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”.
Persuasive Maps is a collection of more than 800 maps collected by P.J. Mode housed at Cornell University library. This collection holds maps dating from the 1800s to the present day and covers various geographical areas of the world.
Persuasive Cartography seeks to communicate more than geographical information and intends to influence opinion or to send a particular message. Since maps represent a subject viewpoint, cartographers needed to decide what information to include or exclude.
Maps sit somewhere on the spectrum between science and art and subjectivity and objectivity. The maps of this collated collection are chosen because they communicate messages beyond geographical information. For instance, they illustrate a whole range of human concerns from religious, political, military, commercial, moral and social.
On May 3, 2016 P.J. Mode in a presentation to The Grolier Club of New York and New York Society, gave an interesting talk entitled “Deconstructing Persuasive Cartography”, in which he elaborated on the concept and idea of Persuasive maps and discussed different examples of maps from his collection. Link to the video
Along with developments in technology and communications, the methodology of persuasive cartography has also developed. “The collection reflects a variety of persuasive tools: allegorical, satirical and pictorial mapping; selective inclusion or exclusion; unusual use of projections, color, graphics and text; and intentional deception.”
The collection can be searched or browsed by subject, posted date or the entire collection. Each item provides more information about the item such as title, subject, date, creator, size/extent, and collector’s note. The collector’s note are the result of P.J. Mode research and analysis.
Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran (WWQI) is a digital archive of materials related to the lives of women during the Qajar era, inclusive of the period immediately preceding and following the dynastic period (1786 -1925). The goal of WWQI is to address a gap in scholarship and understanding of the lives of women during the Qajar era.
“Given the dearth of available primary-source materials related to women in the Qajar era, it is not surprising that, to date, the vast majority of Qajar social histories have focused almost exclusively on the struggles, achievements, and day-to-day realities of the men of that period. This is in part a matter of expediency; while men’s writing have been easily accessible in various national archives for decades (and many have in more recent years been published in edited volumes), most women’s writings, photographs, and other personal papers have to date remained sequestered in private family hands.”
WWQI aims to open up the documented social and cultural histories of Qajar women, thus allowing for the examinations of broader patterns of life during this era.
The materials included in the archive are not only those contained in private archives and manuscripts but also published materials from the Middle Eastern Collection in Widener Library and other institutions. They consist of:
- Writings: letters, prose, poetry, travel writings, essays, periodicals, and diaries
- Legal documents: wedding contracts, dowry documents, settlements, endowments, powers of attorney, wills, sales, and other financial contracts
- Artworks: calligraphy, painting, embroidery, weaving, other handicrafts, music, and film
- Everyday objects
- Oral histories
You could begin your search either by clicking on “Collections” or on “Browse”. All roads tend to lead to the search engine, where you can refine your search with keywords and filter selection.
The website uses Elastic Search full text search engine which supports both English and Persian language-specific searches. While the results should be consistent, the results may vary slightly in terms of relevancy ranking.
The website also includes a research platform which put students and scholars in collaborative conversations, and generate innovative scholarship on the cultural history of the Qajar period focused on lives of women and issues of gender and sexuality.
The Harvard University Library (HUL) central infrastructure accommodates all image, text, and audio materials collected for this archive. All WWQI materials can be accessed through the following Harvard University Library catalogues as well: Visual Information Access (VIA) system and HOLLIS Catalog.
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).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:
“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 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.)
- 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.
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).
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.
The Center for Contemporary Islam (CCI) is part of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Cape Town. CCI was founded in 1995 in response to the Department of Religious Studies’ mission to understand and study various aspects of religion in contemporary African society. Many projects have been completed at CCI, whether independently or in collaboration with other scholars and institutes from all over the world. Projects cover a wide range of topics related to Islam and Muslim society such as: Islamic Law in Africa; Religion, Culture and Identity in post-apartheid South Africa; Muslim Publics in Africa; Islam, Gender and Sexuality; Islam and Manuscript Cultures in sub-Saharan Africa; and Muslim Intellectuals in the Lake Chad Transnational Space.
