Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World


This page provides information on searching and browsing the catalogue. For information on how to order material, please refer to the websites of individual institutions. For example, for Oxford University manuscripts see their Order special collections page.


You can browse the catalogue by clicking on the following buttons:

  • Classmarks (manuscripts and other objects, identified by their shelfmarks)
  • Works
  • People (personal names of authors, translators, copyists, etc.)
  • Subjects (Library of Congress Subject Headings identified during cataloguing)

Browsing by institution can be accomplished using links on the home page, or by using filters when browsing either classmarks and works.

Results can also be filtered in other ways using the "Limit results by" options on the left, such as by language, century (in the Gregorian calendar), or role (for people).


For a simple search, type your query into the search box at the top of every page and press enter. You can then filter your search results as explained above.

To search for something specific click one of the four buttons - classmarks, works, people or subjects - then enter your search terms.

Search tips

Search terms can be entered in all languages and scripts present in the records. For searching in Roman script please use the LC transliteration standard. Diacritical signs may be omitted. For example, instead of Jawāmiʻ al-kalimāt you can search for Jawami al-kalimat.

You can use additional formatting to more precisely define your search query. These include:

  • Quotation marks (")

    • You can place quotation marks around multiple words so that only that specific phrase will be found. Astronomical tables (without quotes) produces many more results than "Astronomical tables" (with quotes)

  • AND / OR

    • You can combine words into groups using AND, OR and brackets. AND is used as default when nothing is specified. AND and OR must be capitilised for this to work. For example you could search for Saʻdī AND (Divan OR Diwan) which will find only records which contain Saʻdī and either Divan or Diwan (or all three).

  • Plus (+) / Minus (-)

    • With the plus and minus you can define which phrasesmust be found and those which must not be found. The plus is default. For example geomancy -astrology will return everything with the word geomancy but not the word astrology.

  • Wildcards (*,?)

    • You can use wildcard values to match only part of words. A question mark (?) will match a single character while the asterisk (*) will match one or more characters. A search for astro* will match words like astronomy, astrological and astrology. Generally, you don't have use wildcards to account for plural/singular versions, and other common forms of English words, so searching for commentary also matches the word commentaries, and vice versa.

  • Combinations

    • You can combine all the above options into a single query, such as: astro* -astrology which will find everything containing words starting with astro but not containing the whole word astrology.