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Arabic manuscripts

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Researchers can search and browse the Wellcome Library’s Arabic manuscripts in a new online resource that brings together rich descriptive information and detailed images.

Arabic medicine was once the most advanced in the world and now entire digital facsimiles of some of its most important texts have been made freely available online. The online resource, based on the Wellcome Library’s Arabic manuscript collection, includes well-known medical texts by famous practitioners such as Avicenna, Ibn al-Quff, and Ibn an-Nafis, lesser-known works by anonymous physicians and rare or unique copies such as Averroes’ commentaries on Avicenna’s medical poetry.

The Wellcome Arabic Manuscript Cataloguing Partnership (WAMCP) combines the efforts of the Wellcome Library, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and King’s College London Digital Humanities Department and is funded by JISC and the Wellcome Trust.

It represents a significant resource for a wide range of researchers including Arabic studies scholars, medical historians and manuscript conservators to aid and enhance their work.

All the manuscripts have been photographed in their entirety, and can be viewed in detail alongside the comprehensive manuscript descriptions. Sophisticated cataloguing tools were built based on definitive standards. Users are able to link between specific descriptive fields and the related images with the possibility to compare two manuscripts side-by-side on the screen to illuminate the differences.