RESOURCE: Persian Language Rare Materials

For Nowruz, the Persian New Year, the Library of Congress has released a digital collection of its rare Persian-language manuscripts, an archive spanning 700 years. The collection is comprised of 155 manuscripts whose contents span a number of disciplines, including both literary and scientific topics. While most of the manuscripts are in Persian, some are multilingual, and include Arabic and Turkish.

From the Library of Congress’s description of the collection:

These rare Persian manuscripts, lithographs and books comprise works in many disciplines, but historical and literary works are dominant. A number of these items are exquisitely illuminated anthologies of poetry by classic and lesser known poets, written in fine calligraphic styles, and illustrated with miniatures. Many also have beautiful bindings. A number of the illuminated books are multilingual works, which include Arabic and Turkish passages in addition to Persian, focusing on scientific, religious – philosophical and literary topics, and others are holy books important to all confessional traditions within the Islamic world.

This collection may be of interest to anyone interested in the foregrounding of historical documents through digital methods, or in conducting transcription of digitized materials. The documents are all in the public domain, so are good candidates for inclusion in a digital project of your own.

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