Initiated in 2016, Bibliothèque d’Orient is a collaborative effort of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) and seven heritage and research libraries based in Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Istanbul, and Jerusalem. Bibliothèque d’Orient is an ever-growing digital collection that currently (Sept. 2017) includes over 7,000 textual documents, photographs, maps, etc. covering the Levant including Iraq and Arabia Petrea from 1798 (i.e. Expedition of Bonaparte to Egypt) to 1945.
The website is organized in seven themes discoverable from the content page (above):
- Crossroads includes photographs, travel accounts, travel books, maps, etc.
- Communities includes documents relating to the everyday life of people and their traditions
- Religions focuses on the religions present in the area as well as holy places
- Knowledge gathers a variety of documents about libraries, research institutions, and languages studies
- Politics is further divided in four themes: Wars and conflicts, Treaties and borders, Reforms, and Nationalisms
- Imaginery focuses on literary sources
- Personalities (incomplete section) presents people identified as important.
All documents are accessible full-text, and can be either read online, downloaded (PDF), printed, or shared. It is also possible to order art reproductions for a fee.
The website is available in Arabic, French, and English, but the online reader interface is only in French.