Based at Yale University Library, The Arabic Middle Eastern Electronic Library is a collaborative project started in 2005. It is both a portal and a digital collection of resources for the study of the Middle East. With more than 10 international participants, including Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Brill Academic Publishers, or Oxford University Press, AMEEL is a very ambitious project aiming to: “develop an infrastructure for digital content”, “digitize key journals”, “build and expand capacity for Arabic full text scanning through workshops”, and “develop technologies and protocols to facilitate interlibrary lending between US and Middle Eastern Libraries”.
In terms of resources available, AMEEL holds approximately 250.000 pages. The digital collection includes a selection of Arabic academic journals from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia, Abstracts from the Encyclopedia of Islam, third edition, databases such as OACIS, and MENALib, dictionaries (Lane's Lexicon), digitized Islamic manuscripts from Yale's Beinecke Rare Book Library and the Medical Historical collection at Yale's School of Medicine, and manuscript Catalogs. In addition, the Gateway 2 Gazettes makes the gazettes of independent Syria and British Mandate Palestine for the period 1919- 48 widely available to scholars, and the Iraq ReCollection Project, intends to digitize important scholarly Iraqi Journals in order to make them available to scholars.
All full text resources are not only indexed, but also searchable in the language of publication, including Arabic. The search feature is accessible via the main page, clicking on “Search or browse AMEEL”. The visitor will use a single search box, but will be able to select in which part of the sprawling portal he wishes to do the search (Gazettes, Journals, Manuscripts or References). Moreover, the search page gives access to two databases:
Search results display in a list, from which the user can easily go to the text itself. The viewer proposes two views: the Library view or the Book view. The regular view shows one page at a time, and the bibliographic description on the left of the screen. It allows to go to a specific page, to browse page by page and to resize (from 100% to 200%). As the Book view, it shows two pages side by side, and no bibliographic description. I t also allows the reader to go to a specific page, to browse page by page and to resize (from 100% to 200%).
It is to be noted that not all resources are freely full-text accessible, and that for some of them the visitor will be offered to “Order now!” a copy. Overall, AMEEL is an incredibly rich resource even though it can be overwhelming at first sight.
The AMEEL portal is in English.