Saturday, 13 October 2012


The first issue (1968 reprint)
I've no doubt that my interior life would have been much poorer without Tanganyika Notes and Records (renamed Tanzania Notes and Records after Independence), and it's no accident that I've given this blog a related name. I can't count the number of articles that I've enjoyed and used in my own research and writing, an eclectic mix of natural history, ethnobiology (avant la lettre), oral tradition, cultural history, ethnography, and much more besides. I wish I'd had the gumption to write something for TNR before it fizzled out in 1985 (rumour has it that some luckless contributors still have papers in press), and was thrilled to take part more recently in discussions about reviving it (alas these also seem to have fizzled out).

In the 1990s I bought a partial set of the journal from the street booksellers of Dar, including some handsomely-bound volumes as well as loose single issues. For some years I carried around a crumpled piece of paper listing the numbers that I was still after, until there was a crackdown on my favourite traders (whose sources, it must be said, weren't entirely above suspicion) and the supply of odd issues of TNR dried up. The patchy collection I ended up with has given me endless pleasure, as well as providing bouts of frustration every time a much-desired issue disappears or turns out to be one of the ones that I don't possess. I'm still looking for some rogue numbers. 

One of the later covers (with humidity-induced mottling)
Fortunately my days of having to drive to the nearest TNR-endowed library (at least I live near to one) have now ended: the entire run of TNR from 1936 has been uploaded to COS eLib, the digital library of COSTECH, the Tanzanian Commission for Science and Technology. If you have sufficient bandwidth -- some of the pdfs are very large -- individual articles can be downloaded with a simple click. When the TNR files were first posted almost two years ago, the site itself seemed to have insufficient capacity, and downloading was well-nigh impossible. I'm happy to report that this technical problem has since been resolved, and when I tried last week I was able to download all the articles that I wanted to (Oh bliss!).

As I wish you happy hunting (here's the TNR search page), let me end this post by reproducing Kim Howell's Introduction to the TNR archive:

Introduction and Acknowledgements
This PDF version of Tanzania Notes and Records was made possible through a grant from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF) as part of the project Making Data Available on the Species and Sites of the Eastern Arc and Coastal Forest Hotspot in Tanzania to the Department of Zoology & Wildlife Conservation of the University of Dar es Salaam. CEPF is a joint initiative of l'Agence Française de Développement, Conservation International, the Global Environment Facility, the Government of Japan, the MacArthur Foundation and the World Bank. A fundamental goal is to ensure civil society is engaged in biodiversity conservation.
Dr. Alan Rodgers, a former staff member of the University of Dar es Salaam, and a member of the Tanzania Society and who served on the editorial board of Tanzania Notes & Records, had generously volunteered his complete set of the journal for scanning as PDF files. After his untimely death, the Joint Library of Nature Kenya and National Museums of Kenya allowed its series of the journal to be used. The East Africana Section of the University of Dar es Salaam main campus library provided copies missing from the Nature Kenya collection. Ms Sydna Kaitany and Ms. Ashah Owano tirelessly carried out the huge task of scanning and indexing all of the issues of the Journal. John Watkin and Kristina Razon of CEPF greatly facilitated funding arrangements that permitted the project and Mr. Paul Matiku, Executive Director of Nature Kenya and Dr. Cuthbert Nahonyo, Head of the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation, University of Dar es Salaam, where the CEPF project was based, all ensured the success of the project.
It is hoped that making this information available will enable a new generation of researchers and interested individuals to be aware of the efforts of previous generations of contributors of knowledge about Tanzania and that it will facilitate the availability of the information to current workers and researchers.
When I discussed the inception of this project with Alan Rodgers, who showed his usual enthusiasm and commitment, he had suggested that the PDF version be dedicated to all of those who contributed to the success of the Tanzania Society and its journal over the years, the authors, support staff and selfless editors.
However, in addition, it is the desire of all involved in this project that it honour the memory of Alan Rodgers, who worked tirelessly in his efforts not only to document Tanzania's flora and fauna, but also to work towards its conservation and towards the training of Tanzanians to improve the capability of the country to manage its unique cultural and natural heritage.

Kim M. Howell
Department of Zoology and Wildlife Conservation
University of Dar es Salaam
18th November 2009


  1. Thanks for the valuable links; very useful!

  2. i'm always on the lookout for info on sms konigsberg and to find this site is a real treasure. i am close to the hoover institute at stanford with their african library but getting over there is a challenge . thank you to all the hardworking people that put this on line.

  3. Unfortunately the link for TNR is not working (and I have tried earlier).

  4. The TNR link goes on and off; however it's working as I write this. If possible, I suggest that you download all the articles that you think you might need in the future. Unfortunately this isn't easy for a large number, because each article has to be downloaded separately.

    1. I would like to correspond directly with Martin Walsh, as I came upon his name associated with Tanganyika Notes and Records while looking for information about a failed terracing project in the Uluguru Mountains during the Colonial period. This project was described to several of us U. S. Peace Corps Volunteers in the mid-60s as a cautionary tale by Bwana James Braine, a British expatriate with many years working in East Africa. I recall that the story had been published as 'Smoke in the Hills'. Do you know about this incident? In early May I will be returning to Morogoro as an English language consultant at the Sokoine University of Agriculture. I would like to have access to information about that project as well as the Great Groundnut Scheme, an even bigger catastrophe, as we were told. I would appreciate hearing from you. Elizabeth Platt

  5. The TNR link has been down for a long time now. I have a list of 4 articles that I want from TNR. The people responsible for getting TNR onto the disfunctional COSTEC site might also want to make TNR avaialble on one or more reliable sites...e.g., African Journals Online. OARE and Biodiversity Heritage Library might also be interested in hosting TNR. Tom

  6. Still down! Yes please get it onto a new site.

  7. My great-grandfather was William Beardall who was in Africa with Bishop Steere in 1874 & 1875. We are still trying to put together a time line for when WB was in Africa. In the TNR issues 13-20 is the following quote "Mr. Beardall, formerly of the Universities Rovuma Mission, left England on the 28th of November, to take charge of the works in connection with the road ow making from Dar es
    Salaam to the interior of Eastern Africa......" I am trying to find out what year this is. Do you have this journal. Can you tell me the year? Thanks. Mary Beardall Hoffmann