Islamic Manuscripts Scientific Initiative

The  Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative (ISMI) is a collaborative project between researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin (Germany) and McGill Institute of Islamic Studies in Montreal (Quebec, Canada) aiming at making available information on Islamic manuscripts in the exact sciences. As such it includes manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and other languages covering a broad range of topics like astronomy, mathematics, optics, mathematical geography, music, mechanics, etc.

Initiated in 1996, the project was over the years funded by numerous government agencies and private institutions. It is currently supported by the Canada Research Chair in the History of Science in Islamic Societies and Compute Canada.

The ISMI database gives access to authors, their works, and extant manuscript witnesses in the various fields of the sciences. links metadata with manuscripts images  When possible, digital images are made public. Designed to facilitate research on these materials, the database allows for great flexibility in cross-searching descriptive fields (author, title, place of production, dates, etc.). Alternatively, the database can be browsed by name, title, place of production but also repository, etc. Results always display as a list where items are clickable.

 When made public, scanned images display in a reader offering single page, double page or thumbnails view. Digital copies include photographs of the binding, flap, spine and page edges allowing for a better codicological understanding of the codex. “Unless otherwise noted all ISMI content can be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license: CC-BY-SA.”

Any questions and/or feedback can be sent to ismi-feedback@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de.

Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond عشق و صميميت

Love and devotion: from Persia and beyond is an online exhibit that celebrates the beauty of Persian manuscripts and the stories of human and divine love told through their pages from the early 11th century on.

Love and devotion showcases a rich selection of manuscripts from the world-renowned collection of the Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford, along with rare works from the State Library of Victoria and other Australian collections.

The exhibit is divided into four main topics: Persian poets, Stories and poems, Persia’s cultural sphere, and European interactions.

  • Persian poets includes the life and the work of significant poets like Nizami, Attar, Firdausi, Hafiz, Jami and many more.
  • Stories and poems retells epic stories and masterpieces that have been told over the centuries in the Persian world.
  • Persia’s cultural sphere explains how Persia’s strong culture of poetry and the book arts was adopted by Ottoman Turkey and Mughal India.
  • European interactions discovesr how Persian poetry intersected with European culture.

Multimedia section includes audio recordings of Persian poetry readings and video recordings of past conferences that address the theme of Love and devotion.

 

 

 

 

Education provides curriculum- based guides for exploring Persian stories and culture in the classroom., in addition to activities and resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional features are available, such as interactive map, image gallery, how to read a manuscript and glossary.

 

Persian Culture Workshops at the Redpath Museum in May & June 2019

Located on the McGill campus, the Redpath Museum is an academic unit of the University. “Its mandate is to foster understanding and appreciation of the diversity of our biological, geological, and cultural heritage through scientific research, collections-based study, and education.”

As part of its Spring programming, the Redpath Museum will be hosting two series of  Persian Culture Workshops in English designed respectively for children ages 7-9 and ages 10-12. The workshops, offered by Dr. Farshid Sadatsharifi, visiting scholar at the McGill Institute of Islamic Studies, and Mrs. Ghazaleh Ghanavizchian, Senior Library Clerk at the Islamic Studies Library of McGill University will explore “the historical events, the colorful medieval paintings and the beautiful collection of poems kept within the pages of the Persian Epic of Kings.”

The full programming is as follow:

  • May 5th: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 1 (ages 7-9)
  • May 12th: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 2 (ages 7-9)
  • June 1st: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 1 (ages 10-12)
  • June 15th: The Persian Epic of Kings – Part 2 (ages 10-12)

Please note that as space is limited, registration is required and will close a few days before the workshops.

Facebook users may follow the series there: The Persian Epic of Kings for Children ages 7 to 9 and The Persian Epic of Kings for Children ages 10 to 12.

To go further, the Islamic Studies Library collection includes a significants number of miniatures and manuscripts copies of the book Shahnameh – Epic of Kings. Some of them are accessible online in the Shahnameh by Ferdowsi digital exhibition:

For more information about Persian culture, you may visit the Islamic Studies Library of McGill University.

