Universiteit Leiden

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Subject guide

Middle Eastern Studies

Overview of databases, reference works and websites for research in Middle Eastern Studies

Languages and Literature of the Middle East and North Africa. Arabic (MSA), Persian, Turkish, local dialects like Egyptian Arabic, Maroccan, Berber Languages, Dari and Pashtu. Additionally, all aspects of Islam
Because of the internationally renowned Oriental Manuscript collection there has always been a strong focus in the regular collection on topics that are related to those special collections, particularly classical literature and Islamic Studies.

The paper collections are for the most part located in the closed stacks of the University Library. Books from the closed stacks can be borrowed throught the Catalogue.

In addition, the library of the Netherlands Intitute for the Near East (NINO) has an extensive collection on Oriental languages and literature, but mostly focusing on the Ancient Near East. The titles of the NINO library are included in the Leiden Catalogue.

Reference collection in the reading room 

In the reading room floor you will find a reference collection for Middle Eastern Studies. This material is for library use only and can’t be borrowed. In the reference collection one can find bibliographies sorted by subject, primary and secondary literature for a selection of texts and essential reference grammars and dictionaries. Reference works for Middle Eastern Studies are mainly placed in one of the following categories: B (Philosophy and Religion) in reading room 2, D (History) in reading room 4, and P (Language and Culture) in reading room 7: 

BP Islam
DS History of Asia
PJ Oriental languages
PK Indo-European Languages

All relevant databases and electronic sources can be found through the catalogue, but it might prove difficult to know where to start. Here's our small selection of the most important databases on each subject, a starting point for your reseach. Please note these lists are only on digital sources, in many cases one will have to consult printed reference works, which can be found on the first floor in the reading rooms.

Encyclopaedia of Islam II (EI2) and III: the most complete encyclopedia on the Middle East and Islam (EI2 is not suited for modern-day subjects).

Brill E-books: Middle East and Islamic Studies: e-book portal

Encyclopaedia of Arabic language and Linguistics: lemma's on all aspects of the study of the Arabic.

Oxford Dictionaries - Arabic

Shahnamah Editions


Encyclopaedia of Islam: editie II en editie III: the most complete encyclopedia in the field of Middle Eastern and Islam (EI2 is not suitable for present day subjects)

Oxford Bibliographies – Islamic Studies: guidance to key literature on topics in Islamic Studies

Memo 1: Pioneering Orientalists: digitalised manuscripts of Scaliger, Raphelengius en Golius from the Leiden University Library.

Memo 2: The Ottoman Legacy of Levinus Warner: digitalised Ottoman Turkish texts, acquired by scholar Levinus Warner during his stay in Istanbul from 1645 until 1665.

Language and Linguistics

MLA International Bibliography: bibliography for literature, language and linguistics, mostly for Western languages, but with a good selection on non-Western languages as well.

Arts and Humanities Citation index: broad bibliography for the humanities.

Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics: important reference work for language and linguistics.

Linguistics & Language Behavior Abstracts: Bibliography for Linguistics. 

Media Sources

Lexis NexisAcademic NL Nieuws for Dutch newspapers.

Factiva for international newspapers.

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