Thursday, July 26, 2012

Call for Papers The Middle East Studies Digital Library Landscape 2012

Call for Papers
The Middle East Studies Digital Library Landscape 2012: Opportunities, Challenges, Outlook 2012
Middle East Librarians Association (MELA) Annual Meeting, Nov. 15, 2012, Denver.

Digital information technology has been transforming, advancing, and enriching teaching and intellectual productivity in all academic disciplines. Its transformative impact has fostered accelerated developments in scholarly communication, preservation, curation, and collection development. Needless to say, the field of Middle East Studies librarianship has been affected by these developments just like all other subject disciplines and is experiencing deep and far reaching change. In this environment where tenets are fluid and goals are constantly morphing, libraries can no longer focus on accommodating patrons’ demands here and now, but need to prepare their assets, digital and physical, in such a way that they remain useful and relevant in the future and for generations to come. To confront this formidable challenge, libraries and librarians have been harnessing their capabilities of innovation, adaptation and integration to allow our collections to continue to serve as hubs in the process of knowledge creation.

MELA would like to dedicate its 2012 program event to presentations about Middle East Studies librarianship’s engagement with the opportunities, challenges, and promises in the digital arena of Middle Eastern scholarship. We are welcoming contributions which address all aspects of digital libraries and allied fields, including, but not limited to:
-new digitization projects of materials relevant to Middle East studies;
-inter-institutional collaboration on digitization projects;
-advances and developments in digital humanities projects centering on or involving Middle East studies;
-case studies of library participation in digital lab environments;
-examples of projects involving game play, virtual architecture and design, and digital storytelling intervening constructively in real world or historical situations in a Middle Eastern context;
-issues and practices for the curation of digital born Middle East specific content (aka Web archiving, including, but not limited to, twitter streams, facebook posts, blog posts, web sites.);
-intellectual property questions in the context of Middle Eastern legal systems
-report on establishment of “best practices” guidelines for digitization projects of Middle Eastern materials;
-creation and management of “digital research commons” and related specific issues in ME studies;
-geo-spatial/GIS-based research centering the Middle East;
-how readily available are e-books in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, etc.; what are the challenges libraries are facing in offering them?
-presentations addressing traditional Middle East library collections, including, but not limited to, acquisitions trips, newly constituted collections, preservation, and assessment.

We are pleased to have as this year’s keynote speaker Dr. Charles Kurzman, Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill ( Prof. Kurzman is widely known for his work on Iran, political Islam, and Islamic terrorism. Among many other book and article-length publications, he is a co-author of the 2010 National Institute of Justice report entitled “Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim Americans” and, more recently, the author of “The Missing Martyrs: Why there Are so Few Muslim Terrorists,” published in 2011 by OUP. Prof. Kurzman will present his most recent project, which “track[s] American scholarship on world regions over the past 50 years, identifying the geographic focus of more than 40 million WorldCat records […], more than 1 million dissertations that ProQuest has shared, and tens of thousands of journal article titles and abstracts [downloaded] from JSTOR's Data For Research interface.” His project provides a salient example of how digital methodologies of research, made possible thanks to the availability of large sets of electronic text and text mining tools, allow scholars to analyze enormous quantities of data and text and, in turn, to shed new light on patterns and trends in the examined field. While MELA is not in a position to pay honoraria or provide financial support for travel and lodging, we will waive program registration fees for presenters. Presenters of accepted papers will have to be MELA members in good standing for 2012. MELA’s membership fee is $30. Membership can be purchased online at or by mailing a check to the MELA Secretary Please send your proposals to or any MELA Officer by August 15, 2012. Proposals should be no longer than one double-spaced typed page (250-300 words). Authors of accepted presentations will be notified by Sept. 15, 2012.

Christof Galli
Middle East/IGO Librarian
Duke University Libraries - Duke University
Box 90195
Durham, NC 27708-0195
Office: inside 227 Bostock Library
P: (919) 660-5850
Fax: (919) 668-3134

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