Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

About us

The Catalogue

We have used the phrase "manuscripts from the Islamicate World" to more accurately describe the content of this catalogue. The rich collections of manuscripts bear witness to the linguistic, religious and cultural diversity of what commonly features as the Islamic world.

The combined holdings of the contributing Libraries of the UK are of considerable intellectual and cultural significance. All participating libraries have been selectively collecting manuscripts from all subject areas, and of various geographical origins, dating from the 7th to the 19th century CE.

FIHRIST is a free on-line catalogue for manuscript descriptions.

FIHRIST is not a digital Library.

If a digital copy of a works exists on-line, a link is provided and maintained by the institution holding the manuscript. To request digital copies, or contact the institution directly, you may use the field Comment on this record at the bottom of every description.

History & Methodology

FIHRIST evolved from a joint Oxford-Cambridge pilot-project (Oxford Cambridge Islamic Manuscript Catalogue on-line – OCIMCO, funded by JISC [2009-11]), into a UK-wide union catalogue, continuously expanding in volume, as libraries and research projects are contributing manuscripts descriptions.

The initial focus of the pilot was to build a sustainable data format using a tailored schema for the open source TEI/XML metadata standard and incorporating established library standards for description (Name Authority, LC Transliteration and Subject Headings). Documentation of how the standard was applied to Islamic manuscripts can be found in the manual written to provide guidelines to cataloguers. This has since been developed into a consolidated schema available for use by other TEI catalogues. An example of a full record is also provided.

A large number of entries in FIHRIST were created using "legacy data", the intellectual content of predated or historic catalogues, hand-lists and annotated card catalogues. Some records may however, be the result of research carried out by contemporary librarians and academics under consultation of the physical work. Therefore, the level of codicological (physical descriptions of manuscripts) and bibliographic (content and references) detail varies and is changing over time as research proceeds.


All the TEI files are available to download from our repository on GitHub.

Contact us

We welcome contributions by holding institutions, private collectors or projects creating manuscript descriptions to enrich the volume and quality of FIHRIST.

The FIHRIST board of directors is chaired by Yasmin Faghihi and Alasdair Watson and Huw Jones. Please use the Contact us link at the very bottom of every page for general queries.

For feedback, corrections and additions to individual catalogue entries, please use the Comment on this record links at the end of each manuscript description.