At least two incredible online resources were launched this week: the Arabic Collections Online and the Qatar Digital Library.
Arabic Collections Online (ACO) is an open access digital library of public domain Arabic language content. Funded by New York University Abu Dhabi, this mass digitization project aims to expose up to 15,000 volumes from NYU and partner institutions over a period of five years. NYU and the partner institutions are contributing all types of material—literature, business, science, and more—from their Arabic language collections. ACO will provide digital access to printed books drawn from rich Arabic collections of prominent libraries.
The Qatar Digital Library (QDL) has been developed as part of a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on Partnerships between the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library and The British Library. A wide range of content from the British Library’s collections (more specifically their colonial archives related to the Gulf Region) have been digitized since 2012, reaching a total of 500,000 images that will be available to browse and search by the end of 2014.
It is making a vast archive featuring the cultural and historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region freely available online for the first time. It includes archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.