Explore the library

  • Databases
    SOAS Library provides access to many databases which support research into the Middle East and Central Asia. The list below includes resources which are restricted access to SOAS students and staff only and also publicly available web-sites. Most databases can be accessed by all Library users on-campus.

    SOAS students and staff can cross-search a range of databases relevant to the study of the Middle East and Central Asia via EBSCO Discovery .

    Below is a list of our major databases available for the Middle East and Central Asia. For a full list of our databases please see A-Z list databases

    Search a wide range of resources (not just the Middle East and Central Asia) via eJounral and eBook finder.
  • Reference sources
    • Brill Online Reference
      For all the reference works published by Brill
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second and Third Editions (EI2 and EI3)
      The staple reference works for Middle Eastern and Islamic studies
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Index Islamicus
      Bibliographic database of books and journal articles about the Islamic World, published since 1906
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Oxford Islamic Studies
      Access to a wide range of Oxford University Press publications on Islam and the Islamic World
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Historical Atlas of Islam
      Edited by Hugh Kennedy
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Brockelmann Online
      Brockelmann Online consists of both original volumes Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur
      (GAL) by Carl Brockelmann (1868-1956), as well as the three supplement volumes, including the indexes. Brockelmann’s Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur offers bio-bibliographic information about works written in Arabic and their authors, with an emphasis on the classical period.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
      See also A guide to Brockelmann's Gestchichte der arabischen Literatur (pdf; 19kb)
    • Encyclopaedia of the Qurʾān
      TheEncyclopaedia of the QurʾānThe Encyclopaedia of the Qur’ān Online is an encyclopaedic dictionary of qur’ānic terms, concepts, personalities, place names, cultural history and exegesis extended with essays on the most important themes and subjects within qur’ānic studies. It  includes direct access to 62 Early Printed Western Qur’āns Online. This collection includes Korans and Koran translations in eight languages
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Qurʾān Concordance
      The Qurʾān Concordance is a unique finding aid which allows users to identify and localize text fragments, or even snippets, of the Qurʾān.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Dictionary of Qur’anic usage
      First comprehensive, fully-researched and contextualised Arabic-English dictionary of Qur'anic usage, compiled in accordance with modern lexicographical methods.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • The Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online (EALL Online)
      All relevant fields in Arabic linguistics, both general and language specific are covered and the Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics Online includes topics from interdisciplinary fields, such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, philosophy, and computer science.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Encyclopaedia Iranica
      Encyclopaedia Iranica is appearing in parts, and has so far got only as far as A-Harem, but is already an important source for topics covering the entire Iranian world, both ancient and modern. The online version includes articles not yet published in the printed version.
  • Bibliographic databases

    Bibliographic databases are databases which gives brief details of journal articles, books, book reviews, etc. They are essential to browse in an exhaustive way what has been published on a subject and to build up a bibliography.

    General bibliographic databases:

