Located on the ground floor and the lower ground floor of the Library, the general collection combines materials from The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) as well as from The Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations -Aga Khan University (AKU-ISMC). The vast majority of materials in the general collection can be borrowed by registered library users. Some items have been selected to be accessible in the library only.
Our general collection accounts for the largest part of our library materials and includes nearly 32,000 items. The collection has been planned and developed on the basis of need, reflecting the academic programmes and research activities of both Institutes.
A particular strength of the Library’s collection is the fact that it includes publications in several European (e.g. English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese), Asian (i.e. Urdu, Gujarati, Sindhi, Tajik) and Middle Eastern (i.e. Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman Turkish) languages.
Islamic studies in general, and Ismaili, Shi‘i and Qur’anic studies in particular, are the collection focus of The Institute of Ismaili Studies, while the collections of The Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations (Aga Khan University) concentrate on Muslim civilisations with a noteworthy emphasis on Muslim diasporas around the globe.
The subjects covered by the Library’s general collections include religion and philosophy, history, auxiliary sciences, social sciences, art and architecture, literature, education, sciences and medicine. Subjects are indexed using the Library of Congress Subject Headings and the library’s classification scheme of choice is the Library of Congress Classification.
At present, the general collection is housed in three different shelf locations as the Library endeavours to re-classify and merge the hitherto separate collections of the two Institutes.