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Resources for Islamic Studies
Updated: 5 hours 38 min ago

Digital Vatican Library

Sat, 08/20/2016 - 10:29

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:

As 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

Fri, 08/12/2016 - 14:24

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:


Codicologia: glossaires codicologiques

Fri, 08/05/2016 - 12:38

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, Marc Geoffroy, Marie-Geneviève Guesdon, in collaboration with Youssef Baratli

The glossary can be interrogated by Theme, browsed by Index, or fully searched. At the time of our visit, however, the Index page was unaccessible 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

Fri, 07/29/2016 - 15:27

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 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

Sun, 07/24/2016 - 10:00

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.

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

Wed, 07/13/2016 - 12:18

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.

OA 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.

Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR) Journal now in Open Access

Wed, 06/29/2016 - 12:30

The International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) in Malaysia has now made all issues of its e-journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal available in open access.

“Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR) is an international peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by IAIS Malaysia publishing articles, book reviews and viewpoints on civilisational renewal and aims to promote advanced research on the contribution of Muslims to science and culture. The journal seeks to propagate critical research and original scholarship on theoretical, empirical, and comparative studies, with a focus on policy research.  It plans to advance a refreshing discourse for beneficial change, in the true spirit of the Islamic principles of tajdid (renewal) and islah (improvement and reform) through exploring the best contributions of all school and currents of opinion. Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR) centers around a number of selected areas: Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic finance and banking, Islamic family law, politic, philosophy, Halal standards, inter-faith harmonisation, science & technology and social aspects of Islam in modern Muslim societies.”*

Islam and Civilisational Renewal (ICR) Journal can be accessed at www.icrjournal.org.

For more information about the journal, or the International Institute of Advanced Islamic Studies (IAIS) you may contact Razi Ahmad at razi@iais.org.my.

Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 10:39

Electronic Journal of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law (EJIMEL) is an online Open Access journal started in 2012 by the Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Legal Studies (CIMELS) at University of Zurich (Switzerland).

EJIMEL publishes articles, primarily in English and German, focusing on : democracy, constitutional law, Islamic law theory, family law, human rights, as well as the relations between Islam and national and international law orders. As explained on EJIMEL’s website: “the editors aim is to foster a vivid debate focusing on the correlation between Islam as a religion with a distinct body of legal norms and the paramount principles and guarantees of current international law, as well as to inquire into key phenomena in Muslim-majority law orders such as, e.g., “Re-Islamisation”, which have influenced both codifications and scholarly discourse in a significant way.”

Published once a year, EJIMEL is referenced in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Articles, are preserved in PDF in the University of Zurich institution repository ZORA, are given a DOI and published under the Creative Commons Licence. As long as properly cited and used, every article can be copied, shared, or printed.

Check it out!

أرشيف المجلات الأدبية والثقافية العربية = Archives of Arabic cultural and literary journals

Fri, 06/17/2016 - 08:44

This digital archives of Arabic cultural and literary journals offers Open Access to no less than 179 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).

The collection can be browsed by country of publication, journal title, and author’s name. Visitors can also search for a specific journal title, author’s name of article title, as well as for any keyword in the indexes of all or one journal. Every journal can be browsed by both year and month of publication. And single issues are browsable with an interactive index that allows to open individual articles within the issue.

The reader in which articles open is the simplest tool: navigation is possible with either arrows or the scrollbar, and minus/plus signs allow to zoom-in or out.

Check it out!

New exhibition: illuminated Qur’ans from the McGill collections

Thu, 06/02/2016 - 12:28

MS RBD Arabic 29 – Rare Books and Special Collections

The Arabic writing used for setting down the sacred text of the Qur’an went under a diffusion corresponding to the expansion of the Islamic faith and to the development of the Islamic civilization. It belongs to the family of Semitic scripts, which are consonantal scripts vocalized by means of accents. The conditions of use and development of the Arabic writing were therefore determined by its association with the language it expressed. Although Arabic became a major academic and literary language, it experienced divergences of articulation and pronunciation in the colloquial use which affected the way in which it was written.

MS RBD Arabic 18 – Rare Books and Special Collections

The archaic or primitive Arabic writing was used in Arabia at the beginning of Islam, from the Prophet Muhammad’s lifetime and during the caliphates of his immediate successors (632-660). From the very beginning, the Arabic script was associated with the religion of Islam, and became instrumental in the materialization and transmission of the divine message. In the 7th century, the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik imposed the use of Arabic to the central and provincial administration, and for the legends on coinage with calligraphic designs. This, in turn, led to two distinct paths in the development of the Arabic writing:

  • a utilitarian cursive script marked primarily by the requirements of legibility and speed, known as Naskh was used for state documents and correspondence
  • a dignified angular form purely aimed at the requirements of prestige, known as Kufic, was used for ornamental purposes (architecture and coinage) as well as for the copy of the divine message.

MS RBD Arabic 20 – Rare Books and Special Collections

Until the 10th century, Qur’an were mainly written in Kufic script. This exhibition intends to show the influence of other scripts, such as Syriac, Turkish and Persian, on the Kufic calligraphic style, as well as a variety of styles and decorative techniques used in different periods of time and regions of the Muslim World.

The Qur’an exhibition was curated by Anaïs Salamon, Head Librarian, and Dr. Eliza Tasbihi, Senior Library Clerk at the Islamic Studies Library. It will be accessible in the Islamic Studies Library, Morrice Hall, 1st floor, during opening hours, from June 1st to December 31st, 2016.

On trial: Al-Manhal datatabase for ebooks and ejournals in Islamic Studies

Fri, 05/27/2016 - 13:54

The Islamic Studies Library is trialing Al-Manhal datatabase for ebooks and ejournals in Islamic Studies from May 26 to June 25, 2016. Al-Manhal’s Islamic Studies collection includes approximately 1850 monographs, and 50 peer reviewed journals with back issues of 4 years in average.

During the trial period, 100% of the content is available. Download, however, is subject to restrictions. The database can be accessed using the following link: http://platform.almanhal.com/.

Check it out and let us know what you think!


McGill Islamic Lithographs digital collection now online!

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 10:28

The McGill Islamic Studies Library Collections include over 750 lithographed volumes in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, and Urdu. These books were published between the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century in the Middle East (Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Turkey), North Africa (Morocco), and South Asia (India, Pakistan).

The McGill Library’s Islamic Lithographs digital Collection started with a selection of sixteen Arabic lithographed books, which were physically displayed in the Islamic Studies Library between February 1st and September 30th 2014. The collection now includes 56 titles, and is a continually updated resource.

Visitors can browse the collection by country of publication or language. All books are accessible full text, either in PDF on the McGill website, or using the online reader of the Internet Archive. Each lithograph is described in a detailed bibliographic record which includes a dynamic bibliographic citation:

Visitors interested in learning more about the history of lithography in the Middle East and South Asia will find an extensive bibliography.

For more information, please contact the Islamic Studies Library, McGill University Library.

Islamic Studies Library digital collection in Internet Archive

Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:37

The Islamic Studies Library is glad to announce that all digitized materials from its collections are now accessible in Internet Archive, a non-profit library of millions of free books, movies, software, music, and more.

Currently, the collection includes 395 manuscripts, lithographs, and rare books in Arabic, Persian, Ottoman Turkish, and Urdu, published between 1488 and 2013 A.D., and is continually growing.

The materials can be opened and browsed using the Internet Archive book reader, or downloaded in PDF format. The RSS feed feature of the Internet Archive website gives you the opportunity to stay informed of new additions to our collection.


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