Corpus Coranicum

Corpus Coranicum is a European platform supporting scholarship on the Qur’an. Initiated in 2007 by Islamic studies scholar and Qur’anic studies Professor Angelika Neuwirth, the project is today directed by Michael Marx from the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. Primarily funded by the German federal government and the federal state of Brandenburg, Corpus Coranicum received external funding from French-German projects Coranica and Paleocoran between 2010 and 2018.

“Corpus Coranicum takes the long overdue step of systematically analysing of the oldest Qur’anic manuscripts as well as documenting the variant readings of the Qur’an within the Islamic literature.” 

https://corpuscoranicum.de/en/about/research

The main goal of Corpus Coranicum is to study the historical context in which the Qur’an emerged and developed, and its impacts on the Qur’anic text. To do so, the research team analyses the oldest manuscripts and documents variant readings within the Islamic literature. The first part of the project involved creating a database of digitized manuscripts and building the tools necessary for their analysis (transliteration system, font-type, guidelines on describing and dating manuscripts, etc.). Further developments included a multilingual (Hebrew, Syriac, Ancient South Arabian, Ancient Ethiopic, etc.) database of textual variants present in early Islamic sources. Today, the platform includes four databases:

  • Manuscripts including over 30,000 scans of early Qur’anic fragments on parchment, collected from 95 worldwide collections, accompanied by bibliographical, codicological and paleographical data as well as Latin transliterations of the Arabic text
  • Variant Readings made of variants found in 8th-9th century scholarly sources like The Arabic grammar of Sībawayh, the Arabic Lexicon of al-Khalīl b. Aḥmad, exegetic texts, grammatical-philological commentaries, Ibn Ḫālawayh’s compendium of variant readings and the Canon of the seven readings compiled by Ibn Mujāhid
  • The World of the Qur’an comprising texts produced at the same time that the Qur’an in Arabic, Ancient Ethiopian (Ge’ez), Ancient South Arabian (Sabaic), Aramaic, Syriac, Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Middle Persian, Coptic, etc.
  • Commentary consisting of surahs classified based on their historical chronology and thematical development.

In complement, Corpus Coranicum makes available a 1924 printed edition (Cairo, Egypt) of the Qur’an and Rafael Talmon Qur’an Concordance by word. Rafael Talmon (1948-2004), a Professor of Arabic Studies at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at the University of Haifa, was a pioneer in the study of the Qur’anic text.

It is possible to navigate verses and access the Arabic text, its transliteration, and translation within the Print edition.

Verse navigator

The Concordance provides a systematic morphological analysis (by Rafael Talmon):

Since 2007, Corpus Coranicum has been organizing annual workshops on a variety of topics. To cite only a few:

  • Scriptorium Workshop: Qur’anic manuscripts past and present: cataloguing and digital tools, September 18, 2023
  • Corpus Coranicum-Vorselung 2022: The Qur’an Palimpsest from Sinai – Interpretations, models and evaluations of Manuscript Cambridge, December 2022
  • Corpus Coranicum-Vorselung 2021: Echoes of Jacob of Serugh in the Qur’an and Late Antique reading culture (Philip Michael Forness), December 2021
  • Corpus Coranicum-Vorselung 2019: Before the Qur’an: Arabic’s history across Greek, South Semitic, and Aramaic writing traditions, December 2019
  • Corpus Coranicum-Vorselung 2018: The Origins and modifications of the Blue Qur’an, December 2018
  • Corpus Coranicum-Vorselung 2017: Oman’s new electronic Qur’an solving discrepancies between historical text, rules of calligraphy and Azhar orthography, September 2017.

In addition, between 2016 and 2023, Corpus Coranicum held 39 ‘Collegium Coranicum‘ (i.e. talks) by international scholars on a wide-range of topics related to the study of the Qur’anic text.

Last, but not least, for those interested in learning more about the project and their research methods, two lists of relevant literature can be found on the main page: one on the catalogue of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften Library and one as a public Zotero library.

