This semester I am taking a class in Middle East Librarianship. As part of the course, I have been tasked to select 10-15 reference works that should be part of any basic Middle East reference collection.
In order to determine what these resources ought to be, I developed a few research strategies. First, I narrowed the focus to resources that would be useful in an academic law library. This required additional consideration because there are many legal jurisdictions within the Middle East. To address each jurisdiction separately would require more than 10-15 reference works.
Therefore, I decided to further narrow the focus to resources that deal with Islamic law generally or that provide useful background on Islam for the legal scholar. Secondly, because of my own language limitations, I chose to look only at resources aimed at English speakers. Finally, I also wanted to have a nice mix of databases, serials and monographs in the collection.
In order to determine what the most useful resources might be, I looked at various libguides at libraries with well-known Mid-East collections. When available, I also tried to find reviews of the sources to flesh out scope, perspective and intended audience. I also consulted In Custodia Legis – the blog for the Law Librarians of Congress, and Int-Law listserv’s public message archives. Are there any key resources that I missed? Are there any research strategies I should have applied?