May 25, 2022

Cultural Heritage: CLIR Awarded $170,000 Grant to Develop and Launch Prototype of Digital Library of Middle East

From the Council on Library and Information Resources:

The Whiting Foundation has awarded the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) $170,000 to design, implement, and launch a prototype Digital Library of the Middle East (DLME).

CLIR will work closely with its primary organizational partner on the DLME, The Antiquities Coalition, and with five universities to create a proof of concept for an interoperable, large-scale digital library of cultural artifacts from the Middle East and North Africa. Stanford University Libraries and its IT department will be the principal technical partners on building the prototype.

Along with the horrific loss of life and human suffering in the region, the cultural heritage of many nations in the Middle East and North Africa is under severe threat from destruction, looting, illegal trafficking, and terrorism. The DLME aims to help remediate this crisis by creating a globally available resource in partnership with collaborators throughout the region that provides detailed descriptions and images of artifacts, along with information about the objects’ history, ownership, and legal status.

The prototype, which focuses on collections held in the United States, is a first step in developing a technical platform that can be used to aggregate collections globally. Some 100,000 objects, including text, video, photographs, archives, manuscripts, and maps illuminating the history of the Middle East and North Africa, will be included in the proof of concept. It will leverage many of the open source tools that have been developed and tested over the last decade through the open source digital library community. The prototype will be available in English and Arabic; the DLME is currently engaging with and preparing partnerships at museums and other cultural institutions throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

Partners and Prototype Launch

Initial partners include Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.

CLIR expects to launch the prototype by the end of 2017.

Learn More, Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Abridged Version of Digital Library of the Middle East Planning Grant (via CLIR)
6 pages; PDF.


New Project: “Introducing the Digital Library of the Middle East” (August 8, 2016)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.