Oxford & Cambridge Islamic Manuscripts Catalogue Online: OCIMCO

Project overview

The Bodleian and Cambridge University Libraries hold manuscripts of some 10,000 Islamic texts, including many early and rare items. There is currently no electronic access to the Bodleian’s published Islamic manuscript catalogues and several hundred manuscripts can only be accessed through card catalogues. Similarly, while Cambridge University Library has scans of its printed catalogues online, these are not searchable, and a further 399 manuscript descriptions can only be accessed through card catalogues. This pilot project will make available to users in a searchable interface c.10,000 basic manuscript descriptions taken from printed and card catalogues of the two libraries.

Aims and objectives

Basic manuscript descriptions will be created from the printed and published catalogues of both libraries using a TEI P5 metadata schema and will be made available through a searchable interface. The project will make use of the Digital Asset Management System (DAMS) currently in use for library projects within Oxford. All materials and metadata in the Open Access portion of the DAMS are fully accessible using OAI-PMH and OAI-ORE standards to maximise re-use in the wider community.

Project methodology

To keep within time and budget Oxford will concentrate on its Arabic manuscript collection (some 5,000 records). A complete record of the collection is held in a card catalogue, which will be digitised using an external supplier. Data from the images will be re-keyed using a TEI P5 schema. Records will be checked and enhanced in-house by the Islamic Manuscripts Curator. Since the information at Cambridge is held in forms which require considerable interpretation to create structured records, data entry will be handled in-house. Curatorial staff will create c.5000 records of Arabic, Persian and Turkish manuscripts using the same schema.

Anticipated outputs and outcomes

  • Fihrist, a full-text faceted search engine giving access to c.10,000 Islamic manuscript descriptions, that will allow searching in Roman and Arabic script
  • A web-based interface with features developed in consultation with the Academic user community giving access to predefined searches and predefined browseable views based on these searches
  • Agreed TEI P5 schema that can be extended to accommodate more detailed descriptions, transcriptions and digital images
  • Cataloguing tools and cataloguing storage FEDORA-based catalogue storage solutions that can shared with other institutions
  • Further interoperability through the availability of records via OAI-PMH exposure

Final report

The final report of the OCIMCO project is now available [Word, 1.3mb] 

Project team

Gillian Evison (Project Manager)
Head of Oriental Section
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Email: gillian.evison@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 277033

Alasdair Watson 
Project Officer, OCIMCO
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Email: alasdair.watson@bodleian.ox.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1865 2779984

Yasmin Faghihi
Head of Middle Eastern Department
Manuscripts and Printed Collections
Cambridge University Library
West Road, Cambridge
Email: yf227@cam.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)1223 766368

Mohammadjavad Ardalan 
User Testing & Evaluation, OCIMCO
Bodleian Library, Oxford
Email: mohammad.ardalan@bodleian.ox.ac.uk

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