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.”

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive / أرشيف المتحف الفلسطيني الرقمي

Sponsored by the Arcadia fund, the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive aims at collecting, digitizing and making widely available (in Open Access) endangered archival materials documenting Palestinian life and history. Started in 2018, the project has now reached its third phase involving partnerships inside and outside Palestine as well as a broadening of the geographical scope covered.

At the time of our visit, the archive included over 200,000 documents like “identification papers, official records, letters, diaries, manuscripts, maps, photographs, films, and audio recordings” collected from individuals, families, and institutions. The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive only keeps digital surrogates and return the original documents to their owners after processing.

Visitors can either Search the archive, Browse collections or Explore topics.

The basic search only requires to enter keyword(s) in the search bar at the top-right corner of the page. The advanced search offers a more refined search where you can limit by:

  • date (default year range is 1900-2024)
  • type(s) of material
  • collection(s) (generally named after donor)
  • entity(ies) (i.e. institution, organization, etc.)
  • location(s).

The collection browse allows to identify specific archives of interest before searching them. The number of documents in each collection range from less than a hundred to thousands of documents. The time period covered is clearly stated at the right-top corner of each collection:

The topics exploration offers a different way of navigating the website through subjects assigned to documents. Among the long list of topics (fifteen in total), visitors will find the following:

The number of documents in each category is indicated right beside the topic, and when scrolling over the topic, a series of thumbnails gives a snapshot of items that will be found under this topic. To ease navigation, the list could be sorted alphabetically.

It is important to note that all materials in the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive are “copyrighted either by the museum or by third parties who have granted permission for their materials to be included on this site. Visitors can therefore only use the documents “for personal, educational, non-commercial use, or for fair use as defined in the United States copyright laws.” It is possible to ask for high-resolution images by emailing info@palarchive.org or sending the request via the form available here.

To submit your personal archive, you may fill out the following form:

The website is entirely bilingual English and Arabic.

Middle Eastern Film Posters & Lobby Cards

The Middle Eastern Film Posters & Lobby Cards Collection is a digital collection launched by Princeton University Library to make available their Arabic Movie Posters and Lobby Cards collection to worldwide scholars. Acquired in Lebanon in 2008, the collection includes 1,748 posters, and 768 lobby cards produced mostly in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. At the time of our visit, the digital collection included 1,646 items which represents a large proportion of the overall collection, and newly digitized items keep being added to it.

The digital collection can be navigated in two ways. The left-hand side filters allow visitors to limit their search by place of origin, genre or date of creation. The categories accessible via the vignettes below allow to access the materials sorted by both genre and geographical origin:

Within each category, results can be displayed either in a list or a table form, and sorted by title, author, and date (ascending/descending).

When opening an item, the page will show the high resolution image and a succinct description at the bottom. For more information about the document, visitors can expand the right-hand side panel. Images can be displayed full-screen, enlarged and reduced, downloaded (as jpeg, tiff or pdf) or shared via a link.

We encourage users to read carefully the Statement on Harmful Content and the Rights and Permissions page as they contain important information.

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.

Nakba Archive

Launched in 2002, the Nakba Archive is an oral history collective based in Lebanon aiming to document the social and cultural lives in Palestine before 1948. Over the years, the Archive interviewed over 650 first generation Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and recorded “their recollections of life in Palestine and the events that led to their displacement.” The primary objective of the Nakba Archive has been to complete existing written record by allowing refugees to document their histories in their own terms.

Diana Allan founded the Nakba Archive in June 2002. She has a doctorate in anthropology and film from Harvard University and has worked on a several activist media projects in the region. Video documentaries include: Chatila, Beirut (2002); Still Life (2007); and Terrace of the Sea (2010).” She is currently an Associate Professor in Anthropology & Institute for the Study of International Development (ISID) at McGill University. Co-founder and manager, Mahmoud Zeidan, is a Palestinian refugee from Ayn al-Helweh camp in Lebanon and active member of the Lebanese Center for Refugees Rights Aidun.

