by JULIE POUCHER HARBIN, EDITOR, ISLAMiCommentary on DECEMBER 17, 2015: 

We at the Duke Islamic Studies Center are pleased to announce that the work of the Carnegie Corporation of New York-supported Transcultural Islam Project (ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN) has been highlighted in a new report by the Social Science Research Council — “Religion, Media and the Digital Turn.” The report surveyed 160 digital projects and documents the effects that digital modes of research and publication have on the study of religion.

“While our primary goal is to chronicle emerging forms of intellectual production shaping the study of religion, we hope that a greater awareness of this new work will generate more recognition of the high quality and innovative work that already exists,” report authors Chris Cantwell (University of Missouri) and Hussein Rashid (New York University) write, explaining that “the most innovative digital projects are often those that creatively combine a number of these models or genres.”

ISLAMiCommentary was mentioned at the top of several subsections, for this reason, and a lengthy case study of ISLAMiCommentary and TIRN has been included in the report (in Appendix 1) because, as the report authors told us, they find the project “exemplary.” Other projects highlighted with lengthy case studies (in Appendix 1) include the Center for the Study of Material and Visual Cultures of Religion (MAVCOR) at Yale, the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project at the University of Loyola; and Mapping Ararat — a project of York University, the University of Toronto and Emerson College.

Appendix 2 lists the 160 projects surveyed.

The report can be downloaded HERE.

1,000 Years of Scientific Texts From The Islamic World Are Now Online
(courtesy IO9)

by MARK STRAUSS for IO9.COM on OCTOBER 28, 2014: 

Between the 9th and 19th centuries, Arabic-speaking scholars translated Greek, Latin and even Sanskrit texts on topics such as medicine, mathematics and astronomy, fostering a vibrant scientific culture within the Islamic world. Some of the most influential texts are now available at the Qatar Digital Library.

The library, a joint project of the British Library and the Qatar Foundation, offers free access to 25,000 pages of medieval Islamic manuscripts. Among some of the most significant texts:

The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (1206 A.D.), which was inspired by an earlier, 9th-century translation of Archimedes’ writings on water clocks. Devices such as the “Elephant Clock” (pictured below) were the most accurate time-keeping pieces before the first pendulum clocks were built in the 17th century by the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens.

KEEP READING PLUS MORE PHOTOS FROM THE QATAR DIGITAL LIBARY

by JENNIFER AHERN-DODSON for DUKE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES, SUMMER 2014: 

NOTE from KEVIN SMITH, DUKE UNIVERSITY LIBRARIES— Authorship can be a tricky thing, impacted by contractual agreements and even by shifting media. In this guest post by Jennifer Ahern-Dodson of Duke’s Thompson Writing Program we get an additional perspective on the issues, one that is unusual but might just become more common over time it illustrates nicely, I think, the link between authorship credit, publication agreements and a concern for managing one’s online identity. A big “thank you” to Jennifer for sharing her story:

EXCERPT: I stared at my name on the computer screen, listed in an index as a co-author for a chapter in a book that I don’t remember writing. How could I be published in a book and not know about it? I had Googled my name on the web (what public digital humanist Jesse Stommel calls the Googlesume), as part of my research developing a personal website through the Domain of One’s Own project, which emphasizes student and faculty control of their own web domains and identities. Who am I online? I started this project to find out.

I was taken aback by some of what I found because it felt so personal—my father’s obituary, a donation I had made to a non-profit, former home addresses. All of that is public information, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but then about four screens in I found my name listed in the table of contents for a book I’d never heard of. Because the listed co-author and I had collaborated on projects before, including national presentations and a journal publication, I wondered if I had just forgotten something we’d written together.

I emailed her immediately and included a screenshot of the index page. Subject line: “Did we write this?”

She wrote back a few minutes later.

WHAT??!!! We have a book chapter that we didn’t even know about???!!!!! How is this possible? Ahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

It’s a line for our CV! But, wait, what is this publication? Do we even want to list it? Would we list it as a new publication? Is it even our work? How did this happen? FULL ARTICLE 

 

via WORLD BULLETIN on MAY 14, 2014: 

A Turkish cultural institute is holding exhibition of over two thousand manuscripts from the Ottoman Empire
A Turkish cultural institute is holding exhibition of over two thousand manuscripts from the Ottoman Empire

A sixteenth century Persian manuscript detailing the life of Turko-Mongol ruler Tamerlane and a copy of the Muslim holy book of Quran in Persian from the fifteenth century are the two of the highlights of an exhibition of manuscripts from the Islamic world on show in at the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in Zagreb.

Organised by representatives from the Yunus Emre Institute and the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts in Zagreb, the exhibition opened Monday and will run till May 31.

The over two thousand manuscripts are from the Ottoman Turkey and were collections stored for centuries in family libraries in various Balkan countries; mainly Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia, said Tatiana Paicvukic, an oriental history scholar in charge of the manuscripts at the Croatian Academy. They have been in Croatian Academy archives since 1927.

FULL ARTICLE 

 

Duke Professor of Eastern Christianity Lucas Van Rompay shared with us some information about his new book. 

D_13_Mai_07via PEETERS PUBLISHERS, SPRING 2014: 

Series: Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta, 227

Authors: Brock S., Van Rompay L.

Publisher’s Summary:
Deir al-Surian, the famous Monastery of the Syrians in Egypt, has long been known for its unique collection of Syriac, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopic manuscripts. This catalogue provides detailed descriptions of 48 Syriac manuscripts (many of them composite) and the more than 180 fragments that are preserved in the Monastery today. Ranging in date from the 5th to the 18th century and with a majority of them being earlier than the 10th century, the manuscripts present us with major authors and works of the Syriac literary tradition. They include biblical texts (among them the earliest dated Gospel manuscript in any language), original Syriac compositions, and translations from Greek and (occasionally) Coptic. Several works were previously unattested. Connections with manuscripts from Deir al-Surian that are preserved in European collections (primarily the British Library) are indicated wherever relevant. Colophons and various kinds of notes by scribes, readers, owners, and occasional visitors also receive attention, thus allowing interesting glimpses into the history not only of individual manuscripts, but also of the Monastery and its library. Accompanying the catalogue is an album containing more than 300 pages of images.

Table of Contents

 

Sebastian Brock and Lucas Van Rompay examining a Syriac manuscript in the Deir al-Surian Monastery.
Sebastian Brock (l) and Lucas Van Rompay examining a Syriac manuscript in the Deir al-Surian Monastery.

Sebastian Brock is Retired Reader at the University of Oxford in the Faculty of Oriental Studies. Brock on his research interests: “Having started out with a primary research interest in the textual history of the Septuagint, the encounter with important unpublished texts in Syriac led me to turn for the most part to various areas of Syriac literature, in particular, translations from Greek and the history of translation technique, dialogue and narrative poems, hagiography, certain liturgical texts, and monastic literature.”

Lucas Van Rompay is Professor of Eastern Christianity in Duke University’s Department of Religion. His research focuses on the religion, history and culture of Christian communities in the Middle East, especially the Syriac Christian tradition.