The library became one of the richest Ottoman archives in the world in 1931 when it acquired millions of Ottoman documents from Turkey. Today, the library’s Oriental Department contains more than 160 sijills, 1000 registers, 1,000,000 individual documents, and thousands of manuscripts, from all the provinces of the Ottoman Empire. The library is truly a hidden gem for scholars of the Middle East and the Balkans.
The John Rylands Library in Manchester is one of the best libraries in the United Kingdom, and holds more than one million manuscripts and documents, including important collections of material in Arabic, Persian, Turkish and other Near Eastern languages.
The National Archives of Japan are an important resource for scholars interested in examining Japan’s evolving relationship with the Middle East. The archive contains material on all aspects of Japanese governmental and scholarly contacts with the Middle East since the nineteenth century.
The Historical Archive of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece contains a rich and largely unexplored collection of Ottoman documents. The archive’s collection includes more than 4,000 registers produced over the course of three centuries of Ottoman rule and constitutes a remarkable source for the history of Thessaloniki (Selanik) and its surrounding region.
The Central Historical Archive is the main depository of historical documents in the Republic of Georgia and a major archive in the Caucasus region. Famed for its large collection of ancient Georgian manuscripts and Imperial Russian documents, the archive also preserves primary sources that are of great value to scholars of Ottoman and Persian history.
The Archivo General de Simancas (AGS) is the primary central archive of the Hispanic Monarchy for documents from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, although it also holds documents dating from the medieval period. It is located in the fifteenth-century castle of Simancas in a small village of the same name, ten kilometers from Valladolid. It is a valuable repository not only for the study of early modern Iberian empires, but also for North Africa and the Mediterranean.
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.
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.
Topkapı Palace Museum: Archive and Library The Archive and Library of the Topkapı Palace Museum (Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi) contain some of the most important documents and manuscripts pertaining to Ottoman […]