Online Reference Sources

The University Library provides access to various online reference sources: online research hubs, bibliographies, and reference eBooks (almanacs, biographies, encyclopedias, handbooks, etc.). Below is a limited selection of digital reference sources that may be good starting points for your African American Studies research project.

Access restricted to University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign affiliates.


Online Research Hubs

Oxford African American Studies Center

Collection of scholarship focused on African American and African history and culture with search and browse capabilities. Includes articles by scholars in the field,  images, primary sources with specially written commentaries,  maps, charts and tables, and biographies. Core content includes:

  • African American National Biography
  • Africana
  • Dictionary of African Biography
  • Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895
  • Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present
  • Black Women in America, Second Edition
  • The Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought
  • The Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography

The Oxford African American Studies Center also draws on additional resources from other reference titles included in Oxford University Press’s reference resources.

Black Studies Center (ProQuest)

Black Studies Center combines research and teaching resources in Black studies, including: resources from Schomburg Studies on the Black ExperienceThe International Index of Black Periodicals (IIBP); full text backfiles of influential black newspapers (e.g., Baltimore Afro-American, Chicago Defender); ProQuest dissertations relevant to Black Studies; Black Literature Index; and a browsable collection of Black Abolitionist Papers.



Oxford Bibliographies Online

Peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on specific topics in a growing range of subject areas. Each includes an introduction to the topic. Bibliographies are browsable by subject area and keyword searchable. Subjects that may contain bibliographies relevant to African American Studies research include: Atlantic History, Cinema and Media Studies, Education, Literary and Critical Theory, and Sociology.


Reference eBooks

Note: Each link takes you to the eBook’s catalog record.




Companions and Handbooks


Other Reference eBooks