Majlis Library: Catalogue of Digitized Manuscripts


The Library of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Parliament in Tehran has digitized a large number of manuscripts, which are now accessible on their website. These include Persian, Arabic and Turkish manuscripts:

Manuscripts can be searched by name or catalog number.

Expert tip: “I would recommend that you use Persian spellings while conducting searches with Arabic search terms which are common to Persian. Also, use minimal search strings to get better results. For example, instead of أخبار use the Persian spelling اخبار; instead of حنيفة use حنيفه

An entire digital copy of most manuscripts can be downloaded by pressing the link تحويل.”

Download speeds may be very slow.

Concerning Dense Point Clouds and Wireframes

So, in addition Microsoft’s Photosynth, a number of new Structure from Motion reconstruction tools have become available recently, most notably Hypr3d and Autodesk’s 123d Catch. These seem to have been prompted primarily by the recent popularization of 3D printing, so their focus is on creating water-tight wireframes. This makes them rather different from Photosynth, which places emphasis on displaying photos at their full resolution rather than assembling them into a textured wireframe.

The great thing about photographing for structure from motion – apart from the weird looks people give you as you take 300 photos of something they might snap once or twice – is that photosets can be dropped into all of these new algorithms, and the reconstruction software is only going to get better. Here are some new models made from photos I took at Qusayr ‘Amra in Jordan and Cappadocia in Turkey:

Documenting Merv


CyArk completed a comprehensive digital documentation campaign at Merv in 2007 in conjunction with excavations in the grand bazaar undertaken by the University College London, the results of which are now available up on their website. This is Kind of a Big Deal for historians of Islamic architecture. CyArk’s work is a model for digital documentation projects: content includes spherical panoramas, point clouds from laser scans, architectural drawings, and GIS data associated with each digital artifact. In a perfect world, every architectural archaeological site would receive such comprehensive documentation before and after archaeological interventions or conservation.