AP PHOTO/ Don C. Skemer curator of manuscripts for Princeton University, poses with a holy Quran from the 9th century in his office in the Firestone Library of Princeton University Nov. 23, 2005, in Princeton, N.J. The ornate Quran, written in lavish Kufic script on delicate paper, is part of the largest collection of Islamic manuscripts in North America, amassed mostly by a Princeton University alumnus in the late 1800s and given to the university in 1942.
Numbering more than 10,000 texts, Princeton University's collection of handwritten Islamic documents, books and letters - the largest in North America - is about to go online, according to an article by Wayne Perry for the Associated Press. They date from the eighth and ninth centuries to the fall of the Ottoman Empire in the early 1900s.
Princeton is starting a four-year project to categorize the entire collection and to digitize and post online about 200 of the most important works so that scholars around the world can study them.
Documents to be scanned include rare, ornamental Qurans dating back to the ninth century; interpretations of the Quaran and Islamic law; treatises on philosophy, science, art, magic and medicine, as well as poetry and history. The collection was amassed mostly by a Princeton University alumnus in the late 1800s and given to the university in 1942.
The texts to be reproduced online will be photographed by special cameras that will not damage the delicate inks and papers, scanned into large graphic files and eventually posted on the Internet. Overhead digital cameras to be used for the project can photograph only about four or five pages per hour because of the large size of the files.