Although African studies is a relatively new discipline, the field has generated a large body of publications in the past 45 to 50 years. Most of these of course were published in garden-variety ways, in sufficient copies to remain reasonably available in today’s much improved document-delivery environment. Nonetheless, there have been exceptions–materials that were published in limited, sometimes very limited, quantities, but which have produced a demand beyond the capacity of their initial print run to satisfy. In fact, fewer than ten copies were produced of the titles indicated below by an asterisk.
Digitizing these then–and others like them–will significantly enhance their accessibility. More to the point, it will make it possible for researchers in Africa to secure access to them and thereby to circumvent–if only (so far) in a modest way–the longstanding and apparently indefinitely continuing “book famine.” In a way, the present project could be seen as providing a template for further and future projects here and elsewhere. While no amount of digitizing to hope to overcome this shortage, strategically based projects throughout the western world can have a discernible impact on its effects.
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