Starting your research
Explore the library
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 want to find what articles have been written on a certain subject then start with EBSCO Discovery searching tool and then move on to more subject-specific databases.
Regional/subject specific bibliographies/journal indexes etc. See our section under ' A-Z list Databases '
How do I find multimedia resources?
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)
Middle East Research Journals Project (MERJ)
The MERJ project aimed to provide preservation microfilming, article-level indexing, and bibliographic access to over 2,000 selected Middle Eastern journal titles in various languages (including four non-Roman script languages: Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, and Ottoman Turkish) which are housed in the following seven overseas research centers and their nine libraries.
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.
List of Arabic newspapers for news and information on sports, entertainments, history, music, jobs, education, food, festivals, tourism, lifestyles, movies, travel, matrimonial, and business.
This website draws a fairly exhaustive list of links to the main newspapers of the Arab world, sorted by country.
Mafhoum - Database for the Arab world News and Media
provides a list of newspapers by country of publication and links to their website.
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.
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
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 Asia page
Open society Foundations is a philanthropic organisation aiming to promote social progress and human rights across the world. Its reports
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)
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.
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
Global Connections -the Middle East an interactive PBS Map of the Middle East
Mapping Mediterranean Lands (MEDMAPS)
MEDMAPS showcases sixteen important early maps and related information from the collections of American centers for international research in the Mediterranean region.
Maps of the Ottoman Empire
Collection of scanned and geo-referenced a series of topographical maps of Eastern Turkey and the lands of the broader Ottoman Empire.
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
Consult the book 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.
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
The ever expanding UK Union catalogue of manuscripts in Arabic
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
Search for documents and archives relating to Middle East and Central Asia political relations
Try our e-book collections
- Cambridge Books Online (SOAS staff & students only when off-site)
- E-brary (SOAS staff & students only)
- Dawsonera (SOAS staff & students only)
Look up the free e-books collections online
Internet Archive’s Digital Books Collections
The Internet Archive and Open Library offers over 6,000,000 fully accessible public domain e-Books.
UC Press E-Books Collection, 1982-2004
Full-text, electronic versions of selected University of California Press books in a range of subjects and areas, including recent publications relating to Middle Eastern studies
Resource for full-text Arabic books on topics focusing mainly on Arabic language and classical literature
al-Mawsū‘ah al-Shāmilah = الموسوعة الشاملة
Offers about 5,000 full–text Arabic books on topics focusing mainly on Islamic studies
Noor Digital Library = کتابخانه دیجیتال نور
Portal of more than 8,000 free full-text Persian e-books
Ganjūr = گنجور
offers full-text ebooks of the works of the main Persian classical authors
Use the Inter-Library loans service to request books from other Libraries
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
European Association of Middle Eastern Studies
Middle East Studies Association of North America
Middle East Medievalists
Select "Mem Resources" for a useful gateway to selected online resources and discussion lists for Middle Eastern history
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
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
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
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
The Arab British Centre
The Arab British Centre is a London-based organisation which works to improve the British public’s understanding of the Arab world. It organises cultural and artistic events relating to the Arab world and houses permanent and temporary collections of contemporary art, have a specialised library open to the public and hold talks on a variety of topics.
I'd like further training. Who do I ask?
Check the Library Events pages for upcoming training sessions.
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.
- SOAS Library Subject guides
Intute Virtual training suite
Interactive tutorials from Intute: Virtual Training Suite to help improve general internet research skills on different areas and topics.
MERIA Research Guides
Brief essays written by leading experts on the sites and sources they find most valuable for researching a specific topic
- Central Eurasian Studies World Wide Resources for the Study of Central Eurasia
How do I cite and reference sources?
Citing and referencing is the way in which you provide details of quotations, arguments and ideas of others that you included in your own work. To avoid plagiarism, always keep notes as you go along of what you have been reading. Using a reference organising software (i.e. Zotero and Endnote Web) would be recommended.
There are a number of different citing and referencing systems. Check with your Department and Academic which referencing system they prefer being used. The key is to be consistent.
Referencing guides are available from the Help yourself Study Resources site
A comprehensive guide to the Harvard system has been created by Anglia Ruskin University .
Audiovisual citation: New British Universities Film & Video Council’s (BUFVC) guidelines of citing audiovisual materials can be found online .