Digital collection @ National Library and Archive of Iran

National library and Archive of Iran (NLAI) is located in Tehran and was launched officially in 1937 but its collection dates back 150 years.

The present National Library of Iran houses many different collections from older libraries, including many rare and valuable manuscripts such as large numbers of manuscripts, old printed books, old itineraries from European tourists, documents, rare periodicals and materials in non-print forms.

The library is an educational, research, and service institution, aiming to acquire, organize and disseminate information published or produced in Iran or in the fields of Iranology and Islamic study in other countries. NLAI provides access to part of its massive collection through the Digital Collection, which consists of various collections of Manuscripts, lithograph, dissertations, newspapers, photographs, maps, documents and printed books.

Jadaliyya

Jadaliyya is an independent electronic magazine published by the Arab Studies Institute, a not-for-profit organization based in Beirut that produces knowledge on the Arab World .

English Interface

Far from the main-stream media and common perspectives, Jadaliyya offers original insight and critical analysis rooted in local knowledge, scholarship, and advocacy. Jadaliyya is supported by a dedicated team of volunteer contributors among whom a number of well-known academics, journalists, and intellectuals like Sinan Antoon and Bassam Haddad. With a bilingual interface (EnglishArabic), and articles in Arabic, French, English, and Turkish, Jadaliyya aims to reach out to a broad audience located in Europe, North America, and the Middle East.

Arabic interface

Jadaliyya contents can be browsed from the main page by country (Egypt, Palestine, Arabian Peninsula, Syria, Turkey, Maghreb) or by category (Refugees and Migrants, Cities, Culture, Law and Conflict, Political Economy, Pedagogy, Reviews, NEWTON, Reports, Media).

Articles can also be searched using the search window next to the categories (top menu), or discovered via the Jad Navigation page featuring “Recent stories”, “Jadaliyya recommends”, and “Arab Uprisings selections”.

“Pages” menu

The Pages menu at the top left corner of pages offers a wealth of information about the journal and its contributors. For questions or further information, you may visit the Contact Us page.

The Royal Library of Denmark: Oriental digitized materials

The Oriental Collection

The Oriental collections in The Royal Library of Denmark comprise manuscripts, block prints, and printed books in languages of Asia and North Africa. A total of 5.000 items  from the 10th century forward. The collections are acquired for research in language, religion, and culture in its widest sense, including history.

Digital editions from the Oriental Collections were chosen for their beauty, rarity, calligraphy, bindings etc.

These materials are made available online and are subdivided into the following groups:

Digitized Arabic materials
  • Qur’an and other religious texts
  • Shafi’i fiqh
  • Shi’a works
  • Linguistics
  • Literature
  • History
  • Medicine and natural science
  • Magic
  • Printed books: literature

الاصول – Geometry

تصوير صور الكواكب – Astronomy

Digitized Persian materials
  • Manuscripts
  • Avesta and Pahlavi
  • Printed books

Rivayat – Ceremonial rites

Digitization of Urdu manuscripts
  • Narrative work in rhyming couplets
  • Qissai Benazir aur Badremunir or Sihr al-bayan by Mīr Ghūlam Hasan Dihlī [1727-1786 CE] (Copy from 1829 with illustrations)

Narrative work in rhyming couplets قصه بى نظير و بدر منير

Japanese manuscripts
Tibetan manuscripts
Mongolian manuscripts
Indian manuscripts
Sinhalese manuscripts
Oriental visual art

 

Availability
The manuscripts can be made available at Reading Room West, after previous arrangement (e-mail: kontaktbiblioteket@kb.dk)

Copies, photographs etc.
Requests for slides, scans and other types of reproductions should be directed to The Photographic Studio. Permission to reproduce is normally given, provided that it is for a non-commercial purpose and The Royal Library is duly credited.

Ajam Media Collective

We aim to re-imagine publishing, telling new stories of West Asia and its diasporas through essays and emerging research.

Launched in 2011, Ajam Media Collective is an online forum designed to highlight representations of West Asia within Western media.

Ajam started as a blog for graduate students with an interest in West Asia. This is the collective effort of five people from different fields, ranging from academia to filmmaking, music and journalism. By employing diverse skills and knowledge, they provide greater access to the more complex and nuanced discussions and debates within in the academy in the region, which they refer to as Ajamistan. The underlining premise is that this region, while part of the Middle East, is under-represented in Western and online media.

