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Islamic and Middle East studies

Liaison librarian

  • Sean [dot] Swanick [at] mcgill [dot] ca (Email) 514-398-6787
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Encyclopaedias and dictionaries


General sourcebooks and introductions

This is a compiled list of some of the important secondary sources for the study of Islam and the Middle East.

Primary Sources

Avalon Project: Middle East 1916-2001: A Documentary Record Full texts from the Sykes-Picot agreement through Camp David, Mitchell and Tenet. Includes documents beyond 2001.

Internet Islamic History Sourcebook Includes scholarly articles and primary source documents in a variety of subject areas.

Center for Palestine Studies (Columbia University) A plethora of online resources on and about Palestine from Sykes-Picot agreement to the Edward Said Archive.

Confidential Print: Middle East (Adam Matthew Digital) It covers the Egyptian reforms of Muhammad Ali Pasha in the nineteenth century, the Middle East Conference of 1921, the Mandates for Palestine and Mesopotamia and the Suez Crisis in 1956, the partition of Palestine, post-Suez Western foreign policy and the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Democracy in Turkey, 1950-1959: Records of the U.S. State Department Classified Files (Gale) provides access to unique primary source materials on the political, economic and social development of Turkey during a period of democratization in the 1950s.

Evangelism and the Syria-Lebanon Mission: Correspondence of the Board of Foreign Missions, 1869-1910 (Gale) The records of the Board of Foreign Missions provide invaluable information on social conditions in Greater Syria (and Lebanon) and on efforts to spread the gospel during the nineteenth century.

King and the People in Morocco, 1950-1959: U.S. State Department Records on the Internal Affairs of Morocco (Gale) Documents on the Moroccan government’s economic, social, and political reforms.)

U.S. Middle East Peace Policy and America's Role in the Middle East Peace Process, 1989-1993 (Gale) This collection contains Bush Presidential Records from a variety of White House offices. These files consist of letters of correspondence, memoranda, coversheets, notes, distribution lists and much more.

Middle East Series Online 1: Arab-Israeli Relations 1917-1970 (Gale) offers the widest range of original source material from the Foreign Office, Colonial Office, War Office and Cabinet Papers from the 1917 Balfour Declaration through to the Black September war of 1970-1.

Middle East Series Online 2: Iraq 1914-1974 (Gale) Offers a broad range of original source material from the Foreign Office, Colonial Office, War Office and Cabinet Papers covering the period from the Anglo-Indian landing in Basra in 1914 through the British Mandate in Iraq of 1920-32 to the rise of Saddam Hussein in 1974.

Church Missionary Society archive Section IX, Middle East missions. (Reproduces papers of the Church Missionary Society held at the CMS Headquarters in London and the University of Birmingham Library. This microform 14 reel set is available for loan at the Islamic Studies Library. (Call no. BV2500 A2 C8456 2009 Micro film)

Databases: A select list

  • JSTOR A subject searchable index of journals on-line with JSTOR. Retrieves full-text back files of scholarly journals, some of which date back to the 1800's. Does not include articles more recent than five years ago.
  • Academic Search Complete (Ebsco) Scholarly and general interest sources in business, medicine, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology.
  • Historical Abstracts (EBSCO) Covers a broad range of topics including references to South Asian studies.
  • Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies (Ebsco)  Covers political and scholarly information on the countries and people of the area.
  • ProQuest Research Library  A multidisciplinary database covering disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.
  • Web of Science Scholarly articles for medicine, humanities, social sciences, and science and technology.It also includes citation indexes


  • MideastWire.com offers a daily email newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic and opinion pieces appearing in the media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora.
  • PressDisplay Allows one to browse online national and international newspapers.
  • Factiva International and Canadian publications. Search by date, newspaper, author, keyword, subject.
  • Dawn (Pakistan)
  • al Ahram (Egypt) From 1876-present
  • al Hayat (Saudi Arabia)
  • al Jazeera (Qatar)
  • Todays Zaman (Turkey)
  • Hurriyet News (Turkey)
  • McGill Newspapers collection A complete list of all electronically accessible Newspapers held by McGill University.

