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Middle East Studies Research

Top Reference Databases & Online Sources



"Covers the modern history of the Middle East and North Africa, with major sections on Colonialism and Imperialism, the World Wars, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the United Nations' involvement in the region. Each country in the region is reviewed, detailing its population, economy, and government."

A comprehensive reference center with a global perspective and is a source of timely, reliable, and accessible information on the history, peoples, beliefs, individuals, and cultures that constitute the world of Islam. The site includes two essential English-language interpretations of the Qur'an, the first electronic version of the standard Concordance used by English-speaking scholars around the world, and primary source documents. Special features and tools include timelines, Qur'an Verse Look-up, a Date Converter for Western and Islamic calendar dates, and more. Includes: 

The Oxford Handbook of Islam and Politics (2013)

The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art & Architecture (2009)

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Islamic World (2009)

The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World

The Islamic World: Past and Present

The Oxford Dictionary of Islam

The Oxford History of Islam

What Everyone Needs to Know About Islam

Teaching Islam

Makers of Contemporary Islam


EI Online sets out the present state of knowledge of the Islamic World and is a unique reference tool, an essential key to understanding the world of Islam. It includes biographical articles on distinguished Muslims of every age and land, on tribes and dynasties, on the crafts and sciences, on political and religious institutions, on the geography, ethnography, flora and fauna of the various countries and on the history, topography and monuments of the major towns and cities. In its geographical and historical scope it encompasses the old Arabo-Islamic empire, the Islamic countries of Iran, Central Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Indonesia, the Ottoman Empire and all other Islamic countries.

Looks at Islam's role in the modern world, doing so in context of the religion's history and development over the last 13 centuries. Contains thematic articles, biographies of key figures, definitions, illustrations, maps and more.

Provides full text online access to the complete 300-plus volumes of Cambridge Histories reference series. Provides political, economic and social history, philosophy and literature of selected countries and subjects.

  • Oxford reference 2002-      Database Oxford ; New York, N.Y. : Oxford University Press, c2002-

Contains the texts of more than 100 reference titles published by Oxford University Press. [Subjects: Art and Architecture; Classics; General Reference ; History ; Law ; Literature ; Military History ; Modern Languages ; Mythology and Folklore ; Performing Arts ; Politics and Social Sciences ; Quotations ; Religion and Philosophy, etc.]

Provides searchable full-text e-book versions of many reference works, including multi-volume encyclopedias, biographical collections, business plan handbooks, company history compilations, consumer health references, and specialized handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. in a wide range of subject areas. Subject categories include arts, biography, business, education, environment, history, law, literature, medicine, multicultural studies, nation and world, religion, science, and social sciences.

Provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 266 world entities. Our Reference tab includes: maps of the major world regions, as well as Flags of the World, a Physical Map of the World, a Political Map of the World, and a Standard Time Zones of the World map." Allows country comparisons on numerous variables.

Provides critical country-specific intelligence and up-to-date information and news on the countries of the world, as well as a political and economic survey for each of the country. Good source for the latest political, economic, corporate, and environmental news on a country as it occurs.

  • ViewsWire. London : Economist Intelligence Unit

Pulls out relevant material from all of EIU's many publications and organizes it by country and region. Between 100-150 articles are added each day." Great political and economic background info on each country.


MECAS is a systematic and non-evaluative bibliographic index of research, policy and scholarly discourse on the countries and peoples of the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa. This database contains more than 332,790 records and coverage spans from 1900 and earlier to present. Over 12,000 records of recently published and grey literature are added annually. Subject coverage includes: political affairs & law, international relations, economic affairs - business & industry, cultural heritage, arts & humanities, society & social welfare, ethnic diversity & anthropology, significant religious events & movements and recent history (1900 - present) & archaeology. MECAS includes the following: Middle East Bibliography (1946 - 2001), Middle East Book Bibliographies, Theses & Dissertations, MECAS Citations Database and School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) Library Catalogue (1900 - present).

Since 1979, the Library of the Moshe Dayan Center has electronically cataloged articles, pamphlets and occasional publications on the Middle East published in English, French, and Arabic. The catalog now consists of over 300,000 entries.

An international bibliography of publications in European languages covering all aspects of Islam and the Muslim world, including history, beliefs, societies, cultures, languages, and literature. The database includes material published by Western orientalists, social scientists and Muslims.

