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Starting your research

  • How do I find books and journals?

    Search the SOAS Library catalogue. This will find print and electronic books and print journals.

    Widen your search to include other research libraries in the UK and Ireland by using COPAC.

  • How do I find journal articles?

    If you know the article you are looking for, search the Library catalogue and/or A-Z  Electronic journals for the title of the journal.

    If you want to find what articles have been written on a certain subject then start with Primo Central searching tool (do not forget to sign in!) and then move on to more subject-specific databases (use the pull down menu).

    Regional/subject specific bibliographies/journal indexes etc. See our section under 'Databases'

  • How do I find multimedia resources?

    In the Library you can search by classmark for DVDs and CDs.

  • How do I find newspapers?

    World-wide newspapers 1996- (including UK) on Access World News

    UK Newspapers on Lexis Library

    19th century British Library newspapers (48 selected national, regional & local titles)

    ICON
    The ICON Database of International Newspapers is a freely accessible electronic resource intended to provide reliable information on newspapers published outside of the United States, and available in North American libraries and in selected libraries outside North America. It includes bibliographic descriptions of titles as well as specific information on institutions’ holdings of the same.

    Arab and world newspaper
    This website draws a fairly exhaustive list of links to the main newspapers of the Arab world, sorted by country. There is also a list of some Arabic radio stations with links to them under the “radio” section.

    Mafhoum - Database for the Arab world News and Media
    provides a list of newspapers by country of publication and links to their website.

    MideastWire.com
    This is a database that allows advanced search in their archives of news from Arabic newspapers translated into English (reaching back to 2005)

    Arabic Media Internet Network (AMIN)
    AMIN is an independent Palestinian NGO that was founded in Jerusalem in 1996 and that promotes the development of an independent public media sector in Palestine. 

    Islamic Republic news agency

    Institute for War and Peace Reporting
    A British NGO for training journalists with excellent news sites on Afghanistan, Caucasus and Central Asia

    International Crisis Group
    issues reports and briefs on various conflicts around the world

    Eurasia.net.org
    EurasiaNet.org provides information and analysis about political, economic, environmental and social developments in the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus, as well as in Russia, Turkey, and Southwest Asia.  

    Central Eurasia page

    Transitions online

    Freedom House –Nations in transition

    Nezavisimaya gazeta (News in Russian)

    See www.thepaperboy.com for newspapers on the net

  • Where do I find maps?

    Research guide: Web guide to maps of the Middle East

    Very exhaustive and well annotated guide developed by the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) http://www.gloria-center.org/about-meria/

    Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection
    The PCL Map Collection includes more than 250,000 maps, but less than 20% of the collection is currently online. Still an interesting  resource for maps of the Middle East and Central Asia.
    http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/

    Atlas of the Orient http://looklex.com/e.o/atlas/mena.htm

    The Gulf/2000 project provides regional, ethnographic and cultural, political and economic maps of the eight countries of the Persian Gulf region--Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates http://gulf2000.columbia.edu/maps.shtml

    Global Connections -the Middle East an interactive PBS Map of the Middle East http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/globalconnections/mideast/maps/index.html

    For Maps of individual countries, see Resources by countries

  • SOAS Research online

    SOAS Research Online - Open access e-print repository of academic publications (articles, book chapters, theses etc.) by SOAS staff and students. 

  • What if SOAS library does not hold what I need?

    Try other Libraries

    See Middle East sources. Compiled and edited by Ian Richard Netton. London: Curzon, 1998

    Look up Mapping Asia
    A very good overview and description of collections held by libraries in NME / North Africa and Central Asia studies areas. It also provides very useful links to other websites.
    http://www.asiamap.ac.uk/index.php

    For Middle East and Central Asia Collections, the following libraries are recommended:

    • British Library – a reference collection - one of the Worlds treasure-houses for Islamic manuscripts, and large and important collections of printed books – Archives of India Office Collection important for Gulf and Iran and Afghanistan
    • Bodleian Library, Oxford. The total size of their Islamic collections amounts to:
      Manuscripts: Arabic 2350; Persian 2530; Turkish 480; Printed books: Arabic 16,000; Persian 6500; Turkish 17,500 (includes material in Western languages)
    • Cambridge University Library (Arabic, Persian and Turkish printed books & Near Eastern Oriental Manuscripts)
    • Exeter University Library.The total stock in Arabic, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies is around 64,000 volumes, of which 30,000 are held in the Old Library in the Arabic Collection and 30,000 in the Arab World Documentation Unit (located in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies)
    • Manchester University Library. The Near Eastern Collection contains an estimated 57,000 volumes.
    • Middle East Centre (St. Antony's College, Oxford). The library was established in 1958 building a collection on Modern Middle Eastern Studies with a few hundred donated books. Since then it has developed to a substantial collection of 40,000 (approx.) materials including books, periodicals, microfilms, and pamphlets/imprints
    • Middle Eastern Studies at the Orchard Learning Resource Centre (University of Birmingham). The Collection comprises material on religions of the Middle Eastern region, Language and Literature, Economics and Law; Politics and government, incl. International Relations; Geographical and area studies of all countries of the Middle East, including Iran, and Arab North Africa. Estimated no. of items in the collection: 20,000.
      See also their valuable “Mingana Collection of Middle Eastern Manuscripts” which includes the largest collection of Christian Arabic manuscripts in Europe after the Vatican and the Bibliotheque Nationale.
    • Durham University Library (Arabic Language and Literature Collections). See in particular their Sudan Archives collection
    • Leeds University Library (Semitic collection - Arabic)
    • Edinburgh University Library (General Middle Eastern Collection)
    • Near and Middle East collection at the Royal Asiatic Society. The RAS library holds material on the history, culture and languages of Asia. The focus is historical rather than contemporary. The collection includes c.10,000 books and c.630 manuscripts (100 Arabic, 475 Persian, 55 Turkish). Non-members are welcome to use the library by prior appointment. The library does not yet have an online catalogue.
    • Al-Furqan Islamic Heritage Foundation. Although primarily concerned with manuscripts and manuscript catalogues the “World survey of Islamic manuscripts” edited by Geoffrey Roper offers an excellent survey of the Libraries throughout the world of importance for Islamic studies

    Archival collections

    • Fihrist
      The ever expanding UK Union catalogue of manuscripts in Arabic scripts
    • Cambridge University Genizah Collections
      Access to some 140,000 digitised fragments from the famous Cairo Genizah, including a wealth of Arabic and  Judeo-Arabic documents
    • National Archives
      Search for documents and archives relating to Middle East and Central Asia political relations

    Try  our e-book collections

    Use the Inter-Library loans service to request books from other Libraries

    See http://www.soas.ac.uk/library/using/services/interlib/ for further details

  • Research Networks
    • MELCom UK

      Middle East Library Committee. Includes details of the Area specialisation scheme by which the main specialist collections in the U.K. agree to collect in greater depth in certain areas http://www.melcom.org.uk/

    • MELCom International

      Melcom International, the European Association of Middle East Librarians, is a non-governmental organization, devoted to promoting co-operation among individuals and institutions in Europe, the Middle East and throughout the world concerned with all aspects of (Middle East) librarianship, book collecting, the book trade and publishing http://www.sant.ox.ac.uk/ext/melcomintl/

    • British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (BRISMES)

      The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (popularly known as BRISMES) was established in 1973 to encourage and promote the study of the Middle East in the United Kingdom. It brings together teachers, researchers, students, diplomats, journalists and others who deal professionally with the Middle East http://www.brismes.ac.uk/

    • EURAMES

      European Association of Middle Eastern Studies http://www.hf.uib.no/smi/eurames/default.html

    • MESA

      Middle East Studies Association of North America http://www.mesa.arizona.edu/

    • Middle East Medievalists

      Select "Mem Resources" for a useful gateway to selected online resources and discussion lists for Middle Eastern history http://www.middleeastmedievalists.org/

    • British Institute of Persian Studies

      http://www.bips.ac.uk/

    • The Turkish Studies Association

      http://www.h-net.org/~thetsa/

    • Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University

      http://cmes.hmdc.harvard.edu/

    • Eurasia foundation

      Eurasia Foundation is a privately managed non-profit organization supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other public and private donors. Since 1992, Eurasia Foundation has invested over $380 million through more than 8,400 grants and operating programs in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Uzbekistan http://www.eurasia.org/

    • The Harvard Forum for Central Asian Studies

      Information on Central Asian studies at Harvard University, including a link to "Central Asia Harvard list”, and important list for information on Central Asian Studies http://centasia.fas.harvard.edu/

  • I'd like further training. Who do I ask?

    Check the Library Events pages for upcoming training sessions.

    Contact the Subject Librarian for Middle East, Central Asia & Islamica

    The Library has produced a number of guides to get you started on your research.

    • Basic tutorials: Finding Materials

    Provides guides containing basic information for new students - how to decipher a reading list and how to find books and journals within SOAS library and beyond.

    The library has produced  guides on Middle Eastern Studies research created specifically for SOAS students. You’ll need to enter your SOAS username and password to gain access to the PDF documents.