A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Major Contribution to Gulf History: Digitizing the India Office Records

The Guardian reports on a major project that will contribute greatly to researchers pursuing the history of the Gulf: funded by Qatar, the British Library is digitizing some half million pages of India Office records, a treasure trove for reconstructing the Gulf from the mid-18th century onward. They also are digitizing some 25,000 Arabic manuscripts as part of the same project.

I envy the next generation of historians the growing wealth of digital source material. For centuries historians have had to go where the archives were, but we may finally be about to transcend that.

It's interesting that, in the article, an archivist (if quoted correctly by the newspaper) actually compares this immense undertaking to the accomplishment of J.G. Lorimer in compiling his great 5000=page Gazeteer of the Gulf, which I've discussed on this blog before. That may understate the goals of this huge project, but it does indicate an appreciation of the immensity of the contribution of John Gordon Lorimer to the history of the Gulf.

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