Gale Releases Final Installments of Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library

First Searchable Digital Archive of Early Arabic Printed Books Showcases the Global Diversity of Gale Primary Sources Program

Farmington Hills, Mich., Jan. 6, 2017 — Gale, a Cengage company, announced the availability of the final modules in the series Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library. Now available are Sciences, History and Geography, which features historical monographs covering medicine, sciences, geography and more; as well as Literature, Grammar, Language, Catalogues and Periodicals, which features fiction, poetry, grammatical and linguistic works, catalogues, and periodicals.

Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library, part of the Gale Primary Sources program, opens up access to the Arabic heritage for a global research audience.

“The release of the final modules of Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library furthers Gale’s mission to enrich our understanding of the Middle East and its historical relationship with the West,” said Seth Cayley, Director of Research Publishing, Gale International. “Researchers are able to access rare editions of texts from the great Arab scientists, writers and thinkers, as well as Arabic translations of classical works. It forms an essential collection of intellectual life in the Arabic world.”

Sciences, History and Geography includes monographs ranging from medicine, physiology, classical sciences, natural history, chemistry, and mathematics to biography, geography, travel, astronomy, astrology, philosophy, logic, and ethics. Works on medicine and physiognomy include many editions or partial editions of Ibn Sina’s (Avicenna’s) Qānūn fī al-ṭibb from the fifteenth through nineteenth centuries, as well as works by other great Arab scientists. Historical works include Arabic chronicles of the crusades as well as over 200 histories in biographical form. Researchers will also discover a wealth of travel literature and writings about topography and cosmography.

As its name implies, Literature, Grammar, Language, Catalogues and Periodicals contains nearly half a million pages covering poetical texts, grammar and lexical works critical for the study of Arabic literature, linguistics and language, works of bibliography and catalogues, and several 19th-century periodicals. Also included are dozens of editions of The Thousand and One Nights in Arabic and numerous translations, and separate publications of the individual stories.

“The Early Arabic Printed Books collection from the British Library covers almost all subjects, including history, science and literature over 400 years, enabling researchers to track the development of the Middle East’s literary and intellectual heritage over time. As stated in our Living Knowledge vision published at the beginning of 2015, the British Library is committed to making intellectual heritage accessible, and we’re delighted that this collaboration with Gale will enable researchers to study this rich archive online for the first time,” said Catherine Eagleton, Head of Asian and African Collections at the British Library.

With Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library, scholars can search full-text material in Arabic, English and other languages, and discover through metadata and scanned images content in Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Syriac and 17 other languages. With this resource come a number of technological innovations pioneered by Gale to ensure scholars in Arabic-speaking countries and beyond can research the extensive range of texts, including interfaces in Arabic and European languages, right-to-left-read navigation of Arabic texts, an embedded Arabic keyboard and newly developed optical character recognition software.

For more information on Gale’s Arabic digitization program please visit or watch the video overview here.

To speak with a Gale leader about this archive or the Gale Primary Sources program, please contact Kristina Massari at [email protected], or visit the Gale booth (#504) at the American Historical Association meeting in Denver, Jan. 5 -8.

About Cengage and Gale

Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Gale, a Cengage company, provides libraries with original and curated content, as well as the modern research tools and technology that are crucial in connecting libraries to learning, and learners to libraries. For more than 60 years, Gale has partnered with libraries around the world to empower the discovery of knowledge and insights – where, when, and how people need it. Gale has 500 employees globally with its main operations in Farmington Hills, Michigan. For more information, please visit

About The British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world’s greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library’s collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website – every year where they can view up to 4 million digitized collection items and over 40 million pages.