The Bioethics Research Library at Georgetown University and Georgetown's School of Foreign Service Library in Qatar are working together to establish an information resource covering Islamic thought on medical and scientific ethics. We plan to include both historical and contemporary writings in English and Arabic, as well as in other languages, when possible. Ultimately, we intend for this three-year initial project to produce not only an online database, but also to form a core collection within Qatar's Central Library and to enhance the Bioethics Research Library's collection in Washington. All of these efforts are focused on serving researchers and educators in the region and around the world.

Staff members who are working on the project are fluent in Arabic or Farsi, and are educated in Islamic Studies, librarianship, and information technology. A variety of professional and organizational contacts are being pursued in order to identify and acquire relevant scholarly material. Although some of the foreign-language cataloging has commenced, we continue to explore database software appropriate for displaying accurately Arabic and Farsi characters as well as related transliteration. English-language cataloging and indexing is well underway using existing software.

In the first year of the project, we identified 646 documents in English, Arabic and Farsi and began indexing them, using a specialized vocabulary to address new topics. “Keywords of Special Interest to Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics (IMSE) Database Searchers” is available online. New terms have been integrated into the current “Bioethics Thesaurus,” offered in full as an online thesaurus database at http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/databases/bt/index.htmlAdditional access terms are suggested in the Keywords list to help searchers.

We invite you to explore the Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics database at http://bioethics.georgetown.edu/collections/islamic/index.html and are eager for your feedback.


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  1. F. Wiebe, Developing an information resource on Islamic medicaland scientific ethics, QFARF Proceedings, 2010, AHO11.
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