While Memorial Library is the principal repository on the Madison campus for materials relating to Africa, all of our several member libraries, as well as, most notably, the Ebling Health Sciences Library and the Law Library, hold materials related to Africa for their particular disciplines. In particular, The Arthur H. Robinson Map Library contains several thousand maps and gazetteers that relate to Africa and represent the single best entry point into historical and contemporary African cartography. These holdings are spatially far-flung, but materials from any campus library can be delivered to any other campus library—in some cases even to campus offices—for the convenience of users.
Access to Africana materials, however, is by no means limited to campus holdings. With declining budgets, research libraries across the world have found it necessary to resort more and more frequently to interlibrary loan, which allows US—Madison users to borrow materials from around the country and in some cases from overseas as well. Using ILL has been reduced to a simple procedure and delivery of articles electronically can be a matter of just a few hours and seldom more than a few days, while print materials ordinarily takes less than two weeks.
Furthermore, as a charter member of the Comparative Africana Materials Project (CAMP) of the Center for Research Libraries, the UW—Madison libraries have privileged access to the vast holdings of CRL, which are especially strong for the developing world, and which are growing steadily. Prominent among these are over 800,000 foreign dissertations, collections of official government documents (including gazettes) from Africa, many African newspapers, as well as archival materials from African countries and from the former colonial powers. These materials are in both ‘traditional’ formats (paper and microforms) and digital. With the exception of the foreign dissertations and the gazettes, all of CRL’s holdings are represented in MadCat and may be borrowed on interlibrary loans, sometimes for extended periods.