Library of Alexandria and Arab World Join Chorus of Publishers Opening Up their Books and Archives to the World

Published April 13th, 2020 - 12:25 GMT
Great places opened their virtual doors and made their resources available in different languages. (Shutterstock)
Great places opened their virtual doors and made their resources available in different languages. (Shutterstock)
Highlights
With everything becoming digitalized on a massive scale, bookworms, new readers and researchers have never been more fortunate.

With everything becoming digitalized on a massive scale, bookworms, new readers and researchers have never been more fortunate. One of the best things that happened in 2020, is that a good number of top universities, libraries, institutions, and world sites have made thousands of books and resources available online for free legally.

Here is a humble attempt to list a number of those great places that opened their virtual doors and what’s available in different languages and fields in the MENA region and around the world. 

Amazon made all its audiobooks for children and adults available for free to download in English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and other languages.

The Library of Alexandria also put hundreds of books in various subjects on a Google Drive made accessible to all.

The University of Cambridge was also pleased to announce the access to free reference collection of html textbooks in various fields of study for higher education institutions.

Additionally, NYU Abu Dhabi introduced its Arabic Collection Online ACO; an available digital library of public-domain Arabic language content. ACO currently provides digital access to 13,224 volumes across 7,842 subjects drawn from rich Arabic collections of distinguished research libraries. According to the New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) website, “this mass digitization project aims to feature up to 23,000 volumes from the library collections of NYU and partner institutions. These institutions are contributing published books in all fields—literature, business, science, and more—from their Arabic language collections."

Al-Jazeera Studies Center as well made all its studies and books available in pdf version for free.

The Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies has decided to make every issue of its Arabic journals available for free access to researchers and other parties interested in social sciences and humanities. 

Abdul Hamid Shoman Foundation is Jordan also shared their electronic databases EBSCO and Manhal for people to make use of for free by reaching out to the main library e-mail.

Additionally, many social media groups for literature lovers have been sharing an amazing amount of sites with classic novels, poetry and plays available for free for all users in text and audio versions, while still encouraging the public to buy and own the original prints from bookshops.

Such sites include; Classic bookshelf, The Online Books Page hosted by the University of Pennsylvania, the university also offers access to all titles of its page A Celebration of Women Writers including Newbery Award winners. Classic Reader for Shakespeare and young adult fiction lovers, Read Print includes works from George Orwell to Alexandre Dumas, Planet eBook free downloads of works by Dostoevsky to Conrad.

Bibliomania has more than 2000 classic texts, study guides, and reference books, Plays include Pygmalion, the Playbook of Western World among others, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare which MIT has made available, has all of Shakespeare’s comedies, tragedies, and histories, The Internet Book Database of Fiction is a forum that features fantasy and graphic novels, anime, J.K. Rowling and more. SF and Fantasy Books Online for titles like Arabian Nights and Aesop’s Fables.

The Literature Network features forums, a copy of The King James Bible, and over 3,000 short stories and poems. Poetry includes “The Raven,” “O Captain! My Captain!” and “The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde.”

Google Poetry gives you a large selection of poems from The Canterbury Tales to Beowulf to Walt Whitman. Banned Books is a special exhibit of books that have been the objects of censorship or censorship attempts.  Lovers of award-winning titles can click on Prize-winning books online for a directory of full-text copies of Newbery winners, Nobel Prize winners and Pulitzer winners.


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