Acquisition Policy

When MELCOM was first set up in 1967, it decided to follow the example of its sister group for African Studies SCOLMA (, and allocate the collection of “lesser-used” materials to particular libraries. Lesser-used materials were defined as:

1. Specialised monographs on modern (post 1800) studies

2. Pamphlets

3. Party political publications

4. Newspapers and vernacular periodicals

Research conducted in 1983 and published in 1984 showed that the scheme was not working as well as it should, although several libraries had made a serious attempt to collect from their designated areas. A further study undertaken in 2004 (using the same research template) has demonstrated that the trends apparent in 1984 have continued and intensified over the past twenty years, so that the area specialisation scheme as envisaged in 1967 is now no longer valid.

The following libraries, however, do maintain specialist acquisition programmes:

SOAS – North Africa, including Libya but not Egypt (all subjects)

Durham University Library – Sudan (all subjects)

Exeter University Library – Arabian Peninsula + Iraq (social science & history)

British Library – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iran, Turkey and North Cyprus

Middle East Documentation Unit, Durham – Statistical and Official Publications (all Middle East)

Arab World Documentation Unit, Exeter – Statistical and Official Publications, Official Gazettes, Films on Video and DVD (Arab World)

Bodleian Library, Oxford – Classical Islamic Studies

St Antony’s College, MEC Library – Modern Middle Eastern & North African Studies
For further and more detailed description of library holdings see UK Information Resources on Asia (UKIRA).