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Information Services

African Studies

Welcome to the African Studies subject guide - your guide to using the library resources, services and facilities for your subject.

Main Library

To help you navigate the Main Library in George Square, watch this student tour which highlights the various resources, services and facilities available in the Main Library.

Using the Online Library

The Library has a vast amount of online resources you can use for your learning and research which can be a bit overwhelming when you're first starting to use them. Our guide provides information to help you navigate all the online resources you'll need throughout your studies.

Other University of Edinburgh Libraries

There are 10 other site libraries at the University that you can visit and use. 

Edinburgh College of ArtMoray House libraryInternal photo of New College LibraryRoyal infirmary Library

Where are the African Studies books in the Library?

The Main Library holds the majority of books for African Studies.

  • Books that are on undergraduate reading lists will generally be in the HUB (High Use Book) Collection on the ground floor
  • Most other books are on the 2nd floor
  • There is a specialist Centre of African Studies (CAS) Collection on the 4th floor

The most common shelfmarks for African Studies start with:

DT African History
H H is the classification for all Social Sciences, which will broken down geographically in each area e.g. HQ The Family.
C.A.S. This is the shelfmark for the Centre for African Studies Collection on the 4th floor

But African Studies crosses over with a wide range of other subject areas and disciplines so you may find yourself looking for other shelfmarks that you have identified by using DiscoverEd.

Remember the Library has access to thousands of e-books which you can access via DiscoverEd.

Centre for Research Collections


The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh's historic and special collections, including rare books and manuscripts and the University of Edinburgh archives. The University Archives holds several African Studies related collections, including the papers of John William Arthur, Joseph Booth, William Scott and Helen M. Taylor.

All of these collections can be accessed at the CRC on the 6th floor, Main Library.

Accessing material not in the library collection

If the library does not have what you want then there are different ways of getting access to the material:

The Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Service: 

This allows you to request material either held at distant university library sites including the  University Collections Facility, or material not held by the university. 

Request a book image

Book Recommendations: 

If you are unable to find the book that you need for your studies then use the Student Request a Book (RaB) service to recommend a purchase.

Visit another library: 

It may be possible (and sometimes quicker) to visit another library to get access to the item you require. Some reciprocal schemes and agreements allow our staff and students access to some other libraries