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University of Cambridge Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Library

Institution Details

University of Cambridge Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Library

Location in the UK

East Midlands

Description of Collections


The regional scope of the Library includes China, Japan, Central Asia and the Indian sub-continent (but not South-East Asia). It also covers the Middle East region, the countries of Islamic North Africa and the cultures of the Ancient Near East (including Egyptology, Assyriology and Biblical studies). The subject content includes the languages, literature, history, philosophy, art and archaeology of the above regions. In some cases coverage is from earliest times but other subjects relate to the modern world. Recently there has been a growth in the coverage of the modern culture of these countries and regions especially relating to literature, political development, sociology and economic conditions.

The Library contains around 60,000 monograph volumes and around 250 current journals. It is primarily an English (and European) language collection but there are significant holdings in all the oriental languages taught in the Faculty which are:- Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Hindi, Persian, Arabic, Hebrew (classical and modern), Akkadian and the languages of Ancient Egypt. The collections are arranged on a regional basis and publications in oriental languages are not classified separately from those in English. The Library houses a number of named collections and there are slides, maps and photographic collections. There is an archive of papers of (mainly Cambridge) oriental scholars.

History & development

The Library was founded in 1935 but based on earlier collections which were the bequests of Cambridge orientalists. It grew further with the addition of more bequests and with the purchase of publications in the subject areas of the Cambridge Oriental Tripos. The early collections centred around Sanskrit, Arabic, Hebrew and other ancient Near eastern languages, the collections relating to East Asian were added somewhat later. The Library has continued to attract collections from scholars and travelers throughout its history, it benefited also from government funding from the Scarbrough Report, more recently, the Parker Report and from a number of Trust Funds and donations within the Faculty. The Library had a number of previous locations in Cambridge but moved to its present building in Sidgwick Avenue in 1968. Since this date the Library has grown considerably, new publications have been obtained by purchase and bequest and many automated processes have been developed including an on-line catalogue.

User focus

The Library is primarily a working collection for students but, because of its varied origins, also contains a great deal of valuable material relevant to research students and visiting scholars.

Collections held in University of Cambridge Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Library

Subjects and Material Types


Central Asia and the Caucasus, East Asia, Near & Middle East and North Africa, South Asia.


Algeria, Bahrain, China, Egypt, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mongolia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen.

Languages of material

Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Mongolian, Pali, Persian, Prakrit languages, Russian, Sanskrit, Syriac, Turkish, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928), Uighur.


Agriculture, Anthropology, Archaeology, Arts, Communication and media, Development, Economics, Education, Geography, History, Industries, International relations, Language, Literature, Philosophy, Politics and government, Religion, Sociology, Travel, Women.

Languages as linguistic focus

Arabic, Aramaic, Avestan, Chinese, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Khotanese, Mongolian, Ossetian; Ossetic, Pahlavi, Pali, Persian, Prakrit languages, Sanskrit, Sogdian, Syriac, Turkish, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928), Uighur.

Material types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Books, Maps (includes all types of cartographic material), Serials, Visual materials (includes photographs, prints, drawings, videos & films).

Management Information

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

Annual intake

1400 vols per year

Content date range

1800 to present

Interlibrary loan code


Interlibrary loan procedure

Interlibrary loans are processed via the University Library

Co-operative agreements

  • Informal cooperation with other Cambridge libraries

Collection policy

Available of the Library's web page

Retention policy

Catalogue Information


The Library's holdings are included in the Union Catalogue of Departmental and College Libraries within the Cambridge University Library's on-line catalogue.

Catalogue transliteration

Wade-Giles (Chinese) modified Hepburn (Japanese) LCSH (Sanskrit, Hindi) LCSH with local modifications (Arabic, Hebrew)

Catalogue scripts

Not available yet

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