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Embassies of Knowledge

Ever since its inauguration, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) aims “to be a center of excellence in the production and dissemination of knowledge and to be a place of dialogue, learning and understanding between cultures and peoples”.

Owing to modern age technology, the library not only provides such services to its onsite visitors, but extends its services to other socially diverse and geographically distant locations throughout Egypt. The Embassies of Knowledge were established towards fulfilling the BA’s aim to outreach its leadership and capabilities beyond its physical boundaries. Two Embassies are currently established and host a wide selection of the BA’s digital output and services. El Gouna Embassy is one of them, which is the product of a private sector initiative. The venue is the archetype of a new age in librarianship: the books on the shelves are important, but the true wealth of this library lies in how it is technologically and digitally set up to face the challenges of our time. The reading area has around 750 shelved books that were donated by Bibliotheca Alexandrina. While these may seem as the apparent stock of the library, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Embassy section of ElGouna library hosts a wealth of e-resources provided by the BA, allowing the visitor to feel as though he was in the BA’s own premises. El Minya Embassy in upper Egypt, on the other hand addresses the needs of students and scholars to abundant resources in different forms. Minya University hosts 16 different faculties and serves thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate students annually.

What do Embassies of Knowledge offer?

Embassies of knowledge mainly aim at replicating the services of the BA in remote areas in Egypt and in this context they provide the following:

  1. Full access to the BA’s Digital Assets Repository (DAR) which holds the largest Arabic Digital Library, comprising more than 185,000 Arabic books out of a 5-language collection of 300,000 online books. Compared to regular browsing on the Internet, this vast book collection is fully available through Embassies of Knowledge compared to the 5% availability of copyrighted material via regular Internet browsing.
  2. Embassies of Knowledge users have access to Multimedia services availed solely to BA onsite visitors comprising documentaries, cinematography, encyclopedias on CDs, audios and other services.
  3. Live broadcasting of BA Conference Center events featuring lectures by prominent scientists and figures through Webcasting service in high streaming and sound quality as that provided onsite. This service also represents a live archive of the events taking place at the BA complex.
  4. Embassies of knowledge provide the Supercomputer service at the BA which supports scientific research in Egypt and the region, availing a high performance computing cluster for free use to researchers at Egyptian universities with the following specs:
    1. Peak Performance of 11.8 TFlops
    2. Based on Blade Technology
    3. 130 computational nodes + 6 management nodes
    4. Based on Open Source Software
    5. Shared storage 36 TByte
    6. Management network
    7. Backup system

    Thus supercomputer is a valuable tool enabling scientists and researchers to conduct their research more efficiently and rapidly consequently pushing research output further.

    As such, Embassies of Knowledge represent a miniature replication of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina’s services. They also reinforce the BA’s mission in disseminating knowledge using state-of-the-art technologies through bridging the geographical coverage of the BA’s services.


    Last updated on 05 Jan 2014