Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

"vHMML offers resources and tools for the study of manuscripts and currently features manuscript cultures from Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The site houses high-resolution images of manuscripts, many of them digitized as part of HMML’s global mission to preserve and share important, endangered, and inaccessible manuscript collections through digital photography, archiving, and cataloging. It also contains descriptions of manuscripts from HMML's legacy microfilm collection, with scans of some of these films...

Virtual HMML [vHMML] Reading Room, the digital library of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, has thousands of Islamic manuscript records, with 400,000 West African Islamic manuscript images and metadata coming from Timbuktu, Mali in the coming years.

The vHMML platform also includes a component called School, a resource for teaching Arabic paleography from the 9th to 20th centuries, using Christian Arabic manuscripts from Sinai and HMML’s collections.

See also: Alphabetical list of Open Access Islamic Manuscripts Collections

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

British Library - Digital Access to Persian Manuscripts

List of digitised Persian manuscripts

"Below we have listed the Persian manuscripts in the British Library which have been digitised up to the present time.  Click on the manuscript number at the head of each description to go directly to the relevant entry on the British Library's digitised manuscripts site. Once there, click on the thumbnail image of the manuscript to get to the full digitised version which will open in a new window (please note that all subsequent digitised manuscripts that you view will appear in this same window). You can choose to view one page at a time or two together in book format (i.e. as if you were reading it). Make sure, however, that you select 'Right to Left' in the 'Direction' box..."

See: Alphabetical list of Open Access Islamic Manuscripts Collections 

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Manuscripts of the Muslim World

Manuscripts of the Muslim World project made recently available digital copies of 208 manuscripts. The goal of the project is to provide digital editions of more than 500 manuscripts and 827 paintings from the Islamicate world broadly construed. Together these holdings will represent in great breadth the flourishing intellectual and cultural heritage of Muslim lands from 1000 to 1900, coving mathematics, astrology, history, law, literature, as well as the Qur'an and Hadith. The bulk of the collection consists of manuscripts in Arabic and Persian, along with examples of Coptic, Samaritan, Syriac, Turkish, and Berber.
The primary partners are Columbia University, the Free Library of Philadelphia, and the University of Pennsylvania with significant contributions from Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College.
This project is funded by the Council on Library and Information Resources.

The collection is available here:

These 208 online manuscripts come from the following institutions:
        37 manuscripts from the Free Library of Philadelphia
        45 manuscripts from the University of Pennsylvania
        127 manuscripts from Columbia University
        1 manuscript from the Philadelphia Museum of Art

New content is added regularly so please check the site often. Eventually the manuscripts housed there will also be available in more public-friendly page-turning format but the OPenn raw files will remain the canonical source. In addition, the local library catalogs at Columbia, the FLP, and Penn will contain links to the digitized facsimiles as well as to other manifestations differing by institution (Columbia for instance will link to Internet Archive e-book versions).

Please do let us know about any interesting finds in the digitized corpus.
Kelly Tuttle, the cataloger for the project has recently begun tweeting images from the project at

Alphabetical list of Open Access Islamic Manuscripts Collections

Alphabetical list of Open Access Islamic Manuscripts Collections

62 collections as of May 15, 2019
[First posted 12/10/2010, updated 5/15/2019]

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Arabian Gulf Digital Archive

Arabian Gulf Digital Archive 
(collaboration between the UK National Archives and United Arab Emirates)

"The Arabian Gulf Digital Archive (“AGDA”) is an online archive that has been created to showcase historical and cultural material that tells the story of the rich, intriguing and complex history of the Arabian Gulf.

An accessible resource, it serves to offer digital material that spans two centuries, documenting events and personalities that have shaped and defined the region. The contents offer an insight into the past with some material previously unseen by the general public.

AGDA contains, among other things, letters, memos, transcripts, photos and official correspondence from leaders and governments that shaped the events of their time. It’s a free and open resource for students, researchers, enthusiasts and anyone who is curious to explore the rich and varied past of the Arabian Gulf."

Monday, April 29, 2019

Digital Muṣḥaf

"The Digital Muṣḥaf Project aims to create a database of images of early Qurʾānic fragments from dispersed muṣḥafs or codices of the Qurʾanic text and, as far as possible, virtually re-create the original codices so that they are available for scholars and the public in one place together with descriptions and metadata.

There is an ever-growing scholarly interest in Qur’anic Studies in the East and the West. The newly founded International Qur’anic Studies Association (IQSA) is but one manifestation of this. In particular there is an interest in early Qur’anic fragments from a number of points of view including those of chronology, textual criticism, art history, palaeography, and codicology. There may be a number from the high-hundreds to as many as a figure in the low-thousands of fragments from early muṣḥafs from the 7th to 10thcenturies C.E., scattered throughout the libraries of the world, the exact figure is not known, and although Whelan (1990), Dutton (1999) and others have done valuable work in identifying fragments belonging to the same muṣḥaf, much work remains to be done.

For this Pilot Project, the team decided to focus on a single muṣḥaf, namely the codex discussed by Estelle Whelan (Writing the Word of God, Part I, p. 116-118 ) of which 344 folios are known to be dispersed throughout various libraries. We have given this Codex the rubric Digital Muṣḥaf 1 (DM1). Please refer to Appendix 1 for details of currently known fragments.

Of this muṣḥaf, the following fragments have been selected for the pilot project:
Chester Beatty Library, CBL Is 1407, fols. 1-4.
Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, Cod. 12.11 Aug. 2°, fols. 1-6.
BNF Cod. 350a, fols. 99-141.
The Bodleian Libraries, MS. Marsh 178, 22 fols.

For the online reconstruction of DM1, 149 images from the four participating libraries have been gathered for display: 44 from the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, seven from the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin, 86 from the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and 12 from the Herzog August Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel. Our reconstruction of the original codex is powered by the International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), a set of standards and tools for creating interoperable image repositories.

The images of DM1 are hosted in IIIF-compatible format by the Bodleian (in the case of the Chester Beatty, Wolfenbüttel and Bodleian images) and the BnF (in the case of the BnF’s own images). To bring all 149 images together, and to display them in the correct original sequence rather than in the order in which the libraries’ fragments have been bound, the Bodleian team created a IIIF manifest (, a piece of linked data in JSON-LD format that specifies the sequence, location and associated metadata for a collection of digitized objects. The Digital Mushaf manifest specifies the location and technical details for each DM1 image, along with page-level metadata provided by our scholars."

With thanks to Robin Dougherty.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Bibliotheques d'Orient

Bibliotheques d'Orient

"This searchable web site began in 2016 by the Bibliothèque National de France and seven heritage and research libraries in Cairo, Alexandria, Beirut, Istanbul and Jerusalem. It was created to reveal the permanence and wealth of the scientific, intellectual and interreligious exchanges in this region. It is for researchers, teachers and students, and for all those who want to broaden their understanding of this region of the world, in its historic depth, so as better to grasp current events. It will be updated over time when new resources are obtained. Collaboration of the Bibliotheque Nationale de France and international partners to create and curate open access thematic collections of digitized material from and about the Middle East."