Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics
Georgetown’s Bioethics Research Library and its School of Foreign Service Library in Qatar are embarking on a collaborative venture to identify and acquire materials on Islamic medical and scientific ethics. A three-year, $1,050,000 grant from the Qatar National Research Fund will augment current holdings on Islamic bioethics at the Bioethics Research Library. The new acquisitions will cover attitudes and practices on ethical issues within the Muslim world. The grant will also support translation and digitization of Arabic-language materials to allow for greater access to and exchange of information among ethicists, scientists, and citizens from the East and West.
The project is intended to lay the groundwork for an International Islamic Bioethics Information Resource (IIBIR). “This grant also allows us to build upon Georgetown’s rich tradition of dialogue between people of different cultures and faith experiences” said co-principal investigator Doris M. Goldstein, director of the Bioethics Research Library. Frieda Wiebe, director of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service Library in Qatar is the other principal investigator. Staff in Qatar who are fluent in both Arabic and English will identify, translate into English, and write abstracts for contemporary and historically important documents. U.S.-based project staff will develop standardized search terms for English-language materials to allow easy searching by topic or name.
More than 200 English-language documents have already been indexed and the Qatar-based staff are working on acquiring documents in both Farsi and Arabic. In spring 2010, staff from both libraries will participate in a joint training and planning session in Qatar. Goldstein will present a paper on the project at the Islamic Bioethics Conference in Antalya, Turkey in April 2010.
The materials initially will reside in the Bioethics Library’s reference collection in Washington. Records also will be incorporated in that library’s existing bibliographic databases, joining over 300,000 documents and other materials drawn from law, medicine, public policy, science, and the world’s religious traditions. In the future, a companion physical collection will be established in Qatar.
“This integrated approach can serve to increase access to Arabic and Muslim views on bioethics as a regional resource is established,” said Goldstein. “It is a real breakthrough for cross-cultural dialogue in the area of ethics.”
Selected holdings in the Islamic Medical and Scientific Ethics Special Collection are available online. Suggestions and donations of relevant materials are welcome. Contact the Bioethics Research Library at firstname.lastname@example.org.