International Seminar on: what happened to the Ancient Library of Alexandria, at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina from 20-28 September 2004
International Seminar on: what happened to the Ancient Library of Alexandria, at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina from 20-28 September 2004
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The Alexandria Project


The "Alexandria Project" is one of the major research projects undertaken by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA). The Project aims at making the BA a center for research and a depository of all forms of information on the Ancient Library of Alexandria, Alexandrian scholarship and other related topics.

In order to achieve such a goal, the BA plans to motivate and stimulate a highly specialized international scholarly movement around these areas of research.

It is planned that the project will proceed along several lines of activities:

(a)      to assign to top scholars the study and publication of monographs on specialized topics;
(b)      to hold international conferences;
(c)      to issue a series of books of original texts studied by specialized scholars;
(d)     to render its wealth of information available by means of various methods of most up-to-date technology.

The activities conducted by the project should eventually lead to the building up of a collection, as comprehensive as possible, on the sources and studies relevant to Alexandrian scholarship, in different forms of library materials.


The project focuses on revealing all aspects of the Ancient Library of Alexandria and Alexandrian scholarship. It also covers all other historical, religious, social and economic factors which influenced the Ancient Library and the unprecedented scholarly achievements of ancient Alexandria. Other areas include the interaction at Alexandria of earlier intellectual achievements and contemporary centers of learning, as well as the passage of Alexandrian heritage to subsequent civilizations.

Coverage in details

Axes of subject coverage

·          Alexandria and the Alexandrian contribution to mankind's knowledge.
·          Alexandrian interaction with other contemporary centers of learning.
·          Roots of Alexandrian intellectual contribution.
·          The passage of the Alexandrian intellectual contribution to subsequent civilizations.
·          Alexandrian heritage as an inspiration to modern cultures.
·          Sources of information on Alexandria.
·          Background subjects.

Subject coverage

·          Ancient library(ies) and centers of learning/research
·          Scholarship and intellectual life
·          Science and technology
·          Literature and Literary criticism
·          Philology and Languages
·          Philosophy
·          Religious thought (Pagan, Jewish, Christian, Islamic)
·          History
·          Art and archaeology (especially underwater antiquities)
·          Other general and background topics.

Chronological coverage

·          Hellenistic Period
·          Roman Empire
·          Byzantine Empire
·          Other backgrounds in chronological periods:

-         Pre-Hellenistic (including ancient civilizations, especially Egyptian, Phoenician, Greek, Persian, Indian) being the roots of human knowledge before the rise of Alexandria.

-         Post-Byzantine (including Middle Ages, Islamic, Renaissance, modern, contemporary civilizations) as influencing and/or transferring the Alexandrian intellectual heritage.

Geographical coverage

In relation to the subject and chronological coverage defined for the project.

·          Alexandria, the city of
·          Egypt
·          Mediterranean (limited to certain aspects of subject and chronological coverage)
·          Europe (limited to certain aspects of subject and chronological coverage)
·          The world (limited to certain aspects of subject and chronological coverage)

Main guidelines

The Alexandria Project has three main objectives:

(a)       Thematic research/scholarship.
(b)      Bibliographic research and collection development.
(c)       Documentation and information production.
(d)       Thematic research/scholarship

(a)Thematic research includes programs for authorship/publication and conferences/scholarly events.

Authorship/publication program

The project seeks to contribute efforts of most eminent scholars of the day in a colossal multi-volume work.

·          Realization of an encyclopedic work, of high scholarly standard, on the Ancient Library of Alexandria and all aspects of the Alexandrian scholarship and history.
·          The encyclopedic work has two main objectives:
-         A study of all related topics.
-         Compilation and translation of works of classical Alexandrian authors; source-text in the original language with the translation (especially into Arabic).

Conferences/scholarly events program

The project will launch a series of conferences and other specialized activities (symposia, discussions, debates, lectures, exhibitions, etc.) taking place at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, being a forum for the interaction and exchange of knowledge between scholars. Proceedings of such events will also be published within the framework of the project.

(b)      Bibliographic research and collection development

The Project conducts bibliographic research with the following main objectives:

Bibliographic documentation

Create a core bibliography for the documentation (as complete as possible) of almost all intellectual works and studies produced on topics covered by the project (from ancient times up to the inauguration of the project) with reference to important collections within Egypt and worldwide.

Collection development

Collection development of Bibliotheca Alexandrina library materials aiming at holding as comprehensively as possible the most complete specialized collection on subjects covered by the project.

(c)       Documentation and information production

·          To collect and disseminate various types of information and core data on related subjects applying latest technologies of the digital age and linking to other collections and other information services provided by other specialized institutions working in the same fields as the Project.
·          To provide an integrated information resource with online services. The content of this resource will be based on results from all research and documentation activities of the project; realized by its affiliated scholars and staff members.
·          The project's integrated information resources includes:
-       Bibliographic database.
-       Research community database.
-       Electronic encyclopedic reference work with full text (i.e. a Digital Library of the project with full text content created by, and accumulated for, the project).