This is adapted from Prof. von Schlegell with important additions:
EI (1), then: Encyclopedia of Islam first edition, 5 volumes, originally printed Leiden 1913-38. A reissue published in 11 volumes as E.J. Brill's First Encyclopedia of Islam, M.Th. Houtsma, T.W. Arnold, R. Basset, R. Hartman (eds.), Leiden: Brill 1987. EI (2), the same, New edition, Leiden: Brill 1960-. 11 volumes so far, with supplements published as fascicles. Now available on CD-ROM. I had a copy of the first CD-ROM version and it was very strange getting stuff out of it. It utilized special fonts which did not copy into word. I had to develop a substitution cipher to figure out what the letters meant.
Who wrote what:
GAL: Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Literatur, 5 volumes, Leiden E.J. Brill 1937-42. BVS says: ("History of Arabic Literature") is an encyclopedia of writers and writings throughout Arabic history. In principle, every book ever written in Arabic (before 1937) should be listed by Brockelmann. In practice, most are, with short biographies of the authors. Brockelmann is an authority, a reference to which is often sufficient. Unfortunately, in addition to being in German, it has one of the most arcane reference systems known to man. If you know your way around Brockelmann, you are an accomplished scholar. (Clue: If you want to know what name abbreviations like " 'Aq b. S ", used throughout, stands for, you will find the key in the middle of the text on p. XVII of Supplement Volume I; and there only.) The work was published, first in two volumes, then with three larger Supplement Volumes, which repeats (most of) and expands the information in the two first volumes. MELA also published Guide to Using Carl Brockelmann's Geschichte der arabischen Litteratur: (PDF). The first two volumes were found in Google books as they are out of copyright.
See the following for more information on doing serious Manuscript research.
Biographical and Bibliographical Information:
Kahhala and Zirikli: Often used together, these are the most common Arabic biographical dictionaries. Respectively: 'Umar Ridaa Kahhala, Mu'jam al-mu'allifiin. Taraajim muSannifii al-kutub al-'arabiiya Beirut: Dar ihya al-turath al-arabi 1957-61, 15 volumes reprinted in 4 volumes in current printings; and Khayr al-Diin al-Ziriklii, al-A'laam. Qamuus taraajim li-ashhar al-rijaal wa'l-nisaa' min al-'arab wa'l-musta'ribiin wa'l-mustashriqiin, Beirut, various editions from 1927 until today, last edition 8 volumes. Zirikli includes political and other personalities, as well as many samples of authors' handwriting from the original mss. There are at least 4 follow up volumes by other authors in the same vain. (link) Kahhala has the larger number of names. (link)
References to Secondary Literature:
Index Islamicus: New books, articles and reviews on Islam and the Muslim world; Edited by C.H. Bleaney and others (Published by Brill Academic Publishers, Leiden, The Netherlands. since 2001), (more info.) BVS says: "this is a bibliographical compilation of all books and articles written on Islam and the Islamic world in Western languages. Clearly the first place any student starting a research topic should go to check for sources. It covers the period from 1906 (there is a companion volume for the pre-1906 period). Supplements have until now been published in quarterly magazines, which are then later regrouped and reorganized as complete volumes covering five years at a time." (ISSN 1360-0982) Available on CD-ROM.
Arabic Dictionary (culled and translated from classical Arabic dictionaries):
Lane: E.J. Lane, Arabic-English Lexicon is in 8 volumes 1863-93, reissued in two volumes in 1984 by the Islamic Texts Society (Cambridge) sans introductory material. It is the most definite English authority for classical Arabic vocabulary, up to the letter Qaf (when he died) and subsequently hastely completed by his nephew. Available on CD-ROM but you have to have the CD-ROM in the drive to use it. Reprinted in Beirut, Lebanon by Dar Sader and India/Pakistan from the Beirut edition. It has also been scanned and is available in pdf format by a Qur'anic study group. University of Michigan's CMENA has list of Dictionaries that is useful.
Bibliographies of Middle East studies see the following link.
On the Net:
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