New 'Commons' Resources From the Library

Collage of images including Nelson Mandela, a person in scrubs holding a baby and a crowd of people seated around a table.

The library has subscribed to two new 'Commons' resources. Africa and Policy Commons. These are a newer type of resource, that benefits both researchers and decolonisation efforts across the University by surfacing lost or difficult to find Primary Source resources, much of which is located in the Global South. This also means we have had a significant increase in the amount of interesting Policy Documents, Photographs, Zines, Films and Documentaries.

Policy Commons

Policy Commons indexes and link to more than 3.2 million reports, working papers, policy briefs, data sources, and media drawn from a curated directory of more than 24,000 IGOs, NGOs, think tanks, and research centers. Policy Commons includes 500,000 pages of full-text materials from Council of Europe, African Books Collective, Environmental Law Institute, and other publishers.

Policy Commons expect to add at least 100,000 more pages of saved content every year, from organizations that were important, influential, and cited before they disappeared.

Access at

Modules Included:

Global Think Tanks

Global Think Tanks is a living database of research produced by the world’s leading policy experts, think tanks, research centers, IGOs, and NGOs. Access to more than 30 million pages of curated, high quality policy reports, briefs, analyses, working papers, and datasets from 10,000 policy organizations.

Access at

North American City Reports

North American City Reports preserves the full text of surveys, budgets, statistical records, case studies, planning documents, training manuals, policy guidelines, reports, and news from the five hundred largest cities in North America. It also includes select materials from hundreds of related agencies and non-governmental organizations. With more than 200,000 documents, it provides a new and typically unmined source for observing policy in action.

Access at

World Cities

World Cities preserves the full text of surveys, budgets, statistical records, case studies, planning documents, training manuals, policy guidelines, reports, and news from 1000 of the world’s major cities. The living database provides unique content from the Global South and cities with research importance, such as those dealing with climate change, political instability, or rapid growth.

Access at

Africa Commons

The Aim of Africa Commons is to enable African organisations to control, digitise, and disseminate its archival sources - those within Africa and items residing internationally.

Access at

Modules included:

Africa Commons: History and Culture

History and Culture is a comprehensive database for searching and discovering African materials from 1500 to today. It indexes African organizations, collections, and documents from archives around the world. Find books, magazines, newspapers, historical journals, government documents, oral history, photographs, art, music, videos, and more.

Access at

Black South African Magazines

Black South African Magazines is the first and only digital collection of magazines created for Black audiences in Africa from 1937 to 1973. Find over 50,000 pages of extremely rare, yet historically significant magazines, written for Black African audiences. Coverage includes Drum, Zonk!, The Townships Housewife, Hi-Note, and others.

Access at

Southern African Films and Documentaries

With content spanning the 1900s to present, Southern African Films and Documentaries offers—for the first time—streaming access to more than a century of African history, politics, and culture. Propaganda films from South Africa’s Information Service and newsreels from African Mirror, showing life under apartheid and major historical events as they. It includes documentaries and interviews such as unedited interviews of Winnie Mandela and Oliver Tambo, socio-political documentary films such as Sharpeville Massacre; Side by Side: Women Against Aids in Zimbabwe; We are Marching to Pretoria, Voices of Robben Island, and Black Beulahs. It also Feature films, such as African Jim from 1949, South Africa’s first feature film, aimed largely at a black audience and showing a picture of vibrant township culture before apartheid.

Access at

About Africa Commons

All tools and most content are freely available to African institutions however outside of Africa the library subscription helps support Africa Commons and the task of building open collections of African cultural heritage of incomparable value to Lancaster researchers.

Find out more at

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