Monday, November 28, 2011

MELCom International

MELCom International
Melcom International, the European Association of Middle East Libraries, is an academic professional organisation, devoted to promoting co-operation among individuals and institutions in Europe, in particular, and all over the world in general; concerned with all aspects of Middle East librarianship, book collecting, the book trade and publishing.

It pursues its aims without any discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, sex, nationality or political philosophy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Alpheios Texts

The Alpheios Project makes open source software for reading and learning languages. It currently supports Arabic, Latin and Ancient Greek texts.

Following texts are available in Arabic:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Online Checklist for Arabic Papyrus edition

The Checklist of Arabic Documents

Orientalisches Seminar  -  معهد الاستشراق

(Last Update 11. November 2011) by Petra M. Sijpesteijn, John F. Oates (✝), Andreas Kaplony, and Eva M. Grob

The Checklist of Arabic Documents aims to facilitate and advance the use of Arabic documents. By providing this inclusive bibliography of editions of Arabic documentary texts - on papyrus, paper, parchment, leather, ostraca, wood, stone and bone - in monographs and articles, and setting out a standardized system of abbreviations for monographs of Arabic document editions, we hope it will serve to enhance the transparency of citations and improve the accessibility of editions, functioning as a useful point of reference for Arabists and non-Arabists, specialists and non-specials alike.

Arabic Papyrology

Scholars have long acknowledged the importance of papyri and other documents for our understanding of early and medieval Islamic culture and society. Tens of thousands of papyrus documents survive, in Greek, Coptic and Arabic, and among the vastly diverse and significant information they contain are the only contemporary records of the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the mid-seventh century, a cornerstone event not only in the history of Mediterranean civilization but in the development of one of the most populous religions of the world. Never intended to be read by later generations, the documents not only offer a useful check on the data preserved in narrative and literary sources, but also record aspects of life and strata of society to which we would otherwise have no access, and with a richness, immediacy and variety unmatched by any other source. Together, these documents have the potential to shine a fresh and detailed new light on early Islamic Mediterranean culture and society. The field can no longer afford to be without them.

Despite their importance, however, papyri from the Islamic period continue to be underused. The philological complexity of Arabic papyri combined with the poorly developed infrastructure of the field (with few catalogues and handlists) seriously impedes the edition of new documents. Of the tens of thousands of Arabic documents preserved in museum and library collections around the world, only some two thousand have been published so far. The relative neglect is especially striking when Arabic papyrology is compared to older disciplines such as Greek, Latin and Coptic papyrology, all of which have benefited from such essential tools as electronic and printed databases, lexicographic, geographical, onomastic and linguistic reference works and compilations of corrigenda - all of which Arabic papyrology lacks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Open Access Report: Turkey and the Arab Spring

Turkey and the Arab Spring: Implications for Turkish Foreign Policy from a Transatlantic Perspective

Source: Istituto Affari Internazionali

From the Foreword:

The Arab Spring reveals a number of contradictions, constraints as well as opportunities for Turkish foreign policy, all of which are of key relevance both to Turkey and to its transatlantic partners.

In the short-term, the Arab Spring has revealed a number of inconsistencies in and weaknesses of Turkish foreign policy, particularly when mapped against the stances of the European Union (EU) and the United States. These weaknesses and inconsistencies may be viewed as by- products of a more proactive Turkish role in its southern neighborhood. Over the last decade, Turkish foreign policy has become more open to engagement with its neighbors, more eager to resolve regional problems and less secularized in nature. Improved relations with Syria, Iraq, and Iran (as well as Russia, Armenia, and Greece) are evidence of this. But this does not mean that Turkish foreign policy has been purely idealistic and norm driven. The Arab Spring has revealed the inherent tension between the normative and realpolitik dimensions of Turkish foreign policy.

Arab Reform Bulletin changes name to Sada.

Arab Reform Bulletin published since 2003 by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace has recently changed its name to Sada.


"To better reflect the current developments on the ground and the breadth of the debate occurring in the region, [Arab Reform Bulletin] was relaunched as Sada, meaning reverberation or repercussion in Arabic. Sada offers original, bilingual analysis of political change and reform trends in the Arab world from leading thinkers and new voices in the region."

