The Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF) recently added to Gallica digital library a rich collection of historical maps of Africa. L’Afrique en cartes includes almost a thousand maps dating from the 14th to the 20th century.
The maps collection can be accessed, browsed, and searched either by date, or by geographical location (countries or colonial entities). Maps are scanned in very high definition, allowing for thorough on-screen examination. Download (in pdf), sharing and printing are permitted, and visitors can even order a reproduction for a fee.
Note that Gallica only makes available materials published before 1948 so that they are out of copyright. The website is in French.
Etchmiadzin (Էջմիածին) magazine has been published since 1944 by the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin of the Armenian Apostolic Church. Including records of the Armenian Church, as well as Armenian studies articles, it is considered to be the continuation of another monthly journal entitled “Ararat” which was founded in 1868 by the Catholicos Gevorg IV.
All issues of Etchmiadzin have been digitized and are accessible on the journal’s website. Users can browse either by year, subject (English search terms) or author. They can also search the entire archive using the search box at the top right of the pages or the advanced search feature.
Documents are available as high definition color PDFs, and are published under the Creative Commons Attribution Licence permitting download, printing, reuse, modification, distribution, copy as long as the original authors and source are properly cited.
This digital collection of Hakkı Tarık Us periodicals is a collaborative project of the Beyazıt State Library, and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. The Hakkı Tarık Us Collection -currently housed at the Beyazıt State Library in Istanbul- includes Ottoman periodicals, books, yearbooks, almanacs and salname’s. The collection was named after its owner, Mr. Hakkı Tarık Us (1889-1956), and kept in an independent library after his passing. Between 2003 and 2010, the Beyazıt State Library, and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies proceeded to the cataloguing, digitization, and publication of 1366 periodicals.
Note that the files are in DjVu format, which is an open-source alternative to Adobe Acrobat PDF documents. In order to open them, visitors will need to download the DjVuLibre program.
The website is in English.
Digital Scriptorium (DS) is a partnership between approximately forty American Libraries, Museums, and Associations housing collections of manuscripts from the Middle-Ages and Renaissance. A list of participating institutions can be found here. Governance is ensured by an Executive Director, and a Board of Directors, and funding comes from membership dues.
Digital Scriptorum offers an online union catalog allowing the discovery of pre-modern resources scattered across the world. Thanks to a shared metadata schema, the catalogue allows the searching of all holdings. Both the basic search and the advanced search offer refining options in the left-hand-side menu such as Language or Location. Visitors will note that descriptive records include persistent URLs in order to encourage direct citation, and sometimes links to the websites and/or digital repositories of the materials’ home institutions.
Digital Scriptorum also offers a digital image repository making those pre-modern manuscripts openly accessible to scholars, students, booksellers, collectors, and the general public. Images can be used under certain restrictions which can be found on the Using the Images page.
The website is in English.
The Gunnar Jarring (1907–2002) Collection of Central Eurasia publications consists of approximately 5,000 volumes including printed books from the 19th and 20th centuries, manuscripts, catalogues, and maps. The collection also counts more than 3,000 offprints, most of which signed by their authors with dedication inscriptions to their colleague and friend, Ambassador or Professor Jarring. Besides the travelogues and related literature, linguistic treatises and dictionaries for a great number of languages can be found in the collection, as well as books on history, religion, literature and several other disciplines.
The Gunnar Jarring Central Eurasia Collection is part of a digitization project initially funded by the Swedish foundation Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (2011–2014), conducted in cooperation with the Sven Hedin Foundation at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, and at a global level with the International Dunhuang Project (IDP) which is a network coordinating databases for collections from the Eastern Silk Road. Rare and fragile manuscripts and printed matters as well as other objects, such as photos, maps and drawings in the Jarring Collection at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul (SRII) have been digitized for storage and presented on this website.
Parallel to his career as a top diplomat in the Swedish Foreign Ministry, Gunnar Jarring (1907–2002) entertained a life-long academic career devoted to the Turkic world in general and Eastern Turkestan in particular. A large part of his own private library consisted of publications on Central Eurasia, both from the region itself and from other parts of the world, not least the former Soviet Union, where Jarring was Ambassador from 1964 to 1973. All of the most well-known accounts of expeditions to Inner Asia can be found in this collection along with a great number of less known accounts, some of which are very rare and accessible at just a few or perhaps even no other libraries in the world.
So far, two parts of the collection have been digitized, and are continuously updated:
If the materials are in numerous languages, the website is in English.
SALT Research comprises a specialized library, and an archive of physical and digital sources and documents on visual practices, the built environment, social life and economic history.
Collections at SALT Research focus on the period from the late 19th century to the present day with an emphasis on Turkey -primarily Istanbul- and the geographies of the Southeast Mediterranean and Southeast Europe.
