AMBULO: 236 manuscripts digitalized


The “AMBULO” Project (acronym of Arabic Manuscripts in the Bologna University Library Online) is promoted by the King Abdulaziz Chair for Islamic Studies – University of Bologna. The project is carried out under the supervision of Prof. Ahmad Addous, and coordinated by Dr. Valentina Sagaria Rossi.  “AMBULO” has actually started in September 2017 and it envisages the revaluation of one of the most important and richest collections of Islamic manuscripts hosted in a public library in Italy: the Oriental Manuscripts Fund of the University Library of Bologna. The project aim is to digitalize and catalogue online all its manuscripts.

In this respect, the Chair has assigned the manuscripts digitalization to the company MIDA (Bergamo, Italy), the description in Arabic, Italian and English to Dr. Valentina Sagaria Rossi and their on-line implementation in three languages (Arabic, Italian and English) to AlmaDL, the Bologna University Digital Library.

The manuscripts deal with a wide range of themes and are divided into three different typologies:

  1. Manuscripts composed of a single work;
  2. Multi-volume Manuscripts, or Manuscripts composed by different volumes;
  3. Multi-text Manuscripts, or Miscellaneous manuscripts composed by several works.

Each manuscript has been fully reproduced, in all its parts. For each manuscript the following details are included: 

  • the metadata of each manuscript’s image (i.e. cover, spine, the numbering of each verso-recto, etc.)
  • the item number of the Manuscripts Collection in the Bologna University Library; 
  • the author’s name or authors’ names;
  • the work’s title (both titles found in the volume and elaborated titles are recorded);
  • the date (the exact date, hijrah/Christian era if present, or a deduced dating range);
  • the subject (area) of the work;
  • other bibliographic information (dimensions, bibliography, further notes on the manuscript)

Until today the number of digitalized manuscripts is 236 (out of 480), per about 60.000 images. The company in charge of the digitalization has made available the digital versions of 39 manuscripts, which are currently on-line (project staff access only) on “AMS Historica”, the Bologna University Digital Library website. The works include metadata full description and of 39 manuscripts, containing 49 works. 

All information is available online in Arabic, Italian and English.       

We specially thank the Bologna University Library for letting the Chair reproduce its Collection of Arabic Manuscripts and for moving ahead with our AMBULO Project.