Library and Documents Centre

The CGIE library was established in June 1984 by donating some books from the head of the centre. The purpose of its establishment was to collect the written and non-written information required by the centre’s researchers and to provide facilities by gathering the necessary resources and equipment and communicating with domestic and foreign scientific-cultural institutions. With continuous efforts over the years, accompanied by much suffering and hardship, this library has become one of the most prestigious specialized libraries in the country. Before establishing this library, extensive efforts were made to collect books, manuscripts, facsimiles, photographs and slides, films and microfilms, historical documents and letters, scientific journals and periodicals in various languages, geographical atlases, and other materials such as videotapes and CDs. These efforts are continuing apace. 

Attending book fairs and continuously preparing new books and magazines, inquiring about the private collections and trying to buy or add them to the collections of the library, photographing or scanning old books and magazines and rare books in public and private libraries have been among the activities of the prolific staff of the library. To enrich the library, in addition to the purchase of ten valuable private collections, the outstanding efforts of several people must be appreciated who developed this cultural movement by donating their libraries and collections of incredible manuscripts, facsimiles, and printed books, along with historical documents and letters and periodicals. You can see their names and the details of their donated collections in the Collections section. (Donated Collections)

In this way, a library was established, statistics of which until the beginning of 2022 are as follows:

There are 812,958 volumes of registered printed books, manuscripts, and magazines, including 2035 manuscripts (in 3302 titles), 9118 facsimile books (in 12023 titles), 8672 volumes of lithographs, and 9863 volumes of compiled scientific files. In addition, the library has 7994 titles of registered periodicals and newspapers (6054 Persian titles, 759 Arabic titles, 1181 other foreign languages titles), 1310 microfilm reels, 4010 slides and photos, 5448 CDs, and 19,094 pages of historical documents, decrees and letters.

The library is presently working in nine organizational sections, as follows:

1. Cataloguing the printed works: This section is categorized into two parts, Oriental and Western resources, based on the Congress Classification system:

1-1) Cataloguing the oriental works: In addition to cataloguing books, the two sections prepare numerous catalogue cards in line with the needs of the researchers so that they straightforwardly recognize the contents of the books. In other words, the cataloguing section extensively extracts the topics of the books and provides them in the form of catalogue cards. For instance, a book may have twenty subject cards in the card catalogue or computer memory. Subsequently, the subjects will be arranged according to the criteria of Persian subject headings. If the mentioned subjects are missing in the subject heading books, the specialized dictionaries are referred to. The subjects and the most famous names of many books are taken from the databases available on the Internet. The subjects will be translated and documented along with the most famous names, according to the standards of the Persian language. Another significant activity of the cataloguing section is to find the correct and most famous names of the oriental books’ authors.

1-2) Cataloguing works in Western languages: This section deals with cataloguing books using indexes and other necessary tools. Cataloguing of foreign works is done following international standards. The descriptive catalogue and records are in the original language, and the other parts are in English. If the book is translated from Persian, Arabic, and other eastern languages, the title and the author’s name in the original language are also mentioned in the additional identifiers. The reference cards for such books can be retrieved from the oriental books database and Persian card catalogues, and the original language of the book can be retrieved with an abbreviation in the western books database.

1-3) Section of documents and manuscripts: the chief task of this section is to collect from cultural centres the documents and manuscripts needed by researchers. Purchasing valuable manuscript collections, receiving donated treasures, and preparing catalogues for manuscripts, facsimile books, and microfilms are among the accomplishments of this section. The centre’s treasure of manuscripts is of great significance, including valuable historical documents, decrees and manuscripts, some of which are unique. The section is also responsible for two other primary tasks:

1-3-1) Cataloguing the manuscripts, facsimile books and lithographs: about 1962 manuscripts including books and treatises (in 3215 titles), 1821 facsimile books and treatises (in 3162 titles), and 7031 collections of lithographs have been catalogued so far.

1-3-2) The project of An Annotated Bibliography of Persian Works (from the beginning to the end of lithography): This project is implemented to demonstrate the contribution of Iranians to human culture. It commenced under the supervision of the late professor, Ahmad Monzavi and continued with the financial and technical assistance of the centre, including the collaboration of several researchers. More than 900,000 pages have been extracted from manuscripts and printed copies catalogues. The index is compiled according to the subject of the books and in alphabetical order. From the series, which is expected to be 25 volumes, eleven volumes have been published so far.

2) Preparation of Resources: This section is responsible for collecting the resources needed by the researchers of the CGIE from inside and outside the country. It identifies and gathers sources in several ways:

2-1) Preparing foreign books, journals, and magazines by the foreign resources section.

2-2) Buying newly published books from local publishers, which are collected by a reputable publisher for the centre’s library.

2-3) Purchase of personal collections of domestic and foreign families and cultural figures identified and introduced by a particular council.

2-4) Receiving personal treasures of people interested in culture as a donation.

2-5) Participating in international book fairs inside and outside the country and buying books from them.

2-6) Using the “Global Information Centre”.

2-7) Collecting the necessary resources by library representatives abroad.

2-8) Using the facilities of libraries, cultural centres, and private collections whose resources are identified and borrowed based on the daily needs of the centre’s researchers. The most extensive activities in gathering authentic sources are done in the aforementioned ways.

3. Periodicals section: In this section, a valuable collection of 3908 periodical titles, mainly monthly and academic journals, newspapers and annuals in several languages, ​​have been gathered. Part of this section includes copies of old and rare magazines that the library could not procure or purchase.

4. Scan and copy section: It has two main tasks: First, making copies of the sources provided by the Scientific files department, which averages 80,000 pages per month. The second is to make copies of old rare books and magazines. Copies of the magazines are bound as books and placed on the shelves of the library.

5. Binding section: This section was established to bind and restore printed books and manuscripts. The tasks of this unit are to equip the section with modern binding tools, employ the required staff, bind printed books with the best materials, and bind manuscripts and lithographs by the traditional bookbinding method with Islamic decorations on their covers. On average, 1200 books are bound and restored monthly in this section.

6. Photography section: The task of this section is to take photos and make films of documents, manuscripts, ancient books, facsimiles, and art books needed by researchers and the library of the centre. This section has photographic devices, including film and photo developers and special video cameras.

7. Book registration section.

8. Book circulation section.

9. Library Publications: This section prepares and prints books and documents that are somehow related to the activities and goals of the centre’s library. Some of the works that have been published so far in the library’s publications are briefly mentioned below:

  • Catalogue of the Manuscripts of the Library of the Centre for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia (three volumes)
  • A Catalogue of Photographs of Manuscripts in CGIE Library (three volumes)
  • Ferdowsī’s Shāhnāma and Khamsa of Nezāmī (Facsimile Edition of the 8th Century Manuscript)
  • Twenty-Eight Discourses on: The Culture and the People of Iran, by Soltan-Ali Soltani (Sheikholeslami Behbahani)
  • Jong-e Mortezā Qolī Šāmlū
  • A General Index to the Names of the Tribes and Nomads in Iran (Past and present), by Manūčehr Sotūda, Xoršīd Moʼmenī
  • Šams al-Ḥisāb al-Faxrī
  • Index Iranicus, volumes 7 to 9, by Iran’naz Kashiyan
  • An Annotated Bibliography of Persian Works, eleven volumes

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