University of Oregon

Masks and Meaning: African Art and Society Research Tips

Contact Librarian: Miriam Rigby,; 346-7202

Finding Background Information:

  • Encyclopedias and dictionaries are a useful place to gather background information on your topic.

  • A few examples:
    • The Continuum encyclopedia of native art : worldview, symbolism, and culture in Africa, Oceania, and North America (AAA Reference E98.A7 W49 2000)
    • Encyclopedia of African History (Knight Reference DT20.E53 2005)
    • Encyclopedia of Africa South of the Sahara (Knight Reference DT351.E53 1997)
    • Encyclopedia of Anthropology (Online)

You can also look at the selected bibliography created for this class. This bibliography contains a list of selected journals and books on various aspects of African art.

Related Guides:


Finding Articles (by area / topic)

African Studies

  • Africa Journals Online (AJOL) offers the tables of contents and abstracts of articles from approximately 50 journals in agricultural sciences, science and technology, health and social sciences, published in Africa.
  • Quarterly Index of African Periodical Literatures covers 300 selected periodicals from 29 African countries. The index is organized into broad subject areas covering all aspects of African periodical literature (Economics, Education, Law, Literature, Politics, Transportation, etc.).
  • International Index to Black Periodicals includes current and retrospective bibliographic citations and abstracts from 150 scholarly and popular journals, newspapers, and newsletters from the United States, Africa, and the Caribbean--and full-text coverage of 40 core Black Studies periodicals (1998 forward). Retrospective coverage includes 120,000 citations from over 56 publications, with records dating back to 1902.
  • Index Islamicus covers journals about the Middle East and North Africa (The print version indexes articles back to 1976 and can be found here: Knight Z3013.Q34)
  • International African Bibliography is a print index of African Journals (Knight Z3503.I5 v.1-39 (1971-2009))
  • African Studies Abstracts: the abstracts journal of the African Studies Centre, Leiden is a print index and includes abstracts for African studies materials (Knight Z3503.A36 1997-2002)

Anthropology & Sociology

  • Anthropology Plus indexes articles and essays in all of the subfields of anthropology, from the 19th century to the present.
  • AnthroSource, complete full-text archive of all of the American Anthropological Association's peer-reviewed journals.
  • GeoBase is the best database for finding human geography articles. Human geography's significant overlaps with Cultural Anthropology and Archaeology make this a great option for a broader search to supplement what you find in AnthroSource and Anthropology Plus.
  • Sociological Abstracts provides access to citations and abstracts of scholarly research in Sociology.
  • Web of Science is an interdisciplinary index to articles in the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities, making it particularly useful for the multidisciplinary needs of anthropology researchers.


  • Art Abstracts and Art Index Retrospective This database is in two parts, indexes periodicals dating back to 1929, with Art Index Retrospective covering 1929 to 1983 and Art Abstracts indexing from 1984 on. These indexes are strongest for English language publications, and include many smaller or more regionally oriented U.S. publications that may not be indexed in other databases.  
Created by rigby on Jun 18, 2012 Last updated Aug 24, 2015
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