Been All Around This World: Open Access resources for Middle East & Islamic Studies

As this week is Open Access week, I thought it would be good to write a short post about OA resources for Middle East and Islamic Studies. Like many other disciplines, there are copious amounts of resources available in different formats from interviews to journals and ebooks.

Before listing those resources, I would like to draw your attention to this informative post from our friends at the University of Toronto: OA 2019: THE HIDDEN COST OF DOING RESEARCH. Yayo Umetsudo, Scholarly Communications & Liaison Librarian provides details of some UoT subscription costs.

For Middle East and Islamic Studies, there are a number of tremendous resources. Perhaps the most important is AMIR (Access to Middle East and Islamic Resources) which has been collecting OA materials since its founding by Charles Jones and Peter Magierski in 2010.

A relatively new OA digital resource is provided by the University of Bonn’s Digital Translatio project. The resource provides free access to rare or hard to find journals in Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman. Check it out here. In a similar vein, أرشيف المجلات الأدبية والثقافية العربية, which translates roughly as the Archive of Arab literary and cultural magazines, provides terrific access to a large collection of Arabic journals. Check it out here. Announced yesterday, the important Istanbul Kadı sicilleri (Court records) is now freely accessible online in Turkish transcription from the original Ottoman. Check it our here.

A highly valuable lecture series is the History of Philosophy (HoP) podcasts from King’s College, London. HoP covers the Classical age, Later Antiquity and the Islamic World striving to seamless illustrate the evolution of ideas in different eras, epochs and religious vantage points. The Islamic World covers the idea of falsafah (philosophy) before moving on to some of the great proponents of philosophy in the Islamic World, e.g. al-Kindī, al-Fārābī and others. Each episode lasts for about 20-30 minutes and offers a bibliography of core texts.

Many such podcasts have recently developed. Perhaps the largest is the New Books network, which includes a specific section on Islamic Studies and Middle East Studies. Also, do not forget Ottoman History podcast. Moreover, for those who love maps: The Afternoon Map.

Yale University has a number of series and lectures freely available. Included amongst these are some 20 lectures pertaining to different aspects of the Islamicate, Islam or the Middle East. Each one of these lectures is roughly 40-45 minutes and includes an assignment and often a mini-syllabus.

iTunes U offers a many freely accessible resources.  One has to register with iTunes U but after that a number of valuable resources are available. A particularly delightful feature of iTunesU are the language courses, check out the Arabic one. These are great for the multi-tasker in you!

Finally, a very general resource of OA materials spanning multiple disciplines is Open Culture. There are countless resources available to the researcher from language classes to ebooks to short essays of interesting facts such as the last, known, hand-written newspaper Musalman.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the Ivy Plus web collecting project of which a number of DUL colleagues are active participants. See the list of projects here.

This list is not meant to be exhaustive but rather to peek your interest in some of the freely available resources. Happy OA week.


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