Digital primary and secondary sources in Arabic


Brynjar Lia

Jacob Høigilt

Digital collections of Arabic Journals and literature

al-Sharekh Archive

Huge collection of 260 Arabic-language journals, dating back to the 19th century naḥḍa movement. Journals from most countries in the Middle East are included. The article titles have been OCR-ed and can be searched, but the texts as a whole are only available as images.

From the website: “AlSharekh Archives is one of the most distinguished Arabic digitization initiatives. It is the first and only one to focus on the content of literary journals providing online access to the content of 228 Arabic literary journals, from 23 Arab countries, dating from the early Arab renaissance (al Nahda) in the mid-nineteenth century to the end of the twenty-first century.

Egyptian Journals

Large collection of Arabic-language academic journals in Egypt. 890 journals of which 11 in Humanities, 134 in Literary Studies, and 19 in Economics and Political Science

Zayed University Arabic Language Database

Collection of various digital libraries and databases of Arabic material

Iraqi Academic Scientific Journals

Reportedly includes 384 Open Access peer-reviewed journals in subjects such as political science and history.

al-Maktabah al-Shamila

Huge collection of pdf versions of books, mostly on Islamic topics. It includes many famous critical editions of works from the classical Islamic age, such as The Book of Songs and al-Tabari’s History.

The Open Islamicate Texts Iniatitive

This is a big corpus of plain text (.txt format) literature, mostly in Arabic as of now. It is part of the KITAB ERC research project. Text can be freely downloaded and searched or processed analytically with programming software.

Collections of Online/Digitized Jihadist Documents

Jihadi Document Repository

From the website: “The Jihadi Document Repository was created in 2016 by the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) in cooperation with the University of Oslo. The purpose of the Repository is to encourage academic research on militant Islamism, by making available a large collection of jihadist primary sources gathered by the FFI’s Terrorism Research Group since 1999. A majority of the primary sources have been downloaded from websites affiliated with the global jihadist movement, most of which no longer exist today. The material has been vetted by FFI’s experienced team of researchers and only documents regarded as authentic have been included in the Repository. The Jihadi Document Repository is a non-profit venture and access to the collection is free of charge. However, due to the sensitive nature of some of the material, access to the Repository is limited to registered users only. To apply for registration, please send an e-mail to stating your full name, institutional affiliation and research interests. Upon approval, you will receive a username and password giving you full access to the Repository.”

The Abbottabad Documents

Includes [most of] the documents uncovered in Usama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan in May 2011.

The Combating Terrorism Center’s Harmony Program Collection of captured documents on al-Qaida and related jihadist groups. From the website: “The CTC launched the Harmony Program in 2005 in order to release and analyze documents from the Department of Defense’s Harmony database. The focus of this program is to contextualize the inner-functioning of al-Qa’ida, its associated movement, and other security threats through primary source documents. (…) By releasing this material, the CTC aims to make these sources, which are captured in the course of operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other theaters, available to other scholars for further study.


A large collection of jihadi primary source material, curated by Aaron Zelin. Registration and Login required.

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi’s Collection

Includes a large number of Arabic primary source documents (with English translations included) on the Islamic State and other jihadist groups, starting in the early 2010s. The series of collection of Islamic State Administrative Documents is valuable: