QNL, in line with its mission of “preserving the nation’s heritage for the future”, develops collaborative partnerships with national libraries, archives, universities, and organizations to increase access to cultural and heritage content. These partnerships enhance QNL’s ability to provide and share state-of-the-art digital resources pertaining to the rich history, heritage, and culture of Qatar and the Gulf.
Partnership with the World Digital Library
QNL plays a leadership role in preserving local and regional heritage content through its active participation in the World Digital Library.
The World Digital Library (WDL) is a free and growing online collection of significant cultural treasures from countries and cultures around the world. These digitized cultural treasures include photographs, books, manuscripts, maps, audio recordings and films. The database is searchable in 7 languages: Arabic, English, French, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese via an easy-to-use interface that enables browsing by place, time, topic, type of item and contributing institution, or by an open-ended search.
The WDL is a UNESCO program led by the US Library of Congress in partnership with libraries around the world. QNL is one of a number of library members from the Arab and Muslim world who contribute content. QNL is one of the highest content contributors from the Middle East.
The Qatar Foundation’s financial sponsorship of the WDL has helped to increase the preservation of Arab and Islamic heritage content regionally and globally, and to promote regional participation and capacity building. This collaboration has, in turn, resulted in an increase in Arabic language content on the web.
For more information, or to browse the portal please visit: www.wdl.org
Partnership with the British Library
This ambitious partnership project between Qatar Foundation (QF) and the British Library (BL) was launched in July 2012 to digitize the BL’s historical collections relating to history of Qatar and the Gulf, medieval Arab science and medicine. The project aims to transform people’s understanding of the history of the Gulf and wider Middle East.
The most visible outcome of the British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership is the Qatar Digital Library (QDL), launched in October 2014 and managed by the Qatar National Library (QNL). It is the world’s largest open-access digital repository for Middle Eastern history. By making the BL’s records easily available online, accessible from anywhere in the world, it is making new research on Gulf and Middle Eastern history easier than ever. In time, the QDL will facilitate a growth in new and exciting studies of the region’s history, heritage, and culture. The QDL itself will grow to encompass historical collections from other archives around the world as the QNL expands its archival partnerships network. The QDL is an embodiment of the Qatar Foundation’s mission to promote research and education in Qatar and around the world.
Phase 1 of the project (July 2012–December 2014) resulted in the digitization of over 400,000 pages from the BL’s India Office Records, private papers collection, and medieval Arabic manuscript collection, which were made freely available to the public through the QDL. It also included expert articles on these records both in Arabic and English.
Phase 2 of the partnership project, which commenced in January 2015, builds on the ongoing success of the project by digitizing nearly a million additional pages from these same collections by the end of 2018.
The growing usage of the QDL, with over 9,000 page views a day, is a testimony to the repository’s increasing importance for the study of the Gulf and wider Middle East.
For more information, or to browse the portal please visit: www.qdl.qa
Partnership with the CLIR, Washington D.C
DIGITAL LIBRARY OF THE MIDDLE EAST
Qatar National Library (QNL) and the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that aims to develop, enhance and make available digitized cultural heritage content through the Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME).
The DLME is a collaborative effort that aspires to create a sustainable digital environment for the cultural heritage of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, while providing an array of applications, tools, and descriptions that enrich the content, facilitate sophisticated inquiry, and engage with the widest possible community of practice.
The QNL-CLIR MoU aims to foster future collaboration in the areas of raising awareness and fostering understanding of the MENA region’s cultural heritage and supporting its preservation by creating sustainable, long-term information environments for the preservation of and access to cultural heritage. In addition, the MoU will support work to respond to the destruction of cultural heritage, educate a worldwide audience and promote respect for the historical record. The organizations will achieve this through the activation of likeminded populations and outreach activities (locally, regionally and internationally), alongside the development of partnerships with content-rich institutions and models for international cooperation.
Some of the other collaborating organizations and institutions in this project include The Antiques Coalition, University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Stanford University Libraries, Princeton University Libraries, Harvard University Libraries and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY.
Through international partnership support, the DLME will:
- develop, enhance and make available digitized cultural heritage content from the Middle East and North Africa
- incorporate the most advanced open source and cost-effective tools and applications available
- serve as a model for national and international cooperation: an exemplar for similar undertakings in other regions of the world
- provide a concerted, collaborative response to those who would destroy our shared heritage