The Library has a comprehensive collection relating to the study of Africa, Asia and the Middle East; with multiple copies of many books to support the courses taught in the School. If you know the specific details of a particular book or author and you would like to see if it is available in the Library, then please check the online Library catalogue .

Once you have identified relevant books you should see a 'classmark' for the particular book you are interested in. Each book has a unique classmark and you will need this to locate the book in the Library.

Check to see where the book is located. If it is in the Library then you can usually go to the open shelves and collect the book yourself. Check the Location list to find out where exactly in the Library the book will be.

If you would like to see which books the Library holds on a particular subject you may search the Library catalogue either by keywords or by subject terms. Please refer to the Using the catalogue helpsheet for more information on how to do this.

You may want to find out the details of all books which have been written on a certain subject or by a certain author. In addition to the Library catalogue you may wish to use a bibliography which lists details of books by subject.

There are many bibliographies which exist in print and some are also available electronically so that they can be searched for keywords or authors. To find a bibliography for your particular subject interest, please refer to Subject Guides or contact the relevant Librarian.

What to do if you cannot find the books you want

  • Check the online card catalogue for books published before 1989 as they have not all been entered on to the online catalogue yet.
  • If a book is not on the shelf in the Library, check the online catalogue to see if the item is "Available". If it is not available then you may reserve it.
  • If the item is "Available" but is not on the correct shelf it may be that another Library user is reading it, so please check again later.
  • If an item is missing for a while, please email one of our subject Librarians will see if they can locate it and will email you with any action. If you cannot find the material that you want in SOAS Library then you may need to check the catalogues of other libraries.

More information

Finding books in the Library and beyond (pdf; 841kb)