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Arabic Language and Literature Collections

Collection Details

Arabic Language and Literature Collections held at University of Durham Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

Monographs: 9000 items, around 7000 of them in Arabic. The collection attempts to cover the Arabic literature of the entire Islamic period to the present day. Periodicals: holdings are fairly limited, with 35 periodicals on Arabic language and literature held, of which 13 are current. Theses: 30 Durham Doctoral theses on various subjects are available for consultation.

History and development

Same as general holdings


The language collection is strong in most areas, with 470 items on the Arabic Language, and 320 volumes on Arabic dialects alone. The literature collections are strongest in Modern Arabic Literature, (dating from 1870), with over 2100 items held. The library holds over 4500 items of Classical Arabic Literature, with a good spread of material across all Hijra centuries. (The classical Arabic literature, unlike the modern literature, is only recorded on manual catalogues).

General arrangement and access regulations

Durham University Library's Arabic Language and Literature collections are available on open access in the Main Library, though there is some 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 and the literature collections are subdivided by Hijra century. 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.


Language, Literature.

Collection Material and Size of Collection

Material Types

Books, Serials, Theses.

Total size of collection

9,000 volumes, 35 periodicals, 30 theses

Size of collection - vernacular

c.7000 volumes in Arabic, 16 periodicals in Arabic

Size of collection - western

c.2000 volumes, 19 periodicals, 30 theses

Collection Management Information

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

Annual intake

200 volumes

Content date range

670 to present

Interlibrary loan procedure

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

Collection Catalogue Information


Only 55% of Durham University Library's Arabic Language and Literature collections appear in the OPAC. The remaining items are 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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