“The mission is thus an open archive dedicated to long-term preservation and to liberation: it is a reliable counter-archive of the Palestinian people.”
The archive is being preserved at The Birzeit University. Received documents from organizational collections, private family documents and archival materials collected by individuals, are organized, categorized, and uploaded to the online archive.
The archived materials will assist interested persons and researchers in understanding Palestinian society and the lives of Palestinians.
What distinguishes BZUPAP is the chronological, spatial and topical diversity of its holdings. Documents collected include the most diverse types of written and audiovisual materials (texts, photographs, videos, recordings)
With a clear indication regarding the donor and the source, the archive primary documents consist of: 17000 documents are already uploaded on the website, 30000 documents are in progress of uploading, 7000 documents are being translated from the Ottoman language.
As for the Special documents, there are newspapers since 1909, Old post cards, documents from the Arab National Committee since 1948 and Ottoman documents in Arabic
The user-friendly website provides easy access to its Arabic and English language materials. The digital archive is an essential source for the history, politics and culture of the Palestinian people.
Syrian Prints Archive is an independent documentary initiative “without any political, partisan or religious affiliations”, that provides archiving and storing services for Syrian print media issued since the outbreak of the March 2011 Revolution, regardless of content or orientations. Between March 2011 and the end of 2014, Syrian media witnessed a significance rise in the number of print publications. To learn more visit the site.
The Directory of Free Arab Journals (DFAJ)
The Directory of Free Arab Journals (DFAJ) is an initiative of Middle Eastern Open Access activists aiming at producing a directory of all open access (OA) scientific journals produced in Arab countries. DFAJ currently includes 250 journals from 172 publishers in 17 Arab countries. The directory is published under a CC-BY-NC license. Initially launched in 2013, a new version was released in March 2017. To learn more visit the site.
Archives of Arabic cultural and literary journals
This archive aims to preserve Arabic literature and cultural heritage as well as serving research and educational purposes. This digital archives of Arabic cultural and literary journals offers Open Access to no less than 208 journals, among which some of the most significant periodicals of the 19th-20th centuries from Egypt (al-Hilal, al-Manar, al-Muqtataf, etc.), Palestine (al-Karmal), Syria (Journal of the Arabic Academy of Sciences), or Tunisia (al-Fikr). To learn more visit the site.
Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers
The Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers collection is part of East View’s Global Press Archive® (GPA) program. Open Access to this collection is made possible through the generous support of the Center for Research Libraries and its member institutions.. The collection includes publications ranging from across a dynamic region. A broad overview on important historic events from 1870 to 2019. To learn more visit the site.
The Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers collection is part of East View’s Global Press Archive® (GPA) program. Open Access to this collection is made possible through the generous support of the Center for Research Libraries and its member institutions.
“Supporting Area Studies and Advancing Digital Humanities”
“The East View Global Press Archive® (GPA) is a program that embraces an unprecedented variety of global news publications, presented in full-image and full-text format optimized for scholarly use… GPA is the result of a landmark initiative of Stanford Libraries and the Hoover Institution Library & Archives to digitally preserve and make more accessible thousands of original print newspaper publications collected by the Hoover Institution and now housed by Stanford Libraries”
The Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers collection includes publications ranging from across a dynamic region. A broad overview on important historic events from 1870 to 2019.
Total Publications 84
Total Pages 896,018
Total Issues 81,254
The collection comprises out-of-copyright, orphaned content, mostly in Arabic, but also includes key titles in English and French. The platform can be viewed in Arabic or in English. The collection offers a unique opportunity to researchers to access content, never been digitized or available as open access material, from the Middle East and North Africa.
Browsing the collection
The Middle Eastern and North African Newspapers can be browsed in 3 different ways:
Title navigation: Listing all the 48 titles alphabetically including the country, city, language and date range availability.
Date navigation: An interactive calendar where you can select a specific date. A list of publication that correspond to the selected date, if available, will display.
Map navigation: An interactive map displaying pins of newspaper publications based on the geographic location.
On the home page there is a cool feature, a random selections of publications that was published on a day that matches today’s date.
Searching the collection
You can conduct a simple search using keywords or an exact phrase using quotation marks around your search terms. The Boolean operators AND, OR and NOT help in refining the search results. Also, there is an advanced search option that allows you to limit and narrow down your search results.
Searching the collection can be performed using Arabic, English or French. The keyboard button displays Arabic letters and it is quite useful to those with English keyboard only. It is worthwhile searching a chosen keyword in various languages, as results may vary.
