About the Qatar Digital Library
What is the Qatar Digital Library?
The Qatar Digital Library (QDL) is making a vast archive featuring the cultural and historical heritage of the Gulf and wider region freely available online for the first time. It includes archives, maps, manuscripts, sound recordings, photographs and much more, complete with contextualised explanatory notes and links, in both English and Arabic.
How did the QDL come about?
The QDL has been developed as part of a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding on Partnerships between the Qatar Foundation, the Qatar National Library and The British Library. The website was developed by the Partnership in collaboration with Cogapp. The agreement of work for the first phase of the Partnership began in 2012, with the digitisation of a wide range of content from the British Library’s collections. Find out more about the Partnership.
What can I find in the QDL?
Content currently available on the QDL was developed during the first phase of the partnership, reaching a total of 950,000 images by the end of 2016. More content is being added all the time, but current highlights the QDL is proud to showcase include:
- India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records that span the period 1763–1951, comprising files from the Bushire Political Residency An office of the East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, established in the provinces and regions considered part of, or under the influence of, British India. Records and the Bahrain Agency An office of the East India Company and, later, of the British Raj, headed by an agent. Records
- J. G. Lorimer’s Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. , Oman and Central Arabia (1908, 1915), a classic introduction to the history of the Gulf
- 500 maps, charts and plans of the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. and the wider region
- The Private papers Documents collected in a private capacity. of Sir Lewis Pelly, Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in the Persian Gulf The historical term used to describe the body of water between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. between 1862 and 1872
- Arabic Scientific Manuscripts from the British Library’s Manuscripts Collections, covering topics such as medicine, mathematics, astronomy and engineering
- A selection of photographs, postcards and other printed objects as well as sketches, drawings and watercolours; etchings, engravings and illustrations
- A selection of audio collection materials including 200 shellac discs recorded in Bahrain, Kuwait and Iraq between 1920 and 1940
Who is the QDL for?
Our aim is to make a world-class resource freely available for everyone – from those with a general interest in the history of the Gulf to the academic researchers undertaking ground-breaking research. The QDL will transform the study of Gulf history, improving understanding of the Islamic world, Arabic cultural heritage and the modern history of the Gulf.
But we believe academic research is just one of many ways that our users can engage with and enjoy the diverse material featured by the QDL.
Be part of the QDL
The QDL will grow and evolve over time, with new content, new features and new perspectives adding to the rich material already here to discover. Get in touch, engage with us, send us feedback, tell people about it, tweet about it, and enjoy it.