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SOAS Library

Institution Details

SOAS Library

Location in the UK

London & South East

Description of Collections

Scope

The Library aims to acquire the important contributions to Asian and African scholarship published anywhere in the world in the humanities and social sciences, as well as representative collections of literature written in Asian and African languages. The history of science, technology, and medicine, and guides to flora and fauna are collected at a more restricted level to support the main work of the School.

History & development

The School was founded in 1916 but the Library's collections predate this, Asian material from the constituent parts of the University of London and the London Institution were deposited with SOAS. These original collections have been augmented steadily and major deposits, donations, and bequests have expanded the historical depth of the collections. Notable amongs these were the collections of William Marsden, Dr. J.F. Fleet, Dr. E. Haas, Robert Morrison, D.L.R. Lorimer, Sir Frederick Maze. Following the report of the Hayter Commission (1961) the Library extended its collections to encompass the social sciences. The strengths of the other collections in the University have always been recognised and duplication has been avoided. The Library has also been the fortunate recipient of the deposit of important collections of private papers and archives, which include those of the Council for World Mission, the Methodist Missionary Society, and the Chinese Maritime Customs.

User focus

The School has an active programme of teaching and research in the Humanities and Social Sciences relating to the whole of Asia, the Middle East and Africa. This is supported by the Library's collecting policies. Material on the Asian and Middle Eastern diaspora societies is also collected to support the broader research activities of the School.

Collections held in SOAS Library

Subjects and Material Types

Regions

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

Countries

Afghanistan, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, China, Cyprus, Djibouti, East Timor, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Georgia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, Macao, Malaysia, Maldives, Malta, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, North Korea, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, The Philippines, Tibet, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Yemen.

Languages of material

Abkhazian, Achinese, Afar, Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Assamese, Avestan, Awadhi, Azerbaijani, Balinese, Baluchi, Bashkir, Batak (Indonesia), Bengali, Berber (Other), Bhojpuri, Bihari, Braj, Buginese, Burmese, Caucasian (Other), Chagatai, Chechen, Chinese, Chuvash, Coptic, Cushitic (Other), Dayak, Dinka, Dogri, Dravidian (Other), Dutch, Egyptian (Ancient), Elamite, English, French, Geez, Georgian, German, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hittite, Hmong, Iban, Indic (Other), Indonesian, Iranian (Other), Italian, Japanese, Javanese, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Kabyle, Kannada, Kara-Kalpak, Kashmiri, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirghiz, Konkani, Korean, Kurdish, Ladino, Lahnda, Lao, Madurese, Makasar, Malay, Maltese, Manchu, Marathi, Marwari, Minangkabau, Mongolian, Munda languages, Nepali, Newari, Nilo-Saharan (Other), Nubian languages, Oriya, Ossetian; Ossetic, Pahlavi, Pali, Panjabi, Persian, Persian, Old (ca.600-400 B.C.), Philippine (Other), Phoenician, Portuguese, Pushto, Rajasthani, Russian, Samaritan Aramaic, Sanskrit, Semitic (Other), Sidamo, Sinhalese, Sino-Tibetan (Other), Sogdian, Somali, Spanish, Sumerian, Sundanese, Syriac, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamashek, Tamil, Tatar, Telugu, Tetum, Thai, Tibetan, Tigre, Tigrinya, Turkish, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928), Turkmen, Ugaritic, Uighur, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Walamo, Yakut, Yiddish.

Subjects

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.