Access to East View Global Press Archive® databases is provided solely for academic and research purposes. To learn more about the use of the materials, citation guide and copyright click here
Beyond words: dancing letters in Islamic calligraphy was on display in the Islamic Studies Library (ISL) from February 8th to March 13th, 2020. The library closure and service disruptions, caused by Covid-19, made the exhibition inaccessible to our students, professors and visitors. In this blog post, we will provide an overview of the exhibition, featured calligraphers, the ISL calligraphy panels collection and two events organized in conjunction with the exhibition.
Arabic calligraphy is one of the most recognizable forms of Islamic Art. While originally used to preserve the Word of God (Qur’an), Arabic calligraphy also appeared in other written texts (philosophy, literature and poetry). It further developed to represent figurative depictions and decorations that were uncommon in Islamic Art. Distinct scripts and styles like Kufic, Naskh, Raqaa, Diwani, Thuluth or Nastaliq flourished across the Muslim world often unified by specific common principles. Major elements of the Arabic script such as fluid lines and ornamentation offer contemporary calligraphers the flexibility to create a free-form twist on classic techniques, repositioning calligraphy for today’s context.
This exhibition brought together a new wave of calligraphy artists from various corners of the world united by the art of writing and the desire to break through barriers, tell a story and reach other cultures.
Massoudy chooses a word from the chosen quote and recreates it in much larger dimensions, with its straight lines and its curves and a new geometrical structure. Then, he writes the whole sentence underneath or on the side.
He is the great master of Calligraphy, praiser of the divine word. All the routes of the Mediterranean and the Middle East meet in the qalam of Ghani Alani, without contrast. His writing is not of dualities, but of harmony.
The master calligrapher, who has made the ancient Arabic tradition evolve from its religious roots, is creating deeply intellectual work that reflects his interest in modern poetry and literature, alongside Christian and Sufi philosophy.
Mahdaoui’s work inspired by Arabic calligraphy is remarkably innovative as the aesthetic dimension of letters brings forth a sense of the poetic, highly rhythmic, arresting us with its rich abstracts compositions.
Karaduman considers calligraphy art as a drawing science in aesthetical terms and conducts research and examinations in this field. He completed approximately 50 Holy Korans, verses and hilye-i sharifs by renovating, revising and imitating artworks of which some belong to calligraphy masters.
Zenderoudi has a superb style arising from juxtaposition and simultaneous use of freedom of Western modern art and the power of decorative and visual elements of the Oriental and Iranian traditions.
ISL Calligraphy Collection
A wealth of Arabic/Islamic calligraphy titles were on display and were available for browsing. Now, these titles can be can be found via the McGill library catalog. In addition to the circulating collection, the McGill Islamic Studies Library has a permanent digital exhibit Arabic/Islamic Calligraphy displaying a selection of dry black and white calligraphy and colorful illuminated pieces dating from the 10th to the 19th century.
The ISL hosted two events following the launch of Beyond words: dancing letters in Islamic calligraphy exhibit.
Calligraphy workshop with Mehdi Sharifi
Mehdi Sharifi is a trained calligrapher who masters a number of calligraphic methods. In January 2008, he was awarded the Best Momtaz Degree from the Iranian Calligraphers Association. In the workshop, he exhibited some of his artistic works, and demonstrated different methods for writing Nastaliq. The workshop was well attended. Participants had the chance to see firsthand various calligraphy tools and papers used in Calligraphy art. Almost everyone left with a souvenir from the calligrapher ( individual name written in calligraphic style).
A presentation by Dr. Hela Zahar, entitled Modulations du calligraffiti arabe & tensions arabo-occidentales
Dr. Hela Zahar is the director of the Lavallois Centre for Higher Education in Digital Arts and Creative Economics. Multidisciplinary, Zahar is a practitioner in calligraphy and digital arts, a teacher and researcher in urban and digital culture. Recipient of the INRS “Best Doctoral Thesis” Award (2018) and the “Cust of the Jury” Award – 5th Gala of Excellence, Maghreb Congress in Quebec (CMQ): The Way of Success (2017).
This fascinating and original talk was based on Dr Zahar’s PhD thesis defended in 2018 at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (Université du Québec, Montréal). Her thesis analyzed “the political implications (…) of Arabic calligraffiti, a form of urban art that is inspired both by graffiti and Arabic calligraphy” in both Arab and Western cities. After conducting a digital and physical ethnography of calligraffiti that developed in Montreal, Paris, and some Tunisian cities between 2008 and 2017, Zahar examined the “various conflicts and power relations, such as Arab-Western tensions in the visual culture of Western cities, tensions around the religious role of Islamic calligraphy in Arab cities, tensions around urban art in all cities, and around the various digital spaces where these works are disseminated.”
