Digitised Manuscripts

Digitised Manuscripts

Below one can find a list with digitised manuscript projects, some achieved via international cooperation, some done by individual institutions and/or countries. The list is in alphabetical order of countries of institutions.

This page requires an ongoing updating due to the fact that institutions have massively digitised their manuscript holdings and keep on doing so. If you would like to contribute feel free to inform the secretary who will forward this information to the webmaster.


World Digital Library This collection contains cultural heritage materials gathered during the World Digital Library (WDL) project, including thousands of items contributed by partner organizations worldwide as well as content from Library of Congress collections. The original World Digital Library site (preserved in LC’s Web Archives here) and all descriptive metadata were translated from English and made available in six additional languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Russian, and Chinese. Books, manuscripts, maps, and other primary materials in the WDL collection are presented in their original languages; more than 100 languages are represented, including many lesser known and endangered languages. Additionally, all World Digital Library metadata in each of the seven languages is available as a downloadable dataset.

The Islamic scientific manuscript initiative (ISMI) represents a collaborative
effort between the Institute of Islamic Studies (IIS) at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin, Germany. At the IIS, ISMI researchers, and their colleagues at the related Postclassical Islamic Philosophy Database Initiative (PIPDI), have collected over 600,000 images from some 4,000 codices that have been the subject of in-depth examination.


St. Cyril and Methodius National Library: The Digital Library is structured in
several collections according to the type of the included documents. The different collections are subdivided in separate sections, among them Arabic, Turkish and Persian manuscripts, Defters and Sijills.


Bulac (Bibliothèque universitaire des langues et civilisations): The digitised collections contain manuscripts and early printed material as well as periodicals.

Gallica: All Arabic manuscripts (7355), more than 800 Persian manuscripts, 925 Turkish manuscripts kept at the BNF are available since 2019. Some from the microfilmed version therefore in black and white. To find them do a search advanced: enter “Arabic”, “Persian” or “Turkish” in the “source” window and check “manuscripts” for document type.

e-Mediathèque: The multilingual digital library contains scientific and documentary heritage (archives, iconography, printed matter and manuscripts…) in human and social sciences on the Mediterranean. This site presents images and a catalogue of the Arsène Roux collection (Arabic and Berber manuscripts) at the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de Man, Aix-en-Provence.


Qalamos provides direct access to metadata and digitised copies of Oriental manuscript collections in Germany and contains about 135.000 datasets describing 120.000 physical objects written in 160 languages and 80 scripts. Qalamos aims at providing the metadata and digitised copies of all manuscript collections kept in German libraries and so called memory institutions.


The Chester Beatty Library: Over 6,000 individual items, mainly manuscripts and single-page paintings and calligraphies, make up the Islamic Collections. This gallery contains around 100 images of single pages of these manuscripts.


The National Library of Israel : Digitised manuscripts of the Islamic collections gradually added to the site as well as a large collection of Ketubbot (marriage contracts) from various countries including Middle East and North Africa and Ktiv the international collection of Hebrew manuscripts all over the world. The collection of Arabic newpapers of Ottoman and mandatory Palestine may be viewed here.
Also of interest are the cartographic collection of the region as well as some
photographic images of Palestine-Israel.


Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze has digitised its entire collection of
Arabic manuscripts (137 mss, 34 000 images).


Daiber Collection Database is the corpus of manuscripts mainly focused on
Arabic, collected by Dr. Hans Daiber, a professor of Islamic studies in Germany, over many years. Institute of Oriental Culture, University of Tokyo purchased the collection, its first part in 1986-1987 and its second part in 1994.This searching system is released for using the original catalogue attached and the digitized images of Daiber collection at the same time.


American University in Beyrouth has put online 27 Arabic manuscripts, among the 1400 kept in the library. But only the first five and the last five pages are available online.


OMAR (Oriental Manuscript Resource) Built at the University of Freiburg
(Germany), in cooperation with the Center of Informatics of the Unversity of
Tübingen (Germany), the databank contains images of approx. 2.500 Arabic
manuscripts from Mauritania together with the corresponding bibliographical metadata. The scans were taken from microfilms, stored at the University of Freiburg, whose originals are preserved at the IMRS (Institut Mauritanien de Recherche Scientifique) in Nouakchott (Mauritania). The microfilms where made by Rainer Oßwald, Ulrich Rebstock and Tobias Mayer during several research trips in Mauritania between 1979 and 1997.

Saudi Arabia

King Saud University has 11 000 manuscripts digitised with descriptive records : in English or in Arabic.

United Kingdom

Cambridge Digital Library – Islamic manuscripts : a selection of digitised manuscripts, containing Quran fragments, unique copies, scientific works and Persian literature.

Oxford, Bodleian Library – Masterpieces of the non-Western book Illustrated and illuminated manuscripts from the Hebrew, Islamic, and South Asian collections acquired by the Bodleian Library, through the activities of collectors in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.

Wellcome Arabic Manuscripts Online The Arabic manuscripts collection of the Wellcome Library (London) comprises around 1000 manuscript books and fragments relating to the history of medicine. For the first time this website enables a substantial proportion of this collection to be consulted online via high-quality digital images of entire manuscripts and associated rich metadata.

United States

Freer-Sackler – The Smithsonian’s museums of Asian Art – Arts of the
Islamic World
Digitized images of a collection of 9th–19th-century Korans (intact volumes and detached folios) from Iran, the Arab world, and Turkey, and a collection of illustrated and illuminated manuscripts from Iran and the Arab world, including the Divan (Collected poems) of Sultan Ahmad Jalayir, ca. 1400; Haft Awrang (Seven Thrones) by Jami, dated 1556–66; and the largest number of illustrations from the 14th-century Mongol Shahnama (Book of Kings).

Caro Minasian Collection of Persian and Arabic Manuscripts The Minasian Collection of Arabic and Persian manuscripts is one of the most extensive post-classical Islamic manuscript collections in the United States. The collection primarily consists of works related to the studies of theologians and scholars at centers of learning in Iran during the 17th and 18th centuries, and is especially notable for works of Shiite theology, Arabic and Persian language and literature, and Islamic science and philosophy. The digital collection includes over 320 manuscripts (almost 100,000 pages).

The Islamic Heritage Project collection includes over 280 manuscripts, selected from Houghton Library and the Harvard Art Museum/Arthur M. Sackler Museum.

Islamic Manuscripts at Michigan The Islamic manuscripts collection covers subjects including the Qur’an and its sciences, hadith, theology, jurisprudence (fiqh), Sufism, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, rhetoric, grammar, poetry, history, geography, and medicine. The HathiTrust Digital Library has almost all of the manuscripts available for viewing and download.

Islamic manuscripts from Mali This online collection contains over 30 digitized manuscripts from the Mamma Haidara Commemorative Library and the Library of Cheick Zayni Baye of Boujbeha, both located in Timbuktu, Mali. This collection was originally made available as Islamic Manuscripts from Mali, as part of the Global Gateways initiative.

The Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative presents access to
manuscripts from three private libraries in Sanaa, Yemen, and virtually conjoins them to additional Yemeni manuscripts held by the Princeton University Library and Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. The texts in this archive were composed, copied, studied, and preserved by Zaydi scholars from the 10th century to the present.