Iran Heritage Foundation


Iran Heritage Foundation
Iran Heritage Foundation (IHF) is a non-political UK registered charity, with the mission to promote and preserve the history, languages and cultures of Iran and the Persian-speaking world. We sponsor academic research, publications and fellowships, as well as diverse public programmes focusing on both ancient and modern aspects of Iran’s history, languages and culture. We have partnered with major museums (e.g., the British Museum, the V&A, and the Sackler Gallery) and universities (e.g., Cambridge, Oxford, St. Andrews and Edinburgh) to bring some of the world’s the best expertise to our programmes. Our main source of funding is donations from businesses and individuals. No financial support is received or accepted from any government or political organisation. Please support your IHF, and help us maintain these unique and valuable programmes into to future.
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British Library Manuscript Digitisation

Iran Heritage Foundation

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The Iran Heritage Foundation is fundraising for this important project, which will catalogue and digitise some of the many Persian manuscripts in the British Library's collection, making these freely accessible to scholars and enthusiasts worldwide via the Internet.


The British Library Persian manuscript collection is one of the largest and best known in the world. It includes over 11,000 manuscripts originating from all over the Persian speaking world, ranging in time from the 12th century onwards. Many of the manuscripts are very rare texts, and illustrated volumes include some of the most famous miniature paintings of the Persian and Mughal schools.

Launched in August 2011, this 4–year project is working to make important works from the British Library's Persian manuscript collection freely accessible via the Internet to a worldwide audience of researchers and enthusiasts. A dedicated curator has been appointed and tasked to make the material available through online catalogues, and helping to safeguard this part of Iran’s heritage for future generations, while promoting the research and study of these manuscripts and their relevant subject areas on a worldwide basis.

The archive as a whole will be a unique cultural resource which can both be enjoyed by students and lovers of Persian culture and also used as a teaching tool for both Persian music and Persian literature.


  • to construct reliable and consistent metadata describing each of the 11 thousand manuscripts in the collection and to have the bulk of the collection catalogued in digital format by 2014, subject to funding.

    This laborious but essential task is of utmost importance for providing researchers around the world with basic information on the collection. The online catalogue is being created simultaneously in Persian and Romanised script with descriptions in English. This means that for the first time, from anywhere in the world, people will be able to search and access details about Persian manuscripts in the British Library by doing a simple author or title search in Farsi or English.

    Details of over 2,500 works have already been prepared. This material has already been added to FIHRIST, the national union catalogue of manuscripts in Arabic script currently in development by Oxford and Cambridge Universities (
  • to digitise many of the most important manuscripts in the collection, providing worldwide access in perpetuity to these works and contributing to their future preservation.

    In total 27 manuscripts have been digitised and uploaded to date. Some highlights include: 
    • The entire text of Shah Tahmasb’s copy of Nizami’s Khamsah has already been digitised, and can be viewed from cover to cover at 
    • A digital version of Iskandar Sultan’s illustrated pocket encyclopedia of 813-14/1410-11 has been digitised and will be uploaded in the coming year. 
    • A complete list of the Persian Manuscripts currently available can be found on

This path-breaking project is unique in its nature and scope. It aims, by using modern technologies, to combine heritage preservation with making this material freely available worldwide for study and research. With your support we can make this vast Persian manuscript heritage universally available, facilitating research in Persian Studies and making this precious material more accessible to the general public.

Please give generously to support this project.

Recent donors

09.06.13 I just watched the video which was sent to me by a friend. You are doing wonderful work!

14.06.12 This is a great project - please support it if you can!


Running total

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Corey Miller
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