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Arabic and Middle Eastern Electronic Library (AMEEL)

Do you suffer from the scarcity and difficulty of finding historical, cultural and scientific information related to the Middle East on the Internet? AMEEL will soon be your reliable resource.

Initiated by Yale University Library, the project aims to develop an Arabic and Middle Eastern Electronic Library (AMEEL) containing a large collection of significant Middle Eastern resources. The project will bring together a well-chosen family of partners at the heart of an electronic library of Middle Eastern materials, embracing digital representations of traditional materials, "born digital" contemporary materials, and a service structure that will enable some form of interlibrary loan and document delivery for traditional materials that have not yet been digitized. This will all be folded into a portal interface that will offer users unprecedented clarity and structure to guide them in accessing the best and most reliable of historical, cultural, scientific, and other materials from and about Middle Eastern cultures.

Areas of collaboration
Having developed an advanced workflow for digitization of Arabic material, including scanning, processing, OCRing, encoding and publishing, ISIS will be acting as a key partner in this initiative. Partners around the world will collaborate as follows:

  • Developing an infrastructure for digital content, from diverse sources (freely available as well as publisher licensed) to be integrated into AMEEL;
  • Digitizing key journals on and about the Middle East, with particular emphasis on fully searchable Arabic texts;
  • Building and expanding the capacity for Arabic full text scanning into US and other libraries through workshops developed and led by experts in this area;
  • Developing technologies and protocols to facilitate interlibrary loans between US and Middle Eastern libraries;
  • Developing an AMEEL Web site.

Agreement with Yale
On 19 October 2006, BA and Yale University Library signed an agreement related to both AMEEL and the Iraqi Recollection projects. Both parties agreed on specific issues including: digitization, integration, training, consulting, and following Open Source software standards.

ISIS will be responsible for the digitization process through its Digital Laboratory. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will be performed on images scanned either at the BA or Yale. Moreover, software engineers from BA will be assigned to work with/at Yale on the AMEEL project, on tasks relevant to integration, developing a presentation prototype, testing and evaluating all new systems developed, and/or evaluating vendor software.

The two parties also agreed that ISIS provide training workshop on digitization techniques and approaches. The workshop was offered at the end of 2007 to AMEEL partners at cost, and hosted attendees from libraries of Princeton, Standford, Yale universities, in addition to other participants from several related fields. ISIS will also perform specific and defined technical tasks and consulting at cost for both AMEEL and Iraqi Recollection.

Project AMEEL is the logical next phase following OACIS, another project done in collaboration with Yale. AMEEL and OACIS tie closely with BA's strategy for expanding global activities and becoming a widely recognized digital center of excellence in the Middle East and beyond.

Partners & participants

  • Yale University, holding one of the strongest Middle Eastern Library collections and research studies;
  • Universitaets-und Landesbibliothek of Sachsen-Anhalt (Halle, Germany), with its advanced development of a Middle East portal including extensive journal tables of contents;
  • JSTOR (New York, USA) and publishers such as:
    • Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden, the Netherlands);
    • Multidata (Beirut, Lebanon); and
    • Oxford University Press (UK).
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina – ISIS


Last updated on 05 Oct 2008