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Oriental Department


The Oriental Department has begun to digitise manuscripts selected from its holdings. In co-operation with the University of Frankfurt and the Tamai-Foundation all Tocharian fragments from the Berlin Turfan collections have been digitised. This project aims at presenting digital images together with transcriptions and transliterations of the texts.

In co-operation with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities all Middle Iranian and Uighur fragments are being digitised; the project is sponsored by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). The German Research Foundation, in response to a joint application by the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the Staatsbibliothek, is now also providing funds for the digitization of Chinese Fragments from Central Asia. These will be entered in the content management system developed by the British Library's International Dunhuang Project.

The Oriental Department also participates in the Shahnama Project . This project is being financed by the British Academy; working-groups in Cambridge and Edinburgh are recording and digitising all illustrations contained in manuscripts of the Iranian national epic. The digital images will be presented in an on-line database together with information on the individual manuscripts. The Oriental Department is co-operating with the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, in the digitisation of some of its manuscripts which are of importance for the history of science.

Since December 2006, the Jewish National and University Library, Jerusalem, David and Fela Shapell Family Digitization Project and the Hebrew University Department of Talmud are presenting on their web-site a complete digitisation of the Berlin manuscript of the Tosefta (Ms or fol 1220): Online Treasury of Talmud Manuscripts . This is the oldest and most complete of the three known manuscripts of this text. It was written circa 1100 in Southern Italy (Otranto?), and probably survived the pogroms of 1349 in Thuringia together with the other Manuscripts from Erfurt now among the holdings of the Staatsbibliothek. The manuscripts were transferred in 1880 to the Royal Library in Berlin from the library of the Ministry of Proestant Affairs, which was housed in the old Augustine Monastery in Erfurt.