The Beyond words: dancing letters in Islamic calligraphy exhibition was curated by Anaïs Salamon (Head Librarian, ISL) and Senior Library Assistants, Ghazaleh Ghanavizchian and Samah Kasha.
Ten years ago, the first items from the Islamic Studies Library (ISL) collection located in Rare Books and Special Collections (RBSC) were digitized. Over the years, the Islamic Studies Library and Digital Initiatives (DI) have developed a strong link, and the history of this decade-long collaboration is worth sharing with our community. This continuous teamwork resulted in launching multiple digital exhibitions, an Internet Archive ISL Collection and various research projects.
Digital Exhibitions and Collections
The first collaboration, Beautiful calligraphy ensures entrance to Paradise, started with a physical display in the Islamic Studies Library from November 1st, 2010 to March 31st 2011. The Calligraphy panels came from McGill University’s Rare Books and Special Collections and the Islamic Studies Library holdings located in RBSC. The physical exhibition included sixteen items representing various styles of Arabic calligraphy: from dry black and white calligraphy of the 10th century to colorful illuminated pieces of the 19th century, all of which recounted a brief history of Arabic/Islamic calligraphy. The Digital Exhibit: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/islamic_calligraphy/index.php.
The second collaboration, The Shahnameh by Ferdowsi, also started as a physical display in the Islamic Studies Library, from April 1st to October 31st, 2011. Here again, the physical exhibition included sixteen Shahnameh folios coming from McGill University’s Rare Books and Special Collections and the Islamic Studies Library holdings located in RBSC. Shahnameh by Ferdowsi offered the visitor an opportunity to experience some of the heroes and villains of this remarkable epic poem and to gather a diverse overview of this celebrated text as well as the magnificence of Persian painting. The Digital Exhibit: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/shahnameh/index.php.
The third collaboration, Arabic Lithographed Books, drew upon selections from Arabic lithographed books. The collection was on display in the Islamic Studies Library between February 1st and September 30th 2014, and later formed the basis for the Islamic Lithographs digital collection. Since then, the digitization of Islamic lithographs at McGill has become a work in progress, and the resulting digital collection a continually updated resource. This Collection includes many examples of lithographed books in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu, dated from the eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century showcasing different calligraphic styles, graphic designs, and publishing houses from the Muslim world and Europe. Items from the Islamic Lithographs digital collection were the first to be uploaded to the Islamic Studies Library Internet Archives collection. The Digital Exhibit: http://digital.library.mcgill.ca/islamic_lithographs/.
Exhibits photo credit: Klaus Fiedler
Since 2014, an increasing number of digitized materials from the ISL’s various collections have become accessible on Internet Archive, a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more. Digital Initiatives uploads digitized materials twice a year. This unique collaboration began with 395 items and today includes digital copies of well over 1279 Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish and Urdu manuscripts, lithographs and rare books from the ISL collection. The materials can be viewed and browsed using the Internet Archive book reader, or downloaded in PDF format. The RSS feed feature of the Internet Archive website offers the opportunity to stay informed of new additions to our collection. Internet Archives Islamic Studies Collection : https://archive.org/details/mcgilluniversityislamicstudies
On demand digitization
Among the first to use this service were two faculty members from the Institute of Islamic studies; Professors F. Jamil Ragep and Robert Wisnovsky selected around 30 manuscripts from the ISL collection and the Osler Library of the History of Medicine collection to be digitized for a joint research project. (Rational Science in Islamic (RASI) project: https://islamsci.mcgill.ca/RASI/). In general, items for personal or scholarly use can be submitted for approval to be digitized by consulting McGill University’s on demand digitization service. Digitized items become available online in full in accordance with Canadian Copyright Law.
Behind the scenes: Digitization at the Library (Video)
A short video created in December 2019 highlights the meticulous work that takes place at Digitization and Digital Initiatives. The Library’s digitization service captures and provides access to millions of pages and objects from the vast and varied collections of McGill Libraries. This service is now even more important and essential during this unprecedented period of remote instruction and library online services.
Blog post editors: Anaïs Salamon, Head Librarian, Dr. Charles Fletcher, Head Library Clerk, and Greg Houston, Digital Initiatives
The Afternoon Map is a cartography blog brought to you by Ottoman History Podcast
“We firmly believe that every book needs more maps, and would be delighted if these maps could be useful toward that end”
The Afternoon Map
The blog is dedicated to presenting quality Ottoman/Turkish/Middle Eastern/Balkan maps with a maximum pixel-to-word ratio. A range of original, visually appealing and intellectually engaging maps harvested from archives and libraries around the world.
