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Near Eastern Collection

Collection Details

Near Eastern Collection held at University of Manchester Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

The collection is the principal source of the library's literature on the languages and literatures of the Near (or Middle) East, Islam, and the history of Middle Eastern countries since the rise of Islam. It also contains all printed materials on whatever subject published in Middle Eastern languages (principally Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Turkish). Currently (in 2000), the Near Eastern Collection contains an estimated 57,000 volumes, the main subject areas of which are as follows: Islam and Islamic philosophy (11,000 volumes), Ancient Near Eastern languages and literatures (3,000 volumes), Arabic language, literature, and culture (9,000 volumes), Hebrew language, literature, and culture (4,000 volumes), Persian language, literature, and culture (6,000 volumes), Turkish language, literature, and culture (3,000 volumes), history of the Islamic Middle East (10,000 volumes), and periodicals (8,000 volumes).

History and development

In 1947, Manchester was one of seven universities selected for earmarked grants by the Scarbrough Commission to cover proposed developments in Oriental and African Studies. As a result of the Scarbrough recommendations, in 1948, the Council of the University authorized the appointment of an Assistant Librarian with special responsibility for Oriental books and special funds were also made available to build up the Near Eastern Collection on the existing foundations.


The Collection provides excellent coverage of Islamic religious literature, from both Sunni and Shi`ite traditions, including legal literature of all the schools of law in all periods, as well as wide coverage of tafsir literature. The Collection's holdings in Persian history and literature have been greatly strengthened by major acquisitions in recent years. The coverage of modern Hebrew literature is probably the best in the UK after Oxford University. In the area of the Ancient Near East, the Collection contains publications on the languages and texts of the Ancient Near East (Akkadian, Assyrian, Hittite, etc.).

General arrangement and access regulations

This open-access collection, arranged according to Dewey decimal classification, is divided into two sections: printed books and periodicals.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.


Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Languages of material

Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Berber (Other), Chagatai, Coptic, Egyptian (Ancient), English, French, Geez, Georgian, German, Hebrew, Hittite, Iranian (Other), Italian, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Kabyle, Kirghiz, Kurdish, Ladino, Oromo, Pahlavi, Persian, Persian, Old (ca.600-400 B.C.), Phoenician, Samaritan Aramaic, Semitic (Other), Sogdian, Spanish, Sumerian, Syriac, Tajik, Tigre, Tigrinya, Turkish, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928), Turkmen, Ugaritic, Uighur, Uzbek, Yiddish.


Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Communication and media, Development, Economics, Education, Environmental sciences, Geography, History, Human rights, Industries, International relations, Language, Law, Literature, Medicine, Music, Philosophy, Politics and government, Recreation, Religion, Science and technology, Sociology, Travel, Women.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Books, Serials.

Size of collection - vernacular

28,000 volumes

Size of collection - western

29,000 volumes

Collection Management Information

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

Annual intake

800 volumes

Content date range

0 to 0 AD

Interlibrary loan procedure

Collection Catalogue Information


The majority of the material is included in the OPAC.

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