(MENAFN - Emirates News Agency (WAM))
ABU DHABI, 11th November, 2017 (WAM) -- The National Archives has joined NYU Abu Dhabi, NYUAD, and six other major universities, to digitise its holdings of historic Arabic-language materials to be included in a digital library available to the public.
Arabic Collections Online, ACO, is an open-access initiative sponsored by NYUAD, and has set a goal of reaching 20,000 digitised Arabic books provided free of cost to a global audience. ACO is sponsored by NYUAD in partnership with Columbia, Cornell, Princeton, American University in Beirut, American University in Cairo, and, now, the National Archives, who will support with the digitisation of materials.
Using state-of-the-art digitisation techniques, ACO is preserving thousands of volumes from their partners' distinguished library collections to provide an online repository of Arabic-language material for the global community. Seeking to preserve Arabic-language resources for future generations, topics covered on ACO range from fiction, poetry, literature, criticism, and culture to society, economics, history, law, biographies, and Islamic studies.
"Many of the aging books in existing library collections are irreplaceable once they succumb to deterioration over time. One such document available through ACO is 'Ahaadith al-sabaah fii al-midhyaa.' Published in 1947 and featuring the religious teachings of Sheikh Mahmud Shaltut, the late Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, the original book was never reprinted and now exists only in a few libraries," said Justin Parrott, Librarian for Acquisitions and Middle East Studies at NYUAD.
Director-General of the National Archives Dr. Abdulla Alraisi, said that NYU Abu Dhabi is partnering with the National Archives on two fronts. The first is the contribution of the institution's books to the online repository of the archive. The second is supporting a five-year project with Arabic Collections Online in concert with the National Archives.
More than half of ACO's user community reside in Arabic-speaking countries in the Middle East, including Iraq and Syria, two countries that have endured significant conflict and destruction of their libraries and heritage. Other researchers utilise ACO across Europe and North Africa, as well as Russia, Indonesia, South America, and Australia.