Al Jazeera Arabic Learning

Al Jazeera Arabic Learning is a free open educational site, launched in 2013, affiliated with the Al Jazeera Media Institute.  The site represents Al Jazeera Network’s vision in promoting communication between people and cultures. This educational site aims to teach and spread the Arabic language as a bridge for human communication and cultural understanding.

The site contains various educational materials divided into two main themes Language of the Media and General Language. These materials are available in three language levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced) to develop the basic language skills of learners (speaking, listening, reading, writing).

Users can choose their preferred language interface as it is available in English, French and Turkish.

To maximize the learning experience from this site, first time users should take the  Arabic Level Test (available on the site). The test result will guide the user in choosing the appropriate educational materials that matches his/her language level.

The site provides distinguished interactive electronic services to its visitors, including:

  • A dictionary service to search for the meanings of words and phrases

  • An Arabic vocalization service

  • Question and answer service that allows the user to send questions and receive answers.

  • Blogging service that allows teachers to spread their thoughts and opinions related to the Arabic language

  • Morphological analysis service to know the origins of words and their morphological structures.
  • Formation service for text formation and tuning.

What do Arabic Learners think of Al Jazeera Arabic Learning site?

Watch this video .

 

A manuscript from Morocco, Al-Zahrāwīsur’s 30th manuscript volume: ‘Surgery’

In the Umayyad era, during the 11th century, Al-Zahrāwī, H̱alaf ibn ‘Abbās Abū al-Qāsim, known in the west as Abulcasis (936-1013?), was a distinguished Andalusian Arabic physician. One of his most well known contribution in the field of medicine is an encyclopaedia called “Al-Taṣrīf liman ‘aǧiza ‘an al-Ta’līf”.  This masterpiece comprises of thirty books covering various medical topics, starting with general medical information, continues with theories, pharmacology, diagnosis, therapeutics and ends with surgery and instruments.

This manuscript is housed at the Bibliothèque Nationale du Royaume du Maroc (BNRM) (National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco).  Volume 30th  of this work, the manuscript about surgery, is the most important and the highlight of this document and the reason to its world significance.

What is particularly interesting about this last part of Al-Zahrāwīsur’s work is that, it is a unique heritage to humanity because of its script, antiquity, colored drawings, Andalusian calligraphy and its historical values “as it is to the best of our knowledge, the oldest in the world: AH 610/1213”.

Moreover, what makes this manuscript so exceptional and irreplaceable, is because it is considered to be the first work in the history of surgery to provide surgical explanations and instruments all illustrated in colour. All these values made this document to be a good candidate to be listed as a World Documentary Heritage on UNESCO’ Memory of the World Programme registry, in 2016 it was nominated by Morocco and was inscribed in 2017.

The values of this manuscript:

– It is devoted entirely to the subject of surgery.

– It has influenced the work of surgeons in both the East and West for several centuries.

– It is an important reference to the surgical profession.

– It is the first work in surgical history to provide illustrations and explanations of surgical instruments, many of which were invented by al-Zahrāwīsur himself.

– It has been translated into several languages.

 

“Due to its great importance, this book has, for five centuries, remained part of the surgery programmes at the Universities of Salerne and Montpellier.”

Moreover, besides its World Significance, some historical values add up to the importance of this manuscripts:

The author of the manuscript is a perfect reflection of his time. The period in which al- Zahrāwī studied medicine in Cordoba coincides with the rise of Arabic Medicine as represented by these great physicians: Ibn Sina in Isfahan, Al Baghdadi in Damascus, Ibn an Nafis and Ibn Abi Usaybia in Cairo, Ishaq Ibn Imran and Ibn Al Jazza in Kairouan and the renowned Averroes and Abulcasis (al-Zahrāwī) in Cordoba, of Tolido, Seville and Zaragoza, the last of whom rapidly distinguished himself in the field of surgery.

Related materials/sources available at McGill Library can be found here.

Consult resource: Manuscript’s Nomination Form on Memory of the World Programme.

Mizan

The Mizan project is dedicated to promoting and supporting public scholarship and research on Muslim societies with focus on topics that are important to Muslims across the globe. The project’s intent is to provide academic resources and insights to the “informed public” on subjects of contemporary relevance to the Islamic world, from an unbiased, fair and academic perspective.

The Mizan digital initiative attempts to connect emerging Islamic global civilizations, histories, texts and cultural expressions of Muslim identities with a contemporary audience. In doing so, Mizan connects the past and the future by featuring visual culture, law, classical literature and dialogues with the popular culture of modern Muslim societies. Various Mizan projects explore the history of Muslim societies and Islamic cultures while seeking to remain neutral, that is, with no preference for any sectarian perspective or to any particular orthodoxy or orthopraxy.

