Encyclopedias, Maps, Images



Encyclopaedia of Islam, new ed. Leiden, 1960-2009. (RFA 50.23.50) also Encyclopaedia of Islam Online (e-resource).

The electronic version of the Encyclopaedia of Islam contains the entire text (11 vols.) of the monument al printed edition. Additional search facilities, enhanced by the inclusion of two original indexes (Index of Proper Names, Index of Subjects) and of a Supplement volume enable the user to search and combine data from a vast corpus of over 12,000 printed pages. It also permits searching in both English and romanized Arabic. The 2nd edition of EI began in 1954, a 3rd edition in 2007. All three editions can be searched in the online version. Note however that illustrations and maps are provided only in the printed editions; for technical reasons, the illustrations are not included in the online version.

Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı İslâm Ansiklopedisi. Istanbul, 1988– <2013>. 44 vols. published to date. (WID-LC MidEast BP40 .T87 1988x); also available online

An updated and expanded Turkish encyclopaedia of Islamic studies, published by the Turkish Religious Foundation, with original articles of a high scholarly standard. Includes many entries useful for art research.

The Grove Dictionary of Art. Ed. by Jane Turner [et al.]. 34 vols. London & New York, 1996. (RFA 150.18.100); also available as Grove Art Online (electronic resource).

An online encyclopedia of the visual arts with over 45,000 articles (searchable by subject and keyword) and over 130,000 images; included are many entries on Islamic art and architecture, with illustrations and bibliographies. An excellent starting point for research.


İslâm Ansiklopedisi: İslâm Alemi Tarih, Coğrafya, Etnografya ve Biyografya Lûgati. 13 vols. + index. Istanbul, 1950-1988. (RFA

The Turkish edition of the Encyclopaedia of Islam added many original or expanded articles on subjects related to Turkey, the Ottoman Empire, and Central Asia. The equivalent articles in the English Encyclopaedia of Islam are often translated from or summaries based on the original articles published in Islâm Ansiklopedisi.

The Grove Encyclopedia of Islamic Art and Architecture. 3 vols. Oxford, 2009. (RFA 270.33)

All entries on Islamic art and architecture from the Grove Dictionary of Art, updated and collected in a 3-vol. illustrated reference work.



Graphically more appealing (if less detailed) than Brill's Historical Atlas of Islam. Many of the maps from Roolvink's Historical Atlas are also available in digital form on HOLLIS Images.

Pinto, ​Karen C. Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration. Chicago, 2016. (Harvard Map Collection: GA221.P56 2016); also online

Holy Land Maps from the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection. Online digitized versions of more than 260 historical maps of the Holy Land, dating from the 15th to the late 17th century.

The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas. A large open-access online collection of current and historical maps, with worldwide coverage.

Historical maps of the Muslim world digitized for the Harvard Library's Islamic Heritage Project, including more than 50 historical maps from the 16th to the early 20th century, depicting various regions, ranging from the Maghreb to Central Asia and from the Balkans to India.


An Historical Atlas of Islam = Atlas historique de l'Islam. Ed. by Hugh Kennedy. 2nd rev. ed. Leiden, 2002. (RFA 71.38.2) also available on CD-ROM (Fine Arts Reading Room CD 151)

Roolvink, Roelof. Historical Atlas of the Muslim Peoples. Amsterdam, 1957. (RFA 71.38.4)

Tübinger Atlas des Vorderen Orients. Wiesbaden, 1977-1993. (FA 111.60.26 PF)

A portfolio of 400+ detailed maps covering the political, social and economic history of the Middle East, from prehistory to the present. Includes city maps. Text in English & German.

The Harvard Map Collection is one of the oldest and largest collections of cartographic materials in the US, with more than 500,000 items, only a fraction of which are cataloged in HOLLIS. Make time to visit the Map Collection (in Pusey Library) to see their original maps and also check out its growing collection of online digital maps.



 Archnet is an online community for architects and scholars with a special focus on the Islamic world. It features a digital library with photographs, plans and descriptions of hundreds of buildings and sites, digitized journal articles, reference tools and other publications.

HOLLIS Images is Harvard's online union catalog of visual images documenting the arts and material culture. It contains descriptive records and images representing architecture, paintings, sculpture, photography, drawings, prints, decorative arts, trade cards, rubbings, theater designs, maps and plans. It includes images from collections throughout Harvard University. Many of the images are open-access; others require a Harvard login to display and download versions larger than a thumbnail image. New material is added daily.

ARTstor is a nonprofit digital library of more than 1.25 million images representing the arts, architecture, humanities, and social sciences together with a suite of software tools to view, present, and manage images for research and pedagogical purposes. In addition, more than 230,000 images from the Fine Arts Library and 40,000 images from the GSD's Frances Loeb Library are available in ARTstor's Harvard Study Collections.

The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress has more than 75,000 early photographic images of the Middle East; most of them are accessible in high resolution online via the Prints and Photographs online catalog.

Qatar Digital Library has a large and growing number of early photographic images of the Middle East, available at high resoltuion and free for use or reuse.

Saudi Aramco World Digital Image Archive provides free access, for educational purposes, to more than 40,000 historic and recent images of the Middle East and the Islamic world. The website requires registration (no charge).

Das Bild des Orients. An online archive of 20,000 digitized color slides and historical b&w photos of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia, with a focus on art and architecture. The search interface is in English. Thumbnail images can be accessed at no charge, high-resolution images for a fee.


Middle East & Islamic Photographs in the Fine Arts Library's Special Collections. The Fine Arts Library holds more than 150,000 original photographs of the Islamic world, most dating from the 19th and early 20th centuries; included are 38,000 images in the Harvard Semitic Museum Photographic Archives. These historic photographs are an unparalleled resource for research, study and publication. Finding aids and research assistance are available by appointment.

Also see -- Museums and Collections and the guide to Resources for Medieval Art & Architecture