Digital Library of the Middle East

DLME is a response to the current threats in the form of destruction, looting and illegal trade to the cultural heritage of the Middle East.

The digital Library of the Middle East aims to federate different types of cultural heritage material consisting of archives, manuscripts, museum objects, media and archeological and intangible heritage collections. The DLME implements international cultural preservation goals by providing accessibility and urging documentation and digitization; contributing to security and sustainability by encouraging inventory creation, cataloguing, documentation and digitization of collections as well as forming a community of interest that seeks collaboration among people, organization and countries who value this heritage; which in returns can help mitigate looting and the illegal resale of heritage materials.

The digital platform of the DLME brings together digital records of accessible artifacts ranging across twelve millennia. It provides metadata for each objects that describes various aspects of the artifact or document, it might include its contested meaning or significance, its history and its provenance when available. This platform is searchable, also the collection is classified based on different criteria such as Language, type, date, creator, medium and etc.The Digital Library of the Middle East is continuously developing and progressing through scholarly inputs, crowd-sourcing and new knowledge discovered through its use.

New Publication: The Dialectical Forge, by Dr. Walter Edward Young

The Dialectical Forge: Juridical disputation and the evolution of Islamic law, published in 2017, is the first monograph of Dr. Walter Young (although he has a number of other works in preparation, see below), graduate of the Institute of Islamic Studies. This book is a revised version of Dr. Young’s 2012 Ph.D. thesis, supervised by Prof. Robert Wisnovsky and Prof. Wael Hallaq, and is the 9th volume in Springer’s “Logic, argumentation & reasoning” series.

We had the occasion to ask the author a few questions regarding his monograph in a short email interview:

JM: This is a revised version of your Ph.D. thesis? What aspects have changed between the two versions?


WY
: Yes, significantly revised. Among other revisions: 

  1. It is a single volume—the dissertation’s second volume (the translation of the Ikhtilāf al-ʿIrāqiyyīn /al-ʿIrāqiyyayn) has been mostly excised;
  2. The focus throughout is maintained almost solely on juridical dialectic (no treatment of theological or philosophical dialectic, apart from Aristotle);
  3. The case studies have been expanded and all now appear with full prose analyses;
  4. A new section detailing Abū Isḥāq al-Shīrāzī’s theory of qiyās has been appended.

JM: What can you tell us about this book?

WY: The real aim of the book is to bring juridical dialectic into the limelight as a key dynamic in the shaping not only of substantive rulings (fiqh, furūʿ), but of legal theory (uṣūl al-fiqh) and dialectical theory (jadal/munāẓara) itself.

In fact, in my view, and I believe it is supported by mountains of evidence and obvious to most who consider it, the exigencies of dialectical disputation left their marks on all Islamicate intellectual projects whose scholars engaged in it. The study of the theory and practice of Islamicate dialectics should, in my view, provide essential concepts and tools for exploring, analyzing, and comprehending all such Islamic sciences which may in any way be qualified as “argumentative” (i.e., pretty much everything). It should therefore be a thriving discipline, but remains understudied—in fact practically unknown in the larger field of Islamic Studies (despite some excellent contributions in the last four decades). So a key aim of the Dialectical Forge (and pretty much all of my work) is to promote the study of Islamic dialectics, and to try to get scholars excited about it and involved in it. One way to do this, I think, is by showcasing the high level of sophistication attained by dialecticians (practitioners and theoreticians), by publishing and analyzing both the theory literature and example/historical disputations.

In this spirit of inspiring scholars to be excited about and involved in the study of Islamicate dialectics, Dr. Young has created an impressive website: the Society for the Study of Islamicate Dialectical Disputation (SSIDD). This site hosts information and resources on the study of Islamicate dialectical theories, practices and contexts, as well as a discussion forum for scholars to share ideas and sources.

JM: What drew you to this area of research?

WY: Two key factors—via the work of two esteemed advisors, mentors, and friends—drew me to the study of Islamicate dialectical disputation in general, and juristic dialectics in particular:

  1. A brilliant (and for me, career-changing) class on Islamic dialectical theory (especially the ādāb al-baḥth) conducted by Rob Wisnovsky;
  2. The teachings and publications of Wael Hallaq in the areas of legal and dialectical theory.

And I was very privileged to have both Prof. Wisnovsky and Prof. Hallaq as advisors to my dissertation.

We wish to congratulate Dr. Young on his monograph, and thank him kindly for his comments!

Other publications by Dr. Walter Edward Young

Articles:

  • “Mulāzama in Action in the Early Ādāb al-Baḥth;” Oriens 44.3-4 (2016) [special issue: Major Issues and Controversies of Arabic Logic], pp. 332-385.