Corpus Coranicum interface is available in German, English, and French:

Country of Words: A Transnational Atlas for Palestinian Literature

Country of Words: A Transnational Atlas for Palestinian Literature is a portal documenting and mapping the history of Palestinian literature around the World in the 20th century. The project was launched and is managed by Dr. Refqa Abu-Remaileh, Professor of Modern Arabic Literature and Film at the Freie Universität Berlin. This project is part of an international collaborative project, PalREAD, funded by a European Research Council’s Starting Grant. The website was developed and is hosted by Stanford University Press.

Country of Words aims at uncovering and highlighting the connections between Palestinian literary products originating from different places around the world:

“because of its transnational reality, Palestinian literature makes it possible for us to read together the national and the exilic. It also gives us the opportunity to explore new ways to write nonlinear and nonconventional literary histories of displacement and movement, and to uncover new constellations, networks, trajectories, relationships, and collaborations across multiple literary geographies and periods.”

Dr. Abu-Remaileh, countryofwords.org

Country of Words offers visitors numerous options to navigate its content, including:

  • a Timeline running from 1880 to 2020
  • Networks of periods, people, periodicals and themes
  • Visualizations including maps, networks, timelines, temporal evolutions, trajectories and information cards
  • Audio Interviews in Arabic with important Palestinian writers.

Timeline

The timeline is broken down into periods of time shorter than the full 140 years coverage. Literary Diasporas: The Mahjar (1880-1950) examines the literary production during a time of extensive migration to the American continent and the Caribbean. Literature under British Occupation (1900-1948) limits to literature produced during the late Ottoman and British Mandate period. Literature under Triple Occupation post-Nakba (1948-1967) centers on the effects of the parallel Israeli, Jordanian and Egyptian control on writers and literature. Literary Diasporas: post-Nakba Scattering (1948-1967) focuses on the literary production of refugees and exiled writers. Literary Diasporas: A Golden Age in Exile (1967-1982) explores the literary production of new refugees (post-1967). Literarure under Israeli Occupation (1967-1994) covers writings from the Occupied Territories (West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem). The last timeline, Literary Diasporas : post-Beirut Fragmentation (1982-1994) focuses on literature after the dispersion of Palestinians across the Arab World, Cyprus and Europe.

Network

The network mapping allows to visualize and explore the connections between time periods (yellow), authors (blue), periodicals (green) and themes (red). Visitors are invited to click on the nodes to obtain more information about the specific topic.

Visualizations

Visualizations allows to explore the life, migrations and literary production of a writer, contributions to specific periodicals, or the production of a certain type of literature (Prison literature as shown here). Visitors will undoubtedly appreciate the benefits of visualizing information in many different formats.

Audio Interviews

The ten one-hour long interviews of key Palestinian literary figures available on this page are part of a podcast series entitled Balad min kalam (Country of Words). Each episode starts by a discussion of literary evolution, movements across periods and geographies, circles and networks, and periodicals to which they contributed. Then, the guests read a text they have written and explain why they chose it. After that, they are asked to cite a work they think influenced the course of Palestinian literary history. Last, “many of the guests spoke about their personal libraries and how their book collections have been affected by censorship, constant movement, loss, and destruction. Interviews are also indexed and accessible by time period.”

To conclude, we want to note that Country of Words: A Transnational Atlas for Palestinian Literature has been described in very positive terms by many experts in the field. Among them, Professor Michelle Hartman (McGill University) wrote: “With its user-friendly interface, well-suited and attractive visualizations, intelligent analysis, and fascinating author interviews, Country of Words is an invaluable resource that documents and engages the diversity of Palestinian literary production over time, expanding access to it in an inviting digital format.”

 Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies Archives (KCLDS)

The KCLDS Archive serves as the repository for the Khayrallah Center, established in 2010 by Dr. Moise A. Khayrallah. Initially established to research and conserve history of Lebanese in U.S, the center evolved into a larger project and extended beyond the United States, eventually becoming the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies. As a result of its growth, the center curated a museum exhibit, produced a documentary, and established an archive (KCLDS).

KCLDS Archive houses historical and cultural resources about Lebanese diaspora in the United States and across the world.

“We preserve the heritage and memories of the Lebanese diaspora community and make it accessible through our digital and physical archives.

The Archive can be explored through three main categories: Collection Guides, Browse the Collection, or Browse the Item. There are 112 collections available, containing a total of 11,634 items.

