Collections and services

Bibliothèques d’Orient (Middle-Eastern Libraries)

Bibliothèques d’Orient (Middle-Eastern Libraries) is a trilingual (French – Arabic - English) collaborative digital library that brings together about 10,000 documents, presented through seven categories. It is the result of the cooperation between the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF – National Library of France) and eight heritage and research libraries based in the Near East.

Cairo, view of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan. Drawing by Nicolas-Jacques Conté (1755-1805)

The website Bibliothèques d’Orient

Bibliothèques d’Orient covers the period ranging from 1798 to 1945 and primarily focuses on countries located on the Eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Using the features of Gallica, the BnF’s digital library, Bibliothèques d’Orient presents at its launch circa 10,000 digitised items contextualised by almost 100 texts written by academics, scientists and curators.

The online documents are accessible through 7 categories: Crossroads, Communities, Religions, Knowledge, Politics, Imagination and Personalities.

Particular attention is paid to preserving endangered heritages. Two Syriac liturgical books from the 11th and 17th centuries, conserved at the Charfet monastery (Lebanon), and two evangeliaries from the 14th and 16th centuries, belonging to the Jounieh Melkite Salvatorian convent (Lebanon), were restored before being digitised and put online on Bibliothèques d’Orient.

The website will be enriched in the coming months thanks to new contributions and new partners, from France and abroad.

The project partners

In addition to the BnF, the historical partners are:

The project’s partners [file .pdf – 87 Ko – 17/10/06 – 1 p.]

New partners have also joined us since the opening of the website in 2017:

South of Hebron, Carmel of Ziph, or Kirmil (1890-1900)

The scientific council

Bibliothèques d’Orient brings together remarkable documents little known by the public, since they are scattered among various countries and many different institutions. Its content has been selected by a scientific council comprising 15 members:

  • Michel Abitbol (Professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • Sylvie Aubenas (Head of the Print and Photograph department, BnF)
  • Rémi Brague (Professor emeritus of philosophy at Paris I University and at the University of Munich)
  • Sophie Basch (Professor of French literature at Paris-Sorbonne University)
  • Jacqueline Chabbi (Historian and Professor of Arab Studies and honorary university Professor)
  • Jean-Marie Compte (Head of the Literature and Art Department, BnF)
  • Laurent Coulon (Director of studies, École Pratique des Hautes Etudes)
  • Frédérique Duyrat (Head of the Coins, Medals and Antiques Department, BnF)
  • Laurence Engel (President of the BnF)
  • Laurent Héricher (Head of the Oriental Manuscripts Service, BnF)
  • Françoise Hours (Head of the World Literature Service and Scientific Manager of this project, BnF)
  • Frédéric Hitzel (Doctor in history, CNRS research fellow, Centre d’Études Turques, Ottomanes, Balkaniques et Centrasiatiques, CNRS-EHESS-PSL)
  • Henry Laurens (Professor at the Collège de France, Chair in Contemporary History of the Arab World)
  • Isabelle Nyffenegger (Director for International Relations, BnF)
  • Mercedes Volait (Director of research at the CNRS, Director of the InVisu Laboratory)

Bibliothèques d’Orient has been created thanks to the support of
the Total Corporate Foundation the Plastic Omnium Group

Thursday, February 7, 2019


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