The Islamic Heritage Project, a unique and extensive collection of Harvard’s vast Islamic material — including more than 260 lushly illustrated manuscripts, 50 maps portraying the world as once imagined, and 270 rare printed texts — is now easily accessible through the Internet.Gathered from across Harvard’s libraries and museums, the collection offers rich insights into a complex culture and history, in an innovative collaboration between the Harvard University Library Open Collections Program and the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program (ISP).Founded in 2005, with support from Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, ISP enhances Harvard’s ability to keep pace with increasing demands for knowledge and understanding of the Islamic tradition. By bringing together faculty, students, and researchers from across the University and coordinating their activities through a program in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and in close cooperation with the Harvard Divinity School and other faculties, the Islamic Studies Program demonstrates Harvard’s strong commitment to the study of various religious traditions.A Harvard faculty committee comprised of Islamic experts culled through the University’s vast holdings to assemble the collection, which includes more than 145,000 pages of material from the 13th to the 20th centuries.Searchers can browse the comprehensive database by selected topics that include mathematics, grammar, logic, and literature. Locations represented in the collection range from Saudi Arabia and North Africa to Iran, Iraq, and Central Asia. Languages in the collection include Arabic, Persian, Malay, Urdu, Ottoman Turkish, and a few Western ones.The collection is intended to share an important facet of Harvard’s intellectual treasures on a digital platform that organizers say will support teaching and research in Islamic studies and in all the world’s religious traditions.“For me, it’s so crucial for people around the world, who don’t have easy access to the kinds of resources that we have at Harvard, to be able to take advantage of our rich collection of materials,” said William Graham, Albertson Professor of Middle Eastern Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and O’Brian Professor and dean of Harvard Divinity School. “This kind of project is emblematic of what Harvard is truly about, advancing knowledge and making new knowledge and materials available freely in the scholarly world, and using our resources to help everybody in the field.”Every item in the online collection was reviewed and catalogued; some also received conservation treatments at the library system’s Weissman Preservation Center.The new collection is a treasure trove of ancient documents that offer a window to history. A search on the Ottoman Empire reveals, for example, a colorfully delineated chart of the Turkish Empire in Europe, Asia, and Africa printed in England in the early 1700s. A section of the chart, covered in elegant script, reads, “The Turks oppress the Arabians with Tribute, and Govern ’em with great Cruelty, which has made them several times attempt to throw off their Yoke, but in Vain.”Searchers looking for poems can find a collection of work from 1278 written by Mahmud Afandi al-Jaza’iri. Translated, the work’s title reads: “This is a collection of extraordinary poems in rhymed couplets and elegant and cherished odes on love which refresh the hearts of lovers and for which every longing man pines in joy.”The collection is “an important scholarly tool and an important tool for the visual book culture of the world,” said Roy Mottahedeh, Gurney Professor of History and founding director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal program. He noted that materials in the database also reveal the far reach of Islamic literary culture.An 18th century Indian copy of the Persian national epic “Shāhnāmah” by the Persian poet Firdawsi, for instance, is “an interesting testament to the way in which earlier traditions of international languages helped to transmit cultural ideas such as epic poetry.”Since its official launch late last year, the site has had more than 6,000 unique visitors. For January, the countries with the most visitors to the site were the United States, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Canada, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, and Morocco, with each country logging more than 1,000 page views.To access the collection, visit the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program Web site.
Sharing is caring! Share Tweet Share Share HealthLifestyle Pill ‘lowers ovarian cancer risk’ by: – October 26, 2011 11 Views no discussions The study looked at the combined oral contraceptive pillWomen who take the Pill for 10 years almost halve their risk of ovarian cancer, according to a study.But experts say this must be balanced against the risk of breast cancer, which is higher in women on the Pill.For every 100,000 women on the Pill for 10 years there are 50 extra breast cancers and 12 fewer ovarian cancers, data shows.The study is published in the British Journal of Cancer.It adds weight to previous research suggesting factors like the Pill and pregnancy can impact on cancer risk by changing the level of hormones in the body.Dr Richard Edmondson of the Northern Institute for Cancer Research at the University of Newcastle, said: “Women may be reassured to know that the oral contraceptive is not only an effective contraceptive but can have the added benefit of reducing their risk of ovarian cancer.“This is however balanced against a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. “To put this in context, it is estimated that if 100,000 women use the Pill for 10 years or more, there will be 50 more breast cancers than would have otherwise occurred, but 12 fewer ovarian cancers.“This may be particularly important for women with an increased risk of ovarian cancer in their family.”Large studyThe study followed more than 300,000 women enrolled in a large European study known as EPIC (European Prospective Investigation of Cancer).The women were taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, which contains two hormones, an oestrogen and a progestogen.Researchers say they found evidence that taking the Pill for 10 years reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by almost half, compared with women who had used the contraceptive for a year or less.The team also say it found evidence that having a baby reduced the risk of ovarian cancer; the more children a woman had, the bigger the protection.However, they add that their research did not find evidence of a link between breastfeeding and protection against ovarian cancer, which has been found in some other studies.Ovarian cancer is the fifth most common cancer in women in the UK, with more than 6,500 cases diagnosed each year. Several factors are known to play a role including age, faults in certain genes, obesity and smoking.Danger signsNaomi Allen is an epidemiologist for Cancer Research UK at the University of Oxford who works on the EPIC study.She said: “Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect and so prevention is key to saving women suffering from this disease. “These results are important because most women don’t know that taking the Pill or getting pregnant can help reduce their risk of ovarian cancer later on in life.” Sara Hiom, director of health information at Cancer Research UK, added: “Treatment for ovarian cancer is better if the disease is caught as early as possible. “So all women should be aware of the signs of ovarian cancer like pain in the lower tummy, bloating, increased tummy size, difficulty eating or feeling full. “If these symptoms are new and happen on most days then it’s worth getting checked out by your doctor without delay.”Meanwhile a separate study, published in the British Medical Journal, appears to confirm earlier research that suggested that some newer types of contraceptive pill are more likely to cause blood clots.Researchers at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, said women on pills containing drospirenone, desogestrel or gestodene had double the risk of clots compared with an older drug, levonorgestrel.By Helen BriggsHealth editor, BBC News website read more