Despite not having been updated in a very long time, the Nakba Archive website remains a valuable source of information on where to find, and how to access the interviews conducted in its early years. A few excerpts have been made accessible from the NA website, but the vast majority of the audio and video recordings can today be found in the Jafet Library (American University of Beirut):

Another part of the the project, Photo48, included scanning “personal photos and documents (registration papers, land deeds, marriage licenses, birth certificates, etc.) which refugees brought with them from Palestine.” Unfortunately, these materials don’t seems to have been made available online anywhere. Interested people could always reach out to the Nakba Archives founders to inquire about them.

Last, the Nakba Archive produced in 2005 and 2008 two documentaries about archival work that can be ordered from the website, or found in your library: Nakba Archive Excerpts is available at McGill University Library.

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.

Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive

The Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive (IPSOLHA) is an online archive for primary and secondary sources related to the legal and administrative history of the Indian Princely States started in 2021. Originally sponsored by the Society of Fellows of Dartmouth College, and a Digital Scholarship Grant from the American Institute of Indian Studies Digital Learning Initiative, the project later received support from the Department of History and Information Technology & Consulting at Dartmouth College as well as the South Asia Open Archives (SAOA) at the Center for Research Libraries.

During the period of British colonial rule, there were hundreds of semi-sovereign, semi-autonomous states across the South Asian subcontinent. (…) these states (…) were incubators for innovative legal, administrative, and political ideas and offered a unique counterbalance to the hegemony of British rule. Yet despite their unique history, studying these states is complicated by the scattered nature of their archival remains.

About the Project‘, IPSOLHA

The main objective of IPSOLHA is to make the archives relating to these Princely States ,more easily accessible by identifying, cataloguing, and digitizing them when possible to support the legal and administrative history of the Indian Princely States. At the time of our visit, the database included the description of more than 3,000 individual documents, and future efforts will focus not only on continuing to enrich the database with new materials, but also on promoting it as a research tool starting with a series of presentations by Elizabeth Lhost, principal investigator.

The Indian Princely States Online Legal History Archive proposes eight categories based on resources types to browse the collection:

Each category displays a list of sources -in a customizable view- some of which accessible online, others to be consulted on site at their holding institution. The left-hand side menu allow visitors to filter results by Subject Headings, Document type, Language, State, and Holding Institutions.

Specialists will particularly appreciate that documents in many languages (English, Gujarati, Hindi, Hindustani, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Urdu, etc.) are included in the database, and that Princely States are identified for each source.

For each item listed, IPSOLHA provides a lengthy description including Subject Headings and Type of resource tags allowing to navigate documents within the database (Main & IPSOLHA tabs), and instructions for accessing the materials (Access tab):

Interested scholars can get in touch with the project team at ipsolha [at] gmail.com, use the Contact form, or follow updates on Facebook, Twitter.

RIWAQ رواق

RIWAQ is a non-profit organization funded in 1991, and its goal is the protection and development of Palestine’s architectural heritage by documenting and restoring architectural heritage sites and buildings.

Documentation of Palestine history and cultural heritage have been challenging throughout its history. Primarily because of the destruction of many of architectural and cultural heritage, especially during Nakba (1948) where many of Palestine’s cultural heritage sites were destroyed along with villages, buildings, etc. Secondly due to lack of accurate and scientific registry of architectural heritage, in other words, due to various reasons such as the impact of the system of power, or colonialism, it seems that even the existing documentations of Palestine’s heritage have been conducted to serve a mission or an agenda and not necessarily to serve scientific purposes.

Therefore, in response to the great need in documentation, preservation, and discovery of Palestine’s cultural heritage, public space enthusiasts and heritage activists established RIWAQ. At first it was formed as a project called RIWAQ Registry of Historic Buildings in Palestine, which resulted in creation of a database of historic buildings in Gaza Strip, West Bank, especially to register the most endangered components of cultural heritage.

