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.

The Quranic Arabic Corpus

Quranic Arabic Corpus is an annotated linguistic resource which shows the Arabic grammar, syntax and morphology for each word in the Holy Quran.

This project contributes to the research of the Quran by applying natural language computing technology to analyze the Arabic text of each verse.The website offers:

  • Word by Word Quran:  maps out the syntax of the entire Quran, with analysis and translation

  • Quran Dictionary: Verb Concordance – Lemma Frequency – Morphological Search

  • English Translation: shows seven parallel translations in English: Sahih International, Pickthall, Yusuf Ali, Shakir, Muhammad Sarwar, Mohsin Khan and Arberry

  • Syntactic Treebank: Dependency Graphs – Grammar (إعراب)

  • Ontology of Concepts: uses knowledge representation to define the key concepts in the Quran, and shows the relationships between these concepts using predicate logic.

The graph is a network of 300 linked concepts with 350 relations.

    

 

 

 

 

  • Quranic Grammar: The grammar section of the website provides a set of guidelines for annotators who wish to contribute to the project.

This ambitious project was created by Kais Dukes who decided to apply his knowledge of computing to the Quran. Duke, a British computer scientist and software developer at the School of Computing, University of Leeds, is credited with the development of the Quranic Arabic Corpus and JQuranTree.

In January 2010, The Muslim Post published and interview with Duke; when he was asked about other ventures and projects, he says:

“When I started out this project, I didn’t realise how much demand there would be for an online Qur’an study tool, especially for learning the Arabic language and grammar in detail. I think now a related project we want to do is a simple Qur’an study website for beginners. The current website is aimed at medium-level Qur’an and Arabic researchers, but something from the very beginning, like the ABC of Qur’anic Arabic would a very useful related project to work, especially if we continue what we have been doing so far, and make all the information available online for free, for the benefit of all to use regardless of their backgrounds or personal opinions.”

Arabic Collections Online

Arabic Collections Online (ACO) is a publicly available digital library of public domain Arabic language content.

ACO currently provides digital access to 9,587 volumes across 6,039 subjects drawn from rich Arabic collections of distinguished research libraries. ACO contributing partners are New York University, Princeton, Cornell, Columbia, American University in Cairo, American University of Beirut and United Arab Emirates National Archives. This project aims to feature up to 23,000 volumes from the library collections of NYU and partner institutions.

ACO mission is to digitize, preserve, and provide free open access to a wide variety of Arabic language books in subjects such as literature, philosophy, law, religion, and more. Many older Arabic books are out-of-print, in fragile condition, and are otherwise rare materials that are in danger of being lost. ACO will ensure that this content will be saved digitally for future generations.

ACO can be used by students, scholars, academics, researchers, librarians, and general interest readers. All out-of-copyright books from NYU and partner institutions are selected for ACO. These titles, in turn, have been collected over centuries by subject specialists at each respective institution for their academic quality and relevance to intellectual and literary inquiry.

ACO digital library website is presented in both Arabic and English side by side. There is no need to switch between Arabic and English. Before searching the collections, it is useful to read the tips in Arabic transliteration which were made to facilitate the search.

All digital imaging meets the Federal Agencies Digital Guidelines Initiative (FADGI), which was developed with wide review and consensus by the cultural heritage community’s digital experts.

Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran Digital Archives

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
  • Photographs
  • 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.

To learn more about how the Archive generates the digital holdings, see the documentary essay by Nicole Legnani, Commissioned by the Office of the Digital Arts and Humanities at Harvard University.

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.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qatar Digital Library

Qatar Digital Library (QDL) is a growing repository for over 500,000 historical and cultural records of the Gulf and wider region. The Archives is available online and includes wide range of materials: maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualized explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.

The QDL was made possible through a Memorandum of Understanding on Partnerships between Qatar Foundation, Qatar National Library and The British National Library. The aim of this partnership is to make a world-class resource freely available for everyone, for general audience and academic researchers.

The site was launched on 27 October 2014. According to Cogapp, an industry-leaders in producing software for online archives and museums who designed and developed the software; the interface is user friendly and it is accessible across multiple devices, including mobiles, tablets and desktops. Everything is shareable on social media. All items can be zoomed to explore incredible details. It also allows the user to conduct a highly filterable search; 150 facet options are available to refine the search. The site and content meet archival standards and accessibility criteria.

The repository also include 147 articles to explore, all grouped under Articles From Our Experts which can be filtered by topic, geographical location and time period. Switching from Arabic to English is possible through the language tab located on top of the page.

“This is going to result in a whole new generation of historians, a boom in the historiography of the Gulf. This is profound; this moment right now is a milestone in the history of the region.”— Dr James Onley, Senior Lecturer in Middle Eastern History, University of Exeter
“Students, scholars – whether here, in the Gulf region or indeed anywhere on the planet – will be able to explore this material, find new learnings from it, make new connections and make new discoveries.”— Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library

 

 

 

 

Classical Persian Literature

Hi friends! A new online resource for classical Persian literature is now available for your perusal. The Text Archive of Persian Classical Literature is a project based in Osaka, Japan. Some of the notable texts available are the fable Kalilah wa Dimnah, Masnavi-ye ma’navi and the Samak-e ‘aiyar, a famous prose narrative whose only known manuscript exists in the Bodlein Library of Oxford University.

Enjoy!