This volume contains descriptions of 167 titles (339 volumes) of Ismaili literature. It is thus the largest single collection of Ismaili literature in the West available to researchers.
The catalogue is arranged alphabetically by title, given in a transliterated form, with a number of indexes (some in the vernacular) in order to facilitate its use and allow for different approaches to it. The entries include beginnings (incipits) of manuscripts in the Arabic script. This feature constitutes a valuable addition to the information contained in the Ismaili bibliographies of W. Ivanow and I.K. Poonawala.
Two other notable features of this catalogue are an introduction, which deals with the codicological and palaeographical aspects of the collection, and thirty-six halftone illustrations of handwriting, taken from dated codices and reproduced next, or very close, to the relevant entries.
Title sequence (A – Z)
e. Concordance of shelf and catalogue numbers
f. Concordance of dates and catalogue numbers
h. Place names
j. Blind stamps
Born in a small town in the south of Poland, A. Gacek specialised in Arabic Philology at the Jagiellonian University of Kraków. After having been awarded his Post-Graduate Diploma in Librarianship at The Polytechnic of North London in 1977, he worked at The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, on two large collections of Arabic manuscripts.
Since 1982 he has occupied the post of the Librarian of The Institute of Ismaili Studies. His recent publications are: Catalogue of the Arabic Manuscripts at the Library of The School of Oriental and African Studies (1981, repr. with corrections 1985), ‘A note on a Maghribi manuscript at The School of Oriental and African Studies, London”, The Maghreb Review (1984) and “Library resources at The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London’, British Society for Middle Eastern Studies Bulletin (1984).