About the Catalog | Abbreviations

ALA: Arabic Literature of Africa, 4 volumes, compiled by John O. Hunwick and R. Séan O’Fahey (Leiden: E.J. Brill)

GAL: Carl Brockelmann, Geschichte der arabischen Litteraur (Leiden: E.J. Brill)

IASAR: Institute of African Studies, Arabic manuscripts collection, University of Ghana at Legon

CEDRAB: Centre de Documentation et de Recherche Ahmad Baba, Timbuktu (Mali)

Document Types:

MS: Original manuscript. Handwritten documents, including both original documents and copies of texts.

ME: Market edition. Reproductions (lithographic, photographic, xerographic, etc.) of hand-written items, bound (usually stapled) between covers with the title, the name of the author, and the sponsor of the edition (and often also a photograph of the author). Market editions represent a particular step in the transition of West African Islamic book reproduction/distribution from circles of copyists to a modern market. They developed especially in Kano during the late 1950s, to answer the need for a wider diffusion of books in the sudani style of Arabic script—a style to which people were accustomed but which was difficult to obtain in type-set editions. They were usually produced by professional copyists based in Kano and Maiduguri. Market editions were (and still are today, though to a lesser extent) sold by booksellers operating out of small stores or in market places in many parts of Islamic West Africa. The sponsor of the edition often gives away many of the copies.

PE: Printed edition. Type-set editions, usually printed at the cost of the author or one of his disciples. They have the appearance of a typical Arabic book. A few are printed in West Africa but most are printed by firms in Cairo and Beirut. These are specially done for the West African market and are rarely obtainable in the cities of their production.

MSX: Photocopy of an original manuscript.

MEX: Photocopy of a market edition.

PEX: Photocopy of a printed edition.