Asian & Middle Eastern Cultures

Page from the Shahnama, 16th Century Iran via Wikimedia Commons

Research Guide

Welcome! This page highlights key resources for conducting effective  research in Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures.

If you need assistance identifying additional resources, search terms or strategies, please schedule a research consultation.

Personal Librarian:
Vani Natarajan
211 Milstein

Primary Sources

To search for archival collections and published primary sources physically located in the Columbia Libraries, including Barnard, try a CLIO catalog search. You can use the facet boxes on the results page to limit by date of creation/publication, format, genre, and more. 

  • Confidential Print: Middle East features papers from the British National Archive dating from 1839 to 1969. Regions covered include countries of the Arabian peninsula, the Levant, Iraq, Turkey and many of the former Ottoman territories in Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan. Contents range from letters and telegrams to texts of treaties and monographs.
  • Digital South Asia Library a project of the Center for Research Libraries, is a global collaborative effort to make important and rare South Asian resources available to the international community. Its contents include reference resources, bibliographies and union lists, indexes, books and journals, statistics, image collections, maps and catalogs of maps.
  • Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection, from the University of Texas at Austin Library, features over 11,000 digitized images of maps from an extensive collection covering multiple regions of the world. Researchers can browse these maps by region.
  • South and Southeast Asian Literature: Classic and Postcolonial Writers in English, 1825 to Presentfeatures full-text works of poetry and fiction in English by writers of South and Southeast Asia, as well as South and Southeast Asian diasporic writers living in Africa, the UK, North America, and the Caribbean.
  • World Newspaper Archive provides access to digitized pages of historical newspapers from around the world, with many titles from South Asia, with coverage from the 1860's to the 1920's. 

Finding Articles

If you aren't sure where to start searching , you might try the CLIO Find Articles search. It searches across multiple databases at once, but it also allows you to refine results by subject terms and format type. For a more focused and refined search, try a database---the ones listed below are especially recommended for Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Research.

  • Bibliography of Asian Studies features citations to journal articles and book chapters on all subjects (primarily in the humanities and social sciences) pertaining to East, Southeast, and South Asia published from 1971 to the present.
  • Historical Abstracts provides citations to journal articles on all aspects of world history from 1450 to the present. Journals included date back to 1955. Selected books are also available in full text.
  • Index Islamicus indexes material on Islam, the Middle East and the Muslim world from periodicals, conference proceedings, monographs, multi-authored works, book reviews, websites, and other sources. It features content in European languages, Turkish, Malay and Bahasa Indonesia.
  • JSTOR includes page images of key scholarly journals in the humanities and social sciences, including many articles from Middle East Studies journals. Coverage spans the late 19th century to the present.
  • Middle Eastern and Central Asian Studies features citations to articles and books of research, policy and scholarly discourse on the countries and peoples of the Middle East, Central Asia and North Africa.

Finding Books and Media

CLIO is the online catalog of the Columbia University Libraries, including Barnard College but excluding Teachers College and the Law Library.

The NYPL catalog searches the circulating and non-circulating research collections at the New York Public Library. 

WorldCat searches libraries worldwide.