This guide provides resources for a wide variety of topics related to the academic study of Islam and Muslims. Historical and contemporary issues are covered as well as relations with other religious communities within the Islamic world.
An online community for architects and scholars with a special focus on the Islamic world, based at MIT, features a virtual library of digitized books, journals, reference tools, as well as thousands of images of architecture in the Islamic world.
The National Library of France has a more extensive database for its manuscripts, called Mandragore, including a number of manuscripts digitized and online in their entirety. One can search for individual authors or titles, or one can navigate through the "Classement thématique" link.
The Cleveland Museum of Art makes highlights of its collections available through its collection online website. The museum's Islamic art collection includes ceramics, metalwork, glass, and works on parchment and paper. The strongest holdings are in miniature paintings. The museum's collection of Islamic textiles, comprising some 450 items, is considered one of the finest in the world.
The Europeana Cultural Collections database provides digital access to over 23 million objects, from more than 2200 participating institutions in 34 countries. The database includes more than 10,000 Islamic art objects and hundreds of Islamic manuscripts, some of them digitized in full.
The Freer and Sackler Galleries (Washington, D.C.) are the Smithsonian Institution's museums of Asian art, with particular strengths in ceramics and illustrated manuscripts from the Islamic world. The museum's digital collection includes images and descriptions of more than 2,000 items from the earliest century of Islam to present. The Freer and Sackler Galleries also provide digital access to the scholarly papers of Ernst Herzfeld (1879–1948) including his notebooks and journals and more than 5,000 photographs, sketches and maps.
The Harvard Art Museums' collection of Islamic and Indian art is not far and they also support the Islamic Heritage Project which provides online access to digital copies of over 280 manuscripts, 275 printed texts, and 50 maps, totaling over 156,000 pages.
The Islamic Art Virtual Museum (part of the Museum with No Frontiers project) has a searchable database with full descriptive entries and digital images of more than 1500 Islamic art objects from museums in 17 countries in Europe and the Middle East.
The Musée du Louvre houses one of the world's greatest collections of works of art from prehistoric times to the 19th century. The Louvre's Department of Islamic Art reopened in Sept. 2012, with some 2,000 of the museum's 18,000 Islamic art objects on display in the new Islamic galleries. The Louvre's web site provides access to several databases of digitized images of the collection, some with both French and English search interfaces.
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston has a rich collection of Islamic art, ranging from ceramics and textiles to miniature paintings but there is limited gallery space to display it. Objects in the museum's collections can be viewed by appointment; contact the curatorial department for Asian art to arrange one. The MFA Boston's collections search database provides access to images and descriptions of hundreds of objects in the collection.
The State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, home to one of the world's great collections of Islamic art, also has a digital collection that provides online access to selected images from its over three million works of art and artefacts - paintings, graphic works, sculptures and works of applied art, archaeological finds and numismatic material.
The Walters Art Museum (Baltimore, Md.) has a particularly fine collection of manuscripts from the Islamic world. The museum's virtual Islamic Manuscripts Gallery provides digital scans of 58 complete Islamic manuscripts, viewable cover-to-cover and downloadable. For more digitized manuscripts, see also The Digital Walters and the online exhibition Poetry and Prayer: Islamic Manuscripts from the Walters.
The World Digital Library, a project supported by UNESCO, is a searchable database of digitized manuscripts, albums and photographs and other items contributed by libraries, museums and other cultural institutions from around the world and is full of surprising discoveries. Participating institutions range from the National Library of Brazil to the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran and from the Berlin State Library to Yale University.