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Yemeni Manuscript Initiative

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The private manuscript libraries of Yemen, estimated at 50,000 codices, constitutes the largest and most important set of unexamined Arabic manuscripts in the world today. The Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative presents, for the first time, access to manuscripts from three private libraries in Sanaa, Yemen, and virtually conjoins them to additional Yemeni manuscripts held by the Princeton University Library and Staatsbibliothek, Berlin. The texts in this archive were composed, copied, studied, and preserved by Zaydi scholars from the tenth century to the present. Zaydism is a leading school of Islam in Northern Yemen known for forms of rationalist theology that were abandoned in other regions. The Yemeni Manuscript Digitization Initiative is made possible by a Enriching Digital Collections Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The grant is administered by Princeton University Library and the Free University, Berlin in conjunction with the Imam Zayd ibn Ali Cultural Foundation (IZbACF) in Sanaa, Yemen. Information on this grant and related projects to preserve and disseminate the manuscripts of Yemen can be found at