Founded in 2006 on the initiative of the Lebanese Association for Educational Studies (LAES), the Arab Educational Information Network is an online database documenting educational research produced in Arab countries.
If the pilot project was exclusively funded by research grants received from the Ford Foundation, funding now comes from various sources such as the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States, the Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (ABEGS), the Kuwait Society for the Advancement of Arab Children and the Lebanese National Commission for UNESCO (LNCU).Since Feb. 3 2010, Shamaa is an autonomous organization with a Board of Trustees, independent from LAES.
Shamaa.org provides free access to worldwide scholars to educational bibliographic data on books, articles, reports, dissertations and thesis from Universities, Colleges, research Centers, publishing Houses, Journals, Ministries and regional and international Organizations in the Arab world. Documents are collected in three languages: Arabic, French and English.
The main menu of the website is accessible at the top of the front page. The visitor can learn more about Shamaa, becoming a partner or the criteria for submitting documents. Resources can be accessed using the simple/advanced search feature (top right of the screen). But before launching a search, the user should probably have a look at the Thesaurus tab, as it is presented as the most efficient way of locating documents in the Shamaa database.
The simple search allows a keywords’ search (in Arabic, English or French), a browsing, or an “exact phrase” search, on various fields (author, title, publisher, etc…). Depending on the selected type of search, the results will appear differently. For the Keyword search, results page will show a list of documents indicating if the full-text, just an abstract, or both are accessible, and offering some limitations in a right-hand side menu. As for the browse and the exact search, results page will display a list of subjects (Thesaurus descriptors) indicating the number of documents attached to each topic. The list of documents, and therefore the documents themselves, can be accessed by a simple click on a subject.
The advanced search provides more search fields and offers the possibility to combine them. It also proposes limitations by language, type of document, and year of publication. Results display in a list of documents with the same features as described earlier. Full-text documents open in PDF, and can easily be saved or printed.
Finally, an exhaustive list of Journals by Country of publication can be accessed directly from the main page (“Periodicals” tab).
The Arab Educational Information Network aims to keep growing, to expand its coverage of educational research produced in the Arab world, the variety of resources, and to improve accessibility to these valuable resources.
The website is bilingual: Arabic and English.