Subject librarian

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Anthropology demands the open-mindedness with which one must look and listen, record in astonishment and wonder that which one would not have been able to guess.

Margaret Mead

Subject-specific training courses

Regular introductory courses take place as part of the undergraduate seminars for students of social anthropology (introducing the library catalogue, library holdings, and subject-specific information as well as other electronic resources). The dates will be published here in good time.

All training courses

For an overview of all training courses on offer at the University Library – from an introduction at the beginning of the semester to subject-specific training courses, guided tours through the library, reference management, etc. – click here.


University Library holdings


  • key literature
  • reference works and encyclopaedia
  • journals, wherever possible with online access
  • online bibliographic databases accessible within the university's network: Anthropology plus, IBSS, PCI, Scopus, Web of Science
  • historical collections

Social Anthropology

  • research literature, regional monographs worldwide
  • wenig  Ausstellungskataloge und Museumsführer
  • selected exhibition catalogues and museum guides
  • selected publications relating to material culture

African Studies

  • all subject librarians purchase literature pertinent to Africa for their areas of expertise
  • Library of Al Imfeld, Africa-specialist and development expert

Other acquisition aspects

  • continuity: even if the research focus of the university shifts, the basic supply of literature in the entire area and the sub-disciplines of African Studies will be maintained
  • languages: focus on literature in Germand and English, with a lower proportion in Romanic languages
  • online access is preferred for journals

Libraries with additional holdings

With the clear commitment of the university to research on, in, with and for Africa, Basel has become a national and international centre for multidisciplinary African Studies. The region has enjoyed a long tradition of engagement with Africa. With Basel being home to the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, the ”Museum der Kulturen” (MKB), Mission 21 (Protestant Mission Basel), the Basler Afrika Bibliographien and the university, the city has a rather unique concentration of institutions relating to the continent.
Libraries, archives and museums archive valuable cultural assets and thus form the basis of the academic discourse with Africa, in particular regarding the relationship between Basel/Switzerland and Africa.
In the digital age, the demands of research require the appropriate tools. Currently, the collections of historical value (objects, posters, photographs, etc.) of the above institutions are only accessible either online through in-house catalogues, or, in the case of the museum, not at all.
In order to reflect the growing significance of the research location Basel in relation to Africa, it has been agreed to present all the collections together in one joint meta-catalogue under the patronage of the University Library Basel in order to make the collections searchable. As well as the bibliographic and archival collections, the object collection of the MKB and the photographic collection of Professor Till Förster (Institute of Social Anthropology) and the Swiss TPH will be included. In addition to simple catalogue entries, it will also be possible to search digital collections (including audio-visual media) using PARC. This platform will bring together the significant Africana collections of the five largest institutions in Basel with a relationship to, or research interest in Africa, in one meta-catalogue.
For the research location Basel, it is not enough to only have access to its own publications and research data. For this reason, the project should be open to new participation. Our high-quality platform solution places low demands on the data model and is particularly attractive for the African information environment because of the low financial expenditure required and the decentralised data administration. This way PARC allows for institutions in low-resource environments to present their collections to a global audience. This step is in accordance with Goal 17 in the 2030 UN Agenda: “Global Partnership for SustainableDevelopment” (1). For small or resource-poor institutions, the only way forward is a cooperative one.
(1) The second project phase, which focuses on international partnerships, serves sub-items 17.6 to 17.9 on technology transfer and capacity building of the 17th Goal of the UN Agenda 2030 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development). See also: United Nations: Transforming the World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, New York, 2015, p. 31.