What's in the Guide
Welcome to the Near East research guide. It covers 1) Islam, 2) countries of the Near East: Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, the Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Iran, Turkey and the Central Asian countries: Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. It covers resources in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Tajik, Turkmen, Uighur, Kurdish, and the ancient languages: Akkadian, Assyrian, Sumerian, ancient Egyptian, Coptic and Syriac.
Vernacular and Digitization
For materials published in the Middle East, generally the range of reference materials is much more limited than what exists for U.S. and European materials. Education in the Middle East was traditionally based on memorization. Arabic script did not lend itself to use on printing presses. For example, for vernacular languages, products such as periodical indexes were not begun until late in the 20th century and still cover a relatively small portion of what has been published.
The existence of databases in languages of the Middle East is also limited. In the U.S. and Europe, databases could be developed because publishers had used electronic texts to drive printing presses for some time. Such texts were not as available in the Middle East, and scanning and OCR of texts in Arabic script is extremely time consuming and not very accurate. The databases that do exist can be a bit challenging to use.
If you are having trouble locating resources, please contact Mary St. Germain for help. There are options--it may just take a little more effort to get started.