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Persian Manuscript Digitisation Project at the British Library

Source: Iran Heritage Foundation

Digital Archive
Completion date: June 2014

The Iran Heritage Foundation is fundraising for this important project, which will catalogue and digitise some of the many Persian manuscripts in the British Library's collection, making these freely accessible to scholars and enthusiasts worldwide via the Internet.

Supported by

PARSA Community Foundation, Iran Heritage Foundation and British Library

Project Overview

British Library is currently accepting applications for the post of Persian Manuscripts Curator, with a deadline of 22 May 2011.

For further details, and to apply, please visit Reference S&C00262

The British Library Persian manuscript collection is one of the largest and best known in the world. It includes over 11,000 manuscripts originating from all over the Iranian world, ranging in time from the 12th century onwards. Many of the manuscripts are very rare texts, and illustrated volumes include some of the most famous miniature paintings of the Persian and Mughal schools.

This 3-year project will make important works from the British Library's Persian manuscript collection freely accessible via the Internet to a worldwide audience of researchers and enthusiasts. It will make the material available through online catalogues, and will help safeguard this part of Iran's heritage for future generations, while promoting the research and study of these manuscripts and their relevant subject areas on a worldwide basis.

The archive as a whole will be a unique cultural resource which can both be enjoyed by students and lovers of Persian culture and also used as a teaching tool for both Persian music and Persian literature.

Programme Objectives

  • Appoint a full-time Persian manuscripts curator to work on this project;
  • Create an online catalogue of the Persian manuscript collection at the British Library;
  • Work towards developing a comprehensive catalogue of Persian manuscript holdings that extends beyond British Library to include other major UK collections;
  • Develop a website to host the online catalogues, and eventually the digitized manuscripts;
  • Prioritise the digitization of individual manuscripts in the British Library collection;
  • Digitise as many of the prioritized manuscripts as can be managed within budgetary limits, including photography, restoration, image preparation as well as online publication and tagging.

The project as a whole will provide a uniquely valuable and unparalleled resource for scholars and lovers of Iranian culture alike. At present the British Library Persian manuscript collections can only be consulted onsite in the St. Pancras Reading Room. Access to a digital catalogue and to virtual copies of the manuscripts will facilitate individual research on every possible aspect of the collection while opening it up to a worldwide audience.


Year 1 budget:

£55,000 total; fully funded with the support of the PARSA Community Foundation

Year 2 budget:

£75,000 total - to be raised

Year 3 budget:

£75,000 total - to be raised

Please support this valuable programme: Make a donation


Iran Heritage Foundation, 5 Stanhope Gate, London W1K 1AH
Tel: +44 (20) 7493 4766

... Payvand News - 05/21/11 ... --

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