One of the CCI’s objectives is to provide a platform from which researchers can share and reflect their ideas and thoughts about Islam and Muslims. This has led to the creation of two publications both with a focus on Islam in Africa:
- The Journal for Islamic Studies (JIS) – a peer-reviewed publication accredited by the Department of Education (South Africa)
- The Annual Review of Islam in Africa (ARIA) – a forum for young and established researchers to publish their findings in a shorter and accessible format.
JIS can be accessed through McGIll Library from here.
ARIA is also accessible online from 1998 to 2016 click here.
The Memory of Modern Egypt project is an attempt to create the largest digital library of materials of cultural and historical value related to the contemporary history of Egypt, beginning with the reign of Muhammad Ali in 1805 to the end of President Sadat in 1981.
The digitized collection is composed of materials drawn from collections of various libraries. Items include materials from senior politicians and Egyptian writers, as well as materials from many institutions and private collections related to the history of modern Egypt during the past 200 years, in addition to the historical archives of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The Digital Library aspires to be the main source of historical material related to the history of Egypt, and has thus been designed in a way that allows the addition of new materials as they become available.
Searching for materials is simply a matter of clicking on the desired topic (rulers, prime ministers, events, topics or public figures). From there, icons appear on the left half of the page indicating the number of available materials for the desired topic, which can be further searched by clicking on the icons.
The timeline at the bottom of each page follows the contemporary history of Egypt beginning in 1799 and ending in 1981. This timeline helps the researcher to determine the time-frame for research. For example, when moving from the right side using the mouse until 1860 and from the left until 1900. It reduces the number of materials available to coincide with the selected 40 years. This is shown by changing the number of available materials indicated by the icons on the left side of the page, which match the chosen time-frame.
Here are some of the FAQ that may be of interest
What is the purpose of this website and who created it?
This site documents the history of modern Egypt from the rule of Muhammad Ali Pasha in 1805 until the end of the presidency of the late President Mohamed Anwar Sadat in 1981. There are numerous articles related to the history of Egypt during the past hundred and sixty-seven years. These materials include digital photographs of documents, photographs, coins, stamps, audio and video recordings, among others. The establishment of this site was a concerted effort between the International Institute for Information Studies (ISIS), a specialized research institute at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and the library’s project management, which was responsible for collecting the content of the site and passing it on to the International Institute for Information Studies On the past to be available to future generations in a digital format.
Q-Will this site be available in other languages?
Thus far, there are no plans to translate the site into other languages and a large proportion of the original material is available in Arabic.
Q-Can I upload pictures, movies, documents, etc., from your site?
Copyright is held by the contributors to this project, who gave the Library of Alexandria the right to display these materials only for public benefit. The library does not have the right to make these materials available for printing, so one cannot download or print any of the materials available on the site.
From Monday September 11th to Friday September 14th, the Islamic Studies Library had the pleasure to host an Islamic Paleography and Codicology workshop co-organized with the Institute of Islamic Studies, and the McGill Islamic Studies Students Council.
Participants had the opportunity to listen to inspiring and enlightening lectures, some of which involved the display and manipulation of manuscripts and rare books from the McGill Library and Archives collections.
Guests lectures were delivered by internationally renowned scholars in the field: Professor François Déroche from Collège de France (Paris, France) and András Riedlmayer from the Aga Khan Program Fine Arts Library at Harvard University (Cambridge, MA). Professor Déroche’s presentation focused on a research he has been conducting on three mammoth Qur’ans from the Ommeyad and Abbasid periods. András Riedlmayer’s lecture focused on the arts of illuminating and illustrating manuscripts in the Islamic World, and concluded with a fascinating section on the fake illuminated manuscripts market.
Other lectures covered various aspects of the production of manuscripts (such as writing supports, scripts, illuminations and illustrations, covers and bindings), as well as some challenges that arise when working with manuscripts (such as identification, location, attribution, etc.). And all sessions of the workshop were very well attended by members of both the McGill community and the wider community.