The Gelman Library System was awarded a $400,000 grant to digitize its special collection of literature on the Middle East, a library administrator said last week.
Gelman holds a joint collection of Middle Eastern works with Georgetown’s Lauinger Library. Both libraries will work together to digitize the collection, said Martha Whittaker, head of technical services at Gelman.
“We are delighted. It is a significant amount of money, we hope that these somewhat inaccessible collections will be accessible to interested scholars and students worldwide,” Whittaker said.
Whittaker said administrators at Gelman applied for the grant in June of 2008, adding that the collection of Middle East works amasses more than 2,500 volumes.
“It is various collections held in special collections, in the Middle East and Judea collections of both Gelman and Georgetown,” Whittaker said.
Gelman and Lauinger received the grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that creates grants. The project, which the libraries have titled “Cultural Imaginings: The Creation of the Arab World in the Western Mind,” will cost a total of $1.6 million.
The cost of the project will go toward buying high-end technical equipment to digitize the collection, Whittaker said.
The digitization will be a two-year process and employ the work of students and library staff of both libraries. Staff from Gelman’s special collections will do the bulk of the work, Whittaker said.