Cambridge Histories Online

Selected E-Book Resources

Selected internet sites

  • Arabic Literature: This site offers a good guide to sites containing the original (usually scanned) text or English translation of major works of adab or belles-lettres, both classical and modern. Maintained by Ali Houissa of Cornell University Library.
  • Asnad: Digital Persian Archive Asnad: provides access to the growing number of available Persian historical deeds and documents, both published and unpublished. It shall allow work on archival material with the help of incorporated facsimiles without recourse to the original - often remote - place of publication or storage.
  • Al-tafsir: Al-tafsir is a comprehensive online collection of Quranic commentary.
  • Baobab for women's human rights: BAOBAB For Women's Human Rights is a not for profit, non-governmental women's human rights organization, which focuses on women's legal rights issues under the three (3) systems of law - customary, statutory and religious laws in Nigeria.
  • Directory of online Islamic resources: Links to movies, video clips, articles and websites about the study of Islam in various disciplines, eg. Islam in China or Women in Islam.
  • Muslim Women’s page: Jannah website provides useful resources and sources on Islam and women.
  • Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights: Karamah’s vision and mission are informed by the view that a just society values the informed participation of its members through the pursuit of knowledge, access to opportunities, and equity among all “children of Adam”, regardless of gender or other differences.
  • Fordham University Internet History Project with collection of original and secondary source material: This page is a subset of texts derived from the three major online sourcebooks along with added texts and web site indicators covering a wide range of topics from pre-Islam to contemporary issues.
  • Virtually Islamic: Contains a broad range of regularly updated materials associated with Gary R. Bunt's research on Islam and Muslims in cyberspace.
  • Islam and Islamic Studies Resources: Sites compiled by Dr A. Godlas of the University of Georgia; links for the study of Islam and related disciplines.
  • Iran Heritage Foundation: The IHF's mission to promote and preserve the history, languages and cultures of Iran and the Persianate world.
  • Islamic Science Resources (Commision on History of Science & Technology in Islamic Societies)
  • Iran Books News Agency
  • Library, Museum, and Document Center Of Iran Parliament
  • al-Islam: Islamic resources from the web with thematic essays on the Quran and Hadith.
  • Gooh: A web resource for Islamic materials and websites including fatwas, hadiths, news and websites about Islam and Islamic Studies.
  • al-Marashi Library: al-Marashi Library is one of the most important libraries is Iran. The site provides access to a plethora of materials dealing specifically with Shi'ism, particularly in Iran.
  • Middle Eastern Resources: An invaluable resource of some of the most important websites pertaining to the fields of Islamic Studies.
  • MEDOC Catalog of Microforms Projects in Ottoman, Persian and Arabic: Based at the University of Chicago, MEDOC lists all of the microforms projects for sources in the Arabic script.
  • Noormags: A site in Persian provides access to a plethora of scholarly resources.
  • Qur'an: An impressive website dealing with translating and translations, orthography, and grammar of the Qur'an.
  • Sunnah: Contains the most important Hadith reports and reporters such Dawud, Tirmidhi, Nawawi, Bukhari, etc.
  • Sunnah and Hadith: Compendium of Islamic Texts: Sunnah and Hadith from the University of Southern California.
  • Tanzil Tanzil is a website dedicated to translating the Qur'an into many different languages, including several important English versions
  • Ottoman Text Archive Project, the University of Washington: OTAP is a web resource designed to preserve Paleographical examples of original Ottoman manuscripts, the Ottoman Historical Dictionary, text analysis tools, and other research activities.
  • Sisters in Islam: Empowering voices for change: Promoting an understanding of Islam that recognises the principles of justice, equality, freedom, and dignity within a democratic nation state.
  • Shiapedia: An Online Islamic Encyclopedia for everyone, with everything to do with the Shiite faith.
  • Women Living Under Muslim Laws: Women Living Under Muslim Laws is an international solidarity network that provides information, support and a collective space for women whose lives are shaped, conditioned or governed by laws and customs said to derive from Islam.

Arab Spring: Select resources






Helpful resources

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