Languages as linguistic focus

Abkhazian, Achinese, Afar, Akkadian, Amharic, Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Avestan, Azerbaijani, Balinese, Baluchi, Bashkir, Batak (Indonesia), Berber (Other), Buginese, Burmese, Caucasian (Other), Chagatai, Chechen, Chinese, Chuvash, Coptic, Cushitic (Other), Dayak, Dinka, Egyptian (Ancient), Elamite, English, French, Geez, Georgian, Hebrew, Hindi, Hittite, Hmong, Iban, Indonesian, Iranian (Other), Japanese, Javanese, Judeo-Arabic, Judeo-Persian, Kabyle, Kara-Kalpak, Kazakh, Khmer, Kirghiz, Korean, Kurdish, Ladino, Lao, Madurese, Makasar, Malay, Maltese, Manchu, Minangkabau, Mongolian, Nilo-Saharan (Other), Nubian languages, Ossetian; Ossetic, Pahlavi, Panjabi, Persian, Persian, Old (ca.600-400 B.C.), Philippine (Other), Phoenician, Portuguese, Pushto, Samaritan Aramaic, Sanskrit, Semitic (Other), Sidamo, Sino-Tibetan (Other), Sogdian, Somali, Sumerian, Sundanese, Syriac, Tagalog, Tajik, Tamashek, Tatar, Tetum, Thai, Tibetan, Tigre, Tigrinya, Turkish, Turkish, Ottoman (1500-1928), Turkmen, Ugaritic, Uighur, Urdu, Uzbek, Vietnamese, Walamo, Yakut, Yiddish.

Material types

Archival materials (includes non-published & mixed material), Audio materials (includes cassettes & CDs), Books, Computer files (includes CD-ROMs & other electronic material), Manuscripts, Maps (includes all types of cartographic material), Music (only includes printed & manuscript music), Newspapers (includes microfilm editions), Official publications, Public records, Serials, Theses, Visual materials (includes photographs, prints, drawings, videos & films).

Management Information

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

Content date range

1600 to present

Interlibrary loan code

LO/ U14

Interlibrary loan procedure

Co-operative agreements

  • MELCOM scheme: responsibility for publications in Arabic from North Africa and publications in Persian from Iran.
  • SCOLMA scheme: includes responsibility for African languages, Algeria, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan and Tunisia, as well as other countries south of the Sahara.
  • University of London agreements:
  • a) Siberian languages, including Eskimo and Aleut
  • b) Asian language texts on Middle Eastern Archaeology
  • c) Byzantium in Asian and African languages and works on the Asian and African aspects of Byzantine history
  • d) Descriptive works on the minor Finno-Ugrian languages
  • e) Law. Asian and African law in Western, Asian and African languages, including current legislation and law reports, with special responsibility for South Asian law.
  • British Library agreement

Collection policy

The Library aims to acquire the important contributions to Asian and African scholarship published anywhere in the world in the humanities and social sciences, as well as representative collections of literature written in Asian and African languages. It aims to be responsive to changing interests and new developments; at the same time it bears in mind its role as a leading national and international resource for Asian and African studies. For the text of the policy apply to the Director of Library and Information Services.

Retention policy

At present all material is retained with the following exceptions: outdated editions of teaching texts, multiple copies of teaching material no longer used, material for which there is no evident demand, material which has been replaced by microform, unless it is of historic value. Academic advice is normally sought before a decision is taken. Apply to the Director of Library and Information Services for further information.

Catalogue Information

Catalogue

The online library catalogue offers access to all material acquired since 1989 and a substantial part of the material collected prior to that date. Work to add records for the earlier collections from the card catalogue is ongoing and by the end of 2002 all material acquired since 1979 will be included as well as significant parts of the rest of the collection. For those who cannot access the card catalogue on site the Library's catalogues have been published (details below).

Catalogue transliteration

Since 1989 all records have been created using the current Library of Congress transliteration schemes, with the exception of Japanese which uses Modified Hepburn. As records are added to the online catalogue the transliterated records are being updated to these schemes.

Catalogue scripts

The current cataloguing and some of the earlier records for the following languages contain author and title fields in the relevant script: Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean, Ladino, Persian, Yiddish.

Collection printed catalogues

Library catalogue of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
School of Oriental and African Studies
Boston MA: G.K.Hall & Co., 1963-1978.
3 supplements were published by the same publisher in 1968, 1973 and 1978. IDC published a fifth and final supplement in microfiche for 1978-1989 in 1990.

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