Working with Text in Middle Eastern Languages

Introduction to Research | Cornell University Library

Student papers and manuscript preparation

Chapter 11 of the Chicago Manual of Style explains how to work with Arabic, Hebrew, Persian and Turkish languages in your publications.

The International Journal of Middle East Studies has an alternative set of rules for manuscript preparation. See also the IJMES Word List for spellings of common words from Middle Eastern languages.

For spelling vernacular words in English (from the Library of Congress):

Arabic Romanization tables (PDF)

Hebrew Romanization tables (PDF)

Persian Romanization tables (PDF)

Keyboards and Typing

MacOSX: Using System Preferences--Language and Text--Input Sources. Select your preferred language.
QWERTY layout means letters you type will approximate the letters on the English keyboard ("L" will be "Lam" etc.)
See Apple OSX Support for information about controlling the direction of the text.

Windows: Using Control Panel--Region and Text--Change Keyboards--Add. Select your preferred language.
See Microsoft Windows Support for information about changing keyboards, layout, etc.

iOS: Select Settings--General--Keyboard. Arabic, Hebrew and Turkish are available .
For Persian, you'll need to find and download a third party keyboard in the Apple store because it's not supported natively. With an app, you can type in Persian, and copy-paste your text into other applications.

Don't have an Arabic keyboard?

Arabic Keyboard ™ لوحة المفاتيح العربية This online tools is provided to write and search in arabic for Arab travelers or western users who do not have arabic keyboard.

Yamli - Arabic Search Engine and Smart Arabic Keyboard allows you to do Google searches in Roman characters which are translated on the fly into Arabic. Useful if you need a quick way to get correct spelling of a word in Arabic!

Searching Online & Requesting Research Material

Browse Online

Need to find a book, journal articles or more (either a particular title or on a topic) at Cornell and beyond? Search the Library Discovery Tool [online catalog]. Search most Cornell resources at once using the main search box (or search or browse specific resources more directly using the links under the box). Catalog Articles & Full Text Databases E-Journal TitlesImages

Keyword & Subject Searching

Start by searching the catalog by keyword. Use whatever terms you think best describe your topic. When you find a record that matches what you are looking for, view the record and see what subject headings were used. Then search again using that term as a subject search.

Sample Keywords: "Middle East" or Islam or Arab* + / women / gender / "Muslim women" / "women in Islam" / history / sex roles.

Using LCSH (Library of Congress Subject Headings) to search for resources will, more often than not, yield the most relevant results. Below are some LCSH you can use to search. Be sure to choose the SUBJECT search field from the drop-down list (in Advanced Search) or include the search terms in quotation marks in the Basic Search box. Enter the SUBJECT search terms exactly as you see them. (If subject is a name, last name first. For topical subject headings, elements must be in exact order).

Sample Subject Headings: Women in Islam / Women (Islamic law) / Muslim women--Legal status, laws, etc. / Islam & gender / Islam--Customs & practices / Feminsim & Islam. [subject + country (women - Lebanon), etc.].

Women & Islam Library of Congress logo

Are you off campus? Make sure you're coming though the library website or using Passkey so the resource recognizes you as a Cornell person. (See more below)

If we do not have a book, or if the book is already checked out:
Borrow Direct Borrow books from our partner Ivy League universities. We will have it shipped to Cornell. Borrowing period is one month. Books arrive in 4 business days. (Books only).

If we don't own an item (any item -- journal article, DVD, dissertation, etc.): Interlibrary Loan Services

Access Our Library Anywhere! Off-Campus Authentication

Looking for an easier way to access Cornell resources from off campus? Try  Access Anywhere can be installed on the web browser of your choice. You must have your bookmarks bar visible in your browser to use. This guide includes the basic installation instructions for the Google Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari web browsers. Instructions may vary depending on what version of the browser you are using


Help Tools

  • How to Prepare an Annotated Bibliography: The Annotated Bibliography: Explanation, Process, Directions, and Examples (Cornell LibGuides)

  • RefWorks - Web-based system to manage your source citations and to create bibliographies and citations in text

  • Citation Machine - Interactive web tool for creating standard bibliographic and in-text citations in APA, Chicago, MLA, and Turabian style formats

  • DocsCite - Online tool to help put government publication citations into proper APA or MLA style format.

Citation Style Guides

Style guides show how to format citations for bibliographies, footnotes, and in-text citations in a consistent format that makes it easy for the reader to locate the source. If your instructor or publisher has not recommended a particular format or style, consult one of the commonly used style manuals, such as: APA, Chicago, MLA or Turabian.

Citing Sources: Style Manuals
Guide to style manuals owned in print format by ASU Libraries and to some online sources.

Research : Citation Management Citation Management Help

Please use this form to submit questions or comments about citation management tools such as Endnote and RefWorks.

Date Converters

Subject Librarian

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Ali Houissa
174 Kroch Library
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, 14853
(607) 254-1614