Gale Revolutionizes Middle Eastern Research with Arabic Digitization Program

First-of-its-Kind Program Leverages Gale’s Global Reach as a Leader in Humanities and Social Science Research

Farmington Hills, Mich., March 24, 2015 — Continuing in its mission as a global leader in humanities and social science research, Gale, part of Cengage Learning, announced plans for a mass digitization program of Arabic primary sources and reference materials, the first-of-its-kind in scale and focus. This multi-year project will incorporate millions of pages of rare and precious Arabic language collections sourced from leading institutions in the Middle East and the West. These materials will come together in a digital research environment coupled with online tools and features to allow for 21st century research.

“Our focus is on creating research products that incorporate content with global relevance and appeal,” said Paul Gazzolo, senior vice president and general manager, Gale. “This program is a game-changer. Not only will it help preserve Arabic heritage in the Middle East and Islamic Studies, it will transform the historical and cultural study of the Middle East.”

Gale’s global product development team is working with an esteemed advisory board of researchers of Middle Eastern studies, including experts from the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, to bring together this multi-year program.

The first collection, Early Arabic Printed Books from the British Library, will be available in December and will be the first major searchable online archive of pre-20th century Arabic printed books available anywhere. Two subsequent parts of the collection will be released in 2016 and 2017. This full-text searchable collection will cover content from the fifteenth through the nineteenth centuries and will allow scholars to explore the interaction between East and West through Arabic texts, early European translations of Arabic texts, and Christian texts in Arabic.

Simon Bell, Head of Publisher Relations at the British Library said, “The British Library is delighted to continue its longstanding partnership with Gale by providing access to its unique collection of Early Arabic Printed Books based on A.G. Ellis’ catalogue. Ranging across a wealth of topics  – from Islamic Literature to Law and the Sciences – the collection will contribute significantly to a deeper and multi -faceted understanding of the Arab world. This is without doubt a major publishing event that represents the first large-scale digitisation of searchable early Arabic books for scholars worldwide.”

Scholars can search full text items in Arabic, English, French, German, Latin, Italian, Dutch and Spanish, as well as discover content in Greek, Hebrew, Hindi, Ottoman Turkish, Persian, Syriac and 17 other languages. 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 early Arabic printed script have been introduced to ensure scholars in Arabic-speaking countries and those across the world can equally cross-search and research the range of texts.

For more information on Gale’s Arabic program, please visit or stop by the Gale booth (#427) at the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) meeting March 25-27 in Portland, OR.


About Cengage Learning and Gale

Cengage Learning is a leading educational content, technology and services company, empowering educators and driving learner engagement through personalized services and course-driven digital solutions that bridge from the library to the classroom. Gale, part of Cengage Learning, serves the world’s information and education needs through its vast and dynamic content pools, which are used by students and consumers in their libraries, schools and on the Internet. It is best known for the accuracy, breadth and convenience of its data, addressing all types of information needs – from homework help to health questions to business profiles – in a variety of formats. For more information, visit or