NEW HAVEN, CT  06520-8240





20 April 2005:  US Department of Education Funds Yale Library's Middle East Virtual Library Project


New Haven, CT.  The Yale Library announced today that its proposal to develop A Middle East Electronic Library (AMEEL) has been funded at a level of $750,000 over four years.  This grant was awarded under the US Department of Education's Title VI TICFIA (Technological Innovation and Cooperation for Foreign Information Access) Program.  This program provides grants to institutions of higher education, public or nonprofit libraries, or combinations of these institutions or libraries to develop innovative techniques or programs using new electronic technologies to access, collect, organize, preserve, and widely disseminate information on world regions and countries other than the US in order to address our nation's teaching and research needs in international education and foreign languages.


Under the four-year term of the AMEEL grant, which begins as of 1 October 2005, Yale library staff will lead and coordinate, in conjunction with publishing, library, and other partners around the world, a collaborative virtual library project that will make available important Middle Eastern resources, in a four-part initiative:  it will (1) develop an infrastructure for digital content, from diverse sources (freely available as well as publisher licensed) to be integrated into AMEEL; (2) digitize key journals on and about the Middle East, with particular emphasis on fully searchable Arabic texts; (3) build and expand capacity for Arabic full text scanning into US and other libraries through workshops developed and led by experts in this area; and (4) develop technologies and protocols to facilitate interlibrary lending between US and Middle Eastern libraries.


Key partners in this new initiative will include, among others:  The Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt), which has developed the most advanced Arabic OCR techniques in the world today); the Universitaets-und Landesbibliothek of Sachsen-Anhalt (Halle, Germany), with its advanced development of a Middle East portal including extensive journal tables of contents; JSTOR (New York, USA); and publishers such as Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden, the Netherlands); Multidata (Beirut, Lebanon); and Oxford University Press (UK).  Other libraries in the US and Middle East will collaborate on this project.  The Yale Library is also adding its own staff and technology resources to this significant cost-sharing arrangement.


Project AMEEL is the logical next phase following the Library's currently funded (through September 2005) Title VI project, OACIS (Online Access to Consolidated Information on Serials).  OACIS is a database of journal and serial holdings from a group of seven initial US partners plus a now-growing number of both domestic and international libraries.  The OACIS database currently holds some 46,000 bibliographical records representing approximately 13,000 unique serials titles; it has become a key discovery source for students, scholars, and librarians seeking for information about serial titles, bibliographical information, and holdings searchable in both roman and Arabic alphabets.  See <www.library.yale.edu/oacis>.  Project OACIS will now serve as an integral part of AMEEL, enhancing content delivery to selected serial titles.


AMEEL and OACIS tie closely with the Library's strategy for expanding global activities and becoming a widely recognized digital center of excellence in one or more world regions.  The Middle East is a particularly appropriate region, as Yale University was one of the earliest higher education institutions formally to study the Middle East.  Its Library collections and other faculty and educational resources are among the strongest in the world.


Closer to the October launch date, project staff will develop an AMEEL Web site.





Ann Okerson, Associate University Librarian, collections & international programs

Yale University

P. O. Box 208240

New Haven, CT  06520-8240

Phone:              01-203-432-1764

Fax:                  01-203-432-8527

E-mail:              ann.okerson@yale.edu