Workshop 4: Cataloging, Editing, Research, and Publishing

Please be informed that the Arabic-Script Manuscripts in Africa conference will not be held in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The organizers and their partners will share an update on the future of the event in due course.


Cataloguing is key to assisting readers in accessing a manuscript, particularly its coding, author (if known), number of folios, state of preservation, type of writing, etc. One of the difficulties that cataloguers face when cataloguing manuscripts is identifying and differentiating between the many various types of writing.

There are two main types of writing: al-Mashriqī and al-Maghribī, but there are also other details to consider, which is why the workshop will be discussing the writings we come across when cataloguing Timbuktu manuscripts, as these writings are sometimes mosaics are very often different. These writings include, among others, Maghribī, Saḥrāwī, Sūqī, Sūdānī, and so on. We will be describing the characteristics of each type of writing so that the manuscripts may be distinguished at first sight, both by cataloguers and readers. We will also be covering the migration process undergone by these writings, from the Ḥijāz to North Africa and then West Africa, where other variants are known.

Workshop Instructor