Welcome to a new monthly blog series which will focus on electronic resources in the Ingalls Library collection. This month we’re starting with one of the most fascinating databases in our collection – Index Islamicus.
The School of Oriental and African Studies, located at the University of London, is the world’s leading institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In 1950 Dr. J. D. Pearson, a librarian at the SOAS, recognized the need to compile an index of articles from the periodical literature on and about Islam and the Middle East held in the SOAS library, and so Index Islamicus was born. The first catalogue was published in 1958 and included materials from 1906 to 1955 with a total of 26,076 titles. The first of its kind in the field of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies, it remains the largest today.
Since that first publication Index Islamicus has undergone many changes. Beginning as an annual publication it moved to quarterly in the 1970s due to the increase in scholarly publications in the field. In the 1990s it was offered as a CD-ROM which included the entire collection from its inaugural publication in 1958 to 1998; the original CD-ROM was updated in 1999, 2000, and 2002. Currently, it is offered as an online database and in print both as a quarterly and a yearly publication.
Widely regarded as the most important bibliographic database of books and journal articles published about Islam or the Muslim world, Index Islamicus covers the whole field of Islamic studies, including the history of Islam from its advent to the contemporary period as well as a plethora of diverse subjects from arts and science to politics and theology. The database contains over 3,000 journals; together with monographs, book reviews, and conference proceedings total indexed articles exceed 400,000, dating from 1906 to the present.
In 2012 the Charleston Advisor gave Index Islamicus a rating of 3.75 out of 4, stating that “this is an expensive, though necessary, resource for any library that maintains an Islamic or Middle East department or program at any level”. (The Charleston Advisor publishes critical reviews of online resources for libraries; all reviews are peer-reviewed by librarians to maintain high levels of accuracy and integrity). Ingalls Library is proud to be able to offer this valuable resource to our patrons. To access go to the library homepage here and choose the Databases A-Z link. Be sure to browse around!
Swanick, Sean. “Index Islamicus.” The Charleston Advisor, 14 (2012): 29-31.