Friday, July 24, 2009

Open Access Digital Library: ArchNet

ArchNet is an exciting project being developed at the MIT School of Architecture and Planning in close cooperation with, and with the full support of The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, an agency of the Aga Khan Development Network. The Aga Khan Trust for Culture is a private, non-denominational, international development agency with programmes dedicated to the improvement of built environments in societies where Muslims have a significant presence.

The goal of ArchNet is to create a community of architects, planners, educators, and students. The community can help each other by sharing expertise, local experience, resources, and dialogue. Members are urged to take on a pro-active role in the community. Imagine the wealth of knowledge and history created in the various schools of architecture around the world. ArchNet hopes to tap that knowledge and provide a mechanism by which these valuable tools can be disseminated.

ArchNet will provide an extensive, high-quality, globally accessible, intellectual resource focused on architecture and planning issues and includes restoration, conservation, housing, landscape, and related concerns. It is to be achieved by providing on an accessible server, images, Geographic Information System and Computer-Aided Design databases, a searchable text library, bibliographical reference databases, online lectures, curricular materials, papers, essays, and reviews, discussion forums and statistical information. The structure will be designed to offer each user a personal workspace tailored to his or her individual needs. From this space, they will be able to contribute their own findings and research to the larger site. The website will aim to foster close ties between institutions and between users. Through the use of online forums, chat rooms, and debates, it is hoped that the site can encourage and promote discussions amongst participants. ArchNet will be accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. It will be a bottom-up system, in which information will eventually flow directly from the user to a continually expanding database which can be shared by all. The system will be designed to promote ready intercommunication and maintenance of an international scholarly community of ArchNet members.

ArchNet is envisaged as a borderless network of institutions contributing to, and learning from each other, which would have considerable influence in the way that architects and planners are educated and practice. New computer and telecommunication technologies have great potential for supporting communication and collaboration among architectural and planning students, faculty, scholars, and practitioners throughout the world. ArchNet will provide opportunities for realising that potential. Membership is free and your personal information will be kept confidential. Registration only takes a few moments and is necessary for those who would like the ability to be able to contribute to ArchNet.

Members can contribute by adding their individual image collections and files in their personal workspace; they can add events to the Digital Calander; post a topic or a response in the Discussion Forum; create a Group Workspace with other members from around the globe; work with their institution to create an Institution Workspace to make student work and faculty research available to the larger community; and, add to the academic directory or link to web resources in the Reference Section of the Digital Library. To find out more how you can contribute please go to the Help Module.

All of ArchNet's resources are worthy of serious exploration, but note in particular the following digital publications

Alam al-Bina
The Center of Planning and Architectural Studies [CPAS] established in Cairo in 1980 is considered to be the first integrated center of its kind in the Arab world. The CPAS works along two parallel lines: the first is in the field of architecture and planning, with consultation services in Egypt and other Arab countries. The second is in the field of training, research and publication, as exemplified by Alam al-Bina (or Alam al-Bena'a), a monthly architectural magazine.

Alam al-Bina is accessible online for the first time on ArchNet, through the generous contribution of CPAS. The ArchNet Digital Library offers selected articles in .pdf format from volumes 198 through 216, published in 1998 and 1999.


Archnet-IJAR International Journal of Architectural Research is an interdisciplinary, fully-refereed scholarly online journal of architecture, planning, and built environment studies. ArchNet-IJAR is edited by Ashraf Salama.

Two international boards (advisory and editorial) ensure the quality of scholarly papers and allow for a comprehensive academic review of contributions spanning a wide spectrum of issues, methods, theoretical approaches and architectural and development practices.

ArchNet-IJAR provides a comprehensive academic review of a wide spectrum of issues, methods, and theoretical approaches. It aims to bridge theory and practice in the fields of architectural/design research and urban planning/built environment studies, reporting on the latest research findings and innovative approaches for creating responsive environments. Articles are listed individually and can be sorted by author, title or year.

Ars Orientalis

Ars Orientalis is sponsored by the University of Michigan Department of the History of Art and the Freer Gallery of Art of the Smithsonian Institution. This journal is an annual volume of scholarly articles and book reviews on the art and archaeology of Asia, including the ancient Near East and the Islamic world. It fosters a broad range of themes and approaches, targeting scholars in diverse fields. Occasional thematic volumes are published.

Oleg Grabar, Constructing the Study of Islamic Art

"Constructing the Study of Islamic Art is a set of four volumes of studies by Oleg Grabar. Between them they bring together more than eighty articles, studies and essays, work spanning half a century. Each volume takes a particular section of the topic, the four volumes being entitled: Early Islamic Art, 650-1100; Islamic Visual Culture, 1100-1800; Islamic Art and Beyond; and Jerusalem. Reflecting the many incidents of a long academic life, they illustrate one scholar's attempt at making order and sense of 1400 years of artistic growth. They deal with architecture, painting, objects, iconography, theories of art, aesthetics and ornament, and they seek to integrate our knowledge of Islamic art with Islamic culture and history as well as with the global concerns of the History of Art. In addition to the articles selected, each volume contains an introduction which describes, often in highly personal ways, the context in which Grabar's scholarship developed and the people who directed and mentored his efforts." (Ashgate)

Mimar: Architecture in Development
Mimar: Architecture in Development was first published in 1981 and had a print run of 43 issues. At the time of Mimar's inception, it was the only international architecture magazine focusing on architecture in the developing world and related issues of concern. It aimed at exchanging ideas and images between countries which are developing new directions for their built environment. ArchNet is pleased to offer the complete set of Mimar: Architecture in Development, in the ArchNet Digital Library.
Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World
The Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture at Harvard University and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sponsors scholarly works on the history of Islamic art and architecture. Its major publication is Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Culture of the Islamic World.

Muqarnas is a lively forum of discussion among scholars and students in the West and in the Islamic world. Subjects covered in its pages include the history of Islamic art and architecture up to the present, with attention devoted as well to aspects of Islamic culture, history, and learning. It is widely regarded as the foremost scholarly journal for historians of art and architecture who focus on the Islamic world. Annual volumes of Muqarnas are periodically accompanied by special research supplements. To date, twenty volumes of have been published.

ArchNet is pleased to offer Muqarnas volumes one through sixteen in the ArchNet Digital Library, with special permission from E.J. Brill and Yale University Publications (volumes one and two). Clicking on the 'year' column heading below will sort articles by volume. Volumes one through twelve are entitled Muqarnas: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture.

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