CENTRE FOR MIDDLE EASTERN
When entered into BIBSYS, the books will have full Dewey numbers assigned to them by the University Library. For the purposes of shelving, however, we are using a shelf marks system based on the one at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, but modified to the needs of our smaller, and more specialized collection.
In this system, the books are shelved primarily according to geography: all books on e.g. Libya or on the Sudan are put together, and then subdivided within each country by subject. Thus each shelf number consists of two parts: a letter code indicating geographical area and (where relevant) a number indicating subject within the area.
The inheritance from the SOAS system shows in the letters used, we have e.g. virtually nothing on `C' (China), and there is a clear division between the Middle East (N) and Africa (U). The areas used are:
A General books, not related to the Middle East
C- J: Asia generally
N Islam, the Near and Middle East
O Central Asia
U North Africa
V-W Sub-Saharan Africa
In addition, the SOAS system has divisions for particular expansive categories, such as P for Arabic language and literature and Q for Antiquity and Semitic studies, to which we have added NA for books generally on Islam. These constitute exceptions, so that books e.g. Turkish language in general gets a regular country code (NS for Turkey) and subject (400 for language general, so NS 400), while one on Arabic grammar is under P, not `NR 400'.
The subject numbers are based on the Dewey Decimal codes, but are simplified for our needs, thus only a subset of numbers are used.
Instead, the geographical subdivisions inherent in Dewey's history class (900-990), already catered for by us, are replaced by historical periods, so that we can have e.g. a separate category for `19th century history' (970). These digits are used again for periodisation of writings on religion, language and literature from particular periods (290, 490, 890 respectively) so a book on religion written in 19th century gets 297, and a literary work from the same time gets 897.
With these exceptions, catering for our particular needs, books will generally have subject codes identical, or close, to the Dewey code.
Books covering regions or several countries are put under the country dominating the exposition, if there is one. Otherwise, they will normally be placed at the relevant level on generality, thus a comparison between Egypt and Morocco would be under `North Africa' (UM), one between Morocco and Syria under `Arab World' (NR) and one beween Morocco and Turkey under `Islamic world' (NB). Countries outside the Islamic world are ignored in this context. Books in history covering several epochs will as far as possible be grouped under the epoch dominating the exposition.
Certain topics are however grouped together for convenience. Thus, the Arab-Israeli conflict is placed under `Israel' (NQO; `Palestine', NQJ, if Palestinians are discussed specifically); the Iran-Iraq war under Iraq (NQ).
Arabic literature is placed under `Arabic' (P 893-899) for the pre-modern period, under individual countries for modern literature (roughly 19-20th century) and for country-specific folk literature (890).
'Antiquity' (Q) has subgroups only for the cultures of the Arabic Middle East, Anatolia and Pharaonic Egypt. Other pre-Islamic cultures (Iran, Central Asia) are placed with the countries, under subject `Pre-Islamic History' (935); as are concrete archaeological digs in specific countries and archeology in general.
For more detailed information about how the books are classified, see a note on various points of decision on the Rules of classification note.
O : Caucasus and Central Asia
Three-digit numbers only.
Centre for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies