The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library has digitized its collection of Arabic papyrus, parchment, and paper and the collection looks fantastic. The collections totals over 2,000 documents (770 on papyrus and 1,300 on paper). Most of the documents originated in Egypt and many are dated from the 8th through early 9th centuries.
I recently learned about Signs of Conflict, an on-line archive of political posters from Lebanon’s Civil War covering the years 1975-1990. It’s a very well organized collection. They have two different on-line exhibits that display their collection in two different ways. The first is organized chronologically, identifying each poster by political faction and year. The second focuses on the themes, icons, and symbols found in the posters. Personally, I’ve enjoyed just browsing through the exhibits, but an image database like this could also make for a great teaching tool.
In collaboration with the Islamic Heritage Project, Harvard Library’s Open Collections Program has digitized “280 manuscripts, 275 printed texts, and 50 maps.” The collection includes a wide variety of materials and the scans are nice and clean.
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.
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.
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).