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Central Library for African Sudies (CLAS)
Hosting Legal Entity
University Institute of Lisbon
Avenida das Forças Armadas, Lisbon, Lisbon (Portugal)
University of Porto
Avenida das Forças Armadas, Lisbon, Lisbon (Portugal)
Type Of RI
Coordinating Country
Current Status:
Operational since 2006
Scientific Description
The Central Library of African Studies (Biblioteca Central de Estudos Africanos) is an academic research library of reading materials on Africa, specializing in the fields of social sciences and humanities. It offers wide and updated coverage of all African sub-regions. CLAS is a joint programme of four Portuguese research centers on African Studies: the Centro de Estudos Africanos do ISCTE, the Centro de Estudos Africanos da Universidade do Porto, the Centro de Estudos sobre África e do Desenvolvimento do ISEG/UTL, and the Centro de Estudos Africanos da Faculdade de Letras da Universidade de Lisboa. The main library is located within the Library of ISCTE - University Institute of Lisbon, and contains over 15 thousand volumes, the greatest part of which acquired through RI financing. It also houses important private donations. A pole was created in 2010 in the Universidade do Porto, attached to the African Studies section of the Library of the Faculty of Humanities.

RI Keywords
Socials sciences, Humanities, Development studies, Research library, Digital resources, Anthropology, Political economy, International relations, African studies, Portugal, Sociology, History
RI Category
Research Archives
Research Data Service Facilities
Research Libraries
Scientific Domain
Social Sciences
Humanities and Arts
ESFRI Domain
Social and Cultural Innovation
ISCTE-IUL Library's digital resources aggregator

ISCTE-IUL Library offers its users a Portal Content Aggregator at the address This new tool allows users to conduct research in numerous information resources from a single access point. Thus tasks search and retrieval of relevant documentation become much simpler and more effective. The searchable resource directory currently has a list of more than 50 databases among which the Library Catalog Library itself, the Institutional Repository, the CLAS catalog, repositories with scientific output of most institutions of higher education in Portugal, besides several banks and databases currently subscribed by ISCTE-IUL such as PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, ABI or ICPSR, among others. The complete list is available at:

FL-UP Library's digital resources aggretator

The Library of the Humanities Faculty of the Oporto University offers its users a Portal Content Aggretator at the address to conduct searches in various information resources (the library's materials, repository, digital databases, and the national libraries' meta-catalogue) from a single access point.

IT equipment

Other than the 10 computers which are available for readers' consultation in CLAS' reading room, CLAS has acquired a IMac computer with specialist software and a high-resolution A3 printer and scanner, used to produce layouts for printed informational materials on the library's activities and other supporting documentation.

Library materials

CLAS' materials consist of over 15000 books, catalogued and indexed according to the UNESCO cataloguing system, managed by ISCTE-IUL's main library (and in Oporto by FL-UP's main library), which are available for in-house consultation and reading, and also for borrowing. Inter-library loan service is available whithin the national academic inter-library loan service.The shelved materials are organised, classified and distributed by disciplinary sub-sections in five African regional sections.

Shelving and reading room

A total of 30 shelves were acquired by the RI programme to house the materials. A special area of ISCTE-IUL's main library was designated to accomodate CLAS.Ten computers with online access are available in the reading room with connection to ISCTE-IUL's main resource aggregator, which offer ample access to CLAS catalogue, to various digital databases and repositories, to international meta-catalogues and also to the Portuguese national libraries' meta-catalogue (Porbase).

Media library

CLAS' media library, consisting of educational videos and recordings, is available for in-house consultation and borrowing. A special room offers video and audio equipment for users interested in viewing and listening to the audiovisual materials.

Connecting Africa
AEGIS - African Studies in Europe
CODESRIA - Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa
ELIAS - European Librarians in African Studies
SCOLMA - Standard Conference on Library Materials on Africa
Date of last update: 31/03/2017
Printable version