November 30, 2020

New CRL Report Looks at Availability of African Newspapers Online + Comprehensive Directory of Newspapers From Africa

From the Center For Research Libraries Announcement:

The Center for Research Libraries (CRL) conducted an assessment of African newspapers online to determine the extent to which those news sources are available in electronic format to researchers at North American institutions.

CRL’s survey found that only a fraction of African newspaper titles are currently available online. Of an estimated 1,300 titles in circulation throughout Africa, CRL found only 484 titles with some form of active online presence. While most top-circulating titles tend to post current news to their sites, the quality and range of current content ranges considerably. Few sites implement complex content management systems or advanced search capabilities. Electronic facsimiles of the print versions of titles are not yet widely available for African titles. Coverage of African titles is relatively sparse within aggregated databases, especially compared to titles from other world regions.

Key Findings

• Only a fraction of African newspaper titles are currently available online.Of an estimated 1,300 titles in circulation throughout Africa, CRL found only 484 titles with some form of active online presence.

• The number of active online titles varies from region to region, and from country to country. Daily  newspapers tend to be more consistently represented online than weekly newspapers.

• Titles considered “significant” papers of record are reasonably well represented online, though the technical sophistication and range of content presented on such sites varies widely.

• Of the 484 identified sites, 74% had implemented search functionality.However, few had implemented  advanced search capabilities beyond a simple site search. The presence and ease of searching previously  published articles is, as a result, highly variable.

• Electronic facsimiles of the print versions of titles are not widely available for African titles, with only  30% of active sites offering some form of “E-Print” or PDF version of the paper.

• Coverage of African titles is relatively sparse within aggregated databases, especially compared to titles  from other world regions.

Direct to Full Text Report (15 pages; PDF)

Kudos to James Simon and Diane Ryan from the Center for Research Libraries for their useful research.

Note: The report includes a very useful list of online media directories, print directories, and news aggregators. You’ll find it on page 3.

Online Newspapers From Africa (Directory)

Along with the report a spreadsheet is available with basic directory information about the newspapers included in the report plus links to them (when available).

Thanks to CRL for making this comprehensive resource available to everyone.

Note: Some of the links included on the spreadsheet are inactive. Simply sort the spreadsheet by “Website (current)”  to see active links. 

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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