In February 2008 this English-language database contained over 35,000 citations from 1986 onward. The database indexes six types of materials: books and government documents; articles appearing in edited books; periodical and journal articles; Masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations as well as a few B.A. theses and honors papers; conference papers; and videocassettes.
The database indexes current and past conference papers from the following conferences and indexes:
The database is the outgrowth of a three-volume work published in 1989 by Greenwood Press that indexed materials on African women published during the International Women's Decade, 1976-1985.
In November of 1999 the ability to index hyperlinked documents from the Internet became a reality in the database. This increased greatly the scope of the database and allowed the indexing and viewing of documents from the Internet.
From June 2008 the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL), Leiden, The Netherlands hosts this database. More than 5400 publications have a link to online full text now, and more than 4500 publications have got an abstract. Almost 5800 publications have subjects from the African Studies Thesaurus developed and maintained by the ASCL. The African Studies Thesaurus contains a rich structured vocabulary of more than 13000 English terms in the field of African studies.
Originally only subjects were added from a list of 36 broad subject categories listed below. Searches through these subject categories are still possible.
The former 36 broad subject categories (clickable!):
- Cultural Roles
- Development and Technology
- Education and Training
- Equality and Liberation
- Ethnic and Race Relations
- Family Life
- Family Planning and Contraception
- Fertility and Infertility
- Genital Circumcision/Cuttings/Surgeries
- Health, Nutrition, and Medicine
- Labor and Employment
- Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
- Marital Relations and Nuptiality
- Mass Media
- Politics and Government
- Religion and Witchcraft
- Sex Roles
- Status of Women
- Women and Their Children