The afternoon Map will appeal to history buffs, travelers and map enthusiasts. Each map is provided with some background and analysis when available. Historians and other researchers will find these maps useful for their work.
“The Afternoon Map is a member of MENAlab, a constellation of independent internet destinations focused on the history, society, and culture of the Middle East and North Africa”
The Afternoon Map
The blog uses content generated by scholars and researchers from a variety of disciplines. The afternoon Map is open access and free from advertisement.
Under Afternoon Map’s Comprehensive Map List, one can find the following:
Blog posts in this section varies in topics (geographical, touristic, ethnic, etc.), in dates (as old as 1874) and in length (from one map to 14 maps)
Home Made Maps
In this section, things get really interesting! Treasure map, food maps, Folk song map, etc.
Topics in this section, not necessary related to maps, but it is worthwhile exploring!
A list of published articles authored and/or co-authored by Nick Danforth on various media platforms and academic journals. There is a couple of articles that are marked unpublished.
Provide a link to Ottoman History Podcast, a podcast about the Ottoman Empire, the modern Middle East, and the Islamic world.
In this section, blog posts are randomly displayed. This may appeal to those who like the surprise factor.
The project compiles all the material pertaining to the late President Anwar El-Sadat in a digital archive documenting an important epoch in the discourse of Egyptian history.
The Archive provides information on the life of late President Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat to historians, politicians, and researchers who are interested in analyzing and studying one of the most important transitional periods in Egyptian history.
The Archive is divided into three main areas and each area is further subdivided
In this section, one can explore facts and archival materials related to the early life of El-Sadat, his political life, after 23 July Revolution, his presidency, donated collections and his famous quotes. An internal link is made available to El-Sadat’s Museum that is housed in Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
In addition to the above, El-Sadat’s life includes books and articles that he wrote during the revolution and after he became a president.
This section is divided into six collections:
The speech collection contains 1116 letters, words and text statements by President Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat.
The photo collection and for the first time, this number of rare El-Sadat related are displayed on the Internet, close to 20,000 photos
The video collection contains more than 317 videos, in which President El-Sadat appears, ranging from talk shows, news reports and documentaries.
The documents collection includes more than 970 Egyptian and American documents, some of which are rare documents in addition to documents in the President’s handwriting.
The audio collection is compilation of audios by President El-Sadat. This collection contains 44 audio tracks.
The press collection contains 7814 press items, ranging from news, reportage and articles that goes back to the period of the late President El-Sadat
Televised interviews, this section is devoted to all television interviews and letters available of President Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat in an attempt to highlight how he dealt with the Arab and Western media and how he approached and handled its challenges.
The project team has collected most of the book covers that talked about the era of President Anwar El-Sadat as an assistant to the researcher to reach a better understanding of El- Sadat’s story in both its human and political aspects.
Anwar El-Sadat Digital Archive materials were compiled from different sources, such as news agencies, museums, various other institutions, and a collection graciously granted by the late President’s family. The database was published on the Internet with tools and features that facilitate easy navigation through the website. It is important to note that the archive is available only in Arabic.
The digital archive also enables users and researchers to perform comprehensive searches among the different sections and categories of data.
The Palestine Poster Project Archives (PPPA) was created by Dan Walsh for a master thesis project at Georgetown University, stating that: “It is a work-in-progress.”
The Palestine poster genre dates back to around 1900 and, incredibly, more Palestine posters are designed, printed and distributed today than ever before. Unlike most of the political art genres of the twentieth century such as those of revolutionary Cuba and the former Soviet Union, which have either died off, been abandoned, or become mere artifacts, the Palestine poster genre continues to evolve. Moreover, the emergence of the Internet has exponentially expanded the genre’s network of creative contributors and amplified the public conversation about contemporary Palestine.
Dan Walsh – Silver Spring, MD April 2009
A unique historical repository of primary data on modern Palestine. Audiences who are interested in this rich, yet under-valued module of Palestinian cultural heritage, can have a better understanding of people who were engaged in the contemporary history of Palestine and recorded it in their graphic art.
According to PPPA a “Palestine poster” is defined in a five-part definition as any poster:
1) With the word “Palestine” in it, in any language, from any source or time period.