When using Browse the Collection menu, you can search either in title order or based on the time the item was added to the collection. Detailed information is provided for each collection, such as: Title, Subject, Biographical/Historical Note, Publisher, Date, Language, etc. but more importantly a full description of the collection and finally access to the collection.

Moreover, searching on the item level gives more search criteria, such as Browse by Tag, Item or Reference, also results can be sorted by Title, Creator, Item Date, etc.

Another valuable feature at the item level is the Citation section. When available it is possible to see if the resource was cited, when where and by who.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

..

.

.

.

.

.

.

Collection Guides, however, provide access to the collection by title or categories.

Moreover, it is possible to search in Arabic using the Arabic-Language Publication Database menu, which provides access to Arabic- language newspaper and books in the States between 1880s to 1950s.

Early Arab immigrants in North and South America have left a rich legacy and history. Much of their histories have been recorded in millions of pages of Arabic newspapers, books, magazines, and other publications. Yet, this rich record has been largely inaccessible because it was dispersed, stored in disparate archives, and stored in older technologies like microfilm. Now, The Khayrallah Center’s Arabic Newspaper Database makes these records digitally searchable.

KCLDS Archive offers variety of resources for researchers, scholars, and anyone interested in exploring Lebanese diaspora. The archive not only preserves the past but also sheds light on the present and provides access to resources for future. With its diverse collection guides, browsing options, and Arabic-Language Publication Database, the archive invites users to access its wealth of materials, facilitating research, discovery, and understanding of the Lebanese diaspora’s journey, memories, and heritage.

Archives Africa

Archives Africa is an online catalogue of archival collections documenting the history of Madagascar. Building on a former collaboration contributing to the British Library’s Endangered Archives Programme, the overall project entitled Finding Africa: exploring the potential of a continent’s archives was developed and run by information professionals from King’s College London and the Direction des Archives Nationales de Madagascar. A first phase focused on Madagascar Prime Minister registers between 1864 and 1896. The second phase of the project targeted Diplomatic archives from the 19th century.

In addition to aiming at identifying and locating archival materials indispensable to scholarship, the project also explored faster and more appropriate ways to describe and catalogue archival collections “from an African perspective”. To do so, they reflected on traditional Western archival practices, and worked towards adapting them and/or creating new practice better suited for archival materials in non-European languages. They worked closely with partners at SCOLMA, a “forum for librarians, archivists and others concerned with African studies materials in libraries and archives in the United Kingdom”.

The rationale behind the project is thoroughly explained in this video posted on the ‘About‘ page:

The ‘Archives Africa Catalogues‘ section is the heart of the website as it includes the records of archival collections. Catalogues can be discovered browsing a number of categories:

At the time of our visit, the total number of collections cataloguing records in the database was close to 900, identifying and locating a much larger number of documents in Malagasy, French, and English.

The News section, despite not having been updated since 2018, makes available interesting and insightful information about the project.

Those interested in learning more about African archives further should consult the International African Institute‘s website, in particular the African digital repositories page. Based in the United Kingdom (at the School for African and Oriental Studies, SOAS), the IAI “promotes the scholarly study of Africa’s history, societies and cultures” for which archival sources are essential.

Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research (AMAR) / مؤسّسة التّوثيق والبحث في الموسيقى العربيّة

Launched in 2009, the Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research (AMAR) is a private Lebanese organization working towards the preservation of recorded and printed Arab musical tradition of the Nahda (approx. 1903-1935). AMAR also aims at supporting on-going scholarly research in musicology, and promoting traditional Arab music. To do so, AMAR actively collects, catalogues, and digitizes printed scores and audio records, organizes public lectures, scientific conferences, and musical concerts, and ensures its unique collection is accessible to worldwide researchers and the general public.

The Foundation for Arab Music Archiving & Research is supported by numerous artists and music professionals. International renowned musicologists such as Jean Lambert, Nidaa Abou Mrad, Virginia Danielson, or Michael Frishkopf are members of the Consulting & Planning Board. And the foundation is managed by a Leading Team including numerous music specialists and professionals.

Today, AMAR has one of the largest known record collections of Egyptian/Syro-Lebanese Arab music from 1903 through to the 1930s. AMAR also has some partial collections of Lebanese studio recordings that date back to the 1950s.

