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Hands-on Work with Manuscripts - Mahdieh Tavakol at the Gotha Research Library

Updated: Jun 28, 2022

As part of my involvement in the project “Mediating Islam in the Digital Age” (MIDA), I spent an internship in the Gotha Research Library to get some experience with the inner workings of the library, particularly its rich collection of oriental manuscripts.

The role I play as an early career researcher in MIDA, a project which is concerned with the effect of technology and digitization on Islam in general, is related to Islamic manuscript collections and their digitization in recent decades. My research is focused on the library of Bahāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad al-ʿĀmilī (Shaykh Bahaʾī), the famous Arab scholar and poet of the 16th and early 17th centuries in Safavid Persia. Shaykh Bahaʾī’s library does not exist today and what has remained of it are only individual manuscripts scattered around the globe. I focus on reconstructing the library and following the history of its books from their production throughout their travels and their digitization in recent years. Within such a framework of library and manuscripts studies, the internship at Gotha was intended to give me a hands-on experience with manuscripts, their preservation and digitization...

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