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Islamic Studies Collection

Collection Details

Islamic Studies Collection held at University of Durham Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

Monographs: around 4000 volumes. The collection attempts to cover the whole range of Islamic studies and Islamology. The majority of items are acquired via purchase, but donations from Islamic institutions and foundations in the Middle East and elsewhere continue to be an important source of acquisitions. Periodicals: Durham University Library holds 23 periodicals on Islamic Studies, of which 10 are current. Theses: 25 Durham doctoral and M.A. theses on various aspects of Islam.

History and development

The Islamic Studies collection has developed over the same period as the rest of the Oriental collections, but it is worth noting that donations have played a very important part in building up the collection, so it contains a great deal of Islamic material from the Middle East, as opposed to western volumes on Islam.


Durham's Islamic Studies collections aim to cover Islam and the entire range of Islamic knowledge. The library holds many copies, translations and interpretations of the Quran and the Hadith, and many other general works on Islam. More specialised holdings include over 400 works of Muslim theology, and almost 300 items on Shia Islam. The library also has substantial holdings in Muslim philosophy, Islamic law and Islamic art and architecture. Finally, over 350 works on contemporary Islam are held.

General arrangement and access regulations

Durham University Library's Islamic Studies collections are available on open access in the Main Library, apart from a small amount of material in store. They are held in the Library's Oriental sequences on Level 1 of the building. Within the monograph sequence the collection is classified using the Library of Congress classification scheme. There are separate Reference and Periodical sequences, also shelved on Level 1. The collection is not subdivided by language, materials in all languages being shelved together.

Subjects of the Collection

Regions of Asia

Near & Middle East and North Africa.

Languages of material

Arabic, English.


Arts, Economics, Education, History, Language, Law, Literature, Philosophy, Politics and government, Religion, Sociology, Women.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Books, Serials, Theses.

Total size of collection

4000 volumes, 23 periodical runs, 25 theses

Size of collection - vernacular

c.1000 volumes in Arabic

Size of collection - western

c. 3000 volumes, 25 theses

Collection Management Information

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

Annual intake

200 volumes

Content date range

600 to present

Interlibrary loan procedure

Durham lends its Asian Studies material on the same basis as other material.

Collection Catalogue Information


85% of Durham University Library's Islamic Studies material appears in the OPAC. The remainder is recorded in the library's manual catalogues - the Oriental Draft catalogue for material received up to 1975 and the Author catalogue, closed in 1990. These are available on Level 2 of the Main Library.

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