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The British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership

The British Library Qatar Foundation Partnership has launched the Qatar Digital Library – a new, bilingual, online portal providing access to previously undigitised British Library archive materials relating to Gulf history and Arabic science.

The portal makes the modern history and culture of the Gulf and wider region, particularly its connection with Britain, available through vividly documented personal and official archives, photographs, maps and recordings of traditional music held at the British Library.

Insights into the history of science in the Arabic-speaking world and Arabic cultural heritage are also held in the depths of the Library and are now available via the Qatar Digital Library.

These previously undigitised diverse collections have been made freely available on the globally accessible portal thanks to a partnership between the British Library, the Qatar Foundation and the Qatar National Library.

The Qatar Digital Library, which is in English and Arabic, will improve understanding of the Islamic world, Arabic cultural heritage and the modern history of the Gulf providing researchers around the world with the opportunity to perform ground-breaking research in subject areas such as the history of Gulf trade and politics, key individuals in the Gulf and the history of science in the Arabic-speaking world.

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To date, over 250,000 images have been created including 1,000 archival files from the India Office Records and 90 Arabic Scientific manuscripts. By the end of 2014 we will have digitised half a million pages.

Our team of curators, cataloguers, conservators and digitisation experts have worked to create this valuable online resource.

To register for further information about the Qatar Digital Library, please email "Launch" to

Media coverage

British Library SoundCloud

An illustrated description of the 48 classical constellations discussed by Ptolemy in his Almagest

Somali woman from ‘An Account of the British Settlement of Aden in Arabia’, 1870s. T.11308/9

Bertram Thomas' hand-drawn sketch map from November 1926 showing tribal allegiances. IOR/R/15/1/278, f. 116v

A selection of shellac records featuring 20th c. Gulf sounds, including the masters of 'sowt' music

A revised map of Omân and the Persian Gulf by Rev. George Percy Badger, 1871. IOR/X/3210

Articles of agreement between the British and the Sultan of Muscat. Mss Eur F126/51, f. 1