The National Library of France (BnF), as part of its international programs of shared digitalization, launched their project of a new digital web portal named “Libraries of the Orient” for the preservation, digitalization, dissemination, and enhancement of the heritage of Francophone libraries in the Mediterranean Orient.
The corpus of works covers the countries bordering the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea: Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and Iraq. Moreover, it centers around major periods linked to the history of the region: oriental archaeology, oriental churches, the Ottoman Empire, Franco-Arabic relations from Napoleon I to the Second World War/ the question of the East.
The volume, as an initial phase, is estimated to be comprised of 5,000 documents for the public domain, of which 2,500 are from the BnF and 2,500 from its partners. They include printed works, manuscripts, maps and plans, photographs, posters, images and, in the future, sound and audiovisual documents.
Partners of the web portal of Libraries in the Levant
- The Dominican Institute for Oriental Studies in Cairo;
- The French Institute of Oriental Archeology in Cairo;
- The Center of Alexandrian Studies in Alexandria;
- The French School for Biblical and Archaeological Studies in Jerusalem;
- The Oriental Library of Saint Joseph University in Beirut;
- The French Institute of the Near East in Beirut;
- The French Institute of Anatolian Studies in Istanbul;
- The SALT in Istanbul.
The participation of IDEO’s library
IDEO’s specialized collection of works concerns the Arabic-Muslim heritage of the first ten centuries of the Hijra. Priority is thus given to editions of texts by Arab-Muslim authors. Section icon-tags 9 of the library focuses on a general spectrum of Arabic-Muslim culture. It includes not only works on religious sciences, but also secular literature or of the history of sciences. IDEO’s library has 11,510 works whose publication date is between 1800 and 1945.
Among the 1,404 periodicals that the IDEO’s library houses today, 964 are in European languages and 440 are in Arabic. Only 286 are still in publication, of which 171 are in European languages and 115 are in Arabic. The library contains 87 titles of Arabic periodicals published between 1800 and 1945.
Works on Arabic literature, Sufism and history will make up most of what IDEO’s Library will provide for the web portal.