Later, between 1994 to 2004, 50320 historic building were documented by RIWAQ registry from various villages and cities, which later was also published in three volumes. Moreover, the field work conducted by RIWAQ team resulted in creation of 400 GIS map and a collection of photographs.

RIWAQ’s archives contains a rich collection of over 50000 analog photographs and more than 100,000 digital photographs. This collection presents Palestine’s documentary heritage from 1980’s and show cases its transformations.

“Archives are perceived as the memory of a nation archival documents, transcripts, photos, and maps narrate the everyday life of a given society. They bear witness to the main crucial turning points in the history of society.”1 Thus RIWAQ’s archive is an important and valuable source of information/knowledge to Palestine’s cultural heritage.

However, RIWAQ’s work is not limited to documentation of historic and architectural sites, but their work changed the paradigm in the field of heritage from economic, social, and environmental liability into an important tool for economic and social change. Their focus has been mainly on the rural areas and by taking on restoration of villages in Palestine they also helped job creation along with preservation of the cultural heritage sites. Moreover, their project helped raising awareness about the role of cultural heritage in Palestinians identity.

“Through its work, RIWAQ has succeeded in responding to the vital question of what it takes to rehabilitate an entire town, not only physically, but socially, culturally, and economically.”2

To this end, an interesting and interactive map of Jerusalem’s rural areas has been created. This map is a collection of sketches documenting oral history in that area.

By clicking on different parts of the map user will have access to a more data that narrates an object’s history, a popular vocation at the time or an artifact, etc. It also provides information about where the data is collected with the name of the narrator as well as pictures of those places and more detailed drawings.

Besides their active role in documentation and restoration of cultural and architectural heritage, RIWAQ also offers workshop and training in specialized topics and techniques such as the structural analysis of stone structures, traditional iron works, mural paintings, and photometry to those interested in working in restoration field.

Riwaq won the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

RIWAQ’s website provides access to a wide range of different types of information, such as maps, photos, articles, etc.

  1. https://thisweekinpalestine.com/riwaq-archive/
  2. https://www.archnet.org/authorities/484

Mizna مزنه

Founded over in 1999 by Kathryn Haddad and Saleh Abudayyeh, Mizna is an Arab-American not-for-profit organization promoting the artistic and cultural production of contemporary South West Asian and North African (SWANA) artists. Mizna is based in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-Saint Paul), Minnesota, USA.

The online platform aims at “reflect[ing] the depth and multiplicity of [the] community and has been committed to being a space for Arab, Muslim, and other artists from the region to reclaim [their] narratives and engage audiences in meaningful and artistically excellent art.”

Through Mizna, audiences have the opportunity to engage in the work of Arab and Muslim artists on its [sic] own terms. And our community has a critical opportunity to see some facet of their own experience reflected on the page or the screen.

https://mizna.org/about/

Since the beginning, the organization has been publishing a biannual literary journal entitled Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America. As of 2021, 38 issues had come out, some of which are still available for purchase on the website. Over the years, more than 400 writers have contributed to Mizna among whom Suheir Hammad, Mahmoud Darwish, Laila Lalami, etc.

In 2003, Mizna engaged in producing the Twin Cities Arab Film Festival (TCAFF) which has become “the largest and longest running Arab film fest in the Midwest”. TCAFF has been showcasing contemporary cinema from the Arab World and from the Arab diaspora, produced by emerging, independent, and established filmmakers, with the objective to present the Arab and Arab American communities in all their complexity far from the stereotyped ways in which they are often depicted in mainstream Western media.

Today, Mizna is run by a Board of Directors and a team of eighteen staff members: an artistic director numerous program curators, event and communication coordinators, editors, and teachers.

The organization was named a Regional Cultural Treasure in 2021 by the Ford Foundation and McKnight Foundation, and received several cultural awards such as multiple Knight Arts Challenge Awards, and the Ordway’s Sally Award for Social Impact. Mizna is funded and supported by:

To be informed of their activities, it is possible to sign up for the newsletter, follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube.