Because we have attempted to preserve each author’s personal approach, the style and structure of the material varies between chapters. For example, some include notes and bibliographies, others don’t.

On the assumption that Somali spellings might present difficulties for non-Somali readers all the contributors spontaneously chose the most frequently-used spellings of Somali places and names, many of which differ from the spellings according to the 1972 Somali orthography. (In 1972 the Somali language became a unified written language; before that it was oral although there were some written versions in English and some in Arabic.) For example, Baidoa is used instead of Baydhaba, Asha instead of Casha. We have respected the authors’ decision and tried to maintain common spellings throughout.