Friday, November 18, 2011

UNESCO launches Global Open Access Portal

On Nov. 1, 2011 UNESCO launched Global Open Access Portal (GOAP)

The Portal provides an overview of the framework surrounding Open Access in UNESCO Member States by focusing on:
  • the critical success factors for effectively implementing Open Access;
  • each country’s strengths and opportunities for further developments;
  • where mandates for institutional deposits and funding organization have been put into place;
  • potential partners at the national and regional level; and
  • funding, advocacy, and support organizations throughout the world.

In the Access by Region section one will find links to major Open Access projects in various countries.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Online Cataloging and Digitization for Islamic Manuscripts - RBSC Princeton University

Posting from the blog of Manuscripts Division of the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, Princeton University Library.

"Cat­a­loging is now avail­able online for most of the nearly 10,000 Islamic man­u­scripts in the Man­u­scripts Divi­sion, Depart­ment of Rare Books and Spe­cial Col­lec­tions, Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library. These extra­or­di­nary hold­ings of Islamic man­u­scripts con­sti­tute the pre­mier col­lec­tion of Islamic man­u­scripts in the West­ern Hemi­sphere and among the finest in the world. About two-thirds of these were the gift of Robert Gar­rett, Class of 1897. The online records have been cre­ated as part of the Islamic Man­u­scripts Cat­a­loging and Dig­i­ti­za­tion Project, to improve access to these rich col­lec­tions and share them world­wide through dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. Gen­er­ous sup­port from the David A. Gard­ner ’69 Magic Project has funded this ongo­ing effort. Researchers can now locate man­u­scripts by search­ing the Library’s online cat­a­log. The Library has dig­i­tized 200 man­u­scripts in the Prince­ton Dig­i­tal Library of Islamic Man­u­scripts.

Over the past two years, the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library has cre­ated online biblio­graphic records cov­er­ing its col­lec­tions of Ara­bic man­u­scripts in the Gar­rett and New Series. These had pre­vi­ously been only described in three printed cat­a­logs: Descrip­tive Cat­a­log of the Gar­rett Col­lec­tion of Ara­bic Man­u­scripts in the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library (P. K. Hitti, N. A. Faris, and B. ‘Abd al-Malik), Cat­a­logue of Ara­bic Man­u­scripts (Yahuda Sec­tion) in the Gar­rett Col­lec­tion (R. Mach), and Han­dlist of Ara­bic Man­u­scripts (New Series) in the Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity Library (R. Mach and E. Ormsby). Over two-thirds of the Library’s some 10,000 vol­umes of Islamic man­u­scripts are described in these cat­a­logs. The cat­a­logs were con­verted to XML for­mat, and the result­ing files were then edited for accu­racy and consistency—they now have autho­rized names, prop­erly roman­ized titles, and appro­pri­ate sub­ject head­ings. The files were then imported into the Library’s online cat­a­log. Still under­way is an effort to link records that describe multi-text volumes.

The Third Series, com­pris­ing over 750 vol­umes in Ara­bic, Per­sian, Ottoman Turk­ish, Urdu, and Jawi, has been com­pletely cat­a­loged, and a find­ing aid has been cre­ated for the William McEl­wee Miller Col­lec­tion of Bābī Writ­ings and Other Iran­ian Texts, 1846–1923, com­prised of 47 vol­umes of writ­ings of the Bāb, Subḥ-i Azal, and Bahá’u’lláh, and their respec­tive fol­low­ers. The col­lec­tion also includes Sufi texts and an anti-Islamic polemic writ­ings. The Miller col­lec­tion has been dig­i­tized, largely from micro­film, and is being made avail­able online by the Library as a ser­vice to schol­ar­ship. File sizes are large (30–590 MB) and may take some time to download.

