Islamic Heritage Project

Collection Overview

Through the Islamic Heritage Project (IHP), Harvard University has cataloged, conserved, and digitized hundreds of Islamic manuscripts, maps, and published texts from Harvard’s renowned library and museum collections. These rare—and frequently unique—materials are now freely available to Internet users worldwide. IHP is made possible with the generous support of Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.

For the IHP, Harvard’s Open Collections Program (OCP) produced digital copies of over 280 manuscripts, 275 printed texts, and 50 maps, totaling over 156,000 pages. Materials in Islamic Heritage Project digital collection date from the 10th to the 20th centuries and represent many:

  • regions, including Saudi Arabia, North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and South, Southeast, and Central Asia;
  • languages, primarily Arabic, Persian, and Ottoman Turkish; also Urdu, Chagatai, Malay, Gujarati, Indic languages, and several Western languages; and
  • subjects, including religious texts and commentaries; Sufism; history, geography, law, and the sciences (astronomy, astrology, mathematics, medicine); poetry and literature; rhetoric, logic, and philosophy; calligraphy, dictionaries and grammar, as well as biographies and autobiographical works.

IHP, which is a collaboration of Harvard’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program and the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, supports teaching and learning by creating open access to vital research materials.

The Harvard University Library established the Open Collections Program in 2002, with funding from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. OCP received subsequent support from Arcadia and from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal.