Bibliotheca Alexandrina digital assets repository

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt) digital assets repository gives free access to more than 137 000 ebooks full-text, among which 24 000 are in Arabic. In addition, it offers limited preview (5% of a title; minimum 10 pages) of over 230 000 copyrighted books, primarily in Arabic (200 000).

Book Site 3.1.2

The Bibliotheca Alexandrina DAR book viewer provides very convenient features including:

  • Full text search within the book’s title, subject, keywords, and content
  • Highlight of search results, and the possibility to highlight, underline and stick notes
  • Single page or two pages display, and one page at a time display to facilitate the opening of a book with a slow Internet connection
  • Multilingual interface.

This project, initiated in 1995 was implemented in 2002. The shared catalogue was developed in 2011 in collaboration with other institutions such as Internet Archive, the Arab World Institute (Paris, France), the Biodiversity Heritage Library, etc.

The interface is trilingual: Arabic, English and French.

MIDEO: Miscellanies of the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Cairo

MIDEO –Miscellanies of the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Cairo– is a living periodical started in 1954 by the Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies’ first members. The IDEO was established in 1950, in Cairo, and focuses on the study of the sources of the Arab and Islamic civilization. Today, it has become a well-known research center.

MIDEO – Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies

The Miscellanies include essentially academical contributions,in French, English or Arabic, from members of the Institute and from scholars collaborating with them. The tables of contents of volumes 1-30 are available on the IDEO’s website, and volumes 31 onward are full-text available on


The call for contributions for next issue (vol. 33 / 2018) focusing on Muslim theology of religions is accessible here. Deadline for submissions is April 1st, 2017.



How to finds thesis & dissertations?

Finding thesis and dissertations can be challenging. This post provides information on how to do so.

In addition to print copies available for consultation only at the Rare Books and Special Collections library, McGill thesis and dissertations are all accessible online via both:

Home Page - ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Full Text - ProQuest

The ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Full Text database includes millions of citations to thesis and dissertations from all around the world (1861 to present), more than a million full text dissertations, and over 2.1 million titles available for purchase.

On the McGill Library website, you can find a guide on how to find thesis and dissertations by country:

Theses & dissertations McGill Library - McGill UniversityLast, the Directory of Open Access Repositories, an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories, maintains a list of OA repositories by country and organization which is incredibly handful to find full text thesis and dissertations from all over the world.

OpenDOAR - Open Access Countries and Organisations - africa

History of philosophy in the Islamic World: a collection of podcast episodes

The series of podcasts on the history of philosophy in the Islamic World is one of the collections constituting the “History of philosophy without any gaps“, a website created and maintained by Dr. Peter Adamson (Professor of philosophy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München). The website includes approximately 260 episodes of which 76 focus on a variety of topics in the history of philosophy in the Islamic World. The episodes can be browsed and accessed by period (Classical philosophy, Later antiquity) or by geographical area (the Islamic World, India).

Philosophy in the Islamic World History of Philosophy without any gapsAs described on the website, in the episodes about philosophy in the Islamic World “Peter examines the thought of Muslim, Jewish and Christian philosophers, writing in Arabic, Hebrew and Persian, from the 9th century down to modernity. Islamic theology (kalam) is also considered. Major figures covered include al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazali, Averroes, Ibn ‘Arabi, Suhrawardi, Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, and Mulla Sadra, but as always considerable attention is devoted to lesser-known figures and movements.”

The website also links to a blog, and a series of links including RSS feeds for podcast episodes in the different collections.

The website is in English.

Digital Vatican Library

Started in 2010, this massive digitization project of the Vatican Library aims to scan the entire library’s collection of manuscripts (80,000 codices), as well as other materials such as incunabula. The Vatican Library’s collection include a number of manuscripts in Arabic, Persian, and Turkish.

In August 2016, 5267 manuscripts and 658 incunabula were accessible on DigiVatLib:

Digitized Manuscripts (Vat.turc.) DigiVatLibAs explained on the “About” page, “DigiVatLib is based on the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) technology, making digital materials easily accessible and usable.”

The DigiVatLib book reader not only allows users to zoom, browse and ‘turn pages’, but also to compare digital objects from different IIIF repositories of other digital libraries. It is possible to search, and discovery the digital collections using the simple and advanced search features. The guided navigation (‘faceted search’) relies on metadata elements to refine queries. The next release of DigiVatLib will include enhanced search functions,  digital galleries, and a news section.

