On 30 January, a partnership between the EBAF’s Saint Etienne library and the Custody of the Holy Land began to digitise some thirty volumes for the benefit of the Bibliothèques d’Orient project.

The Custody has the necessary equipment thanks to a contribution from the BNF. All the scanned documents will be sent to the BNF to be put online on the GALLICA platform.

Currently, about thirty titles, often in several volumes, have already been digitised.
But how do you make a choice from among the more than 150,000 volumes in the library’s corridors?
“The priority is to choose books that are more than 70 years old. The books must be rare, with a history, an originality, a usefulness that has never been equalled, famous books after all ! Some of these rare books must be protected by digitisation so as not to damage the original,” says Friar Bernard, o.p.
Among these notable works are the original 1620 edition of “La Saincte Bible françoise” and a New Testament from 1890 in Syriac: “la Biblia Sacra juxta versionem simplicem quae dicitur Pschitta”.

Created in 2016, Bibliothèques d’Orient is a trilingual (French, English, Arabic) collaborative digital library dedicated to historical exchanges between Europe and the Near and Middle East.

Based on the functionalities of Gallica, the digital library of the BnF and its partners, it brings together nearly 10,000 documents initially from the collections of the BnF and eight heritage and research libraries located in the countries of the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. It has since expanded to include other French and foreign libraries.

Bibliothèques d’Orient is also a programme of international solidarity contributing, through concrete actions, to the preservation of the documentary heritage of the Near and Middle East.