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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Archival Use for Middle Eastern Scholarship: Home

This guide aims to provide information for scholars and researchers visiting archives in the Middle East.

A List of Regional Archives

What is an Archive?

  • Permanently valuable records—such as letters, reports, accounts, minute books, draft and final manuscripts, and photographs—of people, businesses, and government. 
  • An Archives is an organization dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of a particular group: a city, a province or state, a business, a university, or a community.

University Archives

Contact Information


1408 W. Gregory Drive

(Main Library)

Room 19 (Basement)

Urbana, Illinois 61801


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8:30am - 5pm

Wednesday: 10am - 5pm



The following links provide access to publicly available digital collections. All links are FREE and OPEN ACCESS.

- Oriental Manuscripts - University of Edinburgh Collections: A large part of the Oriental Manuscript Collection consists of Arabic and Persian manuscripts.

Arabic Manuscripts from West Africa: A Catalog of the Herskovits Library Collection: Containing over 5,000 items of original, hand-written manuscripts make up more than 60 percent of the content, which also includes “market” editions (photocopies of handwritten works that are often sold in African marketplaces), printed editions, and photocopies. Most are in Arabic, though some are in ajami—African languages such as Hausa, Fulfulde, and Wolof written in the Arabic script.

Digitized Arab Manuscripts at AUB Library: Digitzed Arab manuscripts from the American University of Beirut

Middle East Manuscript Collection at the British Library: This collection includes manuscripts, printed books, newspapers and journals from countries in today’s Middle East as well as from Iran and Central Asia from the 5th century AD to the present day. 

Click Here for more online and free manuscript resources!




Archive Databases

Archives Unbound covers a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to World War II to twentieth-century political history. Collections are chosen for Archives Unbound based on requests from scholars, archivists, and students.

OpenDOAR (Directory of Open Access Repositories) a global directory of academic open access repositories. It enables the identification, browsing and search for repositories, based on a range of features, such as location, software or type of material held.

Nineteenth Century Collections is a multi-year global digitization and publishing program focusing on primary source collections of the long nineteenth century.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online includes books, pamphlets, essays, broadsides and more.


contact the Middle East Subject Specialist

Laila Hussein Moustafa

Ask a Librarian