The Kamal Joumblatt Digital Library project is the result of a partnership between the University Libraries (UL) and the Joumblatt family, represented by Mr. Walid Joumblatt. The vision for a digital library was initiated by Dr. Lokman Meho, University Librarian, upon contacting the Joumblatt family and receiving the complete works of Kamal Joumblatt as a donation to the UL.
In March of 2014, a big exhibit, organized by the UL, featured the collection and celebrated Joumblatt’s legacy. In parallel to planning the exhibit, preparations had started in order to develop the Kamal Joumblatt Digital Library as the UL was proudly entrusted by Mr. Walid Joumblatt to gradually scan, preserve and provide access to the historical archive of Kamal Joumblatt, which is currently housed in the Documentation Center at al-Dar al-Taqaddumiyyah.
The aim of this website is to make the digital archive of Kamal Joumblatt freely and conveniently accessible to scholars, students and general readers. Users of the site have the opportunity to browse archival materials by type, search metadata of all items, and retrieve requested materials in full-text, as well as images and multimedia.
The site offers also a glimpse into the life of Kamal Joumblatt as one of Lebanon’s most influential political leaders who played a major role in shaping the modern history of Lebanon from the time of the French Mandate until the break-up of the Lebanese civil war. His political writings, statements and opinions reflected the political discourse of an important era of Lebanon and the region’s history. His philosophical and spiritual writings reflected his great intellect and his rich and exceptional spiritual experience.
Joumblatt was a heavy reader and a prolific writer. He wrote more than 1000 editorials, in both Arabic and French; he published dozens of books on politics, philosophy, sociology, literature and other topics; he held hundreds of press conferences and interviews; he relayed hundreds of political speeches in national, regional and international conferences and in the Lebanese Parliament; he corresponded with a wide circle of political and intellectual figures from all over the world. Most of his intellectual heritage was preserved by al-Dar al-Taqaddumiyyah, and is being gradually digitized through this project.
The project started in 2014. Original items were regularly received from the Dar and were digitized by the UL. All original copies were returned to al-Dar. Items received by the UL consisted of:
- The complete published works of Joumblatt (14 books during his lifetime and more than 70 books compiled by the Dar).
- Handwritten documents (800) including: drafts of his published works (406 paper from 37 books) speeches, correspondence (367 letters), statements, press releases , notes, essays, documents and other.
- Sound recordings mostly of interviews with the media
- Videos recordings mostly of interviews with the media
- Photographs of Joumblatt at all stages of his life and career
The project involved the following steps:
- Receiving archival materials from the Dar
- Digitization of the received collection
- Organizing and classifying the collection
- Identifying and developing the Content Management System (CMS)
- Designing a web interface
- Populating the CMS with the digital copies and metadata
- Writing the content of the website
Fatmeh Charafeddine (Manager), Associate University Librarian for Research and Academic Collaboration
Mona Assi, Director of Library Systems and Applications
Mariette Atallah, Associate University Librarian for Collections
Sahar Ghandour, Business Information Specialist
Antoine Haikal, Circulation Assistant (liaison with the donors and record keeper of received items)
Sara Jawad, Web and Graphic Designer
Elie Kahale, Director of Digital Initiatives and Scholarship
Nabila Shehabeddine, Head of Jafet Library Reference and Instruction Services
Hicham Zahnan, Web Applications Developer
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