Volume 7 ()

The Syriac Digital Library

George A. Kiraz


[1] In 2002, Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute launched The Syriac Digital Library Project—codenamed eBethArké—with the objective of creating the largest digital collection of Syriac manuscripts, books, journal articles, pictures and maps, and making all this material available on the Internet. During the past two centuries, the Syriac manuscript heritage was moved from the Middle East to Western libraries and museums; hundreds of books were published from these treasures. Now, for the first time, Beth Mardutho will bring together all this material from East and West, preserving Syriac manuscripts and printed books, and making them accessible worldwide. Students, clergy and seminarians, scholars, and the general public will be able to access the entire collection anytime from anywhere in the world. Our goal is to have 2,000-3,000 holdings in our library within three years. Your support is crucial to meet this objective.

[2] In January 2004, The Catholic University of America (CUA) gave Beth Mardutho full access to digitize its Syriac collection, from March 1 until July 31. This small window of time—due to construction work at the library—should not be missed. CUA’s collection is indeed unique and one of its kind in North America. Beth Mardutho plans to secure scanning equipment and hire two students on full-time basis to have as many books as possible digitized for inclusion in The Syriac Digital Library. The budget for this task is around $35,000. We have already raised $10,000. Working together, we can raise the remaining $25,000 to funds this important project.

[3] During 2002 and 2003 we succeeded in building a coalition of library partners who agreed, like CUA, to give us access to their collections. This coalition includes the libraries of Brigham Young University, Brown University, Duke University, Harvard’s Dambarton Oaks, the Peshitta Institute of Leiden University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Our partners have already contributed over 30,000 digitized images. During 2003, Beth Mardutho built a prototype interface for the eLibrary on the Internet.

[4] Now, it is time to digitize CUA’s collection, by far the largest collection in our coalition group, and include it in The Syriac Digital Library for you and everyone else to use worldwide. We ask you to be part of this exciting work... To give everyone the opportunity to take part, we have devised various donation plans. All donations are tax-deductible (in the U.S. at least), and can be made online or by sending a chec:

  • Adopt a book or more. You can adopt one or more books at a donation of $250/book. Your name will be acknowledged in Mardu and permanently on our web site as a book adoptee.
  • Adopt a collection. You can adopt a collection under your name or the name of a loved one (e.g., The John Doe Memorial Collection). The following tiers are available:
    • Silver Collection. Contains 50 books for a donation of $2,000. Your name and/or the name of the person you choose will appear on the collection in the library, with a brief biography.
    • Gold Collection. Contains 200 books for $5,000. Your name or the name of the person you choose will appear on the collection, with a detailed biography, and picture. Benefits also include life subscription to our journal Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies (printed edition).
    • Larger collections are also possible. Please contact Dr. George Kiraz for arrangements via email at gak@bethmardutho.org.

We also welcome donations of any amounts from those who cannot contribute at the above levels. Simply, donate any amount of your choice towards the project. Your name will appear in the donors list in our newsletter Mardu.

[5] How to Send Donations?

  • Online. You can simply donate online at www.bethmardutho.org. Click on “Support the Syriac Digital Library Project.” You can use your Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card. Our web page runs on a secure server.
  • Via Fax. You may fax the credit card information (number and expiration date) to +1 732-699-0342. Please include your name, address, and the amount you wish to donate.
  • Via Check. You can send your donation by check drawn onto an American bank, and payable to “The Syriac Institute.” Send checks to the following address: Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute, Syriac Digital Library Project, 46 Orris Ave., Piscataway, NJ 08854. USA.

[6] A PDF version of this appeal, with colored illustrations of material we plan to digitize, is available at http://www.bethmardutho.org/files/appeal2004.pdf.


Syriac Lexeme

Record ID:
Status: Uncorrected Transformation  
Publication Date: June 28, 2018
 , "THE SYRIAC DIGITAL LIBRARY." Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 7.1 :.
open access peer reviewed