Islamic Heritage Project

Harvard’s Islamic Heritage Project (IHP) is a digital collection of 280 Islamic manuscripts, more than 50 maps, and 275 published texts from Harvard’s renowned library and museum collections. IHP materials date from the 10th to the 20th centuries CE. These materials are freely available to Internet users worldwide.

IHP is made possible with the generous support of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

The IHP expresses the missions of its two coordinating partners.

 

The Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program at Harvard University, which enhances Harvard’s ability to keep pace with increasing demands for knowledge and understanding of the Islamic tradition.

 

The Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, which shares the University’s intellectual wealth by developing and freely sharing digital collections on topics of contemporary concern that support teaching and learning.

Totaling over 156,000 pages, which represent the following:

Regions
  • Saudi Arabia
  • North Africa & Egypt
  • Syria, Lebanon and Palestine
  • Iran, Iraq and Turkey
  • South, Southeast, and Central Asia
Languages
  • Primarily Arabic
  • Persian, and Ottoman Turkish
  • Urdu, Chagatai, Malay and Gujarati
  • Indic languages and several Western languages
Subjects
  • Religious texts and commentaries
  • Sufism
  • History
  • Geography
  • Law
  • Sciences (astronomy, astrology, mathematics, medicine)
  • Poetry and literature
  • Rhetoric
  • Logic and philosophy
  • Calligraphy
  • Dictionaries and grammar
  • Biographies and autobiographical works.

Materials digitized for the IHP are limited to those in the public domain. In selecting materials for the Islamic Heritage Project, materials that are available in digital form elsewhere were excluded. Photographs and works of art were deemed out of scope. Microfilm was selected only in a few cases.

Following the guidelines of the Houghton Library Single-Item Manuscript Manual to produce full-level records for each manuscript. These guidelines mandate use of AACR2/APPM, MARC 21, LCNAF, LCSH, AAT, and the application of ALA-LC Romanization tables. All records are stored in centrally supported library systems using open protocols (MODS, OAI–PMH).

The Harvard Library Viewer is a new image viewing platform based on the open source Mirador project and compatible with the IIIF (International Image Interoperability Framework) standard.

Besides core page-viewing capabilities such as page-turning navigation, table of contents, full text search and print (PDF download), the Harvard Library Viewer implements frequently-requested features, including:

  • Two-page and scroll views
  • Improved page image rotation, zooming and panning
  • Comparison of IIIF-compatible documents

Additional materials may be added to the IHP over time.

Basagic Collection of Islamic Manuscripts

The Bašagic collection is a unique assembly of Bosnian and Muslim literary heritage representing Islamic manuscripts collected by Safvet Beg Bašagić – a Bosnian collector, journalist, poet, and bibliographer. Drawn from the holdings of the University library in Bratislava, these items are rare sources of world Islamic culture and offer the researcher access to a comprehensively documented history of Bosnia’s written literature in the 16th to 19th century.

دلائل الخيرات وشوارق الانوار في ذكر الصلاة على النبي المختار

http://retrobib.ulib.sk/Basagic/Normal/0395.jpg

 

This rich selection of Islamic manuscripts contain literary works (prose, poetry), scientific works (Islamic theology, law, history, philosophy, Koran sciences, traditions, Islamic mysticism), and works of various Bosnian Muslim scholars composed in Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. The uniqueness of the collection is highlighted by rare Serbian and Croatian texts written in the Arabic script. Moreover, the Bašagic collection covers the history of Bosnia under the Turkish state administration and provides a picture of the religious situation in Bosnia between the 16th to 19th centuries. Aside from their historic value, these manuscripts shed light on the Art of Islamic book making, calligraphy, illustration and miniatures.

 

After the fire at the National Library in Sarajevo in 1992, which destroyed valuable collections of Islamic documents, the Bašagic collection now preserves rare documents about Bosnian Muslim literature. This unique collection is recognised and included on UNESCO’s documentary heritage list.

