The Archives Africa online catalogue forms part of a new project: ‘Finding Africa: exploring the potential of a continent's archives', supported and developed by a team from King's College London and the National Archives of Madagascar.

Archives Africa is modelled on the successful AIM25 initiative, which since 1999 has supported the cross-searching of new and existing archive catalogues by students, researchers and the general public drawn from more than 150 cultural organisations across London including those of universities, learned societies and local government.

It has supported new research, learning and understanding of diverse records such as diaries, administrative papers, film and photography spanning more than 500 years of history. It is the ambition of Archives Africa to do the same, linking the archives of every country in Africa beginning with Madagascar.

The project explores new, lightweight, methods of cataloguing quickly in the field; the development of a prototype thesaurus to better describe these collections from an African perspective; and the encouragement of new scholarly connections between archivists and academics in Africa and those in the UK, and between collections held in Africa and those held elsewhere.