Forthcoming or in preparation:

  • (critical edition and translation) On the Protocol for Dialectical Inquiry (Ādāb al-Baḥth): A Critical Edition and Parallel Translation of the Sharḥ al-Risāla al-Samarqandiyya by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Kīlānī (fl. ca. 830/1427), Prefaced by a Critical Edition and Parallel Translation of its Grundtext: the Risāla fī Ādāb al-Baḥth by Shams al-Dīn al-Samarqandī (d.722/1322); Brill (Islamicate Intellectual History) [planned submission Winter 2018]
  • (critical edition and study) Scholarly Contexts of the Early Ādāb al-Baḥth: An Intellectual Prosopography Drawn from the Margins of Quṭb al-Dīn al-Kīlānī’s Sharḥ al-Risāla al-Samarqandiyya, with Critical Editions of its Common Glosses; Brill (Islamicate Intellectual History) [planned submission Summer 2018]
  • (monograph) The Jadal Primer: An Introduction to Classical Sunnī Juridical Dialectic [in preparation, pending funding]
  • (article) “Al-Samarqandī’s Third Mas’ala: Juridical Dialectic Governed by the Ādāb al-Baḥth;” Oriens (Spring 2018; special issue: Uṣūl and Falsafa in Post-Classical Islamic Scholarship)
  • (article) “Have You Considered (A-ra’ayta)? Don’t You See/Opine (A-lā Tarā)? A Working Typology of Ra’ā Formulae in Early Islamic Juridical Disputation;” in Y. Papadogiannakis and B. Roggema, eds., Patterns of Argumentation and Exchange of Ideas in Late Antiquity and Early Islam; Routledge (Centre for Hellenic Studies)

The Dialectal Forge is available through McGill Libraries, as well as through Amazon.ca and Springer.

Visualizing Palestine

Launched in 2012, Visualizing Palestine is the first project of Visualizing Impact (VI), an independent, non-profit “laboratory for innovation” (…) aiming at: “breaking new grounds in socially aware data science, technology, and design” and “mainstreaming marginalized perspectives on critical social issues.”

Visualizing Palestine publishes data-driven visual tools, in Arabic and English, providing context and analysis to mainstream coverage of news related to Palestine. The multidisciplinary team (scholars, designers, technologists, and communications specialists) collaborates with both individuals (civil society actors, advisors) and organizations to support their impact in advocating for justice and equality. In addition, their by-weekly infographics are heavily used for teaching in higher education, and exhibitions. Last, Visualizing Palestine regularly facilitates storytelling workshops (in Beirut, Lebanon), and can provide student groups with a VP Toolkit to help raise awareness on campus.

Visualizing Palestine is co-funded by individual benefactors, grants and sponsors, as well as by crowdfunding efforts.

Ganjoor, collection of Persian literary works

Ganjoor is an online open access collection of Persian literature. This collection provides access to a diverse and extensive collection of the literary works of Persian poets. Ganjoor is the result of a collective effort whose purpose is to gather thousands of treasures from classical and modern Persian literature and to provide free access to this valuable collection. All the provided information in this website is in Persian.

In addition to the main collection, Ganjoor offers several other interesting features such as: Library, Statistics, Music Index, Random line of poetry, and more.

Lists of poets and their literary works are available in the Library, and Statistics sections.

The Music Index section lists poems that were used in different musical compositions or songs. In this section, the list of poems is categorized according to the artist or band’s name.

Ganjoor is even accessible on Facebook, where you can listen to famous poems read by native Persian speakers!

A Bali-inspired Musical Suggestion

On this sunny Friday afternoon, we would like to offer you a musical suggestion for your listening pleasure: Colin McPhee’s Balinese Ceremonial Music for Two Pianos

Colin McPhee was a Canadian composer, pianist, writer and ethnomusicologist born in Montreal in 1900. He spent several years, from 1931-1938, in Indonesia, mostly Bali and Java studying the art and music from these regions; the tones and rhythms of gamelan ensembles inevitably influenced many of his compositions. McPhee wrote a number of books on his experience in Indonesia, including the hefty Music in Bali: A study in form and instrumental organization in Balinese orchestral music.

In this YouTube recording, Colin McPhee performs his piece on piano accompanied by the renowned British composer, Benjamin Britten. Another recording of this piece, as well as other compositions by McPhee, is available through McGill Libraries on CD, and by online streaming: Tabuh-Tabuhun and Symphony No.2, Balinese Ceremonial Music.

Image result for balinese gamelan

Balinese gamelan instruments, from http://www.soniccouture.com

You can read more on the music of Southeast Asia in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, v.4, and on Colin McPhee here, or on these sites:

And for books on gamelan, music and ensembles, see here. For information on l’Université de Montréal’s Gamelan ensemble, Giri Kedaton:

Majallat al-Adab Archives

The literary and cultural journal al-Adab was founded in 1953 by the famous Lebanese novelist, short-stories writer, journalist and translator Suhayl Idris (1925-2008). A monthly periodical, Majallat al-Adab is still considered one of the leading literary journals.Since 2015, al-Adab has been published electronically. But back issues (1953-2012) are now also available online, on the al-Adab Archives website. Issues can be browsed by date of publication, and articles can be individually downloaded and saved as PDF, or printed.

Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative

The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative (MEPPI), a strategic multi-year program, launched in 2009 aiming to raise awareness about the value and importance of preservation of the region’s photographic heritage. Since then, it developed into a multi-faceted initiative expanding over research and capacity building objectives.

The Middle East Photograph Preservation Initiative consist of 3 parts:

  • MEPPI courses
    Since the beginning of this program, three introductory photograph preservation courses have been held to train collection personnel in the region. Up until now, more than 60 professionals from institutional and private collections in the Middle East benefited from the training. Topics covered are as follow: an overview of the technical history of photography and photographic processes; an introduction to the history of photography; digitization fundamentals; emergency preparedness and response; preservation planning and the care, handling and storage of photographic materials
  • MEPPI survey
    The MEPPI survey focus is on identifying signification photograph collection in the Middle East and North Africa in order to develop an online directory of collections
  • MEPPI Symposium
    Between 2015 and 2017, MEPPI focused on the long-term preservation of photographs in the Middle East. Intensive workshops, and a symposium were held in 2017 on the photographic legacy of the Middle East and North Africa.

Digital South Asia Library

The Digital South Asia Library makes openly accessible digital materials for reference and research on South Asia. DSAL is a collaborative program of the University of Chicago and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL), built upon a two-year pilot project funded by the Association of Research Libraries’ Global Resources Program and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Participants in DSAL include leading American Universities, CRL, the South Asia Microform Project (SAMP), the Committee on South Asian Libraries and Documentation, the Association for Asian Studies, the Library of Congress, the Asia Society, the British Library, the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, MOZHI in India, the Sundarayya Vignana Kendram in India, Madan Puraskar Pustakalaya in Nepal, and other institutions in South Asia. More details on the program are outlined in the grant proposal available in PDF or HTML.
The Digital South Asia Library can be searched and/or browsed according to the following categories:

  • Scholarly reference books with a link to full text dictionaries at Digital Dictionaries of South Asia (DDSA)
  • Images organized by the original collections
  • Maps ranging from historical to topographic
  • Statistical data from the colonial period through the present, available in a variety of formats
  • Electronic catalogs and finding aids for dispersed resources and collections
  • Periodical indexes and document delivery mechanisms
  • Pedagogical books, general scholarly titles, journals and newspapers
  • Other Internet resources.

A selection of Arabic Dictionaries Applications

Arabic Almanac makes Lane’s Lexicon Arabic dictionary accessible on the App store for iOS devices. Words included in all eight volumes can be searched by looking up for the root letter of the word. This dictionary gives a deeper understanding of a word by providing the meaning of the word, the context with which that meaning is as well as some examples of its uses in literature. This dictionary can be searched either in Arabic, or in Latin characters. Currently, the application only supports Arabic-English translation, however, new versions should include more functionalities.

Al-Mawrid Al-Qareeb is an Arabic-English and English-Arabic Dictionary accessible on the App store for iOS devices and on the Google store for Android devices. With over 33,000 words and many related appendices, al-Mawrid is one of the most advanced dictionaries ever published in the Arab world. The Arabic-English dictionary counts 13,000 entries, the English-Arabic dictionary 20,000 entries, and the English sound module includes 20,000 entries of pronunciation by native speakers. This powerful application offers a variety of convenient search methods (look up for words while reading; full text search; list of similar words in case of misspelling; search for anagrams, etc.), and of useful learning features (English audio pronunciation by native speakers; full linguistic information on words;table of English irregular verbs, etc.)

Almaany.com  is an Arabic to Arabic Dictionary only available on the App Store for iOS devices. This application, designed primarily for offline use, contains summarized results. With active internet connections, search can be broadband to online website.

Özyeğin Üniversitesi Tefrika Roman Tarihi Veri Tabanı

eResearch@Ozyegin is the institutional repository of Ozyegin University. Established in 2010, it now (November 2017) includes approximately 2,500 articles, proceedings, conference papers, book chapters, theses, lecture notes and more written by authors (faculty, staff, students or groups) affiliated to Ozyegin University between 1970 and 2017. Content can be browse by date, author, title, subject, document type, as well as by Faculty.

Results display as a list from where document can be opened as PDF or in their original published form (i.e. link to journal in which the article was originally published). The right column in the results list indicated the number of citations in Scopus, one of the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature.

On the technical side, eResearch@Ozyegin “runs on Dspace, open source software originally developed by MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technolog) in the USA. It is compatible with OAI-PMH (Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). All items deposited in eResearch@Ozyegin is indexed by Google Scholar, OpenDOAR and ROAR, harvested by OpenAIRE. It uses Dublin Core as metadata elements and the metadata is OpenAIRE and DRIVER compatible.”

The interface is available in both Turkish and English.