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Research Guide to Middle Eastern Studies: Finding Books

An introductory guide to research in Middle Eastern Studies.

Searching the Library Catalog

Use the Library Catalog to search our collection of over 310,000 books, videos, journal titles*, and other resources, including links to over 150,000 electronic books and almost 50,000 electronic journals.

Keyword searching is a good place to start, since it uses natural language – you can search your topic in your words.  A keyword search will return records that include the words you entered, anywhere in the record – title, chapter heading, subject, etc.  This can make a search very broad – but is also very useful in finding your topic in, say, just one chapter of a book. To narrow a too-broad keyword search, browse the subject links on records of the books that are most relevant to your topic, and click to find other relevant books.

Search the catalog by title if you are looking for a particular book, or by author for a particular person’s works.


Subject searching uses a controlled vocabulary – for example, the subject heading in our catalog for “Middle East,” additionally suggests the subjects "Arab countries" and "Latin Orient."  If you search “Middle East” as a subject, you will get records for books on the topic.  


A Keyword search looks for words, but a subject search looks for a concept.  If you search “Middle East” as a keyword, you will find records that include those words – say, in the title of the book. 


Because of their different strengths, using both keyword and subject searching will often get the best results.


Use Advanced Keyword Search for additional search options, and to limit your search by location, type of material, language, or year.

*To search for journal articles focused on the disciplines of Middle Eastern Studies, use this page for further information.

Electronic Books

While books in the collection, whether print or digital, can all be found using the library catalog, a large number of the library's electronic book collection is accessible directly from the eBook Academic Collection.

-eBook Academic Collection

On the eBook Academic Collection homepage, click on the eBooks link at the top of the page.

From the "Basic Search" page, find the "Browse by Category" menu to the left of the page and select "Philosophy," "Religion," "History," OR "Arts and Architecture." 

From the "Results List" page, you can further limit your results by using the "Refine Results" menu to the left of the page. Additionally, you can utilize the "Advanced Search" functions, located below the search box, to search for specific titles, subjects, authors, etc. within the "Philosophy" or "Religion" section.

Interlibrary Loan

What is an Interlibrary Loan?

  • Interlibrary Loan is a service that makes it possible for SHU students, faculty, and staff to obtain copies of books, articles, and other library materials that are not owned by SHU from other libraries.  SHU Library, like many other academic libraries, both lends and borrows materials from other cooperating institutions.  Sacred Heart University students, faculty, and staff are eligible to use the service. A request form is available below.

Request an Interlibrary Loan

Please note: Before requesting an article, a book chapter or book through the library Interlibrary Loan service, please search the Ryan-Matura Library's catalog and Research Databases, our A to Z Listing, making sure the library does NOT own the resource.  We cannot request items that we already own.  Consult the Reference Desk (203-371-7726) on the 1st Floor of the library if you have any problem with this.