and worked alongside me collecting information. It is a long and tedious period and her help has made that process easier and quicker". And for their help, a final word of thanks to the staff and librarians at Northwestern University, the Library of Congress, University of Texas-Austin, University of Kansas, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of California-Berkeley, Stanford University, California State University-Chico, Boston College, and the University of Memphis.