Ajam in Arabic means ‘otherness’ and for this reason the term ‘Ajamistan’ was coined to refer to a geographical area from Turkey in the West and to Iran, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Afghanistan and South Asia in the East. A common thread among these countries is the influence of Persianate culture and heritage present during the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal eras until the 18th to 19th centuries. In addition, since Persian was the language of culture and literature, these countries were influenced and continue to reflect various elements of Persianate culture.

 

“Ajam Media Collective is committed to uniting authors from various backgrounds and disciplines to promote diverse critical views on culture, politics, and society, emphasizing the region’s importance as a thriving cultural center whose multiple realities are too often obscured by the popular Western and global media.”

 

Therefore, this online platform focusses on covering cultural and society related matters in this region, as well as shedding light on contemporary and historical issues via informed analysis, by offering semi-scholarly resources from academics, activists and student input. Ajam also provides access to contemporary research and debates in various topics, such as, Urban Geography, Cinema, Gender Studies, literature, history and others.

Moreover, in order to offer a holistic insight and to cover the respective topics comprehensively, a diverse range of formats are used to present various topics and insights, such as podcasts, longer essays of film analysis, photo essays, blog articles and music. This vast range of information can be accessed by region as well.

The Arab Image Foundation

The Arab Image Foundation’s evolving collection contains more than 500,000 photographic objects. The work of over 250 amateur photographers and 700 professional photographers and studios, the objects date from the 1860s to the present day, and span 50 countries

Objects in the AIF collection reflect a range of genres and styles – including documentary, reportage, industrial photography, fashion photography, etc.

In 2016, the AIF embarked on a major drive to digitize its collection, which is housed in Beirut. Since then, 28,000 photographs from its collection have been digitized.

The new AIF website launched in May 2019 with the support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Beirut, the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture (AFAC) and The Ford Foundation.

  • Images of collection items (25,000 so far) are now available to access and use.
  • All website content is available to view without registering for an account. In the near future, users will be able to register to download or bookmark images.
  • The website’s fresh, user-friendly interface and improved search function.
  • An interactive online catalogue offering image tagging and commenting, and display options.
  • A lab for digital experimentation and online residencies.

AIF Collection.

Tour the Lab

Explore projects, events and more.

Engage with the AIF

  1. Guided visits of the AIF
  2. Resources, The AIF Library
  3. Internships & Volunteering
  4. Consultancy
  5. Residencies at the Arab Image Foundation

Image Use Guidelines

Image policy covers image use, privacy rights, crediting and more.

The Foundation hopes to generate critical thinking about photographic, artistic and archival practices, promoting its collection as a rich resource for research, reflection and the creation of new works, forms and ideas.

Iran and Persian Studies Dissertation

Iran and Persian Studies @ Dissertation Reviews, highlight the latest researches that have been done in the form of doctoral dissertation which are not published yet from all across the world in the field of Iranian and Persian studies.

Dissertation Reviews, provides over 1000 overviews of recently defended but unpublished doctoral dissertation in Humanities and Social Sciences. The goal is to help readers have access to and stay informed about the latest research that has been done in a wide variety of topics.

Dissertation Reviews consists of advisory board of reviewers form universities from all over the world, which contribute reviews to doctoral dissertation in various topics of Iran and Persian Studies, Islamic Studies, South Asian Studies, Southeast Asian Studies and etc.

“Each review provides a summary of the author’s main arguments, the historiographic genealogy in which the author operates, and the main source bases for his or her research. The reviews are also anticipatory, making educated assessments of how the research will advance or challenge our understanding of major issues in the field when it is revised and published in the future.”

This platform provides a great support for academic community not only by publishing non-critical reviews of the recently defended dissertation, but also authors often receive private critical reviews which helps them revising their work before publishing their books.

Dissertation Reviews is a great resource to follow the most recent research topics from all corner of the world. It can be find on social media via: Facebook and Twitter

 

 

OPenn: a primary digital collection available for everyone

OPenn contains complete sets of high-resolution archival images of cultural heritage material from the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and other institutions, along with machine-readable descriptive and technical metadata.