    • International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (IBSS)
      With over 3 million bibliographic references to journal articles and to books, reviews and selected chapters dating back to 1951, IBSS is unique in its broad coverage of international material.
      [ On-campus use ] / [ Off-campus use ]
    • Web of Science
      This is a very powerful database which indexes a wide range of journals in various disciplines.  You can access to the Arts & Humanities Citation Index and Social Sciences Citation Index. This is a particularly useful database if you are looking for specific authors and their citation records
      [ On-campus use ] / [ Off-campus use ]
    • OCLC Firstsearch
      Access to WorldCat Database (the OCLC Union Catalogue) - a cooperative database of bibliographic records contributed by more than 71,000 libraries around the world.
      [ On-campus use ] / [ Off-campus use ]
    Specific bibliographic databases:
    • Index Islamicus
      A bibliography of books, articles and reviews on Islam and the Islamic world published in Western languages since 1906 to the present.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Noormags
      Noormags is one of the most reliable and referred database of articles indexed from more than 1450 Persian journals, mainly focused on Islamic sciences and humanities. Registration is free and individual. The database is accessible in Persian, Arabic and English. It can be searched by keyword, titles (of journals or articles), subjects and authors.The articles are viewable for free online but downloading them requires payment.
    • Middle Eastern & Central Asian Studies
      MECAS is a bibliographic database, which provides access to a wide range of material relating to the study of the countries and peoples of the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Le Maghreb dans les sciences sociales
      A website developed by the King Abdul-Aziz al-Saud Foundation for Islamic and Social Sciences Studies in Casablanca. This website is devoted to Maghreb studies and offers free access to five databases in Arabic and in Western languages (mainly French), and links to journals, universities and research centres, libraries, North African publishers. It also gives a good overview of the researches and debates about various social and cultural topics in the Arab world. One of the bibliographic databases, called Ibn Rushd, is dedicated to Islamic Western world (Maghreb and al-Andalus) and has both Arabic and French interfaces. It allows search on names, titles and the type of publication.
    • Abstracta Iranica
      Abstracta Iranica is a selective and critical bibliographical journal of Iranian studies, covering Iran, Afghanistan, and all the areas relevant to Iranian culture at any point of time. Essays are selected among publications of the previous year and analysed by scholars
    • BABO : Bibliography of Arabic Books Online
      A bibliography and catalogue of books printed in Arabic script from c. 1730 until 1960.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Bibliography of Asian Studies
      An index of Western language monographs, journal articles, book chapters, conference proceedings, anthologies and Festschriften on all parts of Asia published since 1971.
      [ On-campus ] /[ Off-campus ]
    • The Online Bibliography of Ottoman-Turkish literature
      Is a free and extensive database of references to theses, books, articles, papers and projects relating to research into Ottoman-Turkish culture. Available both in English and Turkish.
    • Oxford Bibliographies Online - Islamic Studies
      Online subject bibliographies for Islamic Studies. Combining a research level encyclopedia and the traditional bibliography. The bibliography includes selective lists of citations to useful print and online resources as well as narrative guides.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]

  • Journal Articles database

    The journal articles databases will provide the full-text of journal articles.

    • JSTOR
      JSTOR is the most popular database offering full-text archive collections from over 1000 academic journals.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Academic Search Premier (via EBSCOhost)
      This is a multi-disciplinary database providing full text for more than 4,600 journals including peer-reviewed academic journals and magazine style journals.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • IngentaConnect
      Access to over 30,000 journals, with bibliographic information and abstracts. Also provides full-text access, where SOAS subscribes to the journal.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
    • Project MUSE
      Access to 200+ from the humanities and social sciences collections of journals.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]
      Choose 'UK Federation (United Kingdom)' and ‘SOAS, University of London' to login off-campus.
    • Ensani : Portal jami' ulum insani پرتال جامع علوم انسانی
      This portal [in Persian only]  offers free search and access to journal articles in social sciences and humanities fields ( literature, economics, history, education, geography, law, psychology, linguistics, social sciences, Islamic science, political science, library science, philosophy and logic, management, women studies, art studies ). Most articles are available as full-text and can be freely downloaded.
    • AWRS Arab World Research Source
      Arab World Research Source is a dedicated resource of scholarly journals, quality magazines, trade publications, industry profiles, country reports, market research reports and conference papers published in the Arab World and/or about the Arab World. The database offers full text for over 300 full text publications, including nearly 200 scholarly journals, as well as 85 full text titles in Arabic Language. AWRS reaches across all major subject disciplines, including business, economics, science, technology, humanities and sociology, and includes key publications from renowned universities in the Arab World.
      [ On-campus ] / [ Off-campus ]

  • E-books

    See our collections of e-books

    See also the e-books collections freely available online:

    • The Internet Archive’s Digital books collections
      The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain eBooks. This includes a special modern collection of over 500,000 eBooks for users with print disabilities, and a very interesting curated, modern collection for the world at large. You can browse, read and borrow fascinating contemporary materials at OpenLibrary.org .
    • HathiTrust Digital Archive
      HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world, including many relevant to Middle Eastern and Central Asian studies.

