Union Catalogue of Iran Manuscripts

The “Union Catalogue of Iran Manuscripts” [Fehrestgān-e Noskhe-ha-ye Khatti-ye Iran], summarized as “FANKHA”, contains all information about manuscripts in Iran published from 1305 h.s. (solar Hijri)/ 1344 A.H. (lunar Hijri) / 1926 up to 1390/1432/2011 in the form of catalogues, book-collections, journals, reviews and monographs, in addition to unpublished information to which we could access some way. “FANKHA” contains only information about those manuscripts or facsimiles which exist in Iran. All information has been extracted from more than 500 detailed or short catalogues, edited and arranged in a new format more accessible for researchers. The number of manuscripts presented in “FANKHA” amounts to more than 325.000 copies under around 100.000 titles. Although there is still a great number of manuscripts, scattered here, there, every where in Iran, unknown to public, Iran is one of the top countries in introducing the manuscripts. FANKHA indeed is the result of the hard and glorious work of at least one hundred Iranian catalogers in more than ninety years along.


The objectives

The great mass of Iranian literary treasures has provided a vast and rich field of work for Iranian catalogers _ in addition to other Iranian and non-Iranian scholars from different fields of work, amongst them, Islamologists, orientalists, textologists and a variety of researchers _ to introduce their history and civilization in a better and more effective way. The fruit of hard work of Iranian catalogers in 90 years is a great encyclopedia of different sciences related to these treasures. Unfortunately, for several reasons, for example, following different and non-standard methods in introducing the manuscripts, the use of the valuable result of their efforts for researchers in other fields has remained in a minimal level and they have not received the attention and admiration deserving it. By gathering the scattered and heterogeneous information in a unique format and standardizing the main entries, “FANKHA” tries to make them more usable and accessible for researchers. So, it finally has two objectives:

1- To transform the scattered information into an arranged collection in order to demonstrate the amount and importance of the written treasures of Iran.

2- To provide the needed information for research centers and researchers who work in this field or related fields.

The Preparation of “FANKHA”

To fulfill the objectives, we needed to define the main and added entries. So, we considered the title of book and the author’s name as two entries and tried hard to present the information under these two entries in a standard form. “FANKHA” is a work-centered union catalogue in which the title of book is the main entry and the author’s name is added entry. Considering the huge differences in registering the title of books in catalogues and resources, we spent a lot of time and effort to avoid presenting a single work by different names and under different entries as much as possible, and tried to provide the readers with helpful guides by referring other mentioned names of a book to the main title in an alphabetical order. The same amount of time and effort was spent in order to bring the author’s names into a standard form.

All information is classified in FANKHA in a way that:

1- is documentary and has definite authorities;

2- facilitates evaluation and judging;

3- regards important all produced information which may be useful in a way for some researchers;

4- represents information in a harmonious way.

If these regulations are not respected somewhere in FANKHA, the reason is that there was not complete information available in that case and descriptions of book or author were defective.

It might be worthy of notice that the process of collecting, preparing and arranging the information has taken more than a decade time with the help of the researchers of Cultural and Research Institute of Al-Javad, and is predicted that to be finished in 40 volumes and the National Library & Archives of Islamic Republic of Iran will hopefully publish the collection in two years.

Arrangement of information in “FANKHA”

All information of FANKHA is divided into two parts: bibliography and codicology.



1- the main title of book along with other names of the work;

2- its subject and language;

3- the phonetic transcription of the title come;

4- the author’s name along with the date of his birth and death;

  1. the phonetic transcription of the author’s name comes;
  2. the work previously written to which this work has kind of relation, as translation, extraction, abbreviation, commentary or appendix;
  3. the person whom, if any, the author has written this work for or has dedicated it to;
  4. the date and the place of compiling the text;
  5. the bibliography and the description of the work and its subject, table of contents, sections and chapters;
  6. a complete incipit and explicit of the work;
  7. the information about its publication;
  8. some bibliographic resources;
  9. the works written after this work which have any dependence on this work, as a commentary, appendix, translation, etc., it will be mentioned after the resources.


  1. the city and the library where the manuscript is preserved and its call number in that library;
  2. the parts of the book which exist in this copy (if the copy is not complete), the number of volume (if the book has several volumes), etc.;
  3. type of script;
  4. copyist, the date and the place of copying;
  5. a description of some other codicological features of the manuscript including its margins, editions, ornamentations, stamps, ownership comments, etc.;
  6. type of paper, type of binding, number of pages, size;
  7. the resource from which the information of the manuscript has been cited.

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