Part of this project’s mission is to provide an open access, bi-annual journal featuring scholarly and peer reviewed articles, called the “Journal for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations”. This journal sheds light on various aspects of the Islamic world in a thematic fashion and with its first issue in 2016.

Moreover, short features are published every two weeks on the Mizan project’s website targeting more diverse audiences from the public to scholars and researchers in various fields of Islamic Studies. Stories and various aspects of popular culture in the Islamic World are explored in the Pop section of the site covering Video & Film, Graphic Arts, Music and performances and Politics, Fashion & Identity.

The Mizan project is able to provide full and free access to all its publications due to the support of the ILEX Foundation. An interactive platform offers public engagement via a dynamic annotation tool from which to record comments or questions.

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.

Rekhta: An open access collection of sources on Urdu language & literature

Rekhta.org is a free website established by Rekhta Foundation to promote and disseminate Urdu literature with a focus on Urdu poetry. The website’s content consists of texts in Devanagari and Roman scripts as well as Urdu script.

This website provides access to a large and unique online repository of Urdu Poetry with more than 30,000 Ghazals and Nazms authored by over 2,500 Urdu poets from the last three centuries.

For the purpose of preserving rare and popular Urdu books, Rekhta initiated the digitization of Urdu literature, both poetry and prose.

Rekhta.org “has a large number of features that make it extremely user-friendly and provides the reader unparalleled convenience in the ability to browse, search and find relevant content with its customized powerful search facility. It also has the unique feature of an in-built glossary that provides the meaning of every word at just a click. In order to give the uninitiated reader a flavour of the diction and pronunciation, a large number of compositions have been recorded in the voice of poets and professionals and have been provided along with the text.”

Moreover, Rekhta has recently presented the complete works of two great Urdu Poets, Mir Taqi Mir and Mirza Ghalib, as well as all Saadat Hasan Manto’s short stories.

Another section that was added recently is Rekhti, which is Urdu Shayari composed by men employing women’s language.

The interface is available in English, Hindi and Urdu.

Arabic Literature of Africa Online: database trial

From October 2nd to 31st 2017, the McGill Library is trialing Arabic Literature of Africa Online (ALAO).

ALAO is a bio-bibliography on the Arabic manuscript tradition in the African continent, which continued well into the 20th century CE. It offers authoritative information about African authors, the texts they wrote in Arabic, the manuscripts in which these texts are found, and the locations of these manuscripts, together with bibliographical references to the literature.”

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Bibliotheca Alexandrina digital assets repository

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt) digital assets repository gives free access to more than 137 000 ebooks full-text, among which 24 000 are in Arabic. In addition, it offers limited preview (5% of a title; minimum 10 pages) of over 230 000 copyrighted books, primarily in Arabic (200 000).

Book Site 3.1.2

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina DAR book viewer provides very convenient features including:

  • Full text search within the book’s title, subject, keywords, and content
  • Highlight of search results, and the possibility to highlight, underline and stick notes
  • Single page or two pages display, and one page at a time display to facilitate the opening of a book with a slow Internet connection
  • Multilingual interface.

This project, initiated in 1995 was implemented in 2002. The shared catalogue was developed in 2011 in collaboration with other institutions such as Internet Archive, the Arab World Institute (Paris, France), the Biodiversity Heritage Library, etc.

The interface is trilingual: Arabic, English and French.

Meetings with Books Special Collections in the 21st Century. With a Tribute to Raymond Klibansky Illustrated Survey of Special Collections at McGill University Library and Archives

The holiday season is upon us and the ISL will be closed as of 3pm today only to re-open its doors on the 5th of January 2015 at 9am. This has been another successful year for the ISL in terms of attendance (over 61,700 unique visitors), collection development (close to 3,000 items added including approximately 150 reference materials) and a number of additional activities (exhibitions, talks, information sessions, etc.). It’s been a busy year! Thank you for your support and enthusiasm in the ISL’s activities!

MeetingsOn a different note, a new publication has been released entitled: “Meetings with Books: Special Collections in the 21st Century. With a Tribute to Raymond Klibansky.  Illustrated Survey of Special Collections at McGill University Library and Archives.” This collaborative effort led by Drs. Jillian Tomm and Richard Virr of McGill’s RBSC provides an enlightening survey of the magnificent collections housed in RBSC. Included in those collections are many Islamic materials inclusive of Manuscripts (the image comes from the Dalāʼil al-khayrāt, RBD A6), Calligraphy, Lithographs and Rare Books. One is able to order a physical copy through contacting Dr. Tomm but there’s also an online open access version here.

Happy Holidays from the ISL’s staff and we look forward to seeing you in 2015!