Regional designations represent a conceptual framing linking particular territories in some way, often rooted in social, political or imperialist interests. There has historically been a lack of consensus on what countries and territories constitute the regional designation "Middle East," as used by governments, non-governmental agencies, and scholars. Areas of Africa are often included (subsumed without naming) and sometimes even Central Asian areas. Some agencies (such as the UN) have used terms like "West Asia" or "South-West Asia" for these areas and some liberation movements (such as SWANA Alliance) choose alternative expressions like Southwest Asia and North Africa (SWANA) as decolonial terms. For more on the history and significance of these regional designations see "Where is the Middle East?" from the UNC Center for Middle East & Islamic Studies.
Transliteration (called Romanization when converting to Latin characters) is essential for searching in catalogues, databases, indexes, full text collections, etc. Systems vary considerably by publication / electronic resource / scholarly community / language of influence. Most North American library catalogues (including our local catalogue) use the Library of Congress (ALA / LC) Romanization system. For comparison of various transliteration systems, see the samples linked below along with Thomas T. Pedersen’s comparison tables.
Sampling of Transliteration / Romanization Systems
Transliteration Comparison Tables (Thomas T. Pedersen)
To find book-length literature in our collections, start by searching our Library Catalog Search by subject, title, author, etc.
You'll also find other materials held by our library such as maps, films / DVDs, archival collections, manuscripts, and even journal and newspaper titles.
To find article-length literature, start with Library Articles Search or one of our more subject-specific literature databases / indexes.
Follow the MGetIt links to get copies of particular articles and chapters.
Search the WorldCat catalog to find materials (books, microfilmed newspapers, archival collections, etc.) held by other libraries.
Place an Interlibrary Loan (ILL) request for materials that we don't own. We will request material(s) from other libraries on your behalf!
Browse or search Library Databases Search to find additional literature indexes, reference works, and electronic text collections useful for your research.
Find additional online reference works searching our catalog or Library Databases Search.
Browse the Near East Reference Collection to find additional reference works in print, including: dictionaries, grammars, bio-bibliographical works, editions of religious texts, volumes from the Handbuch der Orientalistik / Handbook of Oriental studies Section 1 The Near and Middle East, and more.
Government documents and ephemeral publications acquired by the Library of Congress Cairo Office, microfilmed and available for borrowing (via ILL) from the Center for Research Libraries (CRL)
· Pamphlets about Algeria http://catalog.crl.edu/
· Pamphlets about Egypt http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Jordan http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Lebanon, Iraq, Mauritania, the Middle East http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Oman http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Pan-Arab Organizations http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Saudi Arabia http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Sudan http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Syria and Morocco http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Tunisia http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about West Bank http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
· Pamphlets about Yemen http://catalog.crl.edu/record=
Working on a specific religious tradition in the Middle East (Southwest Asia) and North Africa? You may find the following U-M Library research guides helpful as well