The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) recently conducted an assessment of African newspapers online to determine the extent to which those news sources are available in electronic format to researchers. As academic institutions increasingly shift away from collecting print newspapers in favor of online database subscriptions to news aggregators and “e-print” collections-or simply directing scholars toward current content via the open Web-CRL sought to examine whether these alternate solutions are sufficient to provide the same degree of support for African studies as physical newspaper collections have historically afforded.
CRL’s survey found that only a fraction of African newspaper titles are currently available online. Of an estimated 1,300 titles in circulation throughout Africa, CRL found only 484 titles with some form of active online presence. While most top-circulating titles tend to post current news to their sites, the quality and range of content (both current news and backfiles) varies considerably.
The detailed report, as well as the set of titles and links studied (representing, perhaps, the most current and comprehensive set of links to African newspapers presently on the web) are available from CRL’s website.