All materials on OPenn are in the public domain or released under Creative Commons licenses as Free Cultural Works. Materials are free to download and use under the license assigned to each document. OPenn encourages that whenever possible, to cite the website and the holding institution when material are used. Many of the manuscripts on OPenn were digitized through grants and awards from public and private donors.

The data on OPenn is intended for aggregators, digital humanists, and scholars. Many of the images here are available via more user-friendly page-turning applications on institutional websites. OPenn regularly adds new repositories and new documents in order to bring more data to the public. Check back often to see what’s new.

Manuscript descriptions

Manuscript cataloging incorporates not only the identification of the author, title, date of origin, and provenance, but also, detailed descriptions intended to aid the palaeographer, codicologist, art historian, historian, and philologist. A description of the manuscript cataloging, with technical and non-technical detail, is given in the Technical ReadMe document.

Collection ID: 0032 | Metadata type:TEI MS Or 21 al-Mulakhkhaṣ fī al-hayʼah. / الملخص في الهيئة

Collection ID: 0032 | Metadata type:TEI MS Or 21 al-Mulakhkhaṣ fī al-hayʼah. / الملخص في الهيئة

Collection ID: 0032 | Metadata type:TEI MS Or 21 al-Mulakhkhaṣ fī al-hayʼah. / الملخص في الهيئة

Contents

Documents: the images of these documents are accompanied by detailed manuscript descriptions in machine-readable TEI format.

 

Images: there are three types of images  are delivered for each manuscript element.

MS Or 21: al-Mulakhkhaṣ fī al-hayʼah. / الملخص في الهيئة (India?, between 1500 and 1840?, Not dated; text was dedicated to Ulugh Beg when first composed; a marginal note on p. 2 also gives a date of A.H. 1256 (1840).)

Repositories

An OPenn repository is a group of documents belonging to a single institutional collection, all having the same metadata format. OPenn hosts 40 repositories from different institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania several repositories.

Curated Collections

An OPenn curated collection is a group of documents belonging to one or more repositories. A curated collection allows for the grouping of items by topic, theme, or project and may not have the same metadata format. OPenn hosts 5 curated collections:

Searching

OPenn utilizes standard Google searching techniques such as exact match, combine two search using AND/OR, excluding terms using -, etc. A simple search using keyword: prayers in OPenn search will look like this:

For additional information concerning licenses and use, citation style, alternate access methods and other technical stuff are all available in the OPenn: Read Me.

Pierre de Gigord collection of photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey, 1853-1930

French businessman Pierre de Gigord compiled an important collection of Ottoman-Era photographs in the eighties while traveling in Turkey. This collection of more than 6,000 photographs taken by over 165 photographers documents the late years of the Ottoman Empire and the establishment of the Republic of Turkey. The bulk of the collection is urban sites in Constantinople (Istanbul), the Balkans, Bursa and Smyrna (Izmir) as well as sites in Greece, Egypt, Palestine, India and China. In addition to photographs, the collection includes a few pamphlets and offprints about photography in the Ottoman Empire and a small collection of photographic ephemera. Pierre de Gigord collection of photographs now housed in the Getty Research Institute was recently digitized and made openly available to the public. The digitization project prioritized images from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century (up to World War I).
A detailed finding aid available on the Getty Library website gives access to a descriptive summary, biographical and historical notes, a lengthy description of the scope and content of the collection as well as to a container list.

Individual descriptive records (see below) are very detailed showing at first sight if the material is accessible online and allowing to link directly to the digital images. They can be printed, saved, shared and cited directly from the database (export to RIS format, Bibtex, Endnote, Easybib, and Refworks).

Albums can be browsed and images viewed in a custom-made reader displaying one page/one image in the middle column, a clickable list of pages/images on the left-hand side, and a summary of the descriptive record on the right-hand side. Images can be downloaded, printed, enlarged up to actual size and turned left or right.

As in any digital collection use restrictions apply. If the website states that “digital images and files saved from this website should be suitable for most purposes”, more information is available on the Library Reproductions & Permissions page.

