History Goes Online

Staff Report

Arabic Collections Online to offer 20,000 digitised historic books in Arabic for global users

The National Archives has joined with NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) and six other major universities to digitise its holdings of historic Arabic language materials to Arabic Collections Online (ACO), an Arabic digital library freely available to the public.

ACO, an open-access initiative sponsored by NYUAD, has set a goal of reaching 20,000 digitised Arabic books to be provided free of cost to a global audience.

Using state-of-the-art digitisation techniques, ACO is preserving thousands of volumes from their partnersÔÇÖ distinguished library collections to provide an online repository of Arabic-language material for the global community. Seeking to preserve Arabic-language resources for future generations, topics covered range from fiction, poetry, literature, culture, economics, history, law, biographies, and Islamic studies.

ÔÇ£Many of the aging books in existing library collections are irreplaceable once they succumb to deterioration over time,ÔÇØ said Justin Parrott, Librarian for Acquisitions and Middle East Studies at NYUAD.

ÔÇ£One such document available through ACO is Ahadith al-sabah fial-midhya. Published in 1947 and featuring the religious teachings of Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut, the late Grand Imam of Al- Azhar, the original book was never reprinted and now exists only in a few libraries,ÔÇØ he added.

Readers can view books in the online digital reader, or download them as high or low-resolution PDF files for offline viewing at their convenience. For more information and to access content, visit the website at dlib.nyu.edu/aco

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