Click here to skip to content

India Office Library: Catalogues of western language books

Most western language books are now accessible through Explore the British Library. For older books from the India Office Library (published before 1983), it can be useful also to check the card catalogue available in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room (see 'card catalogue', below). The pre-1933 printed catalogues and accessions lists are also still available for consultation.

Entries only available in the card and printed catalogues will ultimately be transferred to the Explore the British Library

Most British pre-1800 books in the India Office Library collections also appear in the English Short Title Catalogue.


Card catalogue in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room

There is a card catalogue in two parts (author and subject) covering India Office Library material catalogued between 1936 and 1982. It may be worthwhile consulting a card catalogue if the item you seek:

  • does not appear on the Explore the British Library, and
  • is in the subject range of the former India Office Library, and
  • was published before 1983.

Sheaf and printed catalogues

If your search is still not successful, there is a sheaf catalogue covering material catalogued prior to 1936 at shelfmarks EPB 15-30 in the Asian and African Studies Reading Room. This catalogue is the best way of locating items held in the Tracts collection (for browsing the Tracts collection as a whole, volume-by-volume lists are found in the printed Catalogue of the Library of the India Office, vol. 1 (1888) and its first supplement (1895), continuing in a separate later compilation available from staff).

Staff in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room will be pleased to help you search for resources. They can also put you in touch with curators from the Western Language team, who are available to answer queries and assist in locating hard-to-find items.

Further information about the British Library’s full range of resources for study of the area covered by the India Office Library can be found on the pages relevant to South Asian studies and Middle East studies.   For information about journals for the study of Asia see Asia, Pacific and Africa: Periodicals and newspapers.