West African Arabic Manuscript Project

The West African Arabic Manuscript Project catalogs over 23,000 Arabic manuscripts in collections across West Africa. Currently they have a bilingual searchable database and the ability to browse by topic headings. According to their home page, they are working on linking records to scans of the manuscripts themselves.

While I’m looking forward to having access to digital scans of the manuscripts, this database is certainly renewing my interest in a trip to West Africa. Too bad travel to the libraries in Timbuktu is not as easy as it was.

Digital Averroes Research Environment

The Digital Averroes Research Environment is a digital collection of the works of Abu l-Walid Muhammad b. Ahmad b. Rushd (Averroes) from the Thomas-Institute at the University of Cologne. The project makes available digital editions of texts along with images of manuscripts used to compile the editions.

Right now it looks like there are a handful of texts available in Latin, Arabic, and Hebrew. While the editions are extremely useful, especially with the manuscript pages available for consultation, from a teaching perspective, it would be nice to see some English translations available in the future.

Firman of Abd al-Rahman Khan

I wanted to share this great scan of the Firman of Abd al-Rahman Khan (the Iron Amir of Afghanistan, r. 1880-1901). I have students in my Afghan history courses read the firman (as translated in David Edwards, Heroes of the Age:Moral Fault Lines on the Afghan Frontier (1996)), but the image of the accompanying map always comes out a bit too blurry.  This copy, scanned by the Afghanistan Digital Library project at NYU is incredibly crisp and detailed.

Speaking more generally, check out the Afghanistan Digital Library’s collection. It has lots of great material for the study of Afghan history, covering the period of 1870-1930 (with the hope of expanding in the future).