For more infor­ma­tion about the cat­a­loging, con­tact Denise L. Soufi, Islamic Man­u­scripts Cat­a­loger, at; for infor­ma­tion about the over­all project, con­tact Don C. Ske­mer, Cura­tor of Man­u­scripts, at"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Explore Collections of Islamic Art

Now Showing: Islamic Art Collections from Around the World
 A new digital initiative offers online visitors a view of Islamic Art collections at museums from around the world. Over 40 museums in 18 countries are included in Explore Collections of Islamic Art, a resource recently launched by Museum With No Frontiers (MWNF).
Items on view range from paintings and documents to work in metal, ivory, clay and more, dating from the Umayyad dynasty to the late Ottoman period. High resolution photographs allow visitors to see the pieces in detail. The descriptions accompanying many of the collections appear in English and other languages, including Arabic, French, German and Italian.
MWNF plans to expand this resource by adding additional art collections, with objects from museums in Sharjah, Athens and Vienna slated to appear on the site soon.
Photograph: Batha Palace Museum. Image courtesy of the Fine Arts Library, Harvard University.
Contributed by ArchNet Librarian

Open Access Journal: The Washington Review of Turkish & Eurasian Affairs

The Washington Review of Turkish & Eurasian Affairs

The Washington Review of Turkish & Eurasian Affairs is an online journal for scholarly discussion of political, social, and economic issues affecting Turkish and Eurasian societies. The journal presents a forum on a broad range of topics and facilitates building, sharing, exchange and dissemination of ideas aimed at both professional and general audiences.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Islamic Manuscripts at Michigan Project Extension

AMIR has reported earlier on this important initiative.
See :
It is good to know that the project will continue through December 2012.

"The University of Michigan Library’s “Collaboration in Cataloging: Islamic Manuscripts at Michigan” project staff are pleased to announce that our collaborative project to fully catalogue our Islamic Manuscripts Collection has been officially extended through December 2012. This extension will allow us to complete the time-consuming physical examination of those manuscripts that have thus far only been examined in the digital environment by the project cataloguer, Evyn Kropf, and by our generous colleagues around the world.

To date, this extensive digital examination - combined with physical examination efforts on the part of the project cataloguer and her cataloguing assistants, has resulted in 810 of the roughly 880 previously uncatalogued manuscripts being fully or near fully catalogued with detailed, data-rich records in our online library catalogue. 136 of these are in fact manuscripts for which digitization is not possible at this time.

The extension will also allow us to continue receiving and archiving your contributions to enhance the cataloguing as you interact with the manuscripts and their descriptions via the project website ( ).

We greatly appreciate your support for the project thus far, and would be especially grateful for any further contributions you could make to the cataloguing of the remaining manuscripts, including review of existing descriptive data where available.

These manuscripts still to be catalogued are listed on the project site here:

Your expertise remains an invaluable complement to our local cataloguing efforts. Treasures from the collection are still being unearthed, and we appreciate your continued participation in the cataloguing endeavors.

We look forward to seeing your comments posted to the project site and thank you in advance for your valuable contribution to this project.

As always, please feel free to forward any questions, comments and/or suggestions to project staff at,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Open Access Journal: İslami Araştırmalar Dergisi

İslami Araştırmalar Dergisi - Journal of Islamic Research

Türkiye Ekonomik ve Kültürel Dayanışma Vakfı (TEK-DAV)’nın bir yayın organıdır.
Türkiye Ekonomik ve Kültürel Dayanışma Vakfı adına sahibi Prof.Dr. Hikmet AKGÜL (Ankara)

It is a publication of Turkey Economical and Culturel Solidarity (TEK-DAV) Foundation.
The owner is Prof.Dr.Hikmet Akgul on behalf of Turkey Economical and Culturel Solidarity (Ankara)

Recent publications from Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU)

Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) is an independent research institute based in Kabul. AREU's mission is to inform and influence policy and practice through conducting high-quality, policy-relevant research and actively disseminating the results, and to promote a culture of research and learning.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Counter-narcotics efforts and their effects in Nangarhar and Helmand in the 2010-11 growing season

This paper contrasts the socio-economic and political developments that have taken place in the opium growing provinces ... Read More

Rethinking Rural Poverty Reduction in Afghanistan

This policy note draws on the findings of AREU's Afghanistan Livelihood Trajectories project. It calls for a re-examinat... Read More

Legacies of Conflict: Healing Complexes and Moving Forwards in Ghazni Province

The third written in the series, this paper presents findings from an urban area of Ghazni City and a rural community in... Read More

Legacies of Conflict: Healing Complexes and Moving Forwards in Bamiyan Province

The second written in the series, this paper presents findings from an urban area of Bamiyan City and a rural community ... Read More