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Archnet Content Manager at the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

The World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies what held July 16-20 in Seville, Spain. Michael Toler, Archnet Content Manager, represented the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT with a presentation on “Plural Heritage at Moments of Transition: Presenting the Cultural Heritage of Morocco.” Toler’s paper focused on AKDC’s collaborations to bring two significant collections documenting cultural heritage of Morocco to public attention via Archnet.

The first collection was brought online through a collaboration with the Program for Middle Eastern Studies of Wellesley College and the Tangier American Legation Institute for Moroccan Studies (TALIM) to digitized the glass negatives in TALIM’s collection and to make a catalog of the images available on Archnet. A second project involved a  collection of music recorded in 1959 by the American writer and composer Paul Bowles, is being made available online through a collaboration between TALIM, the Bowles Estate, and the Library of Congress. The paper considered the issues that arise in documenting another culture, and making the documentation available to the general public.

Toler presented as part of a panel on “Heritage, public spaces and cultural interactions” that he also chaired on July 18th.  The full program is available here in PDF format.

Toler also developed a set of posters presenting Archnet and the resources it contains. The posters were displayed throughout the conference, with the Archnet Content Manager available to present them and respond to questions for an hour each day.

The Congress has been held every 4 years since the first in 2002 in Mainz, Germany, followed by Amman 2006 (Jordan), Barcelona 2010 (Spain), and Ankara 2014 (Turkey).  The 5th Congress was organized by the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation at the University of Seville.  More than 2,000 participants from around the world were pre-registered for the conference.

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