Thursday, July 23, 2015

This summer a small group of folks at Texas A&M University, myself, Rebecca Hankins, Maura Ives, and Sarah Potvin, have been working on DiBB: The Digital Black Bibliographic Project. The project will provide an expanded, accurate data set for black cultural research in multiple fields while providing a means to collect and manipulate humanities data, with particular attention to datamining and visualization techniques. During the course of the project, we have been looking at a wide variety of black bibliographies, and Rebecca mentioned's excellent work.

Launched in 1974, was initially a print project titled Africana Periodical Literature Index compiled by the now retired Davis Bullwinkle (About Founder). By the mid 1980s the project was transferred to a database and by 1999 the project was moved to the web. 

Original entry page:

The 1999 web version of the project included the Bibliography of Africana Periodical Literature Database and the African Women's Database (About). The current project has expanded to six database and includes the original databases plus Women Travelers, Explorers and Missionaries to Africa, Islam in Africa, Kenya Coast, and Water and Africa.

Like many of the early digital humanities projects, the web was utilized to allow a larger audience access to the work. Noting that the original research was "still not accessible to researchers," Bullwinkle spent "a great deal of time over many make the data computer accessible" (About).

The current project contains more than 218,000 records and is accessible by a simple set of search fields.

You might also search the materials by collection, country or by region.

We are fortunate to still have this site available. Like many early projects, AfricaBib was clearly a labor of love for its founder. When Bullwinkle retired in 2008, the project could have ended its lifespan as did many early activist projects that were removed from the web or lingered and became increasingly broken as the technology decayed. Instead, the African Studies Centre in Leiden, The Netherlands has taken on the responsibility of hosting the site, insuring its sustainability.

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