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Revival of l’Institut d’Egypte

A pillar of knowledge
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) is taking the initiative in reviving the Institut d’Egypte, which was built in Cairo by Napoleon Bonaparte over 200 years ago. The Institut’s first scholars were in charge of the research, study and publication of physical, industrial and historical facts about Egypt, and they later on produced the Description de l’Egypte. Eventually, the Institut d’Egypte became the focal point for scholarly work and intellectual pursuit in Egypt, and provided both actual space and structure for scholarly discourse. The Institut was, and remains, recognized as the oldest functioning academy of sciences and arts outside Europe.

Preservation efforts
In order to preserve the Institut d’Egypte's collection and make it accessible to the public, BA has suggested nine projects for its revival, among which is a project of digitizing its entire collection. The effort has started with the digitization of the 10 volumes of Description de l’Egypte. Other special collections were digitized such as the complete works of the French philosopher Voltaire (69 volumes), Des Mille Nuits et Une Nuit(16 volumes), and Geographie Universelle (15 volumes). Eventually, the whole library of the Institut will be digitized, processed, catalogued, indexed and made accessible in searchable form through the web. This will be the first attempt to digitize and publish a collection of such rarity and value. The collection is published on DAR

After it caught fire during clashes near Tahrir Square in December 2011, where thousands of historical documents, rare books, maps and manuscripts were burnt and damaged, l’Institut d'Egypte was reinaugurated on Monday, 22 October 2012 after renovations and restorations. The ceremony was attended by the Minister of Culture, as well as many eminent scientists, intellectuals and Armed Forces figures. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina participated in the event by displaying a movie about the web version of Description de l'Egypte The entire collection has been fully digitized by ISIS and made available in an integrated searchable form online free of charge.



Last updated on 02 Dec 2012