African Studies Thesaurus
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About the thesaurus

The African Studies Thesaurus is a structured list of English terms covering the broad field of African studies, with an emphasis on the social sciences and humanities. It contains 13361 terms (5573 descriptors or preferred terms and 7788 non-descriptors directing the user to a descriptor) and includes the names of African countries and regions, almost 1000 ethnic groups, some 500 African languages, more than 340 traditional polities and about 170 political parties.

The thesaurus was developed by the Library, Documentation and Information Department of the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) to facilitate subject access to the ASCL library collection. It reflects the main subject areas of the ASCL library collection and is directly linked to the library's online catalogue.

The alphabetical section of the thesaurus was completed in 2006. It replaced the numerical classification system (UDC) in use until then and all subject codes previously assigned to titles in the ASCL catalogue were converted into thesaurus descriptors. The systematic section of the thesaurus was completed and implemented in 2012.

With the African Studies Thesaurus the ASC Leiden aims to facilitate the identification of relevant indexing terminology, provide a tool for the indexing and retrieval of African Studies information resources, and promote easy national and international subject access to its own resources.

The thesaurus is maintained on an ongoing basis.
Comments and feedback are greatly appreciated.

For the story behind the thesaurus, see From classification to thesaurus and back? (slidecast, extended abstract).

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