The Afghanistan Digital Library — a project based in New York University’s Division of Libraries — has received a grant of $298,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). This grant will enable NYU to continue its major effort to catalog, digitize, and provide access to approximately 60% of the published heritage of Afghanistan from 1871 through 1930.
Begun in 2003, the Afghanistan Digital Library project seeks to recover and preserve Afghanistan’s literary heritage, recreating much of the bibliography of Afghanistan digitally and making these books available to anyone with access to a computer and the Internet. The project has gained international endorsements and partnerships, including a contribution from the British Library and an agreement with the Afghanistan Ministry of Information and Culture to include materials from the National Archives in Kabul and from other Afghan cultural institutions.
According to Carol Mandel, dean of the NYU Division of Libraries, the total number of books published in Afghanistan is comparatively modest since the printing press came late to Afghanistan. “We will be digitizing the approximately 600 titles published between 1871 and 1930, most of which are not available in any library anywhere in the world. This grant from the NEH will move the project forward significantly, and we are very grateful to them for their assistance,” said Dean Mandel.
The Afghanistan Digital Library Project will make available in electronic form (Website and CD-ROM) Dari (Persian) and Pashto books published in Afghanistan between 1871 and 1930, with a possible continuation to later imprints. The digitization of these items will be to very high resolution so that the books are easily legible and suitable for scholars to print out. The project is a partnership among the Libraries, NYU’s Department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, and the Kevorkian Center.
Robert D. McChesney, professor of Middle Eastern Studies at NYU, is faculty advisor of the project.
The url for the Afghanistan Digital Library is http://dlib.nyu.edu/divlib/bobst/adl.