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Middle East and North African Collections

Collection Details

Middle East and North African Collections held at University of Durham Library [Institution record]

Description of Collection

Content description

Monographs: the collection contains over 11,000 volumes on the countries of the Middle East, which excludes the large country collections of the Sudan, Iran and Turkey. The collection attempts to cover the whole range of the humanities and social sciences. Periodicals: the library holds over 300 periodicals on the Middle East and North Africa, of which 125 are current. Newspapers: three daily newspapers from the region are taken in hard copy and the library holds microfilm back runs of various lengths for these and four others Theses: 70 Durham Doctoral and M.A. theses on the area are held.

History and development

Same as general holdings


All areas of the humanities and social sciences are extensively covered by the collection. There are particular strengths in history, politics and international relations, economics, sociology and women's studies. An area of particular strength is the Arab-Israeli conflict, with over 600 works. The countries with the greatest holdings are Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, all of which have collections strong in all the subjects above.

General arrangement and access regulations

Durham University Library's Middle East and North Africa 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 and classified using the Library of Congress classification scheme, with the minor exception of items on Cyprus, which are in the main Dewey sequence. 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.


Algeria, Bahrain, Cyprus, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

Languages of material

Arabic, English, French, German.


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, Newspapers (includes microfilm editions), Serials, Theses.

Total size of collection

11,000 volumes, 300 periodical runs, 7 newspapers, 70 theses

Size of collection - vernacular

c.2000 volumes in Arabic, 50 volumes in Hebrew, 30 periodicals in Arabic, 5 newspapers in Arabic, 1 newspaper in Hebrew

Size of collection - western

9000 volumes, 270 periodicals, 1 newspaper,70 theses

Collection Management Information

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

Annual intake

500 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


Over 95% of the items in the Middle East and North African collections appear in the OPAC, leaving only a small minority of material recorded only 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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