The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, known as the JDC, is an international Jewish philanthropic organization started after the First World War to assist Jewish refugees in Eastern Europe and Palestine. With records of activities in over ninety countries dating from 1914 to the present, the JDC Archives are a significant resource to understand not only American Jewish relief efforts abroad, but also Jewish social, cultural, political, and economic conditions around the world. Middle East specialists will find this archive particularly useful for conducting research on Jewish history in the Middle East and North Africa in the second half of the twentieth century.
Women’s Worlds in Qajar Iran is a digital archive of materials related to the social and cultural history of Iran during the Qajar period. The archive seeks to aid scholarship on women’s history and gender history by making freely available online a vast array of writings, photographs, financial and legal documents, artwork, and everyday objects contained in private and public collections around the world.
The Google Ngram Viewer is a free tool that allows anyone to make queries about diachronic word usage in several languages based on Google Books’ large corpus of linguistic data. In this article, we explain the potential use of n-grams for historians, offer suggestions about the kinds of questions they can answer, and point to the importance of digitization and developing character recognition software for non-European languages.
Gazi Husrev-Begova Biblioteka is the largest collection of Islamic manuscripts and documents in the Balkans. Located on the premises of the mosque complex of the same name in Sarajevo, the well-catalogued collection and brand new library is one of the premier locations for the study of the Ottoman Empire in general and the Balkans in particular. At the beginning of 2014, the library will officially open a state-of-the-art building to researchers and the general public.
The rich Oriental collections of the Leiden University contain some 6,000 Middle Eastern manuscripts, about 120,000 rare books printed before 1950, and photographs of interest to the scholars of the region. The collection is located at the Special Collections section of the main library of the university at Leiden, the Netherlands.
The Central Zionist Archive in Jerusalem is the main archival resource for scholars researching the history of the Zionist movement, both within Palestine/Israel and internationally, and the history of the Yishuv during the British Mandate and late Ottoman periods. Any scholar researching a topic that relates, either directly or indirectly, to the Jewish community in pre-state Palestine or the international institutions of the Zionist movement will find the CZA to be an important archive.
Tahrir Documents is a collection of pamphlets, newsletters, signs, poems, and other texts gathered in and around Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, between March 2011 and May 2012. The physical documents are housed at UCLA but all documents are available online at TahrirDocuments.org as scanned PDF files with accompanying English translations. The archive seeks to create a record of the print culture of the Egyptian uprising against Hosni Mubarak and its aftermath.
The Turkish Red Crescent (Kızılay, formerly Hilâl-i Ahmer) is a charity organization founded during the late Ottoman period on the model of the Red Cross societies. Its activities in the areas of medicine, care for prisoners of war, and other social services, particularly during the World War I period and the early years of the Turkish Republic, make the archives of this organization a vital resource for historians interested in medicine, public health, war, and charity alike during this formative period. Recently, its archives in Ankara have been made public through a searchable online catalog, opening an exciting new field of research for Ottoman and Turkish historians.
How Digitization has Transformed Manuscript Research: New Methods for Early Modern Islamic Intellectual History: The mass digitization of manuscripts is blurring the long held boundaries between manuscript libraries and archives and altering the act of research in the process. Scholars often view the changes that digitization entails in a negative light as the physical document is increasingly removed from the hands of the researcher. Here, though, I would like to take a different approach and explore the true possibilities provided by digitization as scholars are able to ask new questions, discover unknown texts, and gain a different understanding of intellectual life in the early modern Islamic world in particular. My belief is that a fundamental shift has occurred now that researchers can view twenty, fifty, or even one hundred manuscripts a day rather than two to three. In what follows, I examine some of the techniques we can use and the insights we can gain when given the opportunity to look at thousands of manuscripts during a research period.
The National Archives is the official state repository for the United Kingdom and is situated in Kew Gardens, London. Among the archive’s 11 million records, comprising hundreds of millions of documents, are vast numbers of items relating to the history of interactions between the peoples of the British Isles and the Middle East from the Crusades to colonial rule. As well as documents in European languages, The National Archives contains a significant collection of documents in Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, and Persian.