About‘ page

The geographical focus of the foundation’s work spans from Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Iraq, the Arab Gulf to Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, and includes minority groups existing in these countries such as the Syriac, Kurdish, and Coptic communities as well as Sufi orders. If initially, AMAR’s dissemination work relied primarily on CDs and booklets, with the rise of the Internet, efforts were redirected towards the creation of “a website that will deliver Arab music at the highest quality that available technology allows.”

On the website, visitors will find a dynamic timeline highlighting important contributors to the development and circulation of traditional Arab music. Despite some limitations outline in the introductory paragraph, the timeline remains an interesting source of information.

Complementing the timeline, the Artists & Music section offers a different way to navigate the various singers, and composers included in the database:

Moreover, in the past ten years, AMAR produced over 200 Podcast episodes (in Arabic) focusing on individual artists, musical techniques and/or instruments. And the list of events available on a dedicated page gives a idea of the variety of manifestations AMAR participated in and organized: exhibitions, concerts, panels, film screenings, etc. Unfortunately, the most recent ones go back to 2021: one can only hope they will resume activities in this area soon. The Documents page gives access to lengthy and well-documented papers on various people and topics:

Last, the Products page is where one can order materials published by the foundation from, mostly CDs but also a monograph:

It is worthy to note that traditional Arab music enthusiasts will find original music available for listening in a number of the website’ sections (Artists & music, Podcast, and Products). Be advised that the sound quality varies from one recording to another.

For more information, we invite you to consult the Press and Press TV Kits, and/or contact the AMAR Foundation. Their website is available in Arabic and English.

CEDEJ carto portal

Established in 1968, CEDEJ (Centre d’Études et de Documentation Économiques Juridiques et Sociales) is a French Research Institute whose main Branch is located in Cairo, Egypt. The core objective of CEDEJ is to facilitate and support multidisciplinary field research focusing on Egypt and surrounding countries like Sudan where a small Branch is located.

CEDEJ is home to an important collection of books (35,000 volumes), journals, newspapers, statistical data as well as maps and plans (over 5,000 items). Part of this collection came from the collection of Cairo French Law School (founded in 1891 and closed in 1956). Among the numerous resources available through CEDEJ, one will find thematic Press Reviews, a digital Press Archive and digital monographs collection -both in collaboration with Bibliotheca Alexandrina-, and a Census Portal (CAPMAS):

CEDEJ map library per se is quite unique: it holds “a multi-scalar collection of cadastral, topographic, and geographic maps covering all of Egypt” running from the end of the 19th century to the 1990s. In November 2021, CEDEJ launched an ergonomic, dynamic and interactive online catalog allowing users to access, extract, and explore textual and geo-referenced data: CEDEJ carto.

cedejcarto.org

We carry an open data policy in strict compliance with the legislation and in the spirit of Plan S, namely “that data should be as open as possible and as closed as necessary”.

https://scienceeurope.org

cedejcarto.org Portal offers to discover the collection via three different options:

  • The advanced search allowing to cross-search location, scale, series and date of publication
  • The search by index allowing to access maps/plans based on the series they pertain to (among the 71 existing series)
  • The search by location allowing to access maps/plans by a simple a click on a large map of Egypt.

Scholars should note that cedejcarto.org is not a database of scanned maps where they will find high resolution images available for download. This portal is a dynamic and interactive online catalogue that will help them identify maps and plans relevant to their research among the large collection of cartographic documents held by the CEDEJ library. Materials can then be requested by filing out the dedicated form and submitting to hala.bayoumi@cedej-eg.org & directioncedej@cedej-eg.org. For more information about usage permissions, people can visit the map library webpage.

cedejcarto.org interface is only available in English.

The Timbuktu Manuscripts

The Timbuktu Manuscripts: discover a trove of Timbuktu’s ancient manuscripts digital exhibition and collection is the result of a collaboration between a Malian association called SAVAMA-DCI whose main goal is to preserve and make widely available Arabic manuscripts from Timbuktu and Google Arts & Culture.