Islamic Painted Page

Islamic Painted Page is a huge free database of Persian, Ottoman, Arab and Mughal paintings, illuminations, decorated Qur’an pages, book bindings as well as figurative paintings in manuscripts, albums and on single pages. The Database covers examples of the painted page dating from about 700 to 1900 CE and from over 270 collections worldwide.

The database is the work of Stephen Serpell MA MSc, a graduate of Oxford who works in Ipswich, UK. The website has been made possible with support from Iran Heritage Foundation, The Islamic Manuscript Association, German Research Foundation DFG and the Centre for the Studies of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC)

Some interesting features of the Islamic Painted Page:

  • Database Hints: The database provides a toggle button show/hide DB search hints, 8 hints are displayed to facilitate the search process.

  • Searching: The database offers users several options to search: by picture description, by collection and accession number, by place and date, by original author and title, or within a publication.

Also on the homepage, users can click on Go to search form which is an advanced search, allowing them to use any combination of criteria.

Here is an example of a result page for search by picture description only.

  • Links: The database offers links to assist finding online images, but some collections are much more fully digitized than others. Links will only work for items that have been digitized.
  • Transliteration: The database offers users the option of fully-accented Library of Congress transliteration, or “Anglicised” IJMES). In many cases Arabic script versions are also included.
  • Definitions: a short list of descriptions used in entries and their meanings.
  • Resources: In MS Excel format, users can download collections list, authors and titles list and publications list. The database is still being expanded, so the lists will continue to grow.

Chester Beatty Digital Collections

Chester Beatty Digital Collections gives access to part of remarkable treasures that are housed at Chester Beatty library In Ireland. This collection is a database of digitized artworks and manuscripts from different part of the world and includes Persian, Islamic, Turkish and Arabic collection.  These invaluable collections of manuscripts was gathered by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968) one of the greatest collector of the twentieth century and a friend to Ireland.

Opening folio from a Qur’an, illuminated by Muhammad ibn Aybak in Baghdad. This full-page illumination marks the beginning of a superb Qur’an volume produced in Baghdad. It is from a thirty-volume set, now dispersed in international collections or lost. Four of the known volumes contain the signature of the renowned illuminator Muhammad ibn Aybak ibn `Abdullah, who also recorded the date and that he was working “in the City of Peace, Baghdad”. From these inscriptions, Ibn Aybak’s work schedule becomes clear: he completed volume two in April 1303, ten in February 1305, and thirteen in October 1305, producing an illuminated volume approximately every three months. Folio from a Qur’an, colours and gold on paper, illuminated frontispiece panel with geometric design of central radiating star with quarter-stars repeated in the four corners, and hasp ornament on right margin, right half of a double-page composition, illumination by Muhammad ibn Aybak, opening folio from volume 25 of a 30-volume Qur’an (volume 25 codex is in Tehran Iran Bastan Museum, 3350),

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty was a young mining engineer in New York with huge interest in collecting European, Persian manuscripts, Chinese snuff bottles and Japanese netsuke. It was in 1914 and during a family trip to Egypt that the Islamic manuscript fascinated him so he expanded his collection to include rare books, richly illustrated material, fine bindings and calligraphy. Beatty’s exceptional collection developed over his life time, it comprises of remarkable Islamic, East Asian and biblical manuscripts, important Persian, Turkish, Armenian and Western European holdings as well as Burmese, Thai and Nepalese manuscripts, and is housed in the grounds of Dublin Castle.

Manuchihr pursuing his father’s murderer Tur, from the Book of Kings (Shahnama) by Firdausi

“The Chester Beatty Library is a public charitable trust established under the will of the late Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, who left his Collections in the care of a Trust for the benefit of the Irish people.”

The Beatty’s collection is a great resource for scholars and researchers as well as a cultural attraction for visitors from Ireland and from all around the world, part of which is available online through digital collection.

In 2017, the Chester Beatty started digitizing its collection with the help of digital photographers and a team of museum experts. Each item of this collection has a catalogue record and an informative description to the item. The digital collection is a searchable database; however, it is a growing database therefore it is useful to visit it from time to time.

Two horsemen aiming their lances, from Manual on the Arts of Horsemanship (Nihayat al-su’l wa al-umniya fi ta‘allum ‘amal al-furusiyya) by al-Aqsara’i