December 13, 2012 2 Comments
Several libraries collect material in local African languages of non-European origin. This guide gives a few hints on how to find novels in Swahili, poetry in Ndebele or plays in Xhosa. Libraries do use certain methods of subject indexing and classification helping to locate literature in African languages in the library catalogues.
Some of the approaches do also apply for the local literature in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish. However, the main focus of this guide is on local African languages of non-European origin.
Frankfurt University Library, Germany
The DFG-funded special subject collection on Africa South of the Sahara uses keywords according to the German authority file GND and the RWSK-rules. Additionally, we also name the language and the genre of the fictional text.
The pattern is:
Country, e.g. “Simbabwe”
Language, e.g. “Ndebele-Sprache, Simbabwe”
Genre, e.g. “Roman” (novel)
With this type of keyword search Zimbabwean novels in Ndebele can be found.
Other examples are:
For the purpose of classification an “Eppelsheimer”-inhouse solution is applied. This allows to answer some broader questions: All novels from Africa in Frankfurt University library can be retrieved e.g. with “3!! M 0059 k*“.
The pattern to index fictional text looks like this:
334 = e.g is the country code for Kenya
M 0059 = is a fictional text
k = novel, h =drama, e = poems, m = short story etc.
The code for local African languages is:
- 300 Lq 0096 + the name of the language, e.g. 300 Lq 0096 Ndebele
A combination of both is possible, some examples:
- Kenyan plays in Swahili (334 M 0059 h* AND 300 Lq 0096 Suaheli)
- all plays in Swahili (3!! M 0059 h* AND 300 Lq 0096 Suaheli)
- prose in Xhosa ((3!! M 0059 k* OR 3!! M 0059 m* OR 3!! M 0059 l*) AND 300 Lq 0096 Xhosa)
- Malawian fiction in Nyanja (348 M 0059* AND kls: 300 Lq 0096 Nyanja)