Back in 1973, a preservation campaign of the Timbuktu’s collection made of approximately 400,000 codices was initiated by the Ahmed Baba Center (CEDRAB). In 1996, the newly founded association SAVAMA-DCI started raising awareness among private owners about the value of their family manuscripts, providing technical and financial support for the processing and conservation of these materials, and encouraging them to keep the manuscripts in their possession. If funding was limited at first, the association was over time able to collect enough funds to ensure the preservation and inventory of the collections. In 2012, with the jihadist occupation of Northern Mali, the fear that manuscripts would be destroyed lead to the transfer of Timbuktu’s manuscripts collections to other towns in the region like Bamako. According to SAMAVA-DCI over 370.000 codices were rescued.

« Dans la nuit noire de notre existence, les manuscrits sont les projecteurs qui éclairent le passé. »

Dr. Abdel Kader Haidara, fondateur de SAVAMA-DCI

The Timbuktu Manuscripts virtual exhibition is incredibly rich (more than 40.000 manuscripts from libraries and private collections) and provides many options to learn about the collections, their history, and the rescue and preservation processes.

The website includes:

  • shorts videos documenting the manuscripts’ preservation
  • pictures documenting the rescue operations, and the digitization of manuscripts
  • topical sub-collections of digitized manuscripts (astronomy, ethics, jurisprudence, mathematics, medicine, geography, etc.)
  • general information about the Arabic manuscripts tradition with a focus on the African tradition
  • detailed descriptions of the collections composing The Timbuktu Manuscripts collection
  • historical and literary information situating these manuscripts in the larger context of knowledge production and dissemination in Africa and beyond.

The most incredible experience offered via this virtual exhibition is the digital archives of the Timbuktu Manuscripts:

The main page gallery is staggering.

The archives includes more than 400,000 handwritten pages from the Qur’an, mathematical, astronomical and medical treatises, sex and black magic manuals, etc. dating from the 11th to the 20th century. A selection of manuscripts are accessible full-text from section 2. The Books. Section 3. Grid View allows to glance at individual pages displayed in a table view when section 4. A Universe of Verses gives access to individual pages in what appears like a much less organized display:

At the very bottom of the main page, The Timbuktu Manuscripts virtual exhibition links to other Google Arts & Culture projects to learn more about Malian music, modern art, architectural heritage, etc.

The Timbuktu Manuscripts website will default to the language of your Google Account. But the interface is accessible in any language available in Google (although some content may not translate).

And for those eager to learn more about the Timbuktu manuscripts, we suggest they go visit the Tombouctou Manuscripts Project website. This project focusing on the “content of the manuscripts, the circulation of scholars and ideas, the economy of the manuscript book, and other aspects of the “work of scholarship” in Timbuktu” was established in 2003 by an Associate Professor at the University of Cape Town (South Africa) and remains very active.

Digital Ottoman Studies

Digital Ottoman Studies (DOS) is a hub contributing to growing field of Digital Humanities by presenting projects, publications, tools, and events through the lens of Ottoman and Turkish studies.

This website seeks to create a digital network for future projects by bringing together diverse platforms, institutions, studies, and individuals. Thus, DOS provides access to projects and data bases that are created by other organization which includes Ottoman Archives, maps, manuscripts and etc.

Information on DOS is classified into 6 categories of Projects, publications, Tools, Databases, Platforms and under each category, there are sub-categories that direct the users to the respective projects which are encompassing “600-year-old Ottoman Empire’s archival heritage, diverse ethnics and geographical regions., etc.”

The Project category brings together variety of works in GIS, Network Analysis, Text Analysis, Databases, and 3D-AR-VR, each provides access to a wide range of research and academic projects form historical urban and industrial comparative analysis to Mapping Ottoman empire and region, or a digital history research project on Travels in the 19th century Ottoman empire.

Also, users can browse different database projects like Ottoman Inscriptions, Digital History, The Open Islamicate Text Initiative, etc. When possible, the DOS has provided the name of the project managers and then directs the user to the project’s main website.

Moreover, in the Publication tab users can have access a list of published articles, books and dissertations that are classified based on the topic/subject and some are accessible as an open access publication. 