Offers peer-reviewed annotated bibliographies on the range of lived experiences and textual traditions of Muslims as they are articulated in various countries and regions throughout the world. Bibliographies are browseable by subject area and keyword searchable. Contains a "My OBO" function that allows users to create personalized bibliographies of individual citations from different bibliographies. [In Persian, Arabic, Urdu, English, Turkish English, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu.]

Since 1945, the U.S. intelligence community has had to cover a half-dozen major wars and several dozen smaller but equally bloody armed conflicts in the Middle East, as well as innumerable civil wars, border clashes, armed insurgencies, and terrorist attacks. This comprehensive document set sheds light on the U.S. intelligence community’s spying and analytic efforts in the Arab world, including the Middle East, the Near East, and North Africa. It covers the time period from the end of World War II to the present day, up until the 2002-2003 Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) assessments, the Global War on Terror, the Iraq War, and Iran’s nuclear program.

  • Fihrist [Islamic texts held in the Bodleian Libraries, Oxford and Cambridge University Library].

This catalogue provides a searchable interface to basic manuscript descriptions from some of the major manuscript collections in the UK. With the continuing contribution of manuscript records from UK libraries, Fihrist aims to become a union catalogue for manuscripts in Arabic script. Currently, only a portion of the records contain Arabic script elements.

The World Digital Library (WDL) is a project of the U.S. Library of Congress, carried out with the support of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO), and in cooperation with libraries, archives, museums, educational institutions, and international organizations from around the world. The WDL makes available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from all countries and cultures.  Expand the 'Place' filter list on the left-hand side to select items by country.


Dissertation Abstracts    

Recent Dissertations related to the Middle East, the Arab World and Islam.

Islamic Studies Theses via EthOS

(UK) Full-Text Doctoral Dissertations on Middle East and Islamic Studies Available Free. Free download of theses after registering (free). "Almost all UK universities make their theses available through the Service."  Selected doctoral theses (860) in Islamic Studies from UK Higher Education Institutes.


  • Provides a daily newsletter of concise, translated briefs covering some of the key political, cultural, economic, and opinion pieces appearing via the print, radio and television media of the 22 Arab countries, Iran and the Arab Diaspora. 2005 – present-
  • Moshe Dayan Center (Tel Aviv U.) - Arabic Press Archive Catalog. The Arabic Press Archive of the Moshe Dayan Center at Tel-Aviv University is one of the largest and the most comprehensive collections of modern and contemporary Arabic-language newspapers in the world. It continues to expand, in both digital and hard copy form.
  • World News Connection A foreign news service from the U.S. government that provides English translations for international newspaper articles and radio/television broadcasts. Coverage begins in 1997.
  • Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS) Daily Reports Created by the U.S. intelligence community to benefit policy makers and analysts, FBIS Daily Reports offer foreign views and perspectives on historical events from thousands of monitored broadcasts and publications. Translated into English from more than 50 languages, these comprehensive media reports from around the globe include news, interviews, speeches and editorial commentary. This comprehensive, fully searchable edition of the FBIS Daily Reports covers such topics as political, military and social issues, economics, science and technology for eight world regions from 1941-1996.
  • LexisNexis Academic Provides access to full text resources on topics including current and general news; business and financial information; newspapers; company directories; government and politics; medical and health topics; accounting, auditing, and tax; federal and state laws; legal cases; and regulations. Resources include TV and radio news transcripts.
  • Keesing's World News Archive A searchable archive of articles from: Keesing's contemporary archives, 1931-1986, and: Keesing's record of world events, 1987-. Provides a detailed summary of the world's political, social, and economic events.
  • ABYZ News Links A collection of links to news sites worldwide. Mostly current only. Includes television, radio, and online news sources. All languages.
  • Access World News Access World News from NewsBank provides full-text information and perspectives from over 600 U.S. and over 700 international sources, each with its own distinctive focus offering diverse viewpoints on local, regional and world issues. Date coverage varies with individual newspaper.
  • ProQuest Historical Newspapers This database offers full-text and full-image articles for newspapers dating back to the 19th century. For most titles, the collection includes digital reproductions of every page from every issue, cover to cover, in downloadable PDF files. The database is an ongoing project.
  • Times digital archive, 1785-2006 Full-text and full-image articles from the Times of London for the years 1785-2006. It is a digital reproduction, cover to cover, of the paper in PDF files.

More Resources for Research from the Cornell University Library

Middle East & Islamic Studies: a Research Guide



Aggregated Reference Sources