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RELG394: Early Islamic History

Encyclopedias: Islam and Iranica - Books - Scholarly Articles - Citing Sources - RefWorks - Questions?

Encyclopedias: Islam and Iranica

These two scholarly encyclopedias are excellent places to begin your research. Unlike many encyclopedias, both are suitable for citing in a researched paper.

Encyclopaedia of Islam (Library website --> Databases --> History, Religion, & Philosophy --> Religion)
The EI is the most important, comprehensive, and scholarly reference resource about Islam. We have access to the 2nd edition, which is complete, and the 3rd edition, which is in progress. Use the 3rd edition if the topic you are researching is available there; otherwise, use the 2nd.

  • Consulting bibliographies in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. The EI entry on your topic will likely offer an excellent starting-point for developing a high-quality bibliography. You will need to sort through titles in different languages, often French or German, as well as some books that are dated (the first edition of the EI was completed in the early 20th century). It's worth it, though, for the sources you will find as a result of your efforts.

The EI uses abbreviated titles for periodicals and many books in its bibliography. To locate the full title:

1. Double-check which edition of the EI the article you are using comes from. It will either come from Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, or Encyclopaedia of Islam, THREE.

2. Go to the main webpage for that edition. The easiest way to find this is to look at the breadcrumbs above the search box. They will look something like this: Home > Middle East and Islamic Studies > Encyclopedia of Islam, Second Edition or THREE > etc. Click the title of the encyclopedia to get to the main page.

3. On the main page, click the "Prelims" tab underneath the alphabet.

4. Click "Periodicals" to find the full title of an abbreviated journal. Click "Abbreviations" to find the full title of an abbreviated book.

Encyclopaedia Iranica (
Peer-reviewed, multi-disciplinary Internet encyclopedia devoted to Iranian civilization. The Encyclopaedia Iranica also has good bibliographies.


**Plan ahead! You will need books from other libraries for your research, so order early to ensure you get the materials in time.**

ALiCat and I-Share
Augustana's collection of books on Islam is solid and growing, but it's not enormous. For that reason, you will definitely need I-Share for this project. Set up your I-Share account if you do not yet have one; ask a librarian for help, if necessary.

WorldCat (linked underneath the ALiCat search box on the library website)
As you search through the bibliographies of good sources (such as entries from the encyclopedias), you may find citations to useful books that are not in I-Share. If that happens, use WorldCat to place an interlibrary loan request: find the book you need, click the title in the result list, and follow the link to interlibrary loan.

  • If you do not yet have an interlibrary loan account, click "First Time Users" to set one up.
  • Order from I-Share if at all possible, because books from WorldCat take longer to arrive.

Scholarly Articles

Find the library's religion databases via this path:

  • Library website --> Databases --> History, Religion, & Philosophy --> Religion

At the top of the list of religion databases you will see a link to Ebsco Databases in Religion. This allows you to select among several of the library's religion resources, or search two or more at once.

For this class, I recommend you use ATLA Religion Index, which is the library's most important religion database.

Further up on the History, Religion, & Philosophy page you will see a list of more general databases suitable to "All Humanities." The database I recommend from this list is JSTOR, a full-text journal archive that covers a large variety of subjects. Start at the Advanced Search, where you can limit your results to particular subject areas.

A final database to consider is ITER, a database of scholarship on the Middle Ages and Renaissance (400-1700 C.E.). ITER is a bit Europe-leaning but may still lead you to useful material. In the "Refine Results" menu on the left-hand side of your results list, you may wish to select "Subject geographical area," then limit to "Asia." (ITER is not currently in the library's list of religion resources. Find ITER via this path: Library website --> Databases --> Databases A-Z.)

**Help! My article isn't available in full-text!**

An article that is not full-text in one database may be available in a different one, or in print. Follow these steps to obtain a copy of the article:

  1. On the library website, click "Journals and Magazines." Search the title of the journal (which is often labelled as the "Source" in ATLA and Philosopher's Index) in which the article you want was published. The results will tell you whether Augustana has access to the publication, what date range we have, and what format so you can obtain your article.

    If you see here that Augustana does not have access to the journal and/or the date of the journal that you need, go to step 2.

  2. On the library website, click "Interlibrary Loan." Login (or create an account if you don't yet have one), choose "Article" from the menu, and fill out the form. You can also use your interlibrary loan account to order book chapters or entire books if they are not available through I-Share.

    In some of the library's databases, including ATLA, there is a direct link to ILL within the article record.

Citing Sources

Use either Chicago Manual of Style (the notes and bibliography version) or MLA in your researched paper. Online guides to citation styles, as well as call numbers for the print style guides, may be found here:

Libarary website --> Citing Sources (under "Research Tools")


To export citations from the Encyclopaedia of Islam to RefWorks, follow these steps:

  1. Register for a "personal" account with the EI. This does not cost anything; it simply allows you to keep better track of your own unique work within the resource. There is a "Register" link under the "Tools" heading on the right-hand side of every EI page.
  2. Once you are registered and logged in, find the article you wish to export to RefWorks.
  3. Click "Export Citation" under the "Tools" heading on the right-hand side of the page.
  4. Select "Export to RefWorks."

Encyclopaedia Iranica appears not to work with RefWorks, so you will need to type those citations in manually.

For directions on how to use RefWorks with other databases, go the library's main RefWorks page, which has a link to step-by-step instructions for many of the library's most popular resources.


You are welcome to contact me with questions about your research. My email address is, and I work at the research help desk off and on during the week.

You may also request an in-depth research appointment via a new form on the library website: click "Ask a Librarian," then scroll down to the section on in-depth research help.

Or, approach any Augustana librarian for help at the research help desk: in-person, or via phone (309-794-7206), email (, text (563-223-TEXT), or the yellow "Ask a Question" box on every library page.

Page created by Stefanie Bluemle, librarian for history, religion, and philosophy. Updated September 2013.