Digitizing Printed Arabic Journals: Is a Scalable Solution Possible?

“In 2017, JSTOR received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to investigate processes for digitizing Arabic-language scholarly content. Our goal in the project was to develop a workflow for scanning Arabic materials–especially journals– that is reasonably cost-efficient, feasible to implement at scale, and likely to produce high-quality images and metadata, including fully searchable text….

Through this investigation, we concluded that, using new metadata guidelines and OpenITI’s software, and leveraging specific workflows created jointly with Apex, it is possible for JSTOR to digitize Arabic language journals with the high-degree of accuracy needed to support search and discovery at a cost of approximately $3 per page, with the promise that this per page cost could be reduced further through continuous improvements in the OCR software engine. In this white paper, we contextualize our investigation in the broader landscape of digital scholarly literature in Arabic. We then document our approach and findings from this project, which took place over 20 months from April 2017 through December 2018. And finally, we lay out some areas we identified for potential further research….”

Open Islamicate Texts Initiative (OpenITI)

“The written heritage of the “Islamicate” cultures that stretch from modern Bengal to Spain is as vast as it is understudied and underrepresented in the digital humanities. The sheer volume and diversity of the surviving works produced in Persian and Arabic by denizens of these lands in the premodern period makes this body of texts ideal for computational forms of analysis. Efforts to utilize these new digital forms of analysis, however, have been stymied by poor OCR technology for Arabic-script languages and the lack of a open-access, standards-compliant Islamicate corpus.

The Open Islamicate Texts Initiative (OpenITI) is a multi-institutional effort to construct the first machine-actionable scholarly corpus of premodern Islamicate texts. Led by researchers at the Aga Khan University (AKU), Universität Wien (UW), and the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland (College Park) and an interdisciplinary advisory board of leading digital humanists and Islamic, Persian, and Arabic studies scholars, OpenITI aims to develop the digital infrastructure necessary to achieve this goal, including improved Arabic-script OCR, Arabic-script standards for OCR output and text encoding, and platforms for collaborative corpus creation (e.g., CorpusBuilder). In the process, OpenITI will enable new synergies between Digital Humanities and the inter-related Islamicate fields of Islamic, Persian, and Arabic Studies….”

700 Years of Persian Manuscripts Now Digitized and Available Online | Open Culture

For Nowruz, the Persian New Year, the Library of Congress has released a digital collection of its rare Persian-language manuscripts, an archive spanning 700 years. This free resource opens windows on diverse religious, national, linguistic, and cultural traditions, most, but not all, Islamic, yet all different from each other in complex and striking ways….”

Arabixiv Papers

From Google’s English: “manner through a simple and fast transmission process consisting of only four stages (uploading a file, choosing a specialty, adding a summary, adding authors).

The Arabic Archive relies on the principle of evaluation after the publication of new articles through reader feedback, which will in turn be considered as independent articles related to the Digital Materials Identifier (DOI) and permanent indexing links.

Thus, the Arab Archive is a unique platform, at the level of Arabic and international publishing, where there is no journal yet to apply this method (ie, the comments of the arbitrator is an article in itself), so we seek to devote it to the Arab and international, Of the articles by the editors, provided that the evaluation, review and revision process remains open after publication, to correct any possible error or improve the article, or to add new ideas or other useful results….”

Queen announces launch of Edraak’s free online platform for school learners in Davos | Jordan Times

“Her Majesty Queen Rania on Wednesday announced the launch of a new learning platform catering to school-aged children across the Arab world, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s Office. …”

Directory of Free Arab Journals

From the LibLicense announcement by ElHassan: “I am writing to you to announce the release of the second version of the Directory of Free Arab Journals . It is an independent initiative to produce a directory for all OA journals produced in Arab countries, curated and funded by a group of OA activists in the region (myself included). The website was there since 2013 the new version released last week includes over twice as many journals and many new website features. It currently lists 250 journals from 172 publishers in 17 Arab countries. The guide is published under a CC-BY-NC license….”