The collection is integrated into the Wells Library's research collection and consists primarily of materials in the four major vernacular languages of the area: Arabic, Turkish (modern and Ottoman), Hebrew, and Persian. It includes current serials in all languages and encompasses all the major scholarly publications related to the subject. A core, specialized reference collection of more than 200 titles is integrated into the general reference collection (see the Annotated Bibliography of Reference Sources for Arabic and Islamic Studies in the Indiana University Libraries).

Most vernacular language materials are located in the PJ (Semitic) and PK (Indo-Aryan) call number classifications for languages and literature on the 9th floor of the Wells Library and in the BP (Islam) classification on the 4th floor. IU holdings in the vernacular languages of the region are extensive, including Arabic (50,000), Modern Turkish (8,000), Ottoman Turkish (500),Hebrew (19,000), Persian (5,000), Ancient/Byzantine Greek (8,000 titles), Syriac (275), Urdu (250), and Kurdish (125).

The Middle Eastern collection is also supported by a large number of works in related fields, such as African studies, anthropology, Central Eurasian studies, fine arts, folklore, history, Jewish studies, political studies, religious studies, and sociology. These materials are primarily in English and European languages and include titles in religious studies relating to Islam, Judaism, and Biblical studies (27,000); the history of the Middle East and North Africa (16,000); and the languages and literatures of the Middle East (40,000).