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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 18 August 2018

NYU Arabic digital library receives Dh5m grant from Arcadia

The British charitable fund will help the library digitise 23,000 volumes by 2020

Ginny Danielson, the retired head of the NYUAD library, said the target is to have digitised 20,000 to 25,000 Arabic books for all to access by 2020. Victor Besa / The National
Ginny Danielson, the retired head of the NYUAD library, said the target is to have digitised 20,000 to 25,000 Arabic books for all to access by 2020. Victor Besa / The National

A digital library containing great works of Arabic literature has received a Dh4.92million grant from one of the UK’s largest philanthropic organisations.

Arabic Collections Online, an open access project managed by New York University-Abu Dhabi and NYU-New York, has received funding from Arcadia, a charitable fund that supports multiple open access programmes.

The grant will help the digital library reach its goal of digitising 23,000 volumes from NYU and partner institutions by the end of 2020. More than 8,785 volumes of poetry, literature, law, history and economics have been posted on the library’s website to date.

“A signature aspect of this project is the extensive copyright research we have done to enable us to bring the greatest possible number of public domain titles into the collection,” said Carol Madel, the NYU libraries dean emeriti, in a statement.

“This generous grant is helping us bring great library collections of Arabic materials to a wider audience – it's free to anyone, anywhere with an internet connection.”

The library is popular at universities with Arabic programmes and secondary education institutes in the Middle East. More than 80 per cent of its users are in the Middle East.

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“Arabic Collections Online has become extremely popular in the Middle East because access to libraries there, especially outside of major cities, can be difficult,” said Ginny Danielson, the recently retired director of the NYUAD library and co-founder of the project.

The National Archives of the United Arab Emirates, and the academic libraries of NYU, Columbia University, Cornell University, Princeton University, American University of Beirut, and American University in Cairo have contributed to the digital collection.

Arcadia was co-founded by Lisbet Rausing, a science historian and philanthropist, and her husband Peter Baldwin.

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