The tab of Databases has organized a list of various type of databases such as Archives, Map collections, manuscripts collections, dictionaries, E-resources, Photo collections, calendar convertors and Gazetteers.

https://www.getty.edu/research/tools/digital_collections/notable/gigord.html

The Platform tab introduces the users to wide range of websites and podcasts including Hazine, Hajj Trail (Game), Ottoman History Podcast, Digital Humanities Turkey

“DOS is founded by Fatma Aladağ and she is coordinating the platform, whilst Assoc. Prof. Yunus Uğur is leading the project.”

Wikilala: an Ottoman digital library

Started in 2019, Wikilala is a digital library making available and full-text searchable documents printed between 1729, when Ibrahim Müteferriqa founded the first Turkish printing Press and the letter revolution in 1928. The project was launched by Hiperlink‘s (first Turkish digital library) project manager, Sadi Özgür, and an academic member at the History Department of Istanbul Aydın University that acted as a consultant, Harun Tuncer.

Wikilala aims “to enable researchers and enthusiasts studying in almost all branches of science, such as culture, art, history, literature, architecture etc. to rediscover even the smallest details in order to illuminate a landscape that has been dimly lighted for two centuries. (…) Wikilala allows (…) to access this huge storage of knowledge.”

“About” page, Wikilala (URL:https://www.wikilala.com/about)

According to the description on the “About” page, Wikilala includes thousands of books, magazines, journals, newspapers,etc. that have been digitized in high-resolution, catalogued, and OCR’ed (i.e. Optical Recognition Character) to allow for full-text searchability. The project also include the “latinization” of texts to allow people who don’t have command of Ottoman Turkish to search the texts in Latin script.

To access Wikilala materials, visitors need to create an account (which is free with an institutional email). Once logged-in, the entire library becomes available.

From the main page (captured above), users can search the library in Latin or Arabic scripts (thanks to a handy multilingual and multialphabets virtual keyboard), or pre-select the type of documents they want to search/read: Newspapers, Journals, Books, Manuscripts and Documents.

From the results page, users will be able to sort the list in the order they want (alphabetical, chronological, etc.) and/or refine the list using the filters available in the right-hand-side column.

There are two methods to open documents: clicking on the Read Now button at the bottom right of the item’s page, or scrolling down to the thumbnails view: both options will open Wikilala’s viewer. The viewer is limited to online reading and full-text search: unfortunately, it does not offer download, saving or printing options. Perhaps will this be a future development?

Wikilala is a platform developed by a private company named hiperkitap, that works on numerous other products individuals and institutions can subscribe to or purchase. McGill can trial it for free until the end of 2021: take advantage of it!

The interface is available in both Turkish and English.

Islamic Art at The David Collection

The David Collection is a museum of fine and applied art in Copenhagen, Denmark, built around the private collections of lawyer, businessman and art collector C. L. David.

The museum is particularly noted for its collection of Islamic art one of the largest in Northern Europe. The collection of Islamic art contains works from almost the entire Islamic realm, from Spain in the West to India in the East and dating from the 7th to the 19th centuries.

Islamic Art Collection

The Islamic works of art are presented from three different perspectives: Islamic art organized chronologically and geographically, Islamic art grouped according to material, and Islamic art presented in its cultural context.

Dynasties and Geography

The works of art here are divided into 20 sections according to specific epochs and dynasties and according to different geographic regions. Each of the 20 sections provides a historical introduction, a map, a selection of works of art, coins, and architecture.

Materials

The objects are categorized into eight different groups. This makes it possible to see how both stylistic features and techniques were developed within a specific medium both over time and across geographical borders.

Calligraphy / Miniature Painting / Ceramics / Glass / Stone and Stucco / Ivory, Wood, and Papier-mâché / Metalwork, / Weapons, and Jewelry / Textiles, Carpets, and Leather

Cultural-history Themes

Focusing specifically on the cultural background for art in the Islamic world, this section illustrates fourteen themes of special relevance. Each theme is illustrated with a selected group of objects, accompanied by an explanatory text.

Islam, the Religion \The Five Pillars of Islam \ The Prophet Muhammad \ Mecca and the Kaaba \ Sunni and Shia \ The Mosque \ The Religious Prohibition Against Images \ Symbolism in Islamic Art \ Islam in China \ Sufis \ Dervishes, and Holy Men \ Trade, Measures, and Weights \Mechanics, Astronomy, and Astrology \ Medical Science \The Art of War