Brill’s Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd Ed) online at

An amazing report at AWOL from Charles Jones:

Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition (1986-2004) Leiden, E.J.Brill

at the Internet Archive

Vol. 1
Vol. 2
Vol. 3
Vol. 4
Vol. 5
Vol. 6
Vol. 7
Vol. 8
Vol. 9
Vol. 10
Vol. 11
Vol. 12

Wow.  And I say again, wow!

I don’t know why this is up there, but I am glad it is.

UPDATE: I discover that Brill are now marketing the 3rd edition as an “entirely new” work.  This means that the 2nd is now obsolete, although the historical content will, of course, be pretty much as good as ever.

I wonder … are Brill being fiendishly clever here?

Think about it.  Take a sample online person.  Take me, for instance.  I’ve never read a page of the Encyclopedia of Islam.  I’ve never opened a copy.  I doubt I’ve ever seen a copy.  Yet here I am, tonight, at 00:34 hrs, downloading the PDF’s.  I’m pretty much certain to at least look at a couple of articles.

The Encyclopedia Iranica gets read, precisely because its articles are online.  Is this the idea?  To build market share by making an old version freely available?  To get people who would never pick up a copy interested?  To get students, who have no money, but will become academics and librarians with budgets, accustomed to  using it, to treating it as the last word, as the authoritative resource?

Let’s face it — if they are intending this, it’s working!  It’s working on me right now, drat them.

UPDATE (29th April): A commenter notes that most of the links now don’t work, and bring up a message that there are “issues with content”.  I believe this is their phrase for “may be in copyright”.  Sadly it wasn’t the dawn of a new day — just an uploader who didn’t check the copyright status properly.  Pity.


4 thoughts on “Brill’s Encyclopedia of Islam (2nd Ed) online at

  1. Thanks for the news – and yes “Wow”!! “B” and the other “B” and others are a conundrum. They have marketing machines that defy logic and budgets. I share all your suspicions, but they get things published in some form that would otherwise never appear. From scroll to codex – from script to print – from print to (???)… I would hate to be a book (what’s that?) publisher in these interesting times!!!

  2. Yes, it’s a curious world.

    The transition from the printed book to whatever … you realise that we lost data at each transition that happened in the past. Many books didn’t make it from roll to codex, and some from codex to printed book. The stuff that doesn’t make it online is at serious risk, I would think.

  3. Strange! Vol.1 makes it – the rest are “unavailable due to
    issues with the item’s content.” That’s ominous. Is this the normal “no go” message on Archive? I would have understood (and expected) issues with copyright – but “with content”???

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