 

 

The collection contains 284 volumes of manuscripts including 589 individual works: 393 Arabic, 117 Turkish and 88 Persian.

 

 

حاشية على شرح العقائد العضدية

This collection can be browsed or searched by title and item description is available for each document.

 

Islamic Law Materialized : a Corpus of Arabic Legal Documents

A Corpus of Arabic Legal Documents (CALD) is a database of edited (transcribed) primary source materials from the pre-modern period (8th-15th century). According to the creators, CALD “is the first-ever collection of scattered editions of legal documents often [provided] with improved readings compared to earlier print versions”.

CALD is supported by the European Research Council (ERC), and results from the concerted efforts of individuals from several institutions among which the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes (IRHT).

CALD includes a great variety of documents, such as sales contracts, lease contracts, acknowledgements, charity aims, court attestations, etc., available in PDF with the original Arabic text in modern spelling as well as complete bibliographical data. In addition, images of original materials and/or URL links are provided when possible.

Example of an edited document

Visitors can browse documents either by location (city) or library inventory number, or search the database for legal terms in Arabic.For greater access to CALD’s functionalities, visitors can create an account: logging in allows to cross-search Arabic terms, document types, dates and keywords.
The interface is available in French, English and Arabic.

Library of Congress’ Adbul Hamid II Digital Collections

Among the Library of Congress‘ numerous digital collections, two collections include Ottoman photographic and textual materials from the African and Middle East Division: the Abdul Hamid II collection and the Abdul Hamid Collection of books and serials gifted to the Library of Congress.

Made up of 1,819 photographs in 51 large-format albums from the late 19th century, the Abdul Hamid II collection illustrates the Ottoman Empire during the reign of Sultan Abdul-Hamid II, and  the modernization of of the Ottoman Empire. Photographs were taken by well-known Ottoman commercial photographers, Turkish military photographers and the Photographic Unit of the Imperial School of Engineering. Abdul-Hamid (1842-1918) was an avid collector and promoter of photography. He presented a copy of the survey to the Library of Congress in 1893 or 1894 and gave a very similar collection to the British Museum (now housed in the British Library).

[Tuberculosis ward of the Hasköy Hospital for Women] / Abdullah Frères (Constantinople), between 1880 and 1883.

The Abdul Hamid Collection of books and serials gifted to the Library of Congress contains over 300 original Ottoman Turkish, Persian and Arabic works as well as translations from European languages of medical, historical, or legal, works. All the volumes are bound in red Morocco with gilt edges, and richly embossed with the following inscription in English, French and Ottoman:
Gift made by H.I. M. the Sultan Abdul-Hamid II to the national library of the United States of America through the Honorable A.S. Hewitt Member of the House of Representatives A.H. 1302-1884 A.D.“.
The collection was donatedto the Library of Congress in 1884.

Medhal-i fıkıh / Abdüssettar. İstanbul : Mahmud Bey Matbaası, 1299 [1882]

Digital contents are available for download in very high resolution, and free to use or reuse as they are in the public domain.

The Book: Print and Manuscript in Western Europe, Asia and the Middle East (1450-1650)

The book: Print and Manuscript…” is a free online course offered by Harvardx on edx (which is an online learning platform founded by Harvard and MIT University). This module is about the history of the book and printing.

Books have played an important role in human history and life. At one time, books were the unique means of transmitting information and knowledge and thus shaped humanity’s understanding of the world. Books have existed in various forms and over the course of time have undergone significant changes. Developments in materials, printing techniques and methods have all affected the structure, format and availability of books.

This online course sheds light on various historical aspects of the book, such as, physical structure, and production. The course starts by exploring the history of the early printed book in Europe (1450-1650); then it expands to address printing methods in East Asia with a focus on China and its woodblock printing methods. Lastly, it explores the production of manuscripts in the Islamic world and Middle East with a focus on the “Ottoman context, where a vibrant manuscript culture remained dominant until 1800.”

