Libraries across Egypt now have access to the world’s first major online archive of pre-20th century Arabic books. Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, signed a national agreement with the Specialized Presidential Council for Education and Scientific Research to deliver the first module of Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library to academic institutions, schools, and public, special and corporate libraries in Egypt. In addition, the Council is also making available collections from Gale’s National Geographic Virtual Library and Archives Unbound. These resources can be accessed locally through the Egyptian Knowledge Bank, a project aimed at building a learning society by making all kinds of human sciences available for every Egyptian citizen.
“We’re delighted these important collections will soon be accessible online throughout Egypt, making rare texts available for historical and cultural study in the region,” said Terry Robinson, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Gale International. “These are exciting times for the education sector in the MENA region which is growing at a rapid pace and rigorously embracing the latest advances in digital education.”
Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library contains over 400 years of books, from the 15th to 19th centuries, covering a broad range of subject areas. With texts in Arabic script as well as translations into European and Asian languages, the collection demonstrates Europe’s fascination, study and assimilation of ideas and knowledge from the Arabic-speaking world. The first module, Religion and Law, includes a wealth of content on Islamic literature and law. In addition, interfaces in Arabic and European languages, right-to-left-read navigation of Arabic texts, an embedded Arabic keyboard and newly developed optical character recognition software for early Arabic printed script are available to ensure scholars in Arabic-speaking countries can research the extensive range of texts.
“This archive is the result of years of work and technological innovation, and it will both support the work of researchers and also raise awareness of the rich cultural heritage of the Middle East,” said Seth Cayley, Director of Research Publishing, Gale International. “By digitizing these collections we are making important historic works available to the Middle East and preserving hundreds of years of Arabic culture and history for generations to come.”
Students, researchers and instructors in the region are also gaining access to Gale’s National Geographic Magazine Archive, 1888-1994 as well as National Geographic: People, Animals and the World, a multimedia resource with books, videos, maps, downloadable images, and issues of National Geographic Traveler magazine. Through Archives Unbound, Gale’s platform for highly-targeted, specialized historical content, users in the region will have access to two Middle East collections: Arab-Israeli Relations, 1917-1970 and Iraq, 1914-1974.
For more information Gale’s Arabic digitization program please visit gale.cengage.co.uk/Arabic.
About Cengage Learning and Gale
Cengage Learning (cengage.com | gale.com) is a leading educational content, technology, and services company for the higher education and K-12, professional and library markets worldwide. Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, has been a global provider of research resources for libraries and businesses for more than 60 years. Gale is passionate about supporting the continued innovation and evolution of libraries by providing the content, tools, and services libraries need to promote information discovery, enable learning, and support economic, cultural, and intellectual growth in their communities.