NEW HAVEN, CT  06520-8240


20 April 2005:  US Department of Education Funds Yale Library's Middle
East Virtual Library Project

New Haven, CT.  The Yale Library announced today that its proposal to
develop A Middle East Electronic Library (AMEEL) has been funded at a
level of $750,000 over four years.  This grant was awarded under the US
Department of Education's Title VI TICFIA (Technological Innovation and
Cooperation for Foreign Information Access) Program.  This program
provides grants to institutions of higher education, public or nonprofit
libraries, or combinations of these institutions or libraries to develop
innovative techniques or programs using new electronic technologies to
access, collect, organize, preserve, and widely disseminate information
on world regions and countries other than the US in order to address our
nation's teaching and research needs in international education and
foreign languages.

Under the four-year term of the AMEEL grant, which begins as of 1
October 2005, Yale library staff will lead and coordinate, in
conjunction with publishing, library, and other partners around the
world, a collaborative virtual library project that will make available
important Middle Eastern resources, in a four-part initiative:  it will
(1) develop an infrastructure for digital content, from diverse sources
(freely available as well as publisher licensed) to be integrated into
AMEEL; (2) digitize key journals on and about the Middle East, with
particular emphasis on fully searchable Arabic texts; (3) build and
expand capacity for Arabic full text scanning into US and other
libraries through workshops developed and led by experts in this area;
and (4) develop technologies and protocols to facilitate interlibrary
lending between US and Middle Eastern libraries.

Key partners in this new initiative will include, among others:  The
Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Alexandria, Egypt), which has developed the
most advanced Arabic OCR techniques in the world today); the
Universitaets-und Landesbibliothek of Sachsen-Anhalt (Halle, Germany),
with its advanced development of a Middle East portal including
extensive journal tables of contents; JSTOR (New York, USA); and
publishers such as Brill Academic Publishers (Leiden, the Netherlands);
Multidata (Beirut, Lebanon); and Oxford University Press (UK).  Other
libraries in the US and Middle East will collaborate on this project.
The Yale Library is also adding its own staff and technology resources
to this significant cost-sharing arrangement.

Project AMEEL is the logical next phase following the Library's
currently funded (through September 2005) Title VI project, OACIS
(Online Access to Consolidated Information on Serials).  OACIS is a
database of journal and serial holdings from a group of seven initial US
partners plus a now-growing number of both domestic and international
libraries.  The OACIS database currently holds some 46,000
bibliographical records representing approximately 13,000 unique serials
titles; it has become a key discovery source for students, scholars, and
librarians seeking for information about serial titles, bibliographical
information, and holdings searchable in both roman and Arabic
alphabets.  See <>.  Project OACIS will now
serve as an integral part of AMEEL, enhancing content delivery to
selected serial titles.

AMEEL and OACIS tie closely with the Library's strategy for expanding
global activities and becoming a widely recognized digital center of
excellence in one or more world regions.  The Middle East is a
particularly appropriate region, as Yale University was one of the
earliest higher education institutions formally to study the Middle
East.  Its Library collections and other faculty and educational
resources are among the strongest in the world.

Closer to the October launch date, project staff will develop an AMEEL
Web site.


Ann Okerson, Associate University Librarian, collections & international
Yale University
P. O. Box 208240
New Haven, CT  06520-8240
Phone:              01-203-432-1764
Fax:                  01-203-432-8527
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