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Information Services

Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

This guide provides a general introduction to library and information resources for all those studying, teaching and researching on topics relating to the literatures, languages and cultures of the Middle East.

Library Services Update

The web link below takes you to the up-to-date information about access to the Library collections, facilities and services, and how to get further help.


The University Library holds extensive collections of primary and secondary sources pertaining to the study of the Middle East and the Islam, ranging from monographs, journals, newspapers and manuscripts to reference and audio-visual materials. These materials can be in physical formats (e.g. printed, microfilm, DVD) and/or electronic formats (e.g. e-books, e-journals, film streaming).

Collection locations:

  • Most lending collections are located on the 2rd, 3rd and 4th floors of the Main Library, George Square.
  • The three named collections, Serjeant, Watt and Smith Collections, are on the 4th floor of the Main Library.
  • Arabic and Persian manuscripts are held in the Centre for Resaerch Collections (CRC) on the 6th floor of the Main Library.
  • Course reading materials are in the High Use Books (HUB) collection on the ground floor of the Main Library.
  • The Islamic Library at IMES on the first floor of 19 George Square holds several thousand items.

Search the Collections:

  • Most items are catalogued in the Library search system DiscoverEd and searchable in the language scripts of the publications.
  • Oriental manuscripts (mainly Arabic and Persian) in CRC are catalogued in the Archives Catalogue. This is an ongoing project - not all the items are in the online catalogue yet.
  • The Islamic Library items are NOT in DiscoverEd. Instead, they can be searched in a separate catalogue provided by the IMES department here: Catalogue of the Islamic Library at IMES.

For detailed information on Library collections for Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, see the Collections,Oriental Manuscripts, and Databases sections of this guide.

How to find items in your reading list

Use DiscoverEd to search for books, journals, journal articles, DVDs and other physical and electronic items. Use your University Login to sign into your account and manage loans and requests.


Use Resource Lists to find your course reading lists. Lookup reading lists by list title, course title, course code, course instructors. Use the 'Subject' dropdown selection list to browse all the Resource Lists in your subject area such as 'English Literature' (displaying only the first 100 matching lists).

     Resource lists

     Information for Students

Please note that not all the courses at the University use Resource Lists.

Accessing material beyond the Library collections

If the library does not have what you want then there are several ways of getting access to the material:

The National Library of Scotland

Conveniently located within ten minutes' walk of the University's Main Library, the National Library of Scotland (NLS) holds huge collections of primary and secondary source matierials on all subject areas.

The Inter-Library Loan (ILL) Service

This allows you to request material either held at distant university library sites including the  University Collections Facility, or material not held by the university. 

Book Recommendations

If you are unable to find the book that you need for your studies then use the Student Request a Book (RaB) service to recommend a purchase.

Visit another library

It may be possible (and sometimes quicker) to visit another library in the UK to get access to the item you require. Some reciprocal schemes and agreements allow our staff and students access to some other libraries.

Related subject guides

Academic Support Librarian

Highlights of Library collections related to the Middle East

Jami' al-Tawarikh (World History) by Rashid al-Din (d.1318)

Possibly the greatest treasure in the Library. It was written in the Naskh script by the scholar and courtier Rashid al-Din (d.1318) and contains 70 illustrated folios. Special Collections, Or.Ms.20. View the digital version here.

Al-Biruni's Chronology of Ancient Nations, Tabriz, Iran, 706 AH (AD 1307)

A chronicle of a vast number of calendars and chronological systems from a variety of different cultural and religious groups from throughout the late antique and medieval periods in the Hellenic world, Central Asia and the Near East. Special Collections,  Or.Ms.161.

Sharh al-qism al-thalith min al-Miftah (AD 1423)

View of pages from Sharh al-qism al-thalith min al-Miftah showing text with notes in margins and between lines. Completed in c.1385-1386, Sharh al-Miftah is a commentary on the third book of Al-Sakkaki's popular rhetorical work, the Miftah al-ulum, and was written by the Persian polymath al-Taftazani.