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Using the Library

Audio video

The Library holds a collection of sound and video recordings relevant to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. It includes music, poetry, prose, drama, folk-tales and vernacular languages on discs, reels, cassette tapes and CDs. Some CDs and DVDs may be borrowed and others are available for reference only.

Finding audiovisual materials

If you know the specific details of a particular sound or video recording and you would like to see if it is available in the Library, then please check the online Library catalogue.If you just wish to see what audiovisual material is available at SOAS you can either search on the Library catalogue by keyword, using words that describe your subject plus the word video or sound depending on what you are looking for, or you can search by class mark and then limit your search by subject terms. DVDs have the classmark MDVD, while MY is the classmark for Music CDs.

Accessing audiovisual material

Some audiovisual materials have to be requested from the Issue Desk on the ground floor of the Library and are for use only in the Library. All Library members may request materials. Many CDs and DVDs are available on open access on Level E stacks 47-49.Music CDs and DVDs are classified according to regions:


Music CDs
Classmark Regions
MY3 Sub-Saharan Africa
MY4 North Africa (Alegria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia)
MY5 Near and Middle East, (incl.Balkans)
MY6 Jewish Music
MY15 South Asia
MY20 South East Asia (incl. Oceania)
MY24 East Asia incl. China(incl.Tibet, Mongolia)
MY25 Japan, Korea
MY34 Asia and Africa in General (i.e. compilation, cross region)
MY40 Other regions of the world (i.e. World music, Cuban music, Latin Music) or Non-regional

Classmark Regions
MDVD 3 Sub-Saharan Africa
MDVD 4 North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia)
MDVD 5 Near and Middle East, (incl. Israel)
MDVD 15 South Asia
MDVD 20 South East Asia (incl. Oceania)
MDVD 24 East Asia incl. China (incl. Tibet, Mongolia)
MDVD 25 Japan, Korea
MDVD 34 Asia and Africa in general (i.e. cross region)
MDVD 40 Other regions of the world

Closed Access Materials
Classmark Regions
EMY Reference Only music CDs
MDVD Reference Only DVDs

DVDs and Copyright

  • DVDs can only be used for non-commercial research, private study purposes
  • DVDs in the Library collection should not be shown to the public as this is an exclusive right of the rights holder. 
  • Most public performances of a video in a public room, whether or not a fee is charged, are an infringement of copyright. Such performances require a public performance license from the rights holder. 
  • There is an educational exemption which states that if a film is screened as part of the curriculum, a copyright licence is not required. Public performances of a video/DVD in the face-to-face classroom is an exception to the public performance right therefore it is lawful.

Viewing facilities (VHS,  Blueray, multi-regional DVD players) are available in E26.There are listening facilities (LP, CD, Cassette tape players) near the photocopying area on Level E of the Library.