Background for the African Language Books collection

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 Phase One (1997- 2004)

In 1997 David Bade (Senior Librarian and Cataloger at the University of Chicago Library) began to compile a list of the African language books held in the Herskovits Library. The list was later published in 2000 as a bibliography titled: Bade, David W. Books in African Languages in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University: A Catalog. (Evanston, IL: Program of African Studies, Northwestern University, 2000).
The first two volumes of the bibliography provide both electronic and print access to a collection of nearly 10,600 works in African languages at Northwestern University, from the establishment of the collection to1998. The third volume, published in 2004, provides print access to an additional 1073 African language works received from 1999-2000. 
The depth and the detail of this bibliography can hardly be overlooked. It is arranged by country and within each country by language. Included are explanations of coverage, variant names of languages, terminology, and four extensive indexes. In 2002, Books in African Languages in the Melville J. Herskovits Library of African Studies, Northwestern University: A Catalog received the Conover-Porter Award from the African Studies Association. The Conover-Porter Award recognizes outstanding contributions to Africanist Bibliography or Reference Works.
Phase Two (2011-
David Bade’s bibliography serves as the foundation for the current African language books project. The original information from the Bibliography was reconfigured and added to NUcat. This now provides the user with access to approximately three quarters of the entire African Language book collection in the Herskovits Library.
The current project builds upon the original work compiled by Bade and provides the user with call numbers and the ability to perform subject and key word searching. The project will eventually include all African language books received from 2000 to the present. Once each book has been entered into NUcat, it will be readily available for users to borrow.
Books in Swahili are the first to be cataloged. Other languages will follow.
Inquiries regarding this collection may be made in person, via e-mail or by telephone. Other major collections of books in African Languages are available at Indiana University and Boston University.