2) Created or published by any artist or agency claiming Palestinian nationality or Palestinian participation
3) Published in the geographical territory of historic Palestine, at any point in history, including
4) Published by any source which relates directly to the social, cultural, political, military, economic or iconographic history of Palestine or Palestinian nationalism contemporary Israel
5) Related to Zionism or anti-Zionism in any language, from any source, published after August 31, 1897
Site visitors can browse the poster collection by: Artists (2,640), Posters (13,774), Wellsprings, Special Collections (920), Iconography, Original Copies, Portfolios, Duplicates/Exchanges, Year of Publication, Country of publication, and Nationality/Artists
The PPPA is an educational site and does not engage in any commercial or merchandising activities. Posters’ duplicates are frequently traded with private individuals as well as other archives and libraries. Furthermore, The PPPA has a strict policy concerning poster’s removal, as it will never remove a poster from its site. There is a dedicated link on the website for poster submission. Last but not least, the FAQ provides a deep insight into the core objectives of the archive, as it comprehensively answers a wide range of questions, it is worthwhile checking.
The Calligrapher platform is the first online platform to teach Arabic calligraphy and decoration online, by a handful of professional calligraphers who have been carefully selected to share their experiences through training courses. It is one of the winning initiatives for the year of Arabic Calligraphy 2020, as the platform has become open to all with free courses and lessons.
The Calligrapher Platform will provide those interested in learning Arabic calligraphy and Islamic decoration an opportunity to learn the basics of Arabic calligraphy, its arts and methods via training courses, projects and professional workshops.
There are many different calligraphic styles used for writing the Arabic script. The platform will give the trainees the option to choose the calligraphic style, Thuluth, Naskh, Reqa, Diwani, Kufic and Maghrebi, they wish to learn and the calligrapher they prefer to be the instructor. During the training period, the trainees will be provided with applications and exercises through which they will gain the artistic skills they seek.
Arabic Calligraphy Courses
Arabic Calligraphy Styles
The platform offers various training courses, including professional courses in
the types of Arabic calligraphy, explanation of the alphabets and how to combine them, writing the words and expressions, improving handwriting, training in making calligraphic paintings and artwork in Arabic calligraphy, letter formations, gilding, Islamic decoration, drawing and coloring, the art of paper marbling and Ebru (needle art). The platform will also give the trainee the opportunity to develop Arabic computer fonts by learning designs and programming fonts.
The Calligrapher الخطاط platform aims
to be the first electronic platform to teach Arabic calligraphy.
to provide specialized and professional training courses.
to teach Arabic calligraphy in an easy and more effective way.
to follow up and communicate with professional calligraphers.
to improve the level of those wishing to learn Arabic calligraphy.
to preserve the heritage of Arabic calligraphy and disseminating it internationally.
All what is required is a name, a password and an email account to start your journey with the Calligrapher platform, create an account. There is no specific time for membership to expire and you can follow and watch the sessions with unlimited number. While beginner level courses that provide the basics are completely free, advanced level courses are offered for a fee. It is important to note that the platform is uni lingual, Arabic only.
The platform also welcomes professional calligraphers from around the world to join as instructors, for more details click here.
The Historians of the Ottoman Empireproject was initiated in the Fall of 2003 as a major bio-bibliographical reference book on Ottoman historians. This project is made possible by a generous grant from the Packard Humanities Institute, employing an assistant professor at Indiana University and two graduate students at the University of Chicago.
The database offers significantly more detailed information about Ottoman historians authors than what is normally found in typical encyclopaedia articles. Each author-entry is accompanied with a list of manuscripts (along with their locations). Unpublished manuscripts will be given particular attention, and a short summary or a table of contents will be provided. It is expected, the database will contain the most complete and up-to-date and accurate list of manuscripts available anywhere.
Historians of the Ottoman Empire covers different places, different times of the Ottoman Empire; it includes works written in Cairo after 1517, in Athens up to 1830, and in Istanbul until 1923.
While the scope of this project is limited to historians, the definition of historian is used in its broader sense to include works such as biographical material, geographies, military narratives (gazavatnames,fethnames) etc. On the other hand, works written with an intention to be fully a piece of literature are excluded.
An “Ottoman” means “having been an Ottoman subject at least for a part of one’s life”. In other words, individuals having lived in the Ottoman Empire and having written narrative works that consciously include a significant “historical” content.
The database provides four browsing options; by historian, by work, by author and by date. Additionally, articles are written only in English and Turkish, because the database is bilingually designed.
The Historians of the Ottoman Empire project is intended to be a unique reference work to scholars and students, as well as for non-specialists interested in the histories and cultures of these regions.