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Will a Digital Library of the Middle East compensate for the war losses?

September 11, 2016

Will a Digital Library of the Middle East compensate for the war losses?

In order to secure museum collections in the Middle-East threatened by the IS, the idea arose to create a digital library of books, manuscripts, and other written material. This project was developed by the joint collaboration of the existing Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) and the Antiquities Coalition under the name DLME, the abbreviation for Digital Library of the Middle East.

634 Halabiye

The goal of DLME is to create an online collection of all sorts of materials relating to the civilizations of the Middle East. Its inventory will show a worldwide collection of artifacts with detailed descriptions and pictures to provide a better understanding for our cultural heritage. The featured objects would show ownership and legal status, which would help to determine whether artifacts were acquired legally or not. The project will extend to include undocumented or uncatalogued items, and as such help in fighting the illicit art trade.

As the crisis in the Middle East is not to end soon, the construction of this digital library is acute in order to inhibit looting and to keep track of the cultural objects in order to help to safeguard what is called the world’s greatest cultural repositories. The basic idea is that we must know what is there before we can even consider protecting this heritage.

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