Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Open Access Digital Library: ArchNet

 [First posted in AWOL 24 July 2009, updated 3 March 2015]

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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 pleased to offer open access to a very unique set of resources related to the built environment of the Muslim world. These archives, images, drawings, publications, seminar proceedings, articles, serials and project documentation comprise an unparalleled resource and research tool for the study of Islamic art and architecture. They bring together donated photo collections, journals published around the world, monographs and architect’s archives that are linked to sites, people, publications and other related materials. These resources are updated on a regular basis and new materials are always in the pipeline. Enjoy your browsing.

Drawings of Islamic Monuments


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