 

Moreover, illustrated books, handwritten and marginal annotations in books are discussed along with examples of manuscripts that are available online in the Harvard Libraries, which are accessible for deeper investigation and studies.

 

In addition, McGill’s valuable collection of manuscripts and rare books can be explored in order to gain a better and deeper understanding of various aspects of books and manuscripts. More information on Islamic Manuscripts at McGill can be found here.

A list of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Ottoman-Turkish Manuscripts held at Islamic Studies Library Collection can also be accessed here.

Fihrist: Union Catalogue of Manuscripts from the Islamicate World

FIHRIST is an evolving union catalogue, for 11,015 Islamic and other Middle Eastern manuscripts.

The collective holdings of the contributing Libraries of the UK are of substantial intellectual and cultural significance. All contributing libraries have been selectively collecting manuscripts from all subject areas, and of various geographical origins, dating from the 7th to the 19th century CE.

“FIHRIST is a free on-line catalogue for manuscript descriptions.

FIHRIST is not a digital Library”

FIHRIST developed from a pilot-project between Oxford & Cambridge to become               a UK-wide union catalogue. The catalogue is constantly growing in volume, as libraries and research projects are contributing manuscripts descriptions.

The union catalogue provides basic and advanced search options. One can search in English, Arabic or Hebrew by using the additional Keyboard in the search box. When using advanced search, more search options and a list of tips are made available to improve the search results.

In terms of manuscript availability, “if a digital copy of a works exists on-line, a link is provided and maintained by the institution holding the manuscript. To request digital copies, or contact the institution directly, you may use the field Comment on this record at the bottom of every description.” The level of details provided in each entry varies and are changing over time as research progresses.

Sample of an Entry

The user can browse the catalogue by:

  • Classmarks (also called shelfmarks, classification number, etc.)
  • Works
  • People (personal names)
  • Subjects (basic LC subject headings)

While browsing, limiters will varies to best suit each category. For instance, if the user chooses to browse the catalog by classmark, limiters such as language, century, physical form, materials, decoration, institution or collection are made available. Whereas if the user chooses to browse by works, institution & language are the available limiters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REAL: Repository of the Library and Information Centre of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences

Documents and materials from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Library and Information Centre invaluable collections are being digitized, and made available through the Academy’s institutional repository (REAL):

  • REAL-d hosts theses submitted at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • REAL-EOD hosts books digitized by the Library and Information Centre (modern books published by the Library, books published by, or related to the Academy and its members)
  • REAL-J hosts hundreds of historical journals -scientific and popular- -most of which in Hungarian
  • REAL-MS hosts hundreds of digitized manuscript materials from the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books and the Oriental Collection
  • REAL-PhD hosts PhD thesis deposited at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and in nine other Hungarian Universities and Institutions
  • REAL-R hosts digitized rare books and manuscripts from the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books and the Oriental Collection

All collections can be either searched (simple and advanced searches) or browsed. Browsing categories, however, vary from one to another to include year of production/publication, author, title, codex, series, University, subject (Library of Congress subject headings), collection, etc.

REAL-MS is the most relevant collection to Islamic and Middle East studies as it contains more than 300 Arabic manuscripts, 155 Persian manuscripts, and 50 Turkish manuscripts. In addition, REAL-MS includes an impressive amount of famous Orientalists’ and Hungarian scholars’ personnal papers and correspondence like Ignaz Goldziher’s correspondence (over 13,000 documents).

Siddiqi, Muhammad Zubair (1925) M. Z. Siddiqi’s letter to Ignaz Goldziher. , Charlottenburg (Manuscript)

If Persian manuscripts can be previewed and/or downloaded as colour PDFs, access to most Arabic and Turkish manuscripts is for the moment “restricted to Repository staff only”. However, a copy can be requested for research purposes.

REAL interface and bibliographic descriptions are available in both Magyar and English.