The collections include visual and textual sources and documents on the art history of Turkey post 1950, the development of architecture and design in Turkey since the beginning of the 20th century, and the transformations in society and the region from the last century of the Ottoman Empire to the Turkish Republic up until the 1990s.
SALT Research collections can be browsed and/or accessed (for digitized items) on the website:
The website interface is bilingual Turkish/English.
The Islamicate Texts Initiative (ITI) is a collaborative effort to construct the first machine-actionable corpus of premodern Islamicate texts.Led by researchers at the Aga Khan University (AKU), Universität Leipzig (UL), and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland (College Park) and an interdisciplinary advisory board of leading digital humanists and Islamic, Persian, and Arabic studies scholars, ITI aims to provide the essential textual infrastructure in Persian and Arabic for new forms of macro textual analysis and digital scholarship. ITI is composed of three different projects:
- Open Arabic Project is curated by Maxim Romanov, research fellow at Alexander von Humboldt-Lehrstul für Digital Humanities, Institut für Informatik, Universität Leipzig who has been exploring for years how modern computational techniques of text analysis can be applied to the study of premodern Arabic historical sources2. The Persian Digital Library is managed by Samar Ali Ata, Program administrative specialist and Assistant to the Director at Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the School of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland3. KITAB is led by Sarah Bowen Savant, Associate Professor at the Agha Khan University-ISMC who specializes on the cultural history of the Middle East and Iran ca. 600-1100. provides a digital tool-box and a forum for discussions about Arabic texts. Although KITAB is currently a closed community, the corpus and search tools can be used upon request.
Launched in 2002, Archnet
is the world’s largest open access architectural library focusing on Muslim societies. A shared initiative of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Archnet aims at providing easy access to scholarly articles, data and original research that can be used for teaching, scholarship, and professional work in the fields of architecture, urbanism, environmental and landscape design in the Muslim worlds. Archnet is a continually growing resource, thanks to numerous donations of historic archives and documentation. In sum, “Archnet provides a bridge for interested persons to learn how to enhance the quality of the built environment, to compensate for lack of resources for students and faculty in academic institutions, and to highlight the culture and traditions of Islam.”
Archnet is a fully searchable database offering different search options:
- the Research page allows visitors to do a text search (basic or advanced) applying geographical and time filters
- the Timeline allows to visualize “a linear outline of the history of art, architecture and urbanism in Muslim societies”
- materials grouped in collections such as Women in Architecture, Tangier Then and Now, or Hassan Fathy can be accessed directly via the Collections page
- additional resources and pedagogical tools are also made available through the Resources and Pedagogy pages.
The website is in English.
McGill Library has now subscribed to the Islamic Studies Collection of AlManhal database which gives access to thousands of electronic scholarly books and journals in Arabic. The collection is full-text searchable in English and in Arabic, and browsable by subject, by title or by publisher. Documents can be read online, listened to, downloaded in PDF, or printed. And the reader offers interesting features such as sharing, annotating, citing or highlighting the text. Check it out, and let us know what you think!
The Bülent Ecevit articles database includes 1,500 Turkish- and English-language articles written by Bülent Ecevit between 1950 and 1961, most of them published in the prominent daily paper Ulus. While much is known of Ecevit’s long career as a statesman–beginning with his service as Minister of Labor 1961 and lasting well into the 2000s–this early chapter in his life remains largely unknown. Yet the cultural commentary, art criticism, political analyses and travel writings that he produced in the 1950s constitute an extraordinarily prolific and consistent body of work on the importance of civic culture and democracy. The columns reveal the seeds of his later political thought, as well as giving a new perspective on the importance of the arts to his intellectual life.
All original research has been carried out by Sarah-Neel Smith, research director for the Ecevit digitization project, with the collaboration of SALT Research and the Rahşan Ecevit-Bülent Ecevit Foundation of Science and Art & Culture (Ankara). Over a four year period, SALT Research scanned all of Ecevit’s publicly available writings and converted them to fully searchable texts which match the originals. Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of the Foundation founding member Emrehan Halıcı, Rahşan Ecevit, and her sister Asude Aral, who facilitated this project by supplying all the missing documents, the database encompasses Ecevit’s entire corpus of writing from the 1950s. All data has been compiled with permission of Rahşan Ecevit-Bülent Ecevit Foundation of Science and Art & Culture.
Sarah-Neel Smith, research director of the Ecevit digitization project, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Art History, Theory, and Criticism at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), where she teaches modernism in a global and comparative perspective. The Ecevit online archive is the direct result of Smith’s ongoing research, begun in 2012, into Bülent Ecevit’s involvement in international debates about democracy and art after WWII. Her current book project How to Build An Art World: Art & Politics in 1950s Turkey investigates Ecevit’s place in the context of an emergent modern art world in the post-war period.