Mapping Asia homepage Mapping Asia splash logo
Project background Search collections Search newspapers Language skills External links Contributors login
Back to results pageQuick collection searchBrowse collection recordsAdvanced collection search

Arabic, Persian and Turkish printed books

Collection Details

Arabic, Persian and Turkish printed books held at Cambridge University Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

This large collection (in excess of 16000 titles) includes primary sources and studies in Arabic, Persian and Turkish on all aspects of Islam and Muslim theology, history, literature and language. It includes material on all traditional branches of Islamic learning.

History and development

Works in the principal Islamic languages came first came into the library around the year 1620. Since then, the collection has been expanded systematically, through purchase and donation.


Because of its long history in collecting Oriental material, the library has large numbers of early imprints, with many Bulaq editions, Ottoman Turkish texts and early European publications of Islamic texts. The collection is particularly strong in the Islamic sciences (tafsir, hadith, fiqh etc..), early history and classical literature ('adab' in the widest sense).

General arrangement and access regulations

Printed books are arranged by language, are classified by subject within the languages.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.

Languages of material

Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928).


Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Communication and media, Development, Economics, Education, Geography, History, Language, Law, Literature, Medicine, Philosophy, Religion.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types


Total size of collection

more than 14000 volumes in Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish, 2000 volumes in modern Turkish

Collection Management Information

The collection is being actively developed, and the average intake has stayed the same.

Annual intake

800-1000 volumes

Content date range

0 to 0 AD

Interlibrary loan procedure

Collection Catalogue Information


Almost all the material in this collection is accessible through the main library catalogue. Some material published prior to 1979 has not been entered fully into the on-line catalogue, and readers must refer to the old guardbook catalogue next to the main reading room. This applies especially to Ottoman Turkish books.

Catalogue transliteration schemes

Libary of Congress

Catalogue scripts

Arabic and Persian script is present in catalogue records for recent publications added to the catalogue since 2000.

Back to results pageQuick collection searchBrowse collection recordsAdvanced collection search