The interface is available in English, Italian and Japanese.

Ali Jahanshiri’s Persian grammar, vocabulary and verb conjugator

Ali Jahanshiri’s website offers resources for learning Persian in six different languages: English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Basic resources include grammar lessons, a phrasebook and vocabulary, as well as articles on Persian language. Programs for Persian language include a verb conjugator, and guidelines for setting up and using applications such as a Persian word builder or a Persian phonetic keyboard layout that can support Persian language learning.

As shown on the screenshot below, the website in multilingual:Ali Jahanshiri's web site - Persian grammar, vocabulary and verb conjugator


Codicologia: glossaires codicologiques

Codicologia is an online tool providing multilingual vocabulary for the description of manuscripts which aims to support manuscripts catalogers, critical editors, and more widely anyone interested in manuscripts. Launched in 2011, the website is the result of the merging of three existing databases:

  • Vocabulaire codicologique, an index of French terms used to describe manuscripts, with a translation in English, Italian, and Spanish, established in 2003 based on the work of Denis Muzerelle published in 1985 (Paris : Editions CEMI, 1985)
  • Lexicon, a work by Philippe Bobichon focusing on the manuscripts page layout in various linguistic and cultural traditions (Hebrew, Greek, Latin, Roman and Arabic ) published in 2008. (Paris : IRHT, 2008 ; Ædilis, Publications pédagogiques, 5)
  • المعجم الكوديكولوجي العربي, a glossary compiled by Anne-Marie Eddé (Paris1 University), Marc Geoffroy (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), Marie-Geneviève Guesdon (Bbibliothéque Nationale de France), in collaboration with Youssef Baratli

Glossaires Codicologiques

The glossary can be interrogated by Theme, browsed by Index, or fully searched. At the time of our visit, however, the Index page was not accessible and the Index feature only available via the search box located at the top right corner of each page. An additional Help tab explains in great detail how to best use Codicologia. And the Colophon page is under construction.

Gathering the works of prominent scholars in the field of manuscripts edition, this website is a wonderful tool for manuscripts specialists. The website interface is fully bilingual French-Arabic.

Ottoman History Podcast

Ottoman History Podcast is a website launched in March 2011. First aimed at trying alternative forms of academic production, it’s now become one of the largest online platform where worldwide Ottoman Empire historians have academic discussions and exchanges.

Ottoman History Podcast- Türkçe

Ottoman History Podcast provides free access to more than 250 recorded lectures and interviews, in English and in Turkish, feeding a continued historiographical conversation on history in the Ottoman Empire and its past. Here is the complete list of episodes.

In addition, Ottoman History Podcast is part of a consortium of websites including :

  • The Afternoon Map, a cartography blog posting high definition scans of historical maps with extensive descriptions
  • Stambouline, an art and architecture blog exploring the stories behind architectural and artistic remains of the Ottoman Empire
  • HAZİNE, a guide to archives and collections pertinent for the history of the Ottoman Empire

Check it out!

New Islamic & Middle East studies subject guides

Over the Summer (2016), the Islamic Studies Library is reviewing, and updating, all of the Islamic and Middle East studies subject guides, in the hope to have fully functional, relevant, and easy to navigate subject guides for the new academic year.

Digital collections - Middle East studies - Guides at McGill University

As part of this project, numerous new guides were developed and launched:

We would love if some of you were to get involved: have a look at the guides, and let us know what you think! We’ll be happy to hear any suggestions or comments you may have!

Onomasticon Arabicum-online

Onomasticon Arabicum is an online database compiling biographical information on more than 15 000 scholars and personalities from the first thousand years of the Muslim Era.Initiated in the 60s by the Institut de recherche et d’histoire des textes Section arabe (CNRS/France), this biographical dictionary was launched online between 2010 and 2012, and is regularly being improved.

Onomasticon ArabicumOA gives access to individual entries in Arabic compiled from the ancient biographical literature which is an invaluable treasure of Islamic culture. The Advanced search feature allows to interrogate separately any of the different elements of the persons’ names, dates of birth/death, and places of activity, reconstructing not only their identity, but also tracing the transmission of knowledge, and framing the historical context.

The website interface is bilingual Arabic-English.