Untold lives blog

06 November 2015

One Year of Qatar Digital Library

This month we celebrate the first anniversary of the Qatar Digital Library Portal, launched a year ago as a result  of the Partnership between the British Library, the Qatar Foundation, and the Qatar National Library. The Portal, available in English and Arabic, has been widely accessed from the Persian Gulf, and its Arabic version is extremely popular. 600,000 images have been uploaded to-date and more content will be made available in the coming years.

The Qatar Digital Library hosts a selection of India Office Records and private papers, maps of the Persian Gulf and the wider region, and Arabic Scientific Manuscripts from the British Library’s Manuscripts Collections.

During the first year, the most popular map was IOR/R/15/1/730 f 88  showing air routes, islands in the Persian Gulf;  and the boundaries of Kuwait and Trucial Area.

  IOR R 15 1 730, f 88Noc
IOR/R/15/1/730, f 88 – Map showing (A) Air Routes, established and projected; (B) Islands in the Persian Gulf; (C) Boundaries of Kuwait and Trucial Area. Map II (accessed in Arabic). 


The most popular manuscript was IO Islamic 1249 - Arabic versions of seven Greek treatises on mathematics edited by Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad Ṭūsī  طوسي، نصير الدين محمد بن محمد, (detail below, f 1v).

Noc IO Islamic 1249

 IO Islamic 1249 f.1v


The most popular India Office Records file was IOR/R/15/2/31 File E/8 I Ibn Sa‘ud.  The second most popular file was IOR/R/15/1/480 - 'File 53/7 X (D 54) Kuwait Affairs, Bin Saud (Captain Shakespeare's Deputation)' (detail from f ‎26r below, on the Death of Captain Shakespear).


IOR R 15 1 480 Noc




The Qatar Digital Library also contains contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic. The most popular of these pieces is Robots, Musicians and Monsters: The World’s Most Fantastic Clocks, accessed both in English and Arabic. This was closely followed by The British in the Gulf, mostly accessed in Arabic, and The Death of Captain Shakespear, in English.

Keep following us on Twitter @BLQatar to see what the curators are working on, and what is being uploaded every week to the Qatar Digital Library.

Valentina Mirabella
Archive Specialist British Library / Qatar Foundation Partnership Cc-by




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