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Pilot edition

Updated and expanded as at October 2022

About the project:
‘Publishing & Book Culture in Africa’ is a new project headed by Caroline Davis, Associate Professor in Publishing, Department of Information Studies, Centre for Publishing, at University College London. With the support of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship – and in association with Beth le Roux, Associate Professor of Publishing Studies at the University of Pretoria in South Africa – the intention is to set up a virtual network bringing together publishing researchers/educators across Africa. The network will serve as a platform of linking researchers, as well as a way of accessing databases of information about publishing in Africa; and to provide information about ongoing and past projects, and open-access publications and research resources, including those generated by current research projects.

Originally planned to become accessible in 2022, the launch of the network has had to be postponed for a number of reasons, but has now been rescheduled to commence activities during the early part of 2023. A responsive and mobile-friendly website ‘Publishing & Book Culture in Africa’ will then also become available.

As part of a wide range of resources to be made available, Hans Zell was commissioned to create the Repository, and which is now freely accessible in a Pilot edition on the Hans Zell web pages for a limited period of time (last updated and expanded as at October 2022). The final version will be hosted on the network’s website during the course of 2023.

Access the Pilot edition here

This Repository aims to provide quick access to key literature about the many aspects of book culture, and publishing and book development in Sub-Saharan Africa generally, and at the same time provide a kind of mapping of the past. It currently offers free access to over a thousand fully and critically annotated records. In terms of coverage emphasis is on fairly recent studies (2000-2022), and those that, for the most part, are accessible online. A selection of earlier studies and documents on the African book industries (1960-1999) have also been included, with an emphasis on those available online. A good number of these – mainly articles and studies published in journals – have now become available in digital formats, while some others (books, collections, or conference proceedings) that are now long out-of-print, should still be accessible in major academic and university libraries.

At this time, scope and coverage is limited to literature about publishing, book development, and book history and culture, in anglophone sub-Saharan Africa. It is hoped that the Repository can be expanded in the future by the inclusion of new material on a regular and systematic basis; collected, analysed, and written up by way of collaborative curation of the Repository.
For more details about criteria for inclusion, scope and type of material included, arrangement and classification, the nature of annotations, search facilities, etc., please consult the Introduction (see pp. 5-13).

About Hans M. Zell:
Hans Zell has been author, editor, and publisher on African topics for almost five decades, and has written extensively on many aspects of publishing and book development in Africa. In addition to numerous articles and studies published in journals, he is also the author of several books, training manuals, and African studies reference resources. He was the founder of the quarterly bibliographic and book trade journal The African Book Publishing Record, which started in 1975 and which he edited until 2002. In a part-time capacity, he was the Senior Consultant to African Books Collective Ltd from 1986 to 1995, and between 1979 and 1995 also acted as the Secretary to the Managing Committee (the Jury) of the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa.