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Middle East and Islamic Studies Guide

Middle East and Islamic Studies Guide


The Research Guide to the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies collection is intended to guide researchers and students through the resources available at Bobst Library. The Guide covers the different disciplines that fall under the umbrella of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. Use the tabs above for information about specific types of resources.

A General Overview of the Collection

Bobst Library’s collection of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies consists of approximately 300,000 volumes in various European languages as well as Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Ottoman Turkish. The collections main strengths are the history of the Arab Middle East, Arabic and Persian literatures, Islamic Law and Turkish and Ottoman Studies. In addition to the print volumes, the library is subscribed to a large number of electronic databases and resources that can be used by the NYU community globally. With its online Afghanistan Digital Library and its participation in the Arabic Collection Online (ACO), Bobst Library is also a leading institution in the digital humanities in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. The online Afghanistan Digital Library project digitizes books printed in Afghanistan between 1930 and 1971 and makes this material available to readers world-wide. The ACO is a collaborative project of several research libraries (Columbia, Princeton, Cornell, the American University in Beirut, and NYU) that intends to create an open-access digital database of 7,000 Arabic books that were published over the course of the nineteenth and the first half of the twentieth centuries.

Bobst library also holds a sizeable collection of Middle Eastern movies and sound recordings. In addition, the library houses (at the Tamiment Library) the Shaheen Collection, the largest collection in the country on the representation of Arabs and Muslims in American popular culture.






All the bibliographic entries in Bobcat are Romanized. More recent entries have in addition to the Romanized fields parallel fields in the vernacular scripts. 

While the Romanization of Arabic is fairly standardized both in terms of vowels and consonants, the Romanization of Ottoman TurkishPersian and other Middle Eastern and Islamic languages is much less so (especially as far as the vocalization is concerned).

When searching in Arabic, note that the taa marbuta is transliterated as h in non-compound nouns (sirah, nubuwwah). The –yya suffix is transliterated as –iyah.  Also note that the masculine possessive suffix is not vocalized and appears as h.

It is advisable not to skip the stop words in Arabic like ( min, ilá, ‘lá) from title search. You can skip them from Keyword search.  As for waw - it is advisable to be separated with a space from the word if the word includes al-ta'rif.

Here are links to PDFs of the current ALA-LC approved Romanization Tables for selected Middle Eastern languages:


Calendar Converter

This website provides various calendar converters.

For Hijri/Gregorian date coversion this calendar converter may be useful as well.

Library Guides to Other Collections in the New York Area