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Vol. 7, No. 1
January 2004

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Beth Mardutho

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Hugoye in Syriac




[1] In 2002, Beth Mardutho: The Syriac Institute launched The Syriac Digital Library Project—codenamed eBethArké—with the objective of creating the largest digital collection of Syriac manuscripts, books, journal articles, pictures and maps, and making all this material available on the Internet. During the past two centuries, the Syriac manuscript heritage was moved from the Middle East to Western libraries and museums; hundreds of books were published from these treasures. Now, for the first time, Beth Mardutho will bring together all this material from East and West, preserving Syriac manuscripts and printed books, and making them accessible worldwide. Students, clergy and seminarians, scholars, and the general public will be able to access the entire collection anytime from anywhere in the world. Our goal is to have 2,000-3,000 holdings in our library within three years. Your support is crucial to meet this objective.

[2] In January 2004, The Catholic University of America (CUA) gave Beth Mardutho full access to digitize its Syriac collection, from March 1 until July 31. This small window of time—due to construction work at the library—should not be missed. CUA’s collection is indeed unique and one of its kind in North America. Beth Mardutho plans to secure scanning equipment and hire two students on full-time basis to have as many books as possible digitized for inclusion in The Syriac Digital Library. The budget for this task is around $35,000. We have already raised $10,000. Working together, we can raise the remaining $25,000 to funds this important project.

[3] During 2002 and 2003 we succeeded in building a coalition of library partners who agreed, like CUA, to give us access to their collections. This coalition includes the libraries of Brigham Young University, Brown University, Duke University, Harvard’s Dambarton Oaks, the Peshitta Institute of Leiden University, and Princeton Theological Seminary. Our partners have already contributed over 30,000 digitized images. During 2003, Beth Mardutho built a prototype interface for the eLibrary on the Internet.

[4] Now, it is time to digitize CUA’s collection, by far the largest collection in our coalition group, and include it in The Syriac Digital Library for you and everyone else to use worldwide. We ask you to be part of this exciting work... To give everyone the opportunity to take part, we have devised various donation plans. All donations are tax-deductible (in the U.S. at least), and can be made online or by sending a chec:

We also welcome donations of any amounts from those who cannot contribute at the above levels. Simply, donate any amount of your choice towards the project. Your name will appear in the donors list in our newsletter Mardu.

[5] How to Send Donations?

[6] A PDF version of this appeal, with colored illustrations of material we plan to digitize, is available at