    For collections of ebooks from specific countries/regions or languages see below:

    Arab World

    • Al-Mawsu‘ah al-Shamilah - الموسوعة الشاملة
      This site currently makes more than 5,000 books on various fields of Islamic and Arabic studies available online (and downloadable in a compressed format through a program called المكتبة الشاملة 2.11 ), all for free. The entire site is in Arabic. The search form and the whole site are very clear and user-friendly. You can also browse the list of books in each discipline (aspects of Muslim theology; the Qur'an and Qur'anic exegesis (tafsir); Hadith; biography of the Prophet; Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in general and by school and works by specific authors. The site also includes books on Arabic language, literature and history).
    • Al-Warāq = الوراق
      Al- Warāq provides over a million pages of Arabic and Islamic works (the whole site is in Arabic). This is a very good site that provides extensive information on Arabic literature and humanities (philosophy, theology...) and also full-text version of a number of texts for free, you just need to register first.
    • Shia Online Library = المكتبة الشيعية
      This online digital library offers ca. 1,900 downloadable e-books  related to Shia theology.
    • Al-Maktabah al-waqfiyah = المكتبة الوقفية
      Offers about ca. 7,300 downloadable e-books on topics mainly focused on Islamic studies and Islamic Law.
    • DAR : Digital Assets Repository
      The Digital Assets Repository (DAR) is an institutional repository maintaining the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Egypt)’s digital collections. It provides public access to digitized collections through a web-based search and browsing facility. DAR currently encompasses the largest Arabic book collection. For books that are out-of-copyright, their contents are fully available on the Internet. For books that are in-copyright, Internet users can browse only 5% of the book, with a minimum of 10 pages.
    • IFPO Open Archives & Electronic Collections
      The Institut Français du Proche Orient ( French Institute for the Near East ) has put its archives (articles, chapters, e-books, reports, audiovisual archives, etc.) and some of its published books on open-access.
    • Shamaa (Arab Educational Information Network)
      Shamaa  is an open access electronic database of literature on education in the Arab countries. It indexes peer-refereed articles, Master thesis and PhD dissertations, books, reports and conference proceedings starting from 2007 in Arabic, English and French languages. The studies include abstracts as well as the full text, whenever available.
    • Arabic Collections Online (ACO)
      Is a major project to create a publicly available, digital library of public-domain Arabic language content drawn from rich Arabic collections of prominent libraries such as the American University of Beirut, Columbia University, Cornell University, New York University and Princeton University. Their aim is to digitize and mount up online more 15,000 volumes (covering all subjects: literature, business, science, and more) from their Arabic language collections.
    • Qatar Digital Library (QDL)
      The Qatar Digital Library is making a vast archive featuring the cultural and  historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region freely available online for the first time. It includes archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.
    • Rashf
      Has over 38,000 Arabic ebooks available for free download. The books cover a variety of subjects and can be searched by book title or author’s name.Users need to register first via their Facebook or Twitter account to access the full-text version.
    • Digital archive of Arabic cultural and literary journals = أرشيف المجلات الأدبية والثقافية العربية
      This archive offers on open access no less than 179 journals , among which some of the most significant periodicals of the 19th-20th centuries from Egypt (al-Hilal, al-Manar, al-Muqtataf, etc.), Palestine (al-Karmal), Syria (Journal of the Arabic Academy of Sciences), or Tunisia (al-Fikr).
      The collection can be browsed by country of publication, journal title, and author’s name. Visitors can also search for a specific journal title, author’s name of article title, as well as for any keyword in the indexes of all or one journal. Every journal can be browsed by both year and month of publication. The website interface is only in Arabic, and so are the documents archived.

    Iran & Afghanistan

    Turkish Studies

    • Reading with Atatürk
      In Turkish. Tour the IU Library of Rare Works where users can download and choose books to read from among 175 works read by Atatürk.
    • Ilahiyat Makaleler Veri Tabani
      Database of articles on Islamic Studies published in the journals of various
      theology faculties in Turkey.
    • Ankos : Turkish open access archive project
      Ankos has started the study of creating a national inter-universities common access point. This project has the support of MITOS, the national open access system. As of march 24, 2012, 31132 files were loaded.
  • Theses Databases