DFG-Project „Orient-Digital“ (2020-2023)

Initially conceived as a three-year project, "Orient-Digital“ is a DFG-funded project aimed at establishing a union catalogue and a portal for Oriental manuscripts. Cooperation partners are Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Forschungsbibliothek Gotha der Universität Erfurt, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek München and Universitätsrechenzentrum Leipzig. The project’s objective is to centrally gather data on Oriental manuscripts which are currently scattered throughout German collections and to develop a uniform data model. This is achieved through retro-conversion of older print catalogues and data transfer from existing applications. Currently, the focus is on Arabic, Persian and Ottoman Turkish language manuscripts. In a future second project phase, South Asian languages will be the central focus.

One of the major objectives is to create a uniform data structure in accordance with library standards. This includes review, improvement and creation of authority records within the application as well as in the integrated authority file (GND) of Deutsche Nationalbibliothek (DNB).

The project developed the portal Qalamos which is available online since June 2022.

Qalamos – Connecting Manuscript Traditions

Qalamos provides direct access to metadata and digitised copies of Oriental manuscript collections in Germany. Currently, it comprises approximately 135,000 manuscript datasets from Asian and African script traditions containing descriptions of 120,000 physical objects written in more than 160 languages and 80 scripts. This eliminates the tedious search for different copies of a work in print catalogues or in highly disparate databases. At a glance, users can see how many copies of a manuscript exist. Furthermore, the individual parts of a work can be found quickly if these are scattered across different institutions. In addition, the new portal enables users to locate interrelated texts, such as a commentary on or a translation of a work.

The mission of Qalamos is to provide the metadata and digitised copies of Oriental holdings of all German memory institutions (libraries, museums, etc.). Moreover, it aims to enhance international cooperation: Qalamos currently already presents collections from Indonesia, Mauritania and Yemen that were catalogued and partially digitised as a result of research cooperations with German institutions.


Universitätsrechenzentrum Leipzig operates the Qalamos IT infrastructure in close coordination with the DFG-funded project Handschriftenportal, to ensure uniform technical and library standards. The overall responsibility lies with the Oriental Department of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin - Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz.

Cooperation Partners

Smaller institutions are invited to benefit from Qalamos by presenting their holdings in a professional and material-specific infrastructure. Interested institutions are welcome to contact the project team at qalamos@sbb.spk-berlin.de:

Current Cooperation Partners

  • Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften
  • Kunstbibliothek, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin −PK
  • Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Bonn
  • Sächsische Landesbibliothek – Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Dresden
  • Universitätsbibliothek Freiburg
  • Hochschul-und Landesbibliothek Fulda (in Bearbeitung)
  • Universitätsbibliothek der Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
  • Niedersächsische Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen
  • Franckesche Stiftungen Halle/S.
  • Universitäts-und Landesbibliothek Sachsen-Anhalt Halle/S.
  • Bibliothek der Deutschen Morgenländische Gesellschaft, Halle/S.
  • Gymnasium Christianeum Hamburg
  • Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky
  • Akademie der Wissenschaften Göttingen, KOHD
  • Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg
  • Badische Landesbibliothek Karlsruhe (in Bearbeitung)
  • Universität zu Köln, Orientalisches Seminar
  • Universitätsbibliothek Leipzig
  • Universitätsbibliothek Marburg
  • Benediktinterabtei St. Bonifaz München/Andechs
  • Universitätsbibliothek Rostock
  • Stiftung Monumenta Vitruvii Stützerbach
  • Universitätsbibliothek der Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen
  • Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel
  • Städtische Museen Zittau
  • Christian-Weise-Bibliothek Zittau

International Collections:

  • Österreichische Nationalbibliothek Wien
  • OMAR (Oriental Manuscript Ressource) of UB Freiburg (Arabic manuscripts from Mauretania)
  • Nusantara (Holdings of Indonesian institutions and private collections)
  • Koran fragments from the Great Mosque of Sanaa (Sanaa, Dar al-Makhtutat)

Project Team

Dr. Yoones Dehghani Farsani, Dr. Thoralf Hanstein, Dr. Michaela Hoffmann-Ruf, Dr. Ghazwan Kanbar, Colinda Lindermann, Larissa Schmid, Dr. Torsten Wollina (bis Juni 2022) Beate Wiesmüller

Wael Abbas (bis September 2022), Dr. Feras Krimsti, PD Dr. Monika Müller

Dr. Michael Becker, Jens Kupferschmidt

Dr. Thomas Tabery, Maysa Albert, Julia Singer (until September 2021), Mirja Wachter, Dr. Felix Wiedemann

Overall Project Management

Christoph Rauch

Project Coordination / Contact

Dr. Michaela Hoffmann-Ruf
+49 30 266 435880

Larissa Schmid
+49 30 266 433143


Blog: https://od-portal.hypotheses.org/

Twitter: @OD_portal


Scientific Advisory Board

  • Yasmin Faghihi (University of Cambridge, University Library)
  • Prof. Dr. Konrad Hirschler (Universität Hamburg, Asien-Afrika-Institut)
  • Prof. Dr. Verena Klemm (Universität Leipzig, Orientalisches Institut; SAW Leipzig (Bibliotheca Arabica))
  • Prof. Dr. Tilman Seidensticker (Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, AdW Göttingen (KOHD)
  • Prof. Dr. Sabine Schmidtke (Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton)
  • Dr. Carolin Schreiber (SBB Berlin, Abteilung für Handschriften und Historische Drucke)
  • Prof. Dr. Ronny Vollandt (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Institut für den Nahen und Mittleren Osten)