Islamic Manuscripts conference, Cambridge

This via BYZANS-L:

…registration is now open for The Fifth Islamic Manuscript Conference, Cambridge 24-26 July 2009.

The Islamic Manuscript Association is pleased to announce that the Fifth Islamic Manuscript Conference will be held at Christ’s College, University of Cambridge, UK from 24-26 July 2009. It will be hosted by the Thesaurus Islamicus Foundation and the Centre of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, University of Cambridge. We invite you to register online at<http://exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=>

In 2009, the Conference will specifically address the issue of access to manuscripts. Improving access to manuscripts through digitisation and electronic ordering and delivery systems whilst ensuring their proper long-term preservation is fundamental to the successful future study of the Islamic heritage. Presently, technologies are available that have the potential to transform the way manuscripts are studied; however, the access these technologies can allow is counterbalanced by collection holders’ concerns regarding their legal rights and the financial sustainability of their organisations. During the Fifth Islamic Manuscript Conference these vital issues will be discussed by our invited speakers and selected paper presenters.

As in previous years, the Conference will be organised around the Association’s four main interest groups: cataloguing, conservation, digitisation, and publishing and research. The first day will also feature two special panels, a ‘Collections’ panel introducing less well-known collections from Africa, the Balkans, and Turkey, and a panel devoted to the conference theme of Access featuring invited experts who will discuss how such issues as security in libraries and online, financial considerations, and the understanding of international copyright law inform users’ experience of accessing materials for research.

Posters advertising the conference can be found at The full schedule will also be available online shortly. We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge in July.

A bit depressing, this one.  They’ve grasped that digitisation is necessary, but are still seeing the images mainly as a revenue stream!  I’ve written to the conference contact, expressing my concern.  They ought to be trying to get the things on the web, freely accessible to all.  They ought to be encouraging people to look at them, to read them, to comment on them and translate them.  Instead they’re trying to find ways to keep them off the web, out of circulation (vain hope) and charge while doing so.